Expenditure on bonuses and other performance pay for top federal government executives increased by more than double the rate of inflation in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first year in office.
The 3.2 % increase in spending for 2015-16, the most recent year available, was also more than twice the 1.25 per cent pay increases the government has negotiated with many of its public sector unions.
The biggest increases in performance pay were at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC). The number of executives at the latter rose to 15 from 11, and overall spending on executive performance pay was up 22 per cent.
Spending on performance pay for top executives increased to $75 million from $72.6 million the year before with wide fluctuations in the percentage increases — or decreases — in many departments.
Spending on performance pay for deputy ministers increased 3.4 per cent to $4.7 million.
The head of Canada’s largest public service union questions why spending on performance pay increased by more than the salary increases for public service workers.
Robyn Benson, national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada said, We hope the government isn’t handing out an increase to their executives that is out of step with the wage increase it was willing to give our hard-working members. It’s the responsibility of the government to explain this increase in executive performance pay spending.”
Like many corporations, the federal government offers a system of performance pay designed to attract the best and the brightest into the public service.
Basic salary ranges for those in the federal government’s EX category in 2015 range between $106,900 and $202,500 a year.
Deputy ministers’ paycheques that year ran from $192,600 a year to $326,500.