Quebec government to cut 16,000 jobs

Quebec government to cut 16,000 jobs

Quebec Treasury Board President Monique Jerome-Forget speaks at a news conference. (CP PHOTO/Jacques Boissinot)
QUEBEC (CP) - The Quebec government announced Wednesday it plans to abolish 16,000 jobs by 2013 in efforts to streamline services and reduce the size of the bureaucracy.

The downsizing, what Liberal Premier Jean Charest has called the modernization of the provincial government, was central to his election platform last year. The measures will eliminate about 20 per cent of the 74,000 civil servants in the province, Treasury Board president Monique Jerome-Forget told a news conference. The cuts will save the government $700 million over a decade, she added.

"The modernization of the state isn't an accounting exercise," said Jerome-Forget. "It's an architecture project. We're fixing the house."

However, she said the government will respect collective agreements with its unionized employees. She promised the job cuts will happen by attrition. About 32,000 civil servants will retire over the next 10 years and the government will only replace one in two.

"Slowly and gently, we're going to reduce the size of the government."

The Liberal plan, unveiled while Charest is visiting France, will put a heavy emphasis on private-public partnerships to provide services. Among the first projects under consideration are major highway projects in the Montreal area.

"But the government will maintain control over work in these arrangements," Jerome-Forget said.

"We won't be doing everything in private-public partnerships. If it's the best formula, we will take it."

A long list of government services and departments will be combined or eliminated in the plan. About 162 programs aimed at small and medium-sized businesses will be reduced to 10.

Jerome-Forget also said Quebec will increase its online services.

She said the government will make it easier for the almost 1 million Quebecers who move annually on July 1. They will be able to telephone or go on the Internet to let the government know their change of address. That one step will automatically result in the address being changed, for example, on their health cards and driving permits and the province's voting list, she said.

Jerome-Forget said she does not know how much money all of the combined measures will save.

"There will be savings, but at this point I can't tell you which measure will save how much," she said.
This is ridiculous... Expect a general strike for this. I myself and my fellow workers have walked out of the job when we heard this. I'm a goverment lawyer btw...

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