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Federal jobs not offered outside Ottawa area


Edmonton Journal








Kathryn May







Federal jobs not offered outside Ottawa area: All Canadians should have a chance


 Federal bureaucrats are dodging new rules to open up all jobs in the nation's capital to the rest of country by simply not advertising them or using placement agencies to fill them, a Liberal senator says.

   "Here again, the young and qualified people from regions outside of Ottawa are being bypassed by the bureaucracy," said Senator Pierrette Ringuette. "If that is not bureaucratic patronage, I don't know what is."

   Ringuette believes the final step of a policy to open all federal jobs to anyone in the country that was introduced last January is being foiled by Ottawa bureaucrats.

   "It's not working," she said. "The commission spent millions of dollars to do this but the bureaucracy are bypassing it right, left and centre."

   "There is absolutely no reason why every federal job in Canada shouldn't be open to any Canadian no matter where they live ... I'm sorry this Ottawa exclusivity has gone far enough."

   But officials claim there are other reasons why bureaucrats aren't holding national competitions for every job.

   It remains time-consuming and expensive to invite all Canadians to apply for jobs -- especially when departments pick up the cost for interviews and pay to relocate workers.

   Managers are also hesitant to permanently staff a job when funding gets tight.

   "No one is trying not to bring in anyone here from outside because of nepotism, but they could be trying to avoid costs," said one official. "It might be worth picking up the travel and relocation costs of a nuclear physicist, but is it worth it for a secretary?"

   A secure public service job is always in big demand when the economy sours, but the freeze on departmental budgets will slow hiring.

   With fewer federal jobs, Ringuette is pressuring the public service to hold national competitions for positions.

   It's now mandatory that all externally advertised jobs -- whether for clerks or assistant deputy ministers -- that are longer than six months are competed nationally.

   The Public Service Commission's annual report shows only about 63 per cent of positions are advertised at all -- a rate Ringuette said should be at least 90 per cent.

   Maria Barbados, president of the commission, acknowledged some unadvertised jobs aren't justified. But she said departments sometimes have no choice, especially when they are looking for a unique or hard-to-find skills or specialists.

   She said the commission is monitoring for abuses and "pressuring" departments to improve job advertising.