A spokesperson for the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation (CTF) is suggesting the Government of Saskatchewan ought to cut a fitness program that allows provincial managers to expense items like curling pants.
CTF Prairie director Todd MacKay said he submitted Freedom-of-Information requests to look at claims submitted under the flex fitness program by non-unionized government managers.
He told 650 CKOM host John Gormley that he also dug into claims made through wellness programs offered to managers at the province’s Crown corporations.
He said he found many claims that left him scratching his head.
“We’ve got a fishing licence here, (a) round of golf, a Beach Body fitness DVD program,” he said.
MacKay said he also found claims paid out for ski lift tickets, yoga gear and the aforementioned curling pants.
What’s more, MacKay said that as far as core government managers go, only one-third of eligible employees even use their flex credit. The other two-thirds exercise an option to roll the cash into their RRSPs.
With the program costing just under $2 million per year, MacKay said it would be a juicy target for the axe as the Sask. Party government tries to tackle a $1-billion deficit.
“If you cut this, you save two million bucks and the only real pain is that people have to buy their own yoga pants or make their own RRSP contribution, which is what everyone else is doing,” he said.
MacKay said cutting the credit would be a minor sacrifice compared to the pain felt by the province’s private sector workers.
“I think if you went to a lot of rig crews right now and said, ‘Hey fellas, we’re going to try and make sure that no one gets laid off and we don’t have to roll your wages back too much – but you have to pay for your own curling pants,’ I think you’d get some funny looks.”