Frontier Centre releases Measuring the Size and Cost of Manitoba’s and Saskatchewan’s Public Sectors

Press Release, Public Sector, Joseph Quesnel, Nicolas Allarie

Today the Frontier Centre for Public Policy released a new study documenting how high public sector employment rates in the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan have significant costs to the taxpayers of those provinces. Additional spending on the public sector wage bills due to a sub-national public sector size in excess of the national average cost both Manitoba and Saskatchewan $4.052 billion.

Findings include (all data is from 2013):

  • An analysis of Statistics Canada data from 2013 demonstrates that 18 per cent of all jobs at the national level are in the public sector, that is, government employees at the federal, provincial and local levels, with the exclusion of defense and Crown corporation employees. By comparison, Manitoba has the second-largest public sector employment at 23.35 per cent. Saskatchewan also sits above the national average at 22.46 per cent, giving it the fourth-largest public sector in Canada.
  • Sub-national public sector employment–excluding federal employees–rates are higher in Manitoba and Saskatchewan than in the rest of the country. Manitoba’s and Saskatchewan’s sub-national public sectors as a share of total jobs were at 21.6 and 21.1 per cent, respectively, which means they have the second- and third-largest sub-national public sectors in the country. Nationally, there are 84 sub-national public sector employees per 1,000 residents.  Manitoba had the highest number at 114 per 1,000 residents. This was followed by Saskatchewan, the second highest at 111 per 1,000 residents.
  • The authors calculate the impact of high rates of public sector employment in excess of the national average on the public sector wage bill that is borne by taxpayers. They show that public sector employment in excess of the national average increases the public sector wage bill in Manitoba and Saskatchewan by a total of $4.052 billion.

The authors, however, also provide some hopeful and realistic scenarios for reducing the size of the public sector in both provinces.

“It is not all doom and gloom. Looking towards the future, there are opportunities for both Manitoba and Saskatchewan to reduce the size of their public sectors and save millions, if not billions, of dollars without any drastic cuts to their public sectors,” said Joseph Quesnel, one of the study’s authors.

You can view the entire study here: