Federal public service executives earned $1.3 billion in bonuses since 2015, says internal documents

The $202 million in bonuses from last year — which could still increase — marks a noticeable increase from the $171 million given to public workers in 2020. During the COVID pandemic, they earned over half a billion dollars in bonuses.

Federal public service executives earned $1.3 billion in bonuses since 2015, says internal documents
Rebel News
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The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) continues its mission to uncover government waste, revealing that federal executives took home $1.3 billion in bonuses between 2015 and 2022.

In an access-to-information request, the CTF obtained documents that list average annual bonuses for executives, ranging from $15,550 to $18,252. 

"Bonuses are for when you do a good job. They shouldn't be handed out like participation ribbons," Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director, told Rebel News.

"Taxpayers can't afford to bankroll big bonus cheques yearly for highly paid government executives," he added.

"The real question is what does a government executive have to do to miss a bonus?"

During the COVID pandemic, the CTF told Rebel that federal workers received over half a billion in bonuses between the 2019/20 and 2021/22 fiscal years. Nearly 9-in-10 (89%) federal executives received yearly bonuses during that period.

The $202 million in bonuses from last year — which could still increase — marks a noticeable increase from the $171 million given to public workers in 2020. During the COVID pandemic, government workers earned over half a billion dollars in bonuses.

Overall, the annual cost of executive bonuses steadily increased from $138 million in the 2015/16 fiscal year. The taxpayers' group said these annual costs increased by 46% since that year.

Specifically, most of last year's bonuses went to public service executives, amounting to $147,075,422. Of that, $118,829,920 went to 6,878 of Canada's 7,663 executive-level public workers in the core public administration.

For 1,345 of the 1,589 executives employed by separate Crown agencies, they earned $28,245,502. Of that, only 1,029 executives received nearly $18,000 per person in performance incentive pay.

"Performance pay is an important component of executives' total compensation package but must be re-earned each year," said Treasury Board Spokesperson Martin Potvin, adding they "hold executives accountable for the delivery of results and excellence in leadership."

He clarified that Executives who fail to meet performance targets do not receive bonuses. 

A March Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) report showed that nearly a quarter of annual performance targets still needed to be met. Furthermore, they met less than half (48%) of their performance metrics last year, according to internal documents.

From 2015-2022, public service executives only met their performance goals 60% of the time. The Treasury Board showed that of 2,393 fulfilled performance indicators, only 1,361 met established targets, 702 didn't meet targets, and 330 had no results available.

"Unfortunately, parliamentarians are often required to approve new spending without having viewed the departmental results," Giroux wrote in his report, 'The Government's Expenditure Plan and Main Estimates for 2023-24.'

Among the other entities entitled to incentive pay is the CBC, which received $16 million in bonuses last year, going to almost 80% of its workforce that met its performance goals only 60% of the time.

"The feds need to stop rewarding failure with our tax dollars, and the place to start is with these bonuses," said Terrazzano.

"If you don't meet half of your targets in the real world, you get shown the door, not handed a big fat bonus cheque."

 According to the feds, Canada's federal bureaucracy increased from 257,034 in 2015 — consisting of 195,565 employees of the core public administration and 61,469 working for other government agencies — to 335,957 in 2022. Of that, 254,309 worked in the core administration, and 81,648 received employment from agencies.

That amounted to a significant uptick in employee compensation, from $38 billion in 2015 to $58 billion in 2021 — a 53% increase.

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  • By Tamara Ugolini

PETITION: Stop The Pay Hike

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