Canada’s most easterly province has announced hundreds of job losses today as officials push towards a “flatter, leaner” civil service.
“We realize this is a very difficult time for people who are impacted by this new management structure,” said Cathy Bennett, Newfoundland and Labrador’s finance minister.
“These are not easy decisions. However, with our very serious fiscal situation, they are decisions that had to be made,” she added.
Some 287 management roles are expected to go as a result of the overhaul, representing 17 per cent of the civil service’s management-level positions. However, Premier Dwight Ball said 90 of those are currently vacant.
Restructuring is also on the agenda for the province with several departments impacted, including Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development, Environment and Climate Change, Executive Council, Fisheries, Forestry and Agrifoods, Municipal Affairs, Service NL Transportation and Works.
The initial number of job cuts had been 350 management positions but the restructuring is expected to lead to 63 new positions – those who have lost their jobs will have the chance to compete for new ones.
The cuts are in response to mounting debt and a public service that is by far the largest in the country on a per capita basis.
Currently, Newfound and Labrador is drowning under a deficit of almost $1.6 billion and recent data shows the province had 94 public sector employees per 1,000 citizens – far higher than the national average of 64.
Bennett said the cuts were predicted to save the government between $20 million and $25 million annually – after a one-time estimated cost of $15 million for pay in lieu of notice for employees affected.