BONOKOSKI: A sunshine list for federal workers is sorely needed
BONOKOSKI: A sunshine list for federal workers is sorely needed

In August 2022, the Canadian Taxpayer Federation (CTF) called on the federal government to implement an annual “sunshine list,” which would disclose the number of employees earning six-figure salaries, including their names.

The Ontario government does this, much to the distress of the public-sector unions who’d rather cry poverty during labour negotiations than confess to reasonable salaries.

In fact, every provincial government, except Prince Edward Island and Quebec, provides their taxpayers with compensation disclosure lists.

It makes no sense, therefore, not to have a sunshine list at the federal level.

It is sorely needed.

While in the midst of the 155,000-member Public Service Alliance (PSAC) strike, the CTF did a deep dive into national public service salaries via access to information requests and came up with no good news for the unions to use in negotiations — not when 102,762 bureaucrats received $100,000 or more in salaries during 2022.

All told, those bureaucrats cost taxpayers $13.4 billion.

“Taxpayers can’t afford more bureaucrats taking six-figure salaries,” said Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the CTF. “The feds must take air out of the ballooning bureaucracy.”

There are now 33,754 more federal bureaucrats making six-figures annually than there were before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

And since 2015, the number of federal bureaucrats making $100,000 or more has spiked by 136%.

The most-recent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) report  notes that  “Compensation per full-time equivalent increased from an average of $117,497 per FTE in 2019-20 to $125,300 in 2021-22.”

According to Statistics Canada, though, the average full-time private-sector salary in Canada as of September 2022, was $1,175.37 per week or $61,119.24 per year for a 40-hour week.

Given some of the current demands from government union negotiators, the PBO estimates “the additional cost to the government would be $16.2 billion over 2023-2024 to 2027-28.”

While Canadians complain about their struggle to pay the rent and utilities, plus put food on the table, a total of 312,825 federal employees received at least one pay raise during the pandemic.

More worrisome, the federal government handed almost $600 million in bonuses since the beginning of the pandemic despite incentive targets never being reached. 

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

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.

It’s hardly a bad pay cheque.

“Taxpayers can’t afford to pay billions more to fund a bloated bureaucracy,” said Terrazzano. “Members of Parliament must speak out and reject the unreasonable demands coming from government union negotiators.

“Families are trying to figure out whether they can afford milk or ground beef at the grocery store and government union negotiators are asking for an extra $9.3 billion,” said Terrazzano  “The government’s bargaining position needs to be absolute no to these demands.”

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

The report also 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 paid time off, among other perks. 

“Enough is enough, taxpayers are tapped out,” said  Terrazzano. “The bureaucracy doesn’t deserve a penny more from taxpayers.”

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