Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has set a new record for the number of unfilled government appointments, with 585 jobs currently vacant or occupied by someone whose appointment is past its expiry date, according to an analysis by CBC News.
A year after the Liberals assured Canadians their new open, merit-based appointment system was in place and would fix the problem, the government’s ability to make appointments is still plagued by backlogs and bureaucracy.
The mandates of several key watchdogs including the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner, and the information commissioner who oversees Canada’s access to information system, are scheduled to expire in coming weeks. The position of chief electoral officer, who runs Canada’s elections, has been vacant since Marc Mayrand stepped down at the end of 2016.
The hunt is also on for a new RCMP commissioner to replace Bob Paulson, who left June 30, and for a federal ombudsman for victims of crime.
Thursday, Trudeau announced Nancy Bélanger is Canada’s next lobbying commissioner and Raymond Théberge will be the official languages commissioner.
Nominees for officer of Parliament positions normally go through committee hearings and a vote of both the House of Commons and the Senate. With two weeks to go before Parliament is to rise for the Christmas break, candidates for the other impending vacancies have yet to be announced.
Conservative MP Rob Nicholson, says he can’t understand the problems making appointments.
“This is very surprising to me. There are obviously many qualified Canadians to handle these different roles and the government has been slow right from the start.”
The number of vacant positions has been rising since Trudeau came to power in November 2015.
An analysis by CBC News found that 518 positions appointed by cabinet, known as governor in council positions, were vacant or occupied by someone whose appointment was past its expiry date. Governor in council positions can range from six-figure jobs heading government bodies or Crown corporations, to part-time appointments with modest per diems on boards of directors.
Added to that are 54 vacant judgeships across the country, down slightly from the 61 vacancies a year ago, that prompted concerns about growing backlogs in criminal…