Wednesday March 30th, 2022
Dear Minister Fortier,
I am writing to you as Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX). APEX’s primary role is to advocate on behalf of all executives (7,900) in the federal public service. We also support the executive community and the public service through Centers of Excellence on leadership, health and wellness, and total compensation, as well as offer professional and career development, and confidential advisory services for executives.
Recently, the rates of pay for all Commissioned Officers at the RCMP were increased retroactively. I’d like to congratulate you on addressing this issue. The Commissioned Officers are considered comparable and equivalent to executives of the public service. Therefore, it came as a surprise that the Commissioned Officers’ pay rates and pay inversion with the Non-Commissioned Officers were addressed by Treasury Board without addressing the long overdue pay increases for the 7,900 executives of the public service. The rates of pay for executives (EX occupational group) has not been adjusted since its last increase in 2017. It will be 5 years in April. Yet, salaries of other executive equivalent groups have been updated up to 2021, notably the Law Management (LC), Medicine (MD-MOF and MD-MSP), and now Commissioned Officers. This is not to mention the loss of purchasing power that these executives have suffered as the cost of living increased, especially since the pandemic.
APEX’s Executive Work and Health Study has been cited by Clerks of the Privy Council for the past 25 years and is recognized by the scientific community and internationally as a benchmark on executive health. The information comes from surveys to all executives, the most recent in 2021. Results show that executive pride (88%) and dedication (74%) to the work they perform in delivering results for Canadians has come at a cost, with now a staggering number (75%) suffering from burnout. Over and above their regular mandate, executives delivered on the certification, procurement and distribution of vaccines and other health supplies; developed, implemented, and distributed emergency response benefits; ensured the safety of our borders and supply chains; organized an election during a pandemic; while responding to the call for action on anti-racism, equity and inclusion; and more recently have tirelessly worked in support of the Ukraine crisis, all while taking care of their virtual teams’ mental health; and so much more.
In addition, 69% of survey respondents describe experiencing an imbalance between the level of effort needed and the reward and recognition they receive for the work performed. The delay in adjusting economic increases is interpreted as disrespectful and acts as a major contributing factor to the effort/reward imbalance.
Salary inversion is also a significant problem. At least ten feeder groups to the executive cadre earn more than the executive entry levels, creating pay inversions and dissuading an increasing number of non-executives from joining the executive ranks. This is not sustainable, and over time will weaken the public service leadership by making it increasingly difficult to hire the best and the brightest in support of delivering this government’s programs and agenda. Levels of frustration beyond what has ever been seen before in the executive community are being measured. A record number of executives are asking APEX how to be demoted out of the executive cadre, stating pay inversion and disrespect by the employer as the main causes.
Currently, there is no set process to adjust compensation for executives in the public service. In 2015, the former Stephenson Advisory Committee on Senior Level Retention and Compensation which provided the President of the Treasury Board with timely recommendations on economic increases for executives was disbanded and no mechanism was implemented to replace it. I encourage you to create and implement a new independent committee that will ensure compensation for executives is addressed in a manner that is fair, impartial, and timely. As the advocate of executives in the public service, APEX should have an advisory role to this committee and ensure the voice of all executives are heard.
Based on our advocacy mandate, the request to adjust the economic increases in the near future and create an independent committee come to you through the amplified voices of 7,900 executives. As the President of Treasury Board and Employer, your action is gravely needed to address these issues.
APEX desires to continue to work collaboratively with TBS-OCHRO, to assist in facilitating the government’s decisions on executive economic increases that are long overdue, and to ultimately work together towards a fair, impartial and timely compensation system for all executives in the future.
Should you seek more information about the issues facing the executive cadre, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Chief Executive Officer