Forces of demography

The premier's deputy minister Jessica McDonald has stated provincial civil service layoffs, if they do occur, will be under five percent of the workforce. But the Campbell administration is projecting demographic forces will reduce the number of bureaucrats by 30 to 57 percent over the next ten years. This, according to a government document obtained exclusively by Public Eye. That's why the administration announced in February it would be establishing a $75 million public service transformation fund to find ways of delivering "quality services to citizens with fewer staff." Although, at the time, it wasn't specific about those projected reductions. The following is a complete copy of the relevant portions of that document.


The "special opportunities" item of the transformation fund is designed to ensure that the current economic situation facing the province does not have a detrimental impact on the future of our workforce. As such, DMCPS has determined priority funding be given to ministries to invest in those human resource projects and priorities that continue to invest in the recruitment and retention of key streams and in growing the future of our workforce.

Applications will be reviewed by the Future of Work Steering Committee, who will vet the proposals and provide recommendations to the Deputy Ministers Committee on the Public Service (DMCPS) for approval. Applications should be no more than 5 pages total.

The application must meet the following required criteria:

* Measureable outcomes to be demonstrated in 2 years.
* Clear diagnostic evaluation that illustrates that the funds supports key streams at risk thereby building knowledge capacity and reducing recruitment efforts in the future supported by evidence of forecasted future need and supply and demand assumptions;
* No ongoing costs beyond 2011/12.
* Proposals that have already been to Treasury Board, in the 12 months prior to the submission date, will not be considered.
* Applications must be received by email by 4:30pm on June 1, 2009 or September 14, 2009.
Applications that meet the required criteria will be prioritized according to:
* Greenhouse opportunities where ministries can demonstrate the growing of talent in key streams for the future potential of the BC Public Service as a whole;
* Coop and internship or like-programs for recruiting and growing talent in key streams (note, the Aboriginal Internship Program is being considered separately);
* The targeted recruitment or retention of employees in positions defined either corporately or by a ministry as an area at-risk; and
* Re-training opportunities for employees placed in new positions as a result of job re-assignment and re-prioritization.

Closing dates - June 1, 2009 @ 4:30 pm and/or September 14, 2009 @ 4:30 pm


Given demographic projections that the BC Public Service will be 30 to 57% smaller within the next 10 years, we need to plan to deliver services with a shrinking labour force, which makes transformation of services and modernizing our work processes essential. To that end, a Public Service Transformation Fund for 2009/10 and 2010/11 has been established with approvals resting with the Deputy Ministers Committee on the Public Service (DMCPS). The fund will be used for transformation opportunities where the approach to work can be re-tooled to deliver quality services to citizens with fewer staff.

The Future of Work Initiative supports the transformation of the Public Service by the promotion of a culture of innovation, support for the modernization of operations and infrastructure, and transformation of internal business and service delivery approaches, leveraging technology to do so. The Future of Work Initiative is asking Ministries for proposals regarding service transformation opportunities that may require funding, based on specific criteria.

Applications will be reviewed by the Future of Work Steering Committee, who will vet the proposals and provide recommendations to the Deputy Ministers Committee on the Public Service (DMCPS) for approval. Applications should be no more than 5 pages total.

The application must meet the following required criteria:

* Measureable outcomes to be demonstrated in 2 years.
* Sustainable outcomes must include ability to deliver program, service or function with fewer FTEs or productivity Return on Investment.
* No ongoing costs beyond 2011/12.
* Proposals that have already been to Treasury Board, in the 12 months prior to the submission date, will not be considered.
* Applications must be received by email by 4:30pm on June 1, 2009 or September 14, 2009.
Applications that meet the required criteria will be prioritized according to:
* The degree to which the proposal links to impacted work streams as outlined in the workforce planning data OR the degree to which the proposal demonstrates a return on investment that will streamline business processes or service delivery models that allow government to deliver same or more service with less FTEs ;
* The degree to which the proposal demonstrates an enterprise model, or cross - ministry integration, regarding information, technology, resources, or practices, and can demonstrate that the initiative will provide benefit in more than one business/service area;
* The degree to which the "lean infrastructure" approach is quantified cost/benefit;
* Alignment with government priorities.

Attachment C


A key stream is a strategic role which is critical to driving long-term strategic advantage for the business of government in terms of impact on desired objectives/innovation and delivery. It has demonstrated demand issues (shortage of workers) as well as supply issues (shortage of available labour pool and difficulty recruiting).

Public Service Transformation Fund eligibility criteria stipulate that applications must support retention or recruitment efforts in key streams at risk which will:

1) support training or repositioned employees; and
2) develop greenhouse opportunities & co-op & internship programs particularly aimed at under 30 labour market which are opportunities also linked to a key stream.

High priority key streams are currently defined as: Corrections & Enforcement, Finance, IM/IT, Science & Technical Officers & Project Management. Within these key streams or critical functions the applied, business, and strategic leadership band and news hires (within the first three years) are the most vulnerable.

Other key streams will be considered if they are diagnostically supported and identified in the applicant's current workforce plan.


Corrections & Enforcement

Community Corrections and Corporate Programs operate more than 50 community corrections offices across the province. Corrections & Enforcement are anticipating vacancies of 80 2009 and 79 for 2010. This classification has one of the highest turnover rates in the BC Public Service (5.98%). Recruiting and retaining new talent in a financially competitive marketplace is key.


Finance is a strategic and core government function. Coupled with the need to implement a new vision and business model, the financial community is at risk due to large numbers of staff retiring in the next 5 to 10 years and competition with the greater public and private sector for talent. Overall, the Finance Stream contributes 28% of the overall BC Public Service employees, with 3% of staff holding auxiliary status. The proportion of employees under the age of 30 is 4.0% for the finance stream as compared to 8.3% for the overall public service. With no interventions over the next 10 years, finance will be operating at 49% capacity, 45% of staff will be over the age of 55; 1/3 of stream will have less than 5 years service, less than 6% will under age of 30. Cultivating young talent and retaining existing talent are critical for ongoing financial viability.

Information Technology

Government services and internal operations are critically dependent on information and technology and will continue to do so into the future. While the private sector provides many of the services that would have been delivered by government employees in the past, there remains an operational and strategic dependency on internal information and technology management and staff. To maintain this capacity, up to 1100 new information technology (IT) staff will need to be recruited in the next 10 years, in the context of strong demand, increasing turnover and declining university enrollment in these disciplines. Today, a quarter of the IT workforce have less than five years service experience, in ten years this will have grown to one third. The loss of knowledge presents a direct and growing risk to government operations and transformation. Efforts to retain existing workers and recruit young workers to build capacity is key.

Project Management

One of the major ways organizations both in the public and private sectors are achieving strategic objectives is through project management. The ability of the BC Public Service to develop its capacity in project management is deemed critical. Specifically, the need for more senior project managers at the strategic level who can lead complex/mission critical projects was identified. Most of these projects are currently outsourced to external vendors. In order to bring more of this work internally, government needs to build internal capacity through further development of existing project managers and the recruitment of senior project managers.

Science & Technical Officers

The disparity between public and private sector compensation, combined with a very competitive labor market and small labor pool challenge the BC Public Service's ability to attract and retain qualified employees in the robust resource sector particularly for the science and technical officers and some licensed science offices (i.e. petroleum & mineral geologist; professional engineers - mining, petroleum; as well as specialists such as geophysicists, geochemists, & geoscientists).

In some ministries such as the Ministry of Energy, Mines, Petroleum & Resources, 41% of regular employees in scientific and technical positions are currently eligible to retire. A further 19% will be eligible to retire within 5 years.


Diagnostic Questions to Identify Key Streams at Risk

1) Strategic Roles - Is it a role critical to driving long-term strategic advantage for the business of government in terms of impact on desired objectives/innovation and delivery?

2) Core Roles - Is it an essential and core to consistently deliver quality products & services to our customers?

3) Business & External Drivers - Have you considered anticipated changes in the business or government service delivery changes which might impact the business?

4) Demand Forecast (5 years) - Is the nature of the sector/industry changing? Are there critical gaps between supply and demand? What is historical and projected pre-retirement turnover and retirements?

5) Strategy Development - What kinds of solutions make sense? i.e. green housing, co-op, intern, discontinuing, restructuring, technology, different model.


This is the height of absurdity. They've been INCREASING by leaps and bounds the numbers of 'non-employees' aka administrators. To now say that they're going decrease these numbers by 30 to 57 is specious. All they are going to do with this shell game is protect the number of over-paid time-sheet approvers and chair warmers.

Sean - ask the Public Service Agency how many NEW positions have been created in the past 8 years. Specifically - Executive Directors, Acting Executive Directors, Directors, Acting Directors, Senior Managers, Acting Senior Managers, Managers and Acting Managers. It becomes even more revealing when you see the data broken down by ministry. Also enchanting is the number of 'managers' and 'directors' who have no one reporting to them.

I've seen the numbers and they are simply astonishing. For one ministry in particular it seems like there is a new announcement every week of a new position or someone being 'awarded' (real talk = handed without any qualification or scrutiny) a promotion via the bs that is the 'acting' category.

Truly a FOI needs to be done to expose this to the public.

... and I'd love to see that data correlated to the Vancouver Sun data base on government salaries.

Oh yed, one other point. Jessie really and truly wants to reduce the number of bureaucrats? How about she starts with the Public Service Agency? Clearly they won't need the same numbers of staff to administer the hiring processes for government.

Hahahaha I crack myself up sometimes. Like that would EVER happen!

Okay, just one more then I'm done with this nonsense.


Diagnostic Questions to Identify Key Streams at Risk "

I have a better question. Hire some people with no gov connections whatsoever, preferably from another province or country and go up to EVERY SINGLE government employee - management or not and ask them this:

What critical business function would fail if your full time permanent position did not exist?

And ask them to provide quantifiable data to back it up. Not just typical government weasel words.

(time-sheets wouldn't get approved would NOT be a valid answer - hire some temp workers to come in for a day every two weeks and push a button. That alone would save untold hundreds of thousands of dollars a year)

Martin, you are bang on. This government is top-heavy with parasites who would be hardpressed to show real evidence that they do anything, let alone could they actually show any work product that they create, produce or how they contribute to the public good. The other thing is the many Assistant Deputy Ministers that have been created, Associate whatevers, special project people etc.

There are absolutely intelligent, hardworking, innovative and excellent people working in the public service. Those are not the people who get promoted, it is the other ones, the ones the Peter Principle talked about. Then they bring along their friends and so on. The lack of internal capacity at management and senior levels of governments is seriously lacking and, when you add in the culture of fear and bullying, people are afraid to offer any critical analysis based on their expertise, intelligent observations, or challenge the fact that this administration has driven the BC public service into the ground. But I guess in the larger scheme of things, it makes sense now, the BC government in their rush to shed thousands of jobs and get away from providing _public services_ wouldn't want to actually make the public service a place anyone would actually want to work at, or be proud to serve, which is where it is at now.

When you look at the Key Streams Profile Snapshot above and they don't even mention Child Protection workers who have an even higher attrition rate than probation (over 10% per year), it just tells you the kind of mental giants you're dealing with. For more on what it's like to work in MCFD and why people are leaving in droves, see Pivot Legal Society's new report:

Hands Tied, Child protection workers talk about working in, and leaving, B.C.'s child welfare system

I work in government. Pretty much everyone I come into contact with, from bottom to the top work hard and give their best.

What I have a hard time grasping is how if we have a nursing shortage we buck up, create more educational spaces, increase their pay (labour market adjustment)and work to correct the situation. Same with Doctors, trades people etc. Yet when it comes to the public service? Nothing, demographics are to blame? the same demographics that impact nurses, doctors and can be addressed through direct action, but not for the civil service. They have already announced no pay increases for the next contract, no labour market adjustment for the civil service. No increased training positions for the key streams? Why? did not finish what you started in 2002?

Either this is a planned reduction in the size of the civil service or...I cannot really think of the or.

Andy, of course the BC Liberal government is planning for a dramatic reduction of the public service, that is their ideology. If Campbell's government gets in again the public service in BC is dead as we know it. They will privatize every last thing in this province they can. That is their playbook, the NeoConservative ideology is based on privatization, outsourcing, alternative service delivery, keeping a lean, mean civil service by privatizing public services. Most people have no idea that the Provincial Revenue has been privatized. Any piece of info in the BC government about you, or any of us is now in the hands of private corporations. They privatized MSP, administration of BC Hydro, BC Ferries, Translink... Another great thing about privatization (for the government)is that these organizations are not subject to the same Freedom of Information laws as Ministries & direct government so we really have no idea how they're spending tax payer money, or what their decision-making process is.

I'm not sure where you work in government, what organization etc. But most people I know working in government have seen the frontlines decimated while executive and management positions have been dramatically expanded with little work to be demonstrated by those lucky insiders to get cherry picked into the jobs.

Of course what all of this means is that there are many, many more people who will be sacrificed. Good luck trying to access welfare from the kiosk in the mall and since EI is taking so long to kick in, regular people and communities will come to understand what it meant to have public services, only they will be a thing of the past. There aren't just cracks people fall into now, there are already gaping sink holes and soon, they will be valleys.

Andy, I'm confused by your post.

There is NO shortage of government employees. Sure there are gov employees that perform vital services, but no where near at the same level as Doctors and Nurses.

I'm glad you've encountered hard working government employees. I have too. Sadly they are far outnumbered by the slackers, the 'retired on active duty' types and the ones that are WAY over their heads in terms of their ability to do the job.

In my many years in government I've regularly seen:
= entire work units created to house dead wood
= people who conduct private businesses WHILE AT WORK - ebay, bed and breakfast, private tutoring, arranging catering services.. and many more.
= shopping on the internet while at work - place an ad in craigs list or used victoria and you'll find a sea of gov email addresses replying to ads.
= people reading novels at their desks on a regular basis due to no work. I saw one man in particular reading novels over a 3 year period before he retired.
= people surfing the internet seemingly all day every day. note: with the new workstation set up an individuals surfing practices are no longer traceable
= people who attend expensive, time consuming training that has NOTHING to do with their job description
= my personal favourite - people that bend over backwards in order to justify having a 'regular' computer on their desk so they can load games.
= fte's created and filled merely to increase the seniority of a manager which are okayed by a director hoping for the same result
= people, many many people who attend business meetings week after week but never ever open their mouths or contribute in any meaningful or useful way.
= the slow workers, generally also slow talkers, they can't make a decision right away, they can't DO anything right away, yet earn scads of overtime. case in point - the windows system administrators earning over $120,000.00 per year.

I often hear government employees bemoan contractor wages - heehee - saying they could earn 3 times what they make if they were a contractor. The sad part is they don't realize contractors are brought in at those rates to do the jobs that yes they are being paid to do, but can't. And that no contracting firm would look at them twice.

The culture that creates the people that I listed above, and the ones I left out are the reasons people leave. BC Government employment is a culture of ineptitude. In the really bad ministries like MCFD, MEIA and LCS more people are quitting than retiring.

Paying the real workers and qualified staff more won't help. There comes a point where pay has nothing to do with a decision to leave.

You want more pay? More training? I have not seen that help the malaise that grips the public service.

ps the 'key streams' are for contractors.

I predict that there will be less than 1% of regular government employees laid off in the next year. People will continue to quit, retire or shuffle off to another government body and those numbers will make up any liberal 'cuts' to public service.

Andy - the BC Public Service does not have a culture of excellence. Your own employee survey results reflect this - the employee one AND the manager survey.

sorry for the novel sean.

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