PEI UPSE Meets with Government on Cost Saving Strategies

Posted Mar 9, 2012

The Prince Edward Island Union of Public Sector Employees met with the Honourable Wes Sheridan, Minister of Finance, Energy and Municipal Affairs, and Steve MacLean, Deputy Minister of Finance, Energy and Municipal Affairs, on February 28, 2012 to discuss potential cost saving measures for the provincial government.

President Ward says "the union had an open and frank discussion with government about the province's ongoing fiscal challenges and the fact that spending needs to be reduced in order to reduce the deficit. We presented a number of cost-saving suggestions for the government's consideration at the meeting." Suggestions included: tightening restrictions on government loans and grants to ensure less risk for tax payers, reviewing benefits for excluded government employees and MLAs (excluded employees and MLAs receive higher benefits than unionized employees); reducing meeting and travel expenses by increasing car pooling and teleconferencing; reducing government out-sourcing for consultants and contract work; standardizing government service hours throughout the year to save on heating, electricity and maintenance costs; and material).

President Ward explains that "Islanders should not have to do without essential public services like health care, education, social services, public safety and environmental protection. The financial crisis of 2008 along with the questionable management of provincial funds is the cause of the provincial deficit, not the public service. She cautioned that "eliminating jobs at this time will further damage the economy. With looming federal cuts on the horizon it will be hard for a relatively small economy like PEI to absorb a round of provincial cuts too."

"The average Island family enjoys public services worth about $40,000 per year and many Island families would not be able to afford these services if government did not provide them. Public services are what make a better life possible for families and individuals both below and above the median income," says Ward.