Saturday, May 10, 2014

Ontario government won't release public service size figures

Ever since this post, I've been waiting to hear back from the Ontario Public Service about their additional figures on part-time and contract-based employees.  Just releasing "full time equivalent" employee numbers does not accurately show the size of Ontario's public sector, nor does it show trends over time (for example, if the use of contracted employees has increased).

Now with Tim Hudak announcing he would lay off 100,000 Ontario civil servants, questions are being raised about how much of a cut this would be.

And the answer to those questions is that we simply don't know.  How many employees are working on contracts?  How many are part-time?  How many are full-time?  These are three common and reasonable classifications of employees that should be answered.  The federal government has very clear data on the demographics of their employees, including rank (pay grade) and whether they're indeterminate (full time), contract-based, or students.

When I asked the Ontario Public Service for a response, after three weeks of prompting, the answer I finally got was that they did "not have data (neither current nor historical) on the numbers of positions in either agencies of the public service, nor the broader Ontario public sector."

How can the Ontario government not have such basic information?