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Report: COVID has led to pay cuts in business, but no government has cut pay

Male office worker or businessman in a suit and tie cuts a piece of paper with the word salary on it as a salary or pay reduction business concept.
  • New report finds no evidence of any major government bodies in Canada cutting pay, despite businesses having to cut pay to get through the pandemic

New research by think tank SecondStreet.org shows that while many businesses have reduced pay since the pandemic began, pay reductions have been non-existent in government. The think tank’s new report summarizes freedom of information responses filed with the federal government, provincial governments and 13 major cities nation-wide, covering millions of employees.

“Generally speaking, government employee pay in Canada only goes up, it almost never goes down,” said SecondStreet.org president Colin Craig. “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.” 

Highlights from the policy brief include:

  • The federal government has no record of ever reducing pay for its employees; including no pay cuts over the past year.
  • No provincial government has reduced employee pay since the pandemic began. Manitoba came the closest to implementing a pay cut by requiring employees to take five unpaid days off in 2020. It has been decades since a provincial government reduced pay.
  • SecondStreet.org did not identify any pay cuts at major cities in Canada. The City of Mississauga came the closest by reducing pay for two library job categories (affecting four positions), but the changes only affect new hires.
  • Several governments agreed to pay increases with employee unions during the pandemic.

To view SecondStreet.org’s new policy brief The last government pay cut (2021) – click here

– Freedom of Information Responses – 

Federal government

Treasury Board – click here

Provincial governments:

British Columbia – click here
Alberta – click here
Saskatchewan – click here
Manitoba – click here
Ontario – click here
Quebec – click here
New Brunswick – click here
Nova Scotia – click here
Prince Edward Island – click here
Newfoundland and Labrador – click here

Cities:

Vancouver – click here
Edmonton – click here
Calgary – click here
Regina – click here
Saskatoon – click here
Winnipeg – click here
Mississauga – click here
Toronto – click here
Ottawa – click here
Montreal – click here
St. John’s – click here
Moncton – click here
Halifax – click here

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