Feds make it rain: dished out $198 million in bonuses in 2022 – so far

Author: Ryan Thorpe 2023/03/21

So far, the Trudeau government has doled out $198 million in bonuses in 2022, according to documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation through an access-to-information request. 

The average bonus for government executives was $17,885 in 2022.

That brings the total amount of bonuses handed out by the federal government during the pandemic years to more than half-a-billion dollars. 

“Canadians are worried about missing a meal, but bureaucrats aren’t even worried about missing their bonus,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director of the CTF. “If you don’t meet half of your targets in the real world you get shown the door, not handed a big fat bonus cheque.”

Eighty-nine per cent of federal executives received yearly bonuses during the pandemic, alongside thousands of lower-level government employees. 

Meanwhile, the size of the federal bureaucracy grew by 47,974 employees since 2019, and the feds consistently churned out lackluster performance results. 

“Less than 50 per cent of targets are consistently met within the same year,” according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer. 

Last spring, the National Post reported the federal government handed out $171 million in bonuses in 2020 – a year in which the public service hit just 48 per cent of its performance targets. 

Months later, the National Post reported the federal government handed out $190 million in bonuses in 2021 – an increase of 11 per cent. That year, the public service hit just 45.7 per cent of its performance targets.

The CTF obtained documents through an access-to-information request revealing the feds paid out $198 million in bonuses in 2022 – so far. 

The records make clear that figure may rise as the numbers are finalized. 

“The performance pay for 2021-22 is being disbursed in the 2022-23 fiscal year … [These documents] present requested information on performance pay for 2021-22 fiscal year paid out until December 2022,” the records read. “Since the fiscal year 2022-23 is not finished yet, some payments may occur after the production of this report.”

The federal government hit just 56.9 per cent of its performance targets in 2021-22, according to data from the Departmental Results Report.

Fiscal year

Performance targets hit

Executives who got a bonus

Cost to taxpayers

















Of the $198 million in bonuses paid out in 2022 so far, $147 million was given to 8,223 executive-level employees, while the remaining $51.5 million was earmarked for lower-level public servants. 

“Maybe, when taxpayers are struggling to pay for groceries, bureaucrats could give the bonuses a break,” Terrazzano said. “The government needs to stop rewarding failure with our tax dollars.” 

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Franco Terrazzano
Federal Director at
Canadian Taxpayers

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