Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Public Sector Workers Earn More, Work Less

Topping-up government wages & benefits costs taxpayers $20 billion per year

VANCOUVER, March 23, 2015 – If you work in the private sector, you’re making up to $8,500 less per year, and working up to six hours more each week, than someone doing the same job for the government. This is one of several key findings from the latest Wage Watch report released today by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), pointing to a huge wage and benefits advantage for public sector workers over their counterparts in the private sector.

When salaries, benefits and working hours are factored in, the average federal, provincial or municipal employee makes 18-37 per cent more than someone doing the same job in a private business. Canada Post workers and federal government employees are the biggest beneficiaries. 

Urban transit in B.C. also had one of the biggest gaps in the country, with workers making 25.6 per cent more in salaries than their private sector counterparts, and 36.7 per cent more in salaries and benefits. 

The report compares private sector employees to those at various government employers, and offers clear solutions to close the earnings gap between these workers, such as capping taxpayer-funded contributions to government pensions.

If government workers were paid at the same rate as their private sector equivalents, taxpayers would save $20 billion each year. 

“The public-private wage gap is the elephant in every room when it comes to setting the public policy agenda in this country,” said Ted Mallett, chief economist and vice-president at CFIB. “Public sector earnings have been allowed to drift well above market-tested norms, and cash-strapped governments are looking for ways to invest in infrastructure and other priorities. Closing the gap is not just what’s fair, it’s what is needed.” 

Based chiefly on National Household Survey (NHS) returns from 2011, the findings represent average full-time employment earnings for more than 7.2 million Canadians. Occupations that don’t exist in both sectors are excluded.

In British Columbia, it was pretty much the same story as the national picture: a continued and substantial gap in salary and benefits in favour of public sector employees, even after adjustments for differences in occupational mix, age, and education. 

“It comes down to a basic issue of fairness. Since these jobs are supported by taxpayers, it is completely appropriate to ask questions about these salary and benefit gaps, and the impact on the public purse’, said Laura Jones, Executive Vice-President for CFIB.
“This is particularly true since people in the Metro Vancouver region are voting, as we speak, in a plebiscite to add a new municipal sales tax to pay for infrastructure. Yet, even a small narrowing of the compensation gap over time could produce savings that would completely nullify any arguable need for new tax revenues”, concluded Jones.

The full CFIB report is available online at their website HERE.



  1. And then there is the alternate view:


  2. it's not that simple, its a shame you push these stats regularly, how does one compare a police officer or Correctional Officers who, as part of their employment get physically assaulted (Kent Officer who had been slashed from eyeball to teeth and over a hundred stitches, RCMP shootings) to the 'private sector'.... they have no similar 'private sector' comparison, and yes, are paid for that risk. I know it's not as simple as even I have illustrated, but your statements do not further any debate, weak!


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