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Government employees in Quebec paid 10.8% more than in private sector

Staff writer |
Government workers in Quebec receive higher wages and likely more generous non-wage benefits than their private sector counterparts, finds a new study by the Fraser Institute.

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"As the Quebec government grapples with the largest debt burden in the country, it has identified government-sector compensation as a way to restrain spending and balance the budget by 2015/16.

When unionization is accounted for, the government-sector wage premium in Quebec declines to seven percent.
"With collective agreements set to expire at the end of March for 430,000 provincial government workers, now is an opportune time to scrutinize the compensation levels of government employees, which consumes around half of program spending," said Philip Cross, former chief economic analyst for Statistics Canada and researcher at the Fraser Institute.

Using Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey data from January to December 2013, Comparing Government and Private Sector Compensation in Quebec calculates that, on average, government workers in Quebec, including federal, provincial, and local government workers, receive 10.8 percent higher wages than comparable workers in the private sector.

This wage premium accounts for differences in the personal characteristics of workers such as age, gender, marital status, education, tenure, type of work, size of establishment, industry, and occupation. When unionization is accounted for, the government-sector wage premium in Quebec declines to seven percent.

But wages are only part of an employee's total compensation. Non-wage benefits — including pensions, early retirement and job security — can represent an important portion of an overall compensation package. While individual data on these benefits are not readily available in Canada, there are strong indicators that the government sector as a whole also enjoys superior non-wage benefits.

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