As a long-time federal public servant, I stand in solidarity with my union and its members – walking through the gusting winds that blow, and wet snow that falls across the Saskatoon area.  As local delegation of the 155,000 PSAC members who are participating in a historic legal strike across Canada today, we are everyday Canadians who want to do our jobs to support Canadians.  However, after almost 2 years of negotiations, we have been forced to walk off the job to make the point that we are serious about obtaining a fair contract to support ourselves and our families.  We are willing to sacrifice to get respect.  No one wants to be out there, and yet here we are.

MPs have received 4 significant wage increases since 2020.  The federal government continues to contract out work to private companies – paying them more than it would cost for federal public servants to do the same work.  Yet government employees are being told to do without reasonable wage increases, and fair opportunities for remote work that cost the federal government nothing.

PSAC members are honour-bound to negotiate in good faith based on wage increases proposed before the significant inflation increases we have experienced during the past couple of years. While wage increase percentages may seem high to some, negotiating with the federal government does not yield what is requested – it is a place to start, and gives room for concessions on the way to an agreement.  But there is more at stake than fair wages that allow employees to pay rising housing, utility, food, and transportation costs. It is also about employees being able to request remote work agreements that are reasonably considered by the employer, rather than being arbitrarily mandated to return to work after telling department heads they could determine what works best for their employees, teams, and organizations.

Many PSAC members have worked remotely over the past few years, as have many Canadians, proving they can serve Canadians effectively while doing so.  The international community has reported that Canada’s federal public service is the most efficient.  Yet the Government of Canada does not want to compensate its employees to address inflated transportation costs, nor does it show concern for the environment by mandating federal government workers to return to a physical work location.  In a hub city like Saskatoon that has a significant commuter population from smaller surrounding communities and rural areas that have no public transportation options outside of the city limits, this will needlessly increase pollution.  Nationally, it also causes tax payers to pay for numerous leases and/or significant maintenance costs for considerable federal workspace that is not necessary to provide Canadians with quality services that can be provided remotely.  Those tax dollars could be better spent supporting everyday Canadians facing inflationary financial pressures, including the majority of PSAC members who make less than the average Canadian.

As Canada’s largest employer, the federal government sets the standard for employee compensation and benefits across the country for both public and private sector employees.  As the largest federal public servant union, the PSAC fights for reasonable compensation and benefits for its members – and all workers across Canada.  While our Prime Minister’s website ( indicates “His team is focused on fighting climate change, creating good middle class jobs, making life more affordable,…”, his negotiating team’s tactics with his own employees have not demonstrated that for almost 2 years.

It is ridiculous that some of the lowest paid federal public servants in Canada have to give up their wages to demonstrate we are serious about getting a respectful contract.  This strike will ultimately affect everyday Canadians but it is within the federal government’s control to end this.  Please show your support for those braving the elements today.  We want to get back to work and serve you.  And if we can’t get a fair wage increase and other reasonable workplace considerations, chances are you won’t either.

Sherry Goetz

PSAC Member