CTV.ca | Public sector pays better than private: reportPublic sector pays better than private: report
Updated Mon. Jul. 30 2007 10:31 PM ET
Canada's public servants earn an average salary far higher than those in the private sector, while the core public service workforce has swelled to its largest size in a decade, according to a new report.
The Treasury Board of Canada posted the 800-page study on its website last week.
In 2002-2003, the average salary of workers in the core public service was $53,000, increasing to $73,400 when factoring in benefits.
"For me to make that amount of money, I would have to work twice as much time," tradesman Tim Cogswell told CTV News.
In the private sector, the average salary was $38,885.
Roughly three per cent of public servants earned less than $35,000, while the same amount of bureaucrats made more than $100,000.
In the early 1990s, the size of the core public service was about 245,000. But between 1994 and 1998, Jean Chretien's government slashed 75,000 jobs to help curb Canada's deficit.
By 2003, the number of public servants had bounced back to 235,000. The total number of people employed by the government increased to 351,000, excluding Crown corporations and federal business enterprises, at a cost of $25 billion per year.
"By 2002-03 then, the core federal government's effective size was at least as great as in the early 1990s," the report states.
The study also shows that civil servants took a total of 7.74 million days of leave in 2002-2003. On average, each employee took:
17.3 days for vacations
8.3 days for sick leave
1.6 days for family-related leave
"I think the whole idea that public servants are somehow overworked is just a farce," said John Williamson of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
But civil servant Shannon Steele said she earns her pay.
"Of course I get more benefits and stuff, but I think I deserve them," she said. "I do a lot of work, and it's stressful."
In fact, the study suggests bureaucrats suffer from rising rates of anxiety and depression, despite earning more pay than those in the private sector.
"Our members work in a hostile work environment where they are subjected to discrimination and harassment in the work sites," said Patty Ducharme, vice president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.
The report makes 77 recommendations, focusing on how Ottawa compensates its employees and deals with unions. In particular, the study says public servants should not be quick to strike for better wage conditions.
"Exceptional bargaining strength derived from the privilege of serving the public should not justify going beyond what is reasonably comparable in equivalent circumstances in the private sector," the report states. "The time has come to search with determination for better ways to settle disputes fairly, without recourse to the strike weapon.
Critics say the government needs to rein in spending.
I think the operative phrase is FAR HIGHER........
$20,000 in benefits ON AVERAGE!!