MONTREAL, Dec. 12, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Quebecers still pay the highest
taxes in North America, but do they at least get their money's worth?
"There is plenty of room for improvement in making the government more
efficient, especially by reforming work organization," answers Yanick
Labrie, author of a new publication from the Montreal Economic
Institute (MEI). He points out that Sweden's public sector employment
scheme has undergone something of a revolution. Gone are job security
and seniority, and certain powers have been devolved to local
authorities. Quebec could certainly take a page from Sweden's playbook
in order to provide better services to its population.
In Sweden, 90% of public employees are now remunerated individually
according to performance and merit. Remuneration can also vary from one
region to another. Indeed, salaries tend to be higher where there are
shortages, like in the Stockholm region where pediatric nurses earn 13%
more than in the Jönköping region.
In addition to resolving certain chronic problems like the shortage of
nurses, these reforms contributed to Sweden's ranking as one of the
least corrupt countries in the world. "Swedish researchers confirm that
guaranteed lifetime employment is not a bulwark against corruption,
contrary to what Quebec union leaders would have us believe. It is
rather the meritocratic aspect of an employment scheme, much more
prominent in Sweden than in Quebec, that is most likely to have an
influence. There exist strict rules regarding hiring and promotions
that keep the civil service sheltered from political interference,"
explains Mr. Labrie.
The benefits that employees were able to secure in terms of salaries and
professional autonomy from differentiated performance pay were such
that unions had no choice but to recognize them. Interestingly, the
transition toward more flexible work organization was accomplished
without provoking a social crisis, and very few players, be they
unions, workers or government representatives, long for a return to the
"People in Quebec who say they admire the 'Swedish model' should take
note of the important reforms that have been put in place over the past
two decades in that country. In short, they should take inspiration
from today's Swedish model and not from an outdated vision of what it
might have been in the 1970s," adds Michel Kelly-Gagnon, president and
CEO of the MEI.
The Economic Note entitled Work Organization in the Public Sector: The Swedish Example was prepared by Yanick Labrie, economist at the MEI. It can be
consulted free of charge at iedm.org.
The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-partisan,
not-for-profit research and educational organization. Through its
publications and conferences, the MEI stimulates debate on public
policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing wealth-creating
reforms based on market mechanisms.
SOURCE: MONTREAL ECONOMIC INSTITUTE
For further information:
Ariane Gauthier, communications coordinator, Montreal Economic Institute
Tel.: 514 273-0969 ext. 2231 / Cell: 514 603-8746 / E-mail: email@example.com