Feds hand out more than 800,000 raises in past three years

Author: Ryan Thorpe 2023/04/25

If this is what being “left behind” looks like, then most Canadians would sign right up. 

The federal government handed out 802,043 raises to bureaucrats from 2020 to 2022, according to internal government records obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation through an access-to-information request. 

“Canadians don’t feel sorry for privileged bureaucrats who took pay raises during the pandemic while the rest of us worried about missing paycheques or losing our jobs,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. “The fact they’re now striking for billions more shows how out-of-touch they are.”  





# of employees receiving economic pay increase




# of employees receiving step pay increase




Total # of raises




A total of 312,825 federal government employees got at least one raise in 2020 and 2021, according to a previous access-to-information request obtained by the CTF. That represents more than 90 per cent of the bureaucracy.

In 2022, the feds dished out another 162,263 raises, although it remains unclear how many individual employees received a pay bump last year. It’s not clear whether some staff may have received more than one raise, in the form of an “economic increase” and a “step increase.”

More than 150,000 federal bureaucrats affiliated with the Public Service Alliance of Canada have been on strike since April 19, demanding a compensation increase of up to 47 per cent across three years, including a slew of costly non-wage benefits

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat estimated PSAC’s demands would cost taxpayers $9.3 billion over three years. 

In 2020, PSAC negotiated pay raises for its members of 6.64 per cent over three years as “private sector layoffs reach all-time highs,” according to the National Post

The average compensation for each full-time federal employee is $125,300 when pay, pension, paid time off, shift premiums and other benefits are considered, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

Meanwhile, data from Statistics Canada suggests the average annual salary among all full-time workers in 2022 was about $64,000. 

On April 18, the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan think tank, released a report showing that government employees receive “an 8.5 per cent wage premium, on average, over their private-sector counterparts.” 

The report also notes that “the available data on non-wage benefits suggest that the government sector enjoys an advantage over the private sector,” in the form of pension coverage and paid time off, among other perks. 

The federal government has also paid out $559 million in bonuses since 2020. 

A March 2023 report from the PBO found that less than 50 per cent of federal government performance targets are consistently met each year. 

The federal government has hired an extra 31,227 employees over the past two years, while the total cost of the bureaucracy has increased by 31 per cent

“Taxpayers have already paid for hundreds of thousands of pay raises, hundreds of millions in bonuses and for tens of thousands of new bureaucrats,” Terrazzano said. “The bloated bureaucracy doesn’t deserve a penny more from taxpayers.” 

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Franco Terrazzano
Federal Director at
Canadian Taxpayers

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