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Twitter Account of Canadian Health Minister Costs Taxpayers More Than $100,000 Annually

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According to a new report from CBC News, the Twitter account of Canadian Health Minister Ginette Petitpas is costing taxpayers more than $100,000 a year.

The account, which was launched on August 18, 2017, has a total of about 250 tweets. These tweets require the equivalent of 1.5 employees dedicated to the task. This includes overtime work costing about $6,500 so far.

Here is the internal memo issued for the minister last summer:

“Resources within the Health portfolio will plan, write, translate, post content and visuals, evaluate, monitor and propose responses to activity on the official account where appropriate.

Health Canada’s social media team will oversee all account co-ordination activities and provide strategic advice on how to increase followers and reach, as required. They will work collaboratively with existing resources across the Health portfolio to help develop and deliver content for the official Twitter account.”

Setting up a Twitter account is free, but apparently running one for a Canadian cabinet minister is quite expensive. Spokesperson Sindy Souffront said:

“The department expends the equivalent of 1.5 employees to develop and post content to the account. The work is done by existing staff, and within regular business hours as much as possible; however there are instances where the work is done outside regular business hours …”

The department declined to respond to CBC’s request when they asked how much it was costing to employee these 1.5 public servants. A report from 2012 calculated the total average compensation for a public servant is approximately $114,000 annually.

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  • Jonni Martinez

    its called having a social media team and every government in the world has one and spends around the same price or more, some less depending on their status

  • danlee

    No, just no. $100k for this one department, how much for all the different departments. This is just another typical example of government waste. No one with any sense can possibly think that this is okay. Make each person in this department redundant, and fire them with cause for wasting tax dollars..

  • FragilityG4

    Ironic that the CBC is whistle blowing on the bad use of public money.

  • Joe

    Social media staff don’t just post on Twitter. They most likely maintain and post for multiple accounts across several different platforms.

  • Bill___A

    Troubling but not surprising.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Man, they should have asked me! I wouldn’t have charged them more than $90,000.

  • FragilityG4

    And that justifies $100k? Who’s doing your cross posting? I can help out at the pay cheque!

  • Joe

    I get your point, but this is very likely being blown out of proportion. They’re not paying them $100k just to sit around. They probably do multiple jobs, one of which is social media.

  • FragilityG4

    No doubt. These optics look bad though.

  • It’s Me

    Sorry, no. A single twitter acct does not need to cost $100K/year for anyone except maybe heads of state.

    This is what happens when we elect a boyband bimbo and his groupies into power.

    And as Justin insinuated, if you disagree with him, you aren’t very Canadian.

  • CuJo YYC

    It’s not the optics that look bad. It’s the it’s the click-bait, twisted logic of the reporter that’s bad.

  • Brenda

    Has this been written by a supporter of an opposing political party? I didn’t vote for or support the party currently in power, but I can recognise bad reporting when I read it.

    Employee benefits often are 30% of a total compensation package. If you include benefits like pension, dental and extended medical coverage, $100,000 to employ 1.5 people on a media team doesn’t seem excessive. They are probably doing a lot more than monitor a Twitter account, but claiming that’s what’s spent to send 250 Twitter messages grabs more attention than saying a government department spends an equivalent amount to monitor and participate in social media.

  • FragilityG4

    You are referring to the CBC right? They ran the original story. You wouldn’t be knocking the good people at iphoneincanada as you read their site……

  • johnnygoodface

    Overtime? Did I hear “Overtime”?!!! I want my money back!

  • It’s Me

    The comment from health Canada makes it clear that the equivalent of 1.5 employees is used just for the twitter account. It’s not any one person dedicated but requires that equivalent amount of time.

    Within their social media team, it takes 1.5 full time equivalents to to handle just the twitter account.

    It’s not bad reporting. It’s accurate and stated exactly so by the ministry itself. Seems to be more a case of reading what one wants to read into the article and ignoring the rest.

    The department expends the equivalent of 1.5 employees to develop and post content to the account. The work is done by existing staff, and within regular business hours as much as possible; however there are instances where the work is done outside regular business hours …”

  • It’s Me

    And it still takes the equivalent of 1.5 full time employees (3000 hour a year?) to manage just the twitter account, according to the ministry itself.

  • Tim

    It’s maybe a little high in terms of cost, but the health department manages a budget of billions upon billions of dollars. Even if she only has about 3,000 english followers a lot of those are media and having a social media team is necessary in any communications shop today. Also take into account that federal salaries are discounted in the sense that the feds will recoup about 25 to 30 percent of that salary through federal income tax and another 5% of all consumption via the federal portion of the HST, so paying 100k isn’t really costing the treasury 100k.

  • Wowzers… I’m in the wrong business. Lol

  • MrXax

    Christ, I want that job.

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