Putting a stop to outsourcing

Between 2011 and 2018, the federal government outsourced over $11.9 billion in work to IT consultants, management consultants and temporary help contractors. More than the budgets of 5 departments and agencies combined.

Years of unchecked spending on government outsourcing has created a shadow public service of consultants and temporary staff operating alongside the government workforce. The contract between public employees and the federal government is breaking down. Outsourcing means higher cost, lower quality services for Canadians – less transparency, less accountability, and the loss of institutional knowledge and skills.

Moving specialized knowledge and skills out of the public service has created a lack of development and training opportunities inside the public service. Our Career Development and Training Task Force is undertaking member-focused research and will be proposing evidence-based solutions to take to the employer.

The real costs of outsourcing are too high - wasted money, poor hiring practices, eroded capacity and safety concerns. It’s time to put a stop to outsourcing.

Over the course of 2020, PIPSC will release a series of investigative reports unpacking the government’s growing reliance on outsourcing and its true costs.

Part One: The real cost of outsourcing

Government work, traditionally done by public servants, is increasingly being done by external consultants and contractors at a cost that should shock Canadians. The costs skyrocket while important skills and institutional knowledge are moved into a shadow public service. Canadians should be aware of how their money is being spent and the true costs of such short-sightedness.


31 January 2024
Our work over the years proves that our federal budget advocacy has an impact. Read more about what PIPSC is calling for in Budget 2024.
29 January 2024
The Government of Canada's Digital Talent Platform, developed in consultation with PIPSC, is launched today.
11 March 2021
Government outsourcing deepens gender inequity across Canada's public service. In IT, lucrative contracts are doled out to a male-dominant industry that has notoriously struggled with gender equity.
1 March 2021
President Debi Daviau has written to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Commissioner Bob Hamilton regarding its recent decision to hire a third-party contractor to answer questions from taxpayers.
29 January 2020
According to our 2019 membership survey, career development and training (CDT) is a top priority for seventy percent of PIPSC members – in particular, younger members. That’s why we’re launching a research project to better understand all aspects of career development and training in the federal public service, such as qualifying for a promotion, attending conferences and staying current with new technology.
27 January 2020
The federal government spent over $11.9 billion on management consultants, temporary help contractors and IT consultants between 2011 and 2018 to do the work that could have been done by Canada’s own public service professionals. The contracts ended up costing the public twice their original price.
23 January 2020
Work traditionally done by public servants is increasingly outsourced to external consultants and contractors. Between 2011 and 2018, the federal government outsourced over $11.9 billion in work. This is the first investigative report in our series unpacking the government’s growing reliance on outsourcing and its true costs.
17 July 2017
While the current government has been right to criticize the last one for laying off hundreds of compensation staff before it rolled out Phoenix, it’s the decisions around outsourcing such projects in the first place that demand a rethink.
30 June 2017
Ordinarily, the announcement earlier this month that spending by the Department of Defence (DND) will grow from its current $18.9 billion to $32.7 billion by 2026 would be cause for Canadians (and especially PIPSC members employed by DND) to feel more secure.
12 June 2017
The recent recommendations of yet another consultants’ report on Shared Services Canada (SSC) demonstrate that, when it comes to federal government outsourcing, there’s no shortage of private sector advice.
2 June 2017
A new report commissioned by Shared Services Canada (SSC) shows that the Institute is right in highlighting the dangers of outsourcing in the federal government.
19 November 2016