Public Sector Employment in Ten Western Countries
Edited by Hans-Ulrich Derlien and B. Guy Peters
Chapter 5: Public Employment in Canada: Downsizing in a Multi-layered State
5. Public employment in Canada: downsizing in a multi-layered state James Iain Gow and Sharon L. Sutherland DISTINCTIVE CANADIAN FEATURES Features that need to be kept in mind in the study of public employment in Canada are natural, cultural, constitutional and technical. Its great size and for the most part, sparsely scattered population, have meant that public services had to be stationed in large numbers outside federal and provincial capitals. With the bulk of its population located in the south, near the American border, the land poses a challenge to the eﬀective presence of governments and their services. The chief cultural fact of Canadian existence is the presence of two founding cultures and linguistic groups. Before Confederation in 1867, politics in the United Provinces of Canada was run strictly on a twocommunity basis, both in the composition of the government and of the civil service. After the creation of Canada until the introduction of the merit system in 1918, the division of civil service employment was largely handled by favouritism. Fifty years of the new merit system led to a sharp decline in the presence of French Canadians. After a royal commission on the question, the Oﬃcial Languages Act of 1969 declared French and English to be oﬃcial languages. The exact status of the two communities within the Canadian polity has never been fully determined. In the 1960s, the emergence of an independence movement in Quebec led to seemingly endless constitutional negotiations, and referenda on sovereignty in...
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