CTV News has learned that the new Liberal government plans to ask dozens of people recently appointed to government agencies and crown corporations by the previous Conservative government to step aside.

A senior government source says that the prime minister's office plans to send out letters Monday morning asking the appointees to "voluntarily choose not to serve."

The previous government under former prime minister Stephen Harper made the last-minute patronage appointments in the run-up to October’s federal election, which saw the Tories defeated by the Liberals.

On Monday, the Liberal government plans to send out letters to dozens of appointees who were assigned the posts or had prior contracts renewed in the twilight of Harper's government.

Many of the positions command six-figure salaries, and it could cost the government up to $18.5 million to buy them out should they refuse to step aside.

Liberals say that Harper's patronage appointments make it difficult for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to put his stamp on the country's crucial agencies.

Traditionally, governments have avoided awarding the positions before their mandate has been renewed.

However, former Liberal prime minister John Turner was accused of making last-minute patronage appointments before Brian Mulroney's Conservatives swept into power in 1984.

But now Liberals say that Harper's maneuvers put them in a difficult position because there are so many appointments, and many of them are long-lasting.

Many of the contracts extend into and beyond Trudeau's four-year mandate.

With a report from CTV's Laurie Graham