Civil servants’ offices modernized despite a record deficit: $60,000 in new furniture for the deputy minister’s team

Although it seeks to cut fat to absorb a record deficit, the Legault government is nevertheless continuing its campaign to modernize civil servants’ offices. Quebec has just extended $60,000 to furnish the premises of Sonia LeBel’s deputy minister’s team up to date.

“The Treasury Board Secretariat carries out renovation and development projects focused on ministerial orientations. One of these projects consists of modernizing the premises of the secretary’s office,” specify the two contracts worth $30,000 each awarded to office furniture distributors.

At Sonia LeBel’s ministry, it is specified that it is a question of furnishing the premises for all the employees of the Directorate of the office of Deputy Minister Patrick Dubé, “that is to say ten people”.

The government will thus acquire adjustable desks, as well as tables and chairs for conference rooms and trendy collaborative work spaces.


No more cubicles and brown screens!

The historic hole of $11 billion in state coffers and part-time teleworking of civil servants does not change the government’s game plan.

It is written in black and white in the recent Girard budget that Quebec is staying the course on “the transformation of workplaces in order to create lively work environments and collaborative spaces that allow an enriched employee experience and act on attraction and retention of resources.

Since 2018, nearly $50 million has been spent on projects to modernize civil servants’ offices, according to the Société québécoise des infrastructures (SQI).

Last year, the Legault government also announced an envelope of $105 million over ten years to put an end to cubicles, these mythical workstations separated by brown screens.

This prize pool is, however, very fragmented. It does not include the mega-projects for the redevelopment of the two largest civil servant office towers belonging to the government, namely the Marie-Guyart building in Quebec, nicknamed Complex G, and 600 rue Fullum in Montreal. Only the studies of these two major projects are calculated. The SQI is currently in the “work of developing opportunity files”.

No idea of ​​costs

The organization also refuses to comment on the total cost of the operation for Quebec taxpayers.

“The SQI is not able to confirm budget forecasts for a period up to 2030, with regard to the modernization of government offices,” said communications advisor Anne-Marie Gagnon.

Remember that since the pandemic, hybrid work is now the norm among state employees. Civil servants are required to work only two days a week in person at their workplace.

“Development projects that offer the best cost-benefit ratio are prioritized, with the aim of developing spaces that will allow a substantial reduction in rent costs paid by the government,” insists the public relations specialist.

At the start of the week, François Legault said he could reduce civil servants’ office space by 30% and convert part of it into apartments thanks to teleworking.

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