Federal jobs distribution stable despite cuts, Clement says

After months of refusing to disclose precise figures, the Harper government has released regional breakdowns that suggest the distribution of federal employment across Canada in 2015 will remain about the same as it was prior to the 2012 federal budget.

Last spring, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's budget speech announced that 19,200 federal public service positions would be eliminated over the following three years.

On Wednesday, Treasury Board Tony Clement's office released a projected regional breakdown for the federal public service in 2015, in comparison with 2012. The variations in most regions are minimal:

The breakdown is not necessarily indicative of where jobs have been cut to date. Rather, it paints a picture of the planned distribution of federal employment across Canada once all the job reductions are finalized – a process that's still underway.

Based on these breakdowns and figures released previously by the Treasury Board on the total size of the federal public service and the total numbers of federal employees across the country, it's now possible to project a range for the total federal job losses by region.

In the National Capital Region (Ottawa-Gatineau), the job losses are expected to fall within the 7,200-8,300 range. That represents roughly four in ten of the jobs cut according to the Economic Action Plan outlined in the 2012 federal budget.

Outside of the capital, job reduction estimates by region include:

1,400-1,700 jobs in B.C.

1,100-1,800 jobs in the Prairies

approx. 3,200 jobs in Ontario

2,700-3,000 jobs in Quebec

1,300-1,900 jobs in Atlantic Canada

approx. 115 jobs in the Territories

170-175 jobs outside Canada

"Leaner, more affordable government is good for taxpayers," a spokesman for Clement wrote CBC News.

In the weeks and months that followed the 2012 federal budget, thousands of letters were sent to affected employees, some of whom found themselves forced into competitions to keep their jobs.

At the same time, a large wave of retirements and other voluntary departures rolled out across the federal workforce, further assisting the government in reducing its head count.

Clement reported last November that 10,980 positions had been eliminated so far — more than half way to the total announced in the budget. The positions were broken down by department but not by region at the time.

Clement's release last fall said that 7,500 positions were eliminated through attrition as people left voluntarily or by cutting vacant jobs.

Clement's release Wednesday adds that another 1,220 workers whose positions were eliminated have found new placements.

Staff reductions are expected to continue through to the 2015 target date for completing last spring's objective of 19,200 positions.

Last month, Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page repeated his findings that last spring's budget cuts were having a direct impact on programs and services, while back office costs continue to rise, contradicting Flaherty's view that the budget cuts would target primarily administrative and support costs.

Clement has suggested detailed breakdowns of exactly which departments would see reductions and where would not be available until reports that are scheduled to come out later in the spring of 2013.

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