Within the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal authorities spent a minimum of $61 million to assist public servants adapt to working from dwelling, according to an analysis by Radio-Canada.
The quantity is probably going greater as a result of some departments together with International Affairs Canada have not launched their spending figures.
In line with Radio-Canada, nearly all of the cash that has been reported was used to equip staff with computer systems and workplace furnishings wanted to earn a living from home. The spending would not embody salaries.
As one instance, the Division of Nationwide Defence offered workers with 960 chairs, 9,896 laptops, 33,000 VPN connections and 110,000 accounts for Microsoft Workplace 365. The division additionally allowed every worker to spend $300 on smaller workplace gadgets.
By comparability, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Company, a Crown company, granted its workers a month-to-month allowance of $80.
“What worries us probably the most is whether or not there have been duplicate or triplicate bills,” Renaud Brossard, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s director for Quebec, informed Radio-Canada in a French-language interview.
Brossard is anxious a few of that cash might need been spent on gadgets that would have been picked up from the workplace, and stated the federal government must preserve tabs on all that tools as soon as the pandemic is over and staff return to their cubicles.
Sources stretched skinny: unions
However Geneviève Tellier, a professor of political research on the College of Ottawa, cautioned taxpayers to be understanding in these distinctive circumstances.
“It’s attainable that there have been errors, that we paid an excessive amount of,” Tellier stated in French.
However in accordance with unions representing federal public servants, even with all the prices, sources for teleworkers are nonetheless stretched skinny.
“We’re experiencing technical issues, corresponding to VPNs failing,” stated the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s Alex Silas.
Stéphane Aubry of the Skilled Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) stated some departments “haven’t offered a lot tools” to their workers. In line with PIPSC, some 200,000 federal public servants are working from dwelling throughout the pandemic.
In line with Radio-Canada’s evaluation, the federal government has additionally spent greater than $26 million on security measures for workplaces which have continued to operate all through the pandemic. The prices included putting in indicators and Plexiglas shields.