Manitoba Has Larger Public Sector Than Most

Frontier Centre, Manitoba, Public Sector, Publications, Uncategorized

INTRODUCTION

This backgrounder compares and contrasts provincial public administration expenditure patterns across Canada with a special focus on Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Statistics Canada defines public administration in the following way: “This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in activities of a governmental nature, that is, the enactment and judicial interpretation of laws and their pursuant regulations, and the administration of programs based on them.”

1. NUMBER OF PROVINCIAL AND MUNICIPAL PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYEES

The following chart illustrates the ratio of total population in each province to public employees.

Ratio of Total Population to Public Administration Employees (1999)

Province Federal Provincial Local People per Federal Employee / Canadian Average People per Provincial Employee / Canadian Average People per Municipal Employee / Canadian Average
Provincial Average 121.2 115.4 135.4
Newfoundland 102.2 69.0 190.3 118.6% 167.3% 71.2%
Prince Edward Island 56.1 46.4 258.8 216.0% 248.7% 52.3%
Nova Scotia 81.9 93.7 144.3 147.9% 123.2% 93.8%
New Brunswick 98.4 82.0 123.0 123.2% 140.7% 110.0%
Quebec 168.0 120.6 106.9 72.1% 95.7% 126.7%
Ontario 114.2 212.9 130.8 106.1% 54.2% 103.5%
Manitoba 110.3 106.1 85.7 109.9% 108.8% 158.0%
Saskatchewan 145.6 123.8 76.2 83.7% 93.2% 177.7%
Alberta 184.7 114.3 93.3 65.6% 101.0% 145.1%
British Columbia 105.2 185.3 144.9 80.7% 62.3% 93.4%

Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM, Matrices 4285-4456 and 1996 Census.

These statistics show:

  • Provinces with larger populations employ fewer public servants per capita than provinces with smaller populations.
  • Ontario and British Columbia employ the smallest number of provincial civil servants per capita, while the four Atlantic provinces (Newfoundland, PEI, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) employ the largest.
  • The smaller number of municipal employees in the Atlantic Provinces may account for the larger number of provincial ones.
  • The three Prairie Provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta) employ the largest number of municipal public servants per capita.
  • Manitoba employs significantly more provincial civil servants per capita than Saskatchewan.
  • Saskatchewan employs only slightly more municipal public servants per capita than Manitoba despite having many more rural municipalities.
  • Manitoba and New Brunswick are the only provinces that employ more civil servants at all three levels (federal, provincial and municipal) than the provincial average.

Manitoba has proportionately larger government employment in comparison to other provinces, particularly its sister province, Saskatchewan. Manitoba, on a per capita basis, maintains significantly more civil servants on its provincial payroll than Saskatchewan despite employing only slightly fewer municipal ones.

2. SALARIES OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYEES

The chart below compares salaries paid to public employees in different provinces.

Average Annual Salaries of Public Administration Employees (1999)

Province Federal Provincial Muncipal All Industries Fed Pay Premium Provincial Pay Premium Municipal Pay Premium
Provincial Average 40,577 36,198 33,095 29,282 38.6% 23.6% 13.0%
Newfoundland 39,622 24,847 34,416 28,296 40.0% -12.2% 21.6%
Prince Edward Island 36,774 29,888 32,370 24,983 47.2% 19.6% 29.6%
Nova Scotia 42,183 34,136 24,817 26,939 56.6% 26.7% -7.9%
New Brunswick 39,222 36,604 26,646 27,674 41.7% 32.3% -3.7%
Quebec 41,600 38,165 33,798 29,710 40.0% 28.5%
Ontario 43,532 44,109 35,527 33,881 28.5% 30.2% 4.9%
Manitoba 37,696 39,281 37,031 28,281 33.3% 38.9% 30.9%
Saskatchewan 41,267 38,414 30,801 28,225 46.2% 36.1% 9.1%
Alberta 40,959 33,762 36,372 32,343 26.6% 4.4% 12.5%
British Columbia 42,712 42,775 39,172 32,487 31.5% 31.7% 20.6%

Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM, Matrices 4285-4456 and 1996 Census.

  • Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island spend a larger proportion of their budgets on provincial public salaries than all other provinces. This is probably because these provinces employ fewer municipal civil servants per capita.
  • Next to the Maritimes, Manitoba spends the largest proportion of its budget (5.8%) on government salaries.
  • Saskatchewan spends 1.1% less of its budget on provincial government salaries than Manitoba despite the similar demographics, economies and geographical locations of the two provinces.
  • Alberta spends approximately the same proportion of its budget on provincial government salaries as Saskatchewan.

CONCLUSION

There are substantial differences in public administration spending between the provinces. Per capita, the Atlantic provinces employ a larger than average number of provincial civil servants and the fewest municipal ones. In contrast, the Prairie provinces, possibly due to their geography, employ a larger number of municipal civil servants and fewer provincial ones.

Most of Saskatchewan’s numbers are fairly close to the provincial averages. In contrast, Manitoba employs an above-average number of both provincial and municipal civil servants per capita, pays them more compared to other workers than any other province, and spends an above-average portion or percentage of its budget on provincial salaries.