Public sector workers earn more, work less

Topping-up government wages and benefits costing taxpayers $20 billion per year

TORONTO, March 23, 2015 /CNW/ - If you work in the private sector, you're making up to $8,150 less per year, and working up to six hours more each week, than someone doing the same job for the government. This is one of several key findings from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business' latest Wage Watch report, pointing to a huge wage and benefits advantage for public sector workers over the rest of us.

When salaries, benefits and working hours are factored in, the average federal, provincial or municipal employee makes 18-37 per cent more than someone doing the same job in a private business. Canada Post workers and federal government employees are the biggest beneficiaries.

The report compares private sector employees to those at various government employers, and offers clear solutions to close the earnings gap between these workers, such as capping taxpayer-funded contributions to government pensions.

If government workers were paid at the same rate as their private sector equivalents, taxpayers would save $20 billion each year.

"The public-private wage gap is the elephant in every room when it comes to setting the public policy agenda in this country," said Ted Mallett, chief economist and vice-president at CFIB. "Public sector earnings have been allowed to drift well above market-tested norms, and cash-strapped governments are looking for ways to invest in infrastructure and other priorities. Closing the gap is not just what's fair, it's what is needed."

Based chiefly on National Household Survey (NHS) returns from 2011, the findings represent average full-time employment earnings for more than 7.2 million Canadians. Occupations that don't exist in both sectors are excluded.

"Canadians in the private sector see their tax dollars paying for government wages and benefits that they can only dream of," added Mallett. "Policymakers need to start reining in these misaligned costs."

Read the full report at

CFIB is Canada's largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Independent Business

For further information: To arrange an interview with Ted Mallett, please contact Gisele Lumsden at 647-808-5769 or


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