School of Policy Studies

School of Policy Studies
School of Policy Studies

Quietly competent’ public service during COVID-19 notable, says union president, as stakeholders take stock of bureaucracy’s future role

May 13, 2019
The Hill Times - Mike Lapointe, with comments by Eugene Lang, Adjunct Professor School of Policy Studie
s, Queen's University


It’s been an “important year for the public service” and “interesting to see” how Canadians have instinctively turned to the public sector for help, says former top federal bureaucrat Michael Wernick, with the president of Canada’s second largest public sector union saying there are “silver linings” that can come out of how the federal bureaucracy has contended with the onslaught of COVID-19.

“I’m a proud mama as president of a union representing about 55,000 federal public servants,” Debi Daviau, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada president, said during a May 11 webinar hosted by the Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy. “I think what’s really notable is that they’ve been quietly competent. Although people look at the public service as largely an administrative body, I’m incredibly amazed at the level of front line work that our members are engaged in as part of this pandemic, from developing CERB and other benefits, to making sure that public servants could work from home [which] was key to keeping operations going, to developing tests for COVID-19 to converting labs for disinfectant.”

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