Federal public servants paid $171M in bonuses for 2019-20…

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+2191 – Federal public servants paid $171M in bonuses for 2019-20 despite departments meeting less than half of performance objectives

2022-05-16 12:52:07

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702 shares, 852 points


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  1. I know they left this out to generate clicks but it’s only executive level staff who got any sort of bonuses. Me and my colleagues haven’t gotten our annual pay raise in 2 years.

  2. Very glad to see the top comments here calling this article out for the absolute bullshit it is. 99% of unionized fed workers that do the majority of the work in these institutions got Jack shit and are barely scalding by with inflation. Haven’t gotten a raise in years and I work my ass off. This is about exec and managers getting their contractually mandated raises and bonuses.

  3. What public servants are getting any kind of bonuses?? I work for in the public service (not federal). I get my pay, my health benefits and my pension plan (with hefty self-contributions required). No bonuses, no perks, no unnecessary spending. It’s the way it should be. I do a job, I’m fairly compensated for it, I don’t take any more from the taxpayer dollar than I’m entitled to for the performance of my duties.

  4. I wanna be outraged, but there are a few key data points that are missing in order to fairly assess if this is a problem relative to the improper setting of goals and objectives, or an issue with people being paid bonuses when they didn’t deserve them.

    What was the max potential payout if all goals were met or exceeded?

    Does $171M equate to the appropriate percentage of payout based on the goals or objectives that were met?

  5. This is framed as a story of public sector inefficiency, but the actual numbers do not tell that story.

    First of all, the numbers on these bonuses are not big. CRA paid $13m to 2500 people, $5000 per bonus. Not zero, but not exactly Wall Street wages here. For a management position salary that might be 5% of their total pay.

    Financial Post claims this is an example of people being rewarded for failure, but in modern practice, bonuses are not “oh here’s a gift for doing a good job!” they are performance based pay, similar to a salesperson on commission. If the employee has a bad year, their bonus compensation is small, if they have a good year it is big. It is the use of the word “bonus” that makes this confusing.

    The article tacitly admits this when they show that federal bonuses are structured as 20% “at risk pay” and 6% “performance bonus”. In a normal year, the employee will make all of the 20% and none of the 6%. In a good year they will make both. In a bad year they will make only some of the 20%. Perhaps the fact that the total numbers are small means that they represent only small amounts of “at risk pay” being given.

    So there it is, the financial post is squinting so hard trying to see inefficiency in the public sector, they actually found a properly functioning performance pay system.

  6. How many executives taking a cut at a $171m pile?

    One single Amazon CEO is making more bonus than thousands of Deputy Ministers, ADM, DG, and (senior) directors combined (managing 200k+ employees and consultants)

    Canadians got it cheap and they simply don’t know it.

  7. This is just another obvious example of media manufactured outrage for shares and clicks. The lack of context is intentional. $171 million is less than 0.1% if the total federal budget. Department goals can be set just at the barrier of feasibility to encourage continuous improvement.

    But lastly, the most important part: if you read the actual [departmental plan](https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/tbs-sct/documents/reports/dr/2019/2019-20_tbs-dp-en.pdf) from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat you’ll realize this report is for the 2019-2020 **fiscal year** meaning this time period started in March 2019 and ended in **March 2020** meaning the impact of Covid-19 should most certainly be considered.

  8. If your takeaway from this is “wish I could fail at my job like the government!”, congratulations on being manipulated I guess.

    Probably best to not get your news about the government from a foreign hedge fund owned newspaper.

  9. How else would our elected officials continue to support their rental properties after 2 years of economic struggle by the working class?

  10. Clickbait. Public service pay is notoriously terrible. Anyone who is decently skilled can make a lot more money in the private sector.

    Ironically, what makes the government inefficient at times is this obsession with cutting costs, scaring away a lot of talented folks from working with the govt.

  11. Public servant pay is set by union contracts. There are no bonuses. The only public servants who get bonuses are directors (and above) for coming within 7% of their budget. The rest of us are on set salary and Increases. No bonuses.
    Also the federal public service did a great job of adapting the work so that they can continue to serve Canadians.

  12. Lots of government positions have bonuses built into the total comp package. Put your pitchforks away folks.

  13. Article headline completely misleading. Public servants + bonus does not even fit in the same sentence ffs.

  14. Would be nice to see executive performance evaluations tied to Auditor General reports and management response action plans. There needs to be a structural control to ensure that senior and executive management run their departments in accordance with appropriately designed policies and procedures and principles of good governance.

  15. Exempt staff (management) are entitled to negotiate their compensation package, just like the unions are entitled to negotiate the compensation on behalf of the union members.

  16. 171 m sounds like a lot, but relative to what? What’s the percentage payout 25% 50%?

    There were 319600 ish workers in 2021, bonuses were paid out to about 14,000 people. These bonuses included at risk pay as well but straight math is about 12 k per person.

    Main issue here is that 48.4 % of goals were met only meaning there shouldn’t have been bonuses at all.

  17. This speaks more to the increasing head count of the Federal public service by over 60,000 since Trudeau was elected. That’s about a 25% increase in employees paid out of general revenue.

  18. Not public servants. Managers but even they don’t get much. Most goes to directors and executives.

    The Director of a medium sized international airport I worked at got 400k salary and 1 million bonus

  19. 1. Set your own targets, don’t meet them
    2. 2. Print money during lockdowns
    3. 3. Give it to yourself
    4. Basically theft.