The territorial government has come under pressure to clarify the potential for job cuts after November’s election.
Robert Hawkins, the MLA for Yellowknife Centre, said on Thursday he had “heard repeatedly” from “multiple departments” that the territory will look to layoffs after the election in a bid to save money.
Hawkins believes that while the current territorial government has just weeks remaining, ministers are laying the groundwork for future cuts. On Wednesday, the finance minister noted the territory’s long-term financial outlook contained ‘grim’ elements with revenues forecast to dwindle.
Speaking in the legislature on Thursday, Tom Beaulieu – the minister of human resources – said there were no specific plans to cut the 5,000-strong government workforce in the NWT.
However, Beaulieu did not deny the territory had analyzed the potential for cost-cutting.
“The government does want to give the incoming government an opportunity to contemplate all of their options, and part of the options is looking at the cost of human resources,” said Beaulieu.
“This government will not be laying any of the public service off, but we do provide the best information possible for the next government to look at.”
Asked by Hawkins to say how many positions are being considered for potential layoffs, Beaulieu implied the territory’s current vacancies were more likely to be examined.
“Any of this type of work with human resources will include talking about the 900 vacancies that we’re currently carrying in the books,” said Beaulieu.
“We don’t have the number of positions that we are evaluating for layoff because I haven’t seen any such plan to lay off certain people who are currently in the public service at this time.”