More than 110K federal bureaucrats take six-figure salary

Author: Ryan Thorpe 2024/02/27

More than 110,000 federal bureaucrats took home a six-figure base salary in 2023, according to access-to-information records obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

The number of bureaucrats taking a six-figure salary is now roughly one-third of the overall federal workforce, according to the records. 

Those salaries cost taxpayers at least $13.9 billion last year. That figure is likely low, as retroactive pay raises for 2023 have yet to take effect.

“Taxpayers are tapped out and can’t afford more bureaucrats taking six-figure salaries,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. “Enough is enough, it’s time for the feds to take some air out of the ballooning bureaucracy.”

In 2023, 110,593 federal bureaucrats got a six-figure salary – a 7.6 per cent increase over 2022. That year, 102,761 federal bureaucrats received a six-figure salary. 

The records obtained by the CTF only detail base salary and do not include the cost of other benefits paid out to bureaucrats. 

Since 2015, the number of federal bureaucrats taking at least $100,000 in base salary spiked by 154 per cent. 

Meanwhile, the number of bureaucrats ballooned by roughly 40 per cent and the cost of the federal payroll grew by 68 per cent

The cost of the federal payroll to taxpayers was a record high $67.4 billion in 2023, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer. 

“I have noticed a marked increase in the number of public servants since 2016 and a proportional increase in spending … but we haven’t seen similar improvements when it comes to service,” said Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux. 

The spike in six-figure salaries in the federal government follows years of underwhelming performance results across departments and agencies. 

“Less than 50 per cent of [performance] targets are consistently met within the same year,” according to a 2023 report from the PBO. 

The CTF has called on the federal government to implement an annual “sunshine list” to proactively disclose the number of employees taking a six-figure salary. 

Every provincial government, except Prince Edward Island and Quebec, provides their taxpayers with an annual compensation disclosure list

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 PBO.

Meanwhile, data from Statistics Canada shows the average annual salary among all full-time workers in 2023 was less than $70,000. 

Government employees across Canada receive “an 8.5 per cent wage premium, on average, over their private-sector counterparts,” according to a 2023 report from the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan think tank. 

The report notes 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 other perks. 

“The government must be transparent with taxpayers and that means publishing a sunshine list to disclose salaries for high-paid bureaucrats,” Terrazzano said. “We pay the bills and we deserve to know how many six-figure bureaucrats we’re paying for.”

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Franco Terrazzano
Federal Director at
Canadian Taxpayers

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