A new study by the think tank SecondStreet.org finds no governments in Canada have reduced pay for their civil servants even as businesses have been forced to lay off staff and cut wages due to government-imposed lockdown measures.
According to the report, which relied on freedom of information requests from federal, provincial and municipal governments, pay cuts were non-existent over the duration of the pandemic.
“Generally speaking, government employee pay in Canada only goes up, it almost never goes down,” SecondStreet.org President Colin Craig said.
“It’s not sustainable for governments to keep spending more than they’re raising in revenues. Instead of raising taxes or laying off employees, governments could find savings by reducing employee pay.”
The federal government was unable to provide any records of reducing pay for its employees including over the past year.
“Our sector officials indicated that there is no data or any information that indicates that there has ever been a negotiated pay reduction,” the federal government informed the think tank.
Additionally, no provincial government in Canada has reduced pay for its staff either, though Manitoba did require provincial employees to take five unpaid days off work in 2020.
As for the 13 large cities included in the report, not one was able to produce evidence that it had cut pay to employees. Only Mississauga had announced a pay cut for two library positions but the cuts would only affect new employees and not existing staff.
According to a recent report by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the private sector in Canada took a severe hit during the pandemic while government jobs and pay raises surged.
In total, 312,825 federal workers received a pay raise between 2020 and 2021.