March 18, 1920

?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Permalink
UNION

Alfred Ernest Fripp

Unionist

Mr. FRIPP:

If it was necessary to employ a firm of experts to classify the Civil Service-which I do not admit-surely there were persons and firms carrying on business in the Dominion quite competent to perform the work.

I asked for a return with regard to the cost up to date of the services of the Arthur Young Company, and I find that the answer given yesterday is not correct. I would like to draw the attention of the Secretary of State (Mr. Sifton) to the figures which he placed on Hansard in answer to my question. I ascertained at the Auditor General's office this morning that instead of the sum mentioned in answer to my inquiry as having been paid to these gentlemen for this work, viz., $49,107.42, the correct figures are as follows:

Up to the 31st March, 1919, $34,695.76, and for this fiscal year to the end of September last $56,536.17, or a total of $91,231.93. The appropriation ran out in September last, so no payments have been made to the Arthur Young Company for the last five months. The Auditor General estimates that that further expenditure will be in the neighbourhood of $60,000 to the first of March.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Permalink
L LIB
UNION

Alfred Ernest Fripp

Unionist

Mr. FRIPP:

So the House will see that the total sum already paid and proposed to be paid to these Chicago gentlemen amounts to over $150,000.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Permalink
L LIB
UNION

Alfred Ernest Fripp

Unionist

Mr. FRIPP:

That is for classification

work only. Now, Mr. Speaker, had this work been carried out in any businesslike way, perhaps, apart from the objection I have already noted, one could not say very much against it. But I venture to submit that if a committee be named by this House to investigate the work done by these gentlemen it will be found to be most inefficient and in many respects absolutely absurd-in fact, they have attempted to classify the service without any proper idea of the work to be performed.

What do you suppose, Mr. Speaker, .was the mode of procedure of these young men from Chicago, ranging from twenty-five to forty years of age, who have been performing their work in the city of Ottawa for several months past? In order to classify a department one would imagine that they would have at least, gone first to the deputy minister and ascertained from him the status of the different persons under his

control. No, Mr. Speaker, that was not their procedure, because that would have resulted in a very few weeks' work to complete their so-called classification. Instead of adopting that course they made out a simple card index, and every clerk in the service was handed a card with the request that he fill out his name, age, present occupation and duties. Having obtained that information the young gentlemen sat down in their office, without, I am informed, any consultation with the deputy * heads of the departments, and made out a list of the civil servants with the salaries which in their opinion should attach to their positions.

In order that the House may have some idea of the manner in which this work was carried out, and the results obtained, let me give one or two illustrations. I find that dealing with the following secretarial positions the Arthur Young Company classify them in this way:

Secretary of the Civil Service Commission $4,620

Secretary of the Pensions Board .. .. 4,200 Secretary of the Research Council .. .. 3,300 Secretary of the Post Office Department 4,200 Secretary of the Department of the Interior 2,400

Every hon. member knows that the Department of the Interior, being one of the largest and most important in the public service, requires a man as secretary with a knowledge of the department from A to Z, and to classify him as worth only $2,400 a year, while the secretary of the Civil Service Commission, who requires no knowledge at all except of clerical work, so far as I am aware, is classed as the highest of them all, is but one instance of the many absurdities contained in this so-called classification.

Then to give another example. In a certain department there are two young ladies, -I want to show to the House just how they were classified by these experts. One of them-we will call her Miss B-was appointed temporary clerk in September, 1916, was made permanent in 1918 and is now a *3-B clerk at $750 a year. She has been graded by these experts as a junior clerk at a salary of from $660 to $960 a year. Miss H, a temporary clerk in the same department, doing the same class of work, was appointed only in July, 1917, and had been classed as a 3-B clerk at $700 a year. Upon being asked for a report upon the work performed by these young ladies, the gentleman in charge of the branch replied in the case of Miss B, as follows:

She came to us highly recommended and I have found the estimate, of her ability well 35

merited. She is a clerk of splendid qualifications and has already proved capable of taking charge of work of considerable responsibility. She holds a first-class professional certificate from the Department of Education of Ontario, also a Commercial Specialist's Certificate, and has had several years' experience as a high school teacher in Ontario. She has been rated altogether too low by the Civil Service organizers.

Of Miss H, he reports:

This lady has been performing very good services, but as there are not enough vacancies available Miss H might well wait a year or two on account of her youth and her recent appointment.

How were these young ladies graded by this Civil Service expert? Miss H, of recent appointment, with only a year's experience in the department, is graded a class higher than Miss B, with a salary of $960 to $1,260 a year, while Miss B is rated, as I have said at $600 to $960, absolutely in defiance of the recommendation of the man who was in the best position to form an estimate of their ability.

Now, the difficulty with this classification -which, I think, ought to have been foreseen by those who brought in these experts, -is that, not having had any experience in the service, or any intimate knowledge of the manner in which the work of the different departments is carried on at Ottawa as well as in other portions of Canada,-because this classification affects all classes of the service, both inside and outside-they have classified the jobs; they have said: " This job is worth $800 a year," and they have totally disregarded the individual ability and aptitude for work of the different clerks in the several branches. The whole classification, therefore, is nothing but a.stupendous farce. Any business man in this House knows that you may employ, for instance, three stenographers; one of them may be worth $900 a year to you; the other two may be worth $500 or $600 a year, but under this classification they are all put in at $900 a year without any distinction at all as to their respective merits and qualifications. These illustrations, Mr. Speaker, ought to show the House that the work of classification has been very badly done, and if I may offer any advice to the Government it is that they get rid of these gentlemen at the earliest possible moment, and call in the deputy ministers and the chief clerks of the different departments who, I venture to say, can classify the public service of Canada in a much more efficient way than has been done by these experts.

These gentlemen have also .been asked to deal with the re-organization of the Printing

54G

Bureau. It is hard to know what department or what minister has control of the Printing Bureau, but one would have thought, having regard to the manner in which these American gentlemen have dealt with the other departments, that in the reorganization of the Printing Bureau the King's Printer or the Assistant King's Printer or both would be the men to say who should be laid off and who should be retained when the staff was being reduced. But you will be surprised when I tell you that, if my information is correct, this young gentleman, so-called expert, goes down to the Printing Bureau and, under the authority of the Government, selects two classes of men who are to be laid off: Men over 65 years of age and the men whom he thinks-whom he thinks, forsooth-are inefficient. Now, whether or not the gentleman who undertook this work in the Printing Bureau is an expert in the printing business I. do not know, but I do know that upon his recommendation hundreds of men have been laid off or are to be laid off, many of whom are amongst the most efficient men in the Printing Bureau and are under the age of 65. I need mention only one name. A sub-foreman named Pritchard, under forty years of age, one of the best men we had in the Bureau, has been laic off by this so-called expert on the ground of inefficiency, although the King's Printer and the Assistant King's Printer tell me that he was one of the most efficient men in the branch of the department in which he was employed. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that this is patronage of the worst kind. To hand over to Americans the authority to go into the public service of Canada or any part thereof and to say to John Smith, " You shall stay," and to William Brown, " You shall go," is patronage of the worst kind and should not be tolerated by this Government who are responsible to the people. Personally I am opposed to going back to the patronage system; I had some experience in that regard as member for Ottawa during the past ten years. But in my judgment this classification by this American concern has done more to weaken the policy of this Government in connection with placing the control of appointment under the Civil Service Commission of Canada than any other thing could possibly have done. The Government have probably not been made aware as I have been made aware of the conditions that are existing in the Service to-day. Ninety-five per cent of the members of the Civil Service to-day are upset. They are discouraged; a feeling of unrest pre-

vails among them. Why, Mr. Speaker, in the Department of Mines alone nine-tenths of the scientific men there employed have resigned during the last six months. Most of them, of course, have been offered and will receive a much higher remuneration than the Government has been giving them, but many of them have told me that having regard to the advantages of being in the service, having regard to the fact that they were doing work that they liked and with which they were thoroughly familiar, they had been willing to forego the increased emoluments offered to them from outside in the hope of expectation of their receiving a proper superannuation to provide for their older days. They were, however, compelled to leave the service on account of the classification. What has happened? I am informed, on very good authority, that this condition of affairs has reached such a pass, especially in the scientific branches of the service, that another commission, consisting of three very estimable gentlemen, has been called in to go over and pass upon the work that has been done by the firm of Arthur Young and Company.

I felt it my duty, as this matter affects not only the Civil Service in the city of Ottawa which I have the honour to represent, but the Civil Service of Canada as a whole, to bring it to the attention of the Government and to urge upon them to withdraw from the Civil Service Commission the power that they have given them to employ these American gentlemen, to dispense with the services of these gentlemen at once, and to have the service reorganized by the men most competent to do so, namely, the deputy ministers and their respective chief clerks.

Mr. JOHN H. BURNHAM (Peterborough West): Mr. Speaker, it will be remembered that the fault which has now been exploded, if I may say so, by the hon. member for Ottawa (Mr. Fripp), was the work of the members of this House who put themselves on record as being unfit to recommend anybody for anything. The members having declared that they were unfit for that duty, it only remained for the Government to take up the job. Possibly these hon. gentlemen knew themselves best and whether they were fit or unfit, but for myself I took the opposite course. The only distinction between what was done in the old days and the course adopted at the present time as outlined by my hon. friend, (Mr. Bureau), is simply this: You have removed the responsibility one degree further from the electorate; you have cen-

tralized it instead of leaving it in the hands of those who were not only directly but immediately responsible to the people. If any hon. gentleman, we shall say, of the Opposition, made a false or bad recommendation or passed upon a recommendation in a wrong way, he would toe immediately brought to time by the electorate. But the present system as to recommendations has been adopted instead of leaving the- responsibility in the hands of the representatives of the people. I admit, of course, that if the people are no good and their representatives are no good, it is all up; but if the representatives are fit and proper men, as they ought to be, then notwithstanding what they have said about themselves, the stigma they have left upon themselves, the very low value they have set upon their own characters

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Permalink
L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

I rise to a point of order. My point of order is that I do not wish to accept the statement that I have stigmatized myself. I deny that.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Permalink
UNION

John Hampden Burnham

Unionist

Mr. BURNHAM:

The hon. member has risen to a point of order. A stigma is a point, and a point is that which is without dimensions.

Mr. 'SPEAKER: The hon. member (Mr. Bureau) has risen to a point of order. I must say, in all deference, that I do not see that the remarks of the hon. member for Peterborough West reflect in any way on the character of any hon. gentleman in this House. It is his opinion that by the House taking a certain course, it has stigmatized itself, but I do not understand his remarks as casting a reflection on any member.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Permalink
UNION

John Hampden Burnham

Unionist

Mr. BURNHAM:

Quite so, Mr. Speaker. I had no intention of casting any reflection; they cast their own shadow. But the members having by their own indifference given out of their own hands the duty of looking after the 'Civil Service, inside and outside, and having handed over their responsibility to the Government, what could the Government do but centralize the authority and centralize patronage in itself? Since they had been told by the representatives not to look at them, not even to dare to speak to them with regard to anything concerning their constituencies and any recommendations in connection with their constituencies, what could the Government do but consult other people in the constituencies? The fact of the matter is simply this, that the members of the House, through laziness, indifference, or failure to see what was coming, handed over the authority and 35*

responsibility which belonged to them. In this, they were helped on by the newspapers who saw the ebb and flow of a sensation and who simply hurried them into this catastrophe, and here we are with $150,009 worse than wasted. I have no doubt that the press when they have discovered this error, will take up the matter again and blame the House of Commons for what they have done, and the press will be quite right. There is no getting away from the fundamental principle, that if you are not honest, no system will make you honest. It is not the system; it is the administration

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Permalink
L LIB
UNION

John Hampden Burnham

Unionist

Mr. BURNHAM:

Not the legislation; legislation is only the expression of the will of people who have no will.

Let- me say, however, in closing, that if you are going to renounce the fundamental principle that an honest man will do honest work; that those who have brains enough and application should receive promotion and pay; and if the people and their representatives cannot be trusted to carry out a simple thing like that, then it is all up.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Permalink
UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

I trust, if any other hon. members speak upon this motion^ they will not broaden the question unduly. The question of patronage might be indirectly referred to in this matter, but it is my duty to point out that this is a specific motion calling for papers having to do with the classification of the Civil Service of Canada.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Permalink
L LIB

Edmond Proulx

Laurier Liberal

Mr. EDMOND PROULX (Prescott):

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Ottawa (Mr. Fripp) has mentioned several cases where the so-called experts have failed to appreciate the importance of the duties of certain civil servants. I want to mention another case, which is a glaring one. They classified the translators of the debates of this House and of the Senate, of legislation and of the different departments, and they put those translators into the class where the minimum is $1,260; contending that their qualifications would be those of high school graduates. Any one who has had experience with high schools in Ontario knows very well that the French language is not taught sufficiently in those schools -and I think the same may be said of high schools in other provinces-to qualify high school graduates to be translators of the debates of this House or of departments of the public service. The position of a translator to-day is, one might say, a profession, and it requires a university education in

both languages; a man must follow a course of studies as long as if he were studying for a profession, and it is absurd to say that a man who has gone through a university and acquired a thorough knowledge of botli languages should be put into a class where his salary would begin at $1,260. If that is going to be the case, we shall have very poor translators; many of those who are already in the service, if they are not too old to get out, will get out, and those who will replace them will certainly not be as well qualified as those who have left the service. There are many other cases; but I want to point out especially this case, and I am of the same opinion as the hon. member for Peterborough West (Mr. Burnham) that the money spent in employing these so-called experts was worse than wasted.

The Civil Service of this country is composed of different branches, and we have two languages. How did the so-called experts know what qualifications were required of officers whose duties included work in both languages? We had Canadians much better qualified, find I do not see why it was necessary to go to the United States to get so-called experts to do this work. The Government must have gone back on their policy of past years. It was not so long ago when they would have no truck or trade with the Yankees, but now they cannot classify the Civil Service in this country without going to the United States for experts. I think there has been too great a tendency on the part of the Government for some years past to "pass the buck," to shelve their responsibilities to commissions and experts. Who could be better qualified to classify the Civil Service of this country than the deputy ministers and the chiefs of the different branches of the service? I do not think any better qualified men could have been chosen. They knew the personnel of the service, their qualifications, and the importance of the duties pertaining to the different offices. What could men from Chicago or New York know of the importance of the duties, for instance, of the , secretary of the Interior Department? My hon. friend from Ottawa (Mr. Fripp) has pointed out the glaring inconsistencies in classifying secretaries of the different departments. I would also like to cite the classification of the Translation Branch. If we wish to have efficient service rendered by that branch it will be necessary to have it re-classified by genuine experts, such as university professors, who have been educated in both the French and English languages.

[Mr. Proulx.J

Hon. NEWTON W. EOWELL (President of the Privy Council): Mr. Speaker, there is no objection whatever to the motion made by my hon. friend (Mr. Fripp), but in view [DOT]of some of his observations I think it is only right that a few words should be said lest a wrong impression might be created, and I am sure my hon. friend does not desire that.

I regret that the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. A. K. ' Maclean) who, while a member of the Government, looked after this branch of the work, and who is familiar with all its details, is not in the House. He has followed this reclassification from its inception and knows all about it. I am not in possession of all the information, and therefore am not able to inform the House as I should like to be able to do with reference to a number of matters mentioned by my hon. friend, but as a member of the Government I have a general knowledge of the situation, and am therefore able to correct some of the misunderstandings which I fear my hon. friend has fallen into.

As the members of the House will recall, the general Civil Service Act which was passed in the year 1918 made provision for the reclassification of the service. This Act was passed by this House and at that time the question raised by the hon. member for Peterborough (Mr. Burnham) was a perfectly proper question to raise. The hon. member has been consistent throughout. He did not believe that the proposal to put all appointments in the public service under the Civil Service Commission was a wise one in the public interest, but at that time this House affirmed the principle of putting the Civil Service under the Civil Service Commission and it provided for a reclassification of the service. Members of the House who are familiar with the service know that prior to that time the inside service was classified, and I think some sections of the outside service had been brought under a measure of classification. So far as the inside service is concerned, it was divided into one, two, or three classes, with various grades in those classes, and men were placed in these different classes, not necessarily in accordance with the importance of the actual work they were doing, but in many cases because of the length of time they had been in the service. A man entering the public service might continue to perform exactly the same duties year after year over a long period of years and yet by means of being promoted from one class to another have his salary very greatly in-

creased. The result is that there are men in the service who under the old classification are being paid twice the amount-I use that figure roughly, I am not familiar with the details-that others are receiving who are doing exactly the same class of work, simply because they had been longer in the service, or had been pushed forward when others had not been pushed forward. In different departments of the Government,

* under the old classification, men performing the same class of work were in different classes, and were paid different salaries. Every one recognized that it does not promote efficiency in the service to have men doing exactly the same class of work paid radically different salaries, nor does it promote efficiency to have one man paid a smaller salary than the man who is performing much less important work in the same branch. But that situation did exist under the old classification. Now the House in 1918 affirmed not only the principle of placing civil servants under the Civil Service Commission, but

4 p.m. of providing for a reclassification of the service. Reclassification was entrusted by the Act to the Civil Service Commission. They were authorized and instructed to undertake the work, and in undertaking that work they called to their assistance Arthur Young & Company. Speaking for myself I had never heard of that firm until they were retained by the Civil Service Commission for this work. The Commission advised the Government, and I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the advice they gave, that after canvassing the whole field the best experts who could be secured for the purpose of undertaking this most important and responsible work-the largest civil service classification ever undertaken up to that time on this Continent-was Arthur Young & Company. This firm had a large number of experts with a very high reputation in classification work, and so it was called in to assist the Civil Service Commission in classifying the service. Arthur Young & Company are not responsible for the classification: The Civil Service Commission is responsible for it.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Permalink
L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JACQUES BUREAU:

Did Arthur Young & Company or the Civil Service Commission make the classification?

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Permalink
UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

The Civil Service Commission.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Permalink
L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Then what was the object in calling in Arthur Young & Company?

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Permalink
UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

They were the experts who advised the Commission and did the detail work, just as my hon. friend when he was in charge of one of the departments of the Government was responsible for the work of that department, although the actual work was performed by the men under him in that department.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Permalink
L LIB
UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

The Civil Service Commission chose these men themselves.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Permalink
L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Were Arthur Young & Company brought here to tell the Civil Service Commission what kind of work was being done by each branch of every department?

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Permalink

March 18, 1920