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QUESTION PERIOD — Public Services and Procurement

Statistics on Telework

December 11, 2023

Leader, my question has to do with the federal government’s projections regarding its work spaces because of telework. In September 2022 and October 2023, I received answers to my written questions from Public Services and Procurement Canada. I was told that the government does not compile data on its employees’ telework. However, on May 29, before a House of Commons committee, Deputy Minister Paul Thompson said that the government plans to reduce the number of office spaces it currently has by up to 50% over the next decade because of an increase in telework.

Leader, does your government know what is going on in its departments, yes or no? How can you explain these inconsistencies? How can you expect to decrease the number of office spaces by 50% without having any statistics on telework?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ - ]

Everyone knows that there have been changes associated with telework, not just within the government but in our society and our economy in general. Those changes began well before the pandemic, but they picked up during that crisis.

The government acted in a prudent manner by recognizing this cultural shift, particularly among young people whose main criterion before taking a job with the federal government or in the private sector is to be able to work from home at least 50% of the time. I am speaking from experience here.

Leader, again, I know that is the trend. Every employer except the Government of Canada knows how many people in their company work from home. I was given the same response to two written questions; the deputy minister said something else before a House of Commons standing committee. Who did he lie to, the members or me?

Senator Gold [ - ]

Esteemed colleague, perhaps to you the world is binary, in that there are only truths or lies, but that is not real life. In real life, there may be a difference of opinion or different data.

Excuse me, I will finish my answer. You received two responses; I am pleased that you received answers to your questions.

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