In early January, I wrote about concerns regarding the significant increase in the use of private consultants by the federal government.
When first elected to our country's highest office in 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to reduce the use of external consultants to save billions (as reported by the National Post). However, as I pointed out in my January, the government has increased the use of private consultants by close to 60% since 2015.
This week, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) released a new report on the overall size of the federal government titled "Full-Time Equivalents in the Federal Public Service – 2023-24 Departmental Plans".
Despite the significant increase in the use of private consultants, the PBO revealed the overall size of the government increased to 413,000 FTEs in 2021-2022 from roughly 340,000 full-time equivalents (FTE) in 2014/15.
The 2023-24 departmental plans indicate the number of FTEs is projected to reach 428,000 in 2022-23, representing an increase of 23,000 full-time people compared to the departmental plans from the previous year.
Interestingly, the long-term departmental plan forecasts the federal public service will be reduced to 400,000 FTEs in 2025-26. However, the PBO pointed out current plans do not include additional FTEs that will likely result from new measures announced by the government in the 2023 budget.
In terms of costs, as the CBC recently reported, Ottawa is projected to spend about $151 billion more next year than it did in 2014-15, the year before Trudeau and his party formed the government that November.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland's (most recent) budget projects total expenses will be $496.9 billion in 2023-24 when there's no extraordinary pandemic-related spending. And, under Freeland's current plan, spending will increase in the years to come.
Her budget projects spending will reach $555.7 billion in 2027-28.
For context, that level of spending now exceeds sixteen percent of Canada's GDP, the highest it has been in over three decades, given that the Liberal government no longer projects any return to a balanced budget and has abandoned all fiscal guardrails.
With federal income tax returns are due May 1, many Canadians will know how much of their household income will go to Ottawa this year.
My question to you:
Is your household getting good value for the increased spending under Prime Minister Trudeau?
Please reach me at [email protected] or call toll-free 1-800-665-871
Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.