The federal government budget released on March 4th raised members’ interest and a few questions need to be clarified.

In 2009 the federal government had introduced, within the 2009-2010 budget, the Expenditure Restraint Act (ERA)  which, amongst other things, capped all pay rate increases to 1.5% for 2009-2010 and 1.5% for 2010-2011 for all employees of the federal government and all other government-affiliated agencies.

This new budget mentions that for 2010-2011, departments’ operating budgets will be frozen to the same levels but public sector wages can still be increased up to 1.5% in 2010-2011 as previously planned under the ERA. The Association of Canadian Financial Officers (ACFO) is currently in negotiations with TB for a collective deal that will include fiscal years covered by the ERA.

It is important to note that Departments will have to manage any wage increases within existing operating budget that will now be frozen.

It is reasonable to speculate that for fiscal years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, departments will have to make various adjustments in order to manage their salary budgets and this may impact casual and term employees, overtime, as well as any new hiring done by federal government departments and agencies.

As mentioned, ACFO is currently in negotiations with Treasury Board for a new Collective Agreement. More information will be released to members when available.