COMP NEWS – High-ranking federal employees in the Canadian government were awarded substantial bonuses between April 2022 and July 2023, according to a new report, drawing ire from some critics who say the bonuses were inappropriately generous.

Federal employees at or above the executive level were paid out over $130 million dollars in performance pay and bonuses between April 2022 and July 2023, according to a document obtained through the Access to Information law, with two public servants receiving extra payments of $83,000. Meanwhile, the exact figures for other bonuses were blacked out.

The growing cost of these bonuses over the years is being questioned by a Canadian non-profit, however, given that the government has failed to meet many of its performance targets.

Between April 2022 and July 2023, 7,895 full-time or temporary executive employees working in departments and organizations in the core public administration raked in a total of $132,610,541 in performance pay and bonuses.

The smallest bonus to any individual was $7. The largest bonuses—and the number of employees they were awarded to—were not disclosed, with 11 rows of information blacked out in the document. The names of the public servants receiving bonuses were also excluded.

Critics point out that the large bonuses come at a time where the Canadian government is failing to meet its target goals.

The most recent figures included some employees receiving two performance bonuses for work done during two fiscal years as, according to the document, performance pay for work done one fiscal year is usually disbursed the following year.

As of the end of March 2022, the total number of executive employees working in the federal public service was 7,200.

The extra pay was distributed during a period that involved the largest federal public service strike in Canada’s history.

The 2022-23 fiscal year was marked by inflationary pressures and a decrease in overall government expenses, though operating expenses of the government’s 134 departments, agencies, consolidated Crown corporations and other entities were slightly up from the year before, according to the recently tabled Public Accounts.

“The government is rewarding failure with taxpayer-funded bonuses,” Terrazzano said, adding that the government’s lack of transparency about the highest rates of performance pay was concerning. “In the real world, when you fail to meet half of your own performance targets you don’t get a big bonus, you get shown the door.”

In June, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) revealed, via documents obtained through an access-to-information request, that the federal government handed out $1.3 billion in bonuses from 2015 to 2022, with executives being provided an average annual bonus between $15,550 and $18,252 during that period.

The non-profit found that the annual cost to taxpayers for federal bonuses had risen by 46 per cent since 2015, with about 90 per cent of government executives annually receiving extra pay.

“It means a huge tax burden for people who are struggling,” Terrazzano said.

To read more about the bonuses, click here.

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