Government employees in Ontario received 10.6 per cent higher wages, on average, than comparable workers in the private sector last year, while enjoying much more generous non-wage benefits, too, finds a new study by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.
“Bringing government-sector compensation in line with the private sector would not only help governments in Ontario control spending without reducing services, it would also maintain fairness for taxpayers,” said Ben Eisen, Fraser Institute senior fellow and co-author of Comparing Government and Private Sector Compensation in Ontario.
But wages are only part of overall compensation. Government workers in Ontario enjoy much more generous benefits, too. Nearly eight-in-10 government workers in Ontario (77.5 per cent) have a defined benefit pension plan, which offers a guaranteed level of benefits in retirement, compared to one-in-10 workers in the private sector (10.4 per cent). Government workers in Ontario retire 1.8 years earlier, on average, than private-sector workers. Government workers in Ontario are absent from their jobs for personal reasons nearly twice as often as private-sector workers, 12.4 days compared to 7.6 days. Government workers were five times less likely to experience job loss than private-sector workers, 0.5 per cent compared to 2.5 per cent.
“Of course, governments in Ontario should provide competitive compensation to attract qualified employees, but clearly wages and benefits in the government sector are out of step with the private sector,” Eisen said.