The Liberal government spent over $36 million in taxpayer funds on new office equipment intended for government employees who work from home.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the Department of Public Works defended the purchase as necessary. 

“The department expects that employees will continue to leverage flexible work arrangements post COVID-19 and will therefore make ongoing use of this equipment,” the department wrote in an Inquiry of Ministry.

In total, $36.26 million was spent by federal departments on desks, computers, printers, monitors, office supplies and other items. 

“Some of the costs to support employees working from home may be offset by savings resulting from reduced occupancy of buildings,” the department wrote. 

“For instance, the department saw a reduction of approximately $4 million in building operations costs between March and June compared to a similar period in 2019.”

Records show that federal workers with the Department of Public Works have recently been complaining about their “repetitive” and “uninspiring” workload. 

“We have been seeing employees coming to our Office in great distress as a result of their workload for several years now,” writes Mental Health Ombudsman André Latreille. 

“As our employees have repeatedly told us, it is difficult if not impossible to find meaning and dignity in work when all we can do is try to keep from drowning in a pool of repetitive, menial and uninspiring tasks that don’t adequately leverage the unique abilities, strengths and talents of our people.”

Earlier this year, federal workers were given a substantial salary increase after the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) reached a deal with the Liberal government. PSAC members were given a retrospective raise for 2018, an additional 2.2% increase for 2019 and a 1.35% raise for this year.

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