Blogs & Comment

Taxpayers and the public sector

Apropos of Tax Freedom Day just past, heres a little tidbit that helps explain why taxes are high in Canada. A front page piece in Mondays Ottawa Citizen reported on a study of working conditions in the civil service that found absenteeism and disability have reached such crisis proportions that its time for a major study into what is sabotaging taxpayers investment.
Having previously worked in the federal government for several years, I can say one reason why absenteeism and disability claims are so high is because they can be. I found sick-leave leave provisions to quite generous. Then there were a variety of other special-leave provisions for family and other reasons. I also saw cases of persons with a year of accumulated sick leave take it all at once just prior to their retirement (some of whom would have been fired years before for insubordination and incompetence if they had been in the private sector) .
But the environment itself does not provide too many reasons to get excited about ones work. Salary increases for moving up to the next level are rather meager. Managers dont have as much authority as they do in the private sector (so problems and tensions fester). The merit principle is traded off for politically correct goals. And so on.