Over 45,000 Federal Employees Bumped to Six-Figure Salary During Pandemic

Over 45,000 Federal Employees Bumped to Six-Figure Salary During Pandemic
Government office buildings in Gatineau, Que., on July 29, 2022. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)
Rachel Emmanuel

Over 45,000 more federal bureaucrats received a six-figure salary than before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) has revealed.

A total of 114,433 federal government employees received a salary of more than $100,000 in 2021. The number of federal government employees receiving more than $100,000 increased by 45,426 during the pandemic, according to access to information requests filed by the CTF. 

The CTF is now calling on Ottawa to develop a sunshine list, which offers transparency for Canadian taxpayers by providing public servants’ salaries, benefits, and severance information.

“We’re not all in this together,” CTF federal director Franco Terrazzano said in an Aug. 10 statement. “It’s not fair to ask the Canadians who lost their job or took a pay cut during the pandemic to pay higher taxes so the federal government can add thousands of highly paid bureaucrats.”

Data provided by the CTF shows the number of employees that would be included in a federal sunshine list, which discloses annual salaries of more than $100,000, has risen from 43,424 in 2015 to 114,433 in 2021.

Currently, Prince Edward Island and Quebec are the only provincial governments that do not provide taxpayers with compensation disclosure lists. 

Alberta’s 2021 sunshine list revealed that the province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, received a $227,911 COVID-19 bonus that year—without oversight from elected officials. Premier Jason Kenney’s government is now taking steps to ensure overtime compensation is first approved by cabinet.

Meanwhile, 312,825 federal government employees received a pay raise during the pandemic, according to an access to information request filed by the CTF. From March 2020 to March 2021, the federal government added 19,151 extra employees. 

Members of Parliament took three pay raises during the pandemic. When compared with pre-pandemic salaries, the raises ranged from an extra $10,600 for backbench MPs to $21,200 for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Taxpayers deserve to know that 45,000 more federal bureaucrats are receiving a six-figure salary than before the pandemic,” Terrazzano said. “Taxpayers can’t afford the ballooning bureaucracy and that means the government should stop hiring so many highly paid bureaucrats.”