Statistics Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Public sector employment

Warning View the most recent version.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.

The Daily

Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Third quarter 2006 (preliminary)

Public sector employment (comprising all levels of general government, universities, colleges, school boards, health and social service institutions and government business enterprises) fell 5.5% to 2.9 million in the third quarter, from 3.1 million in the second quarter of 2006.

The major contributor to the decrease was educational institutions, which saw a 19.7% reduction in the work force — mainly due to summer slowdowns. As well, federal government employment fell 4.7% as many temporary employees hired in the previous quarter (such as summer students and census workers) completed their employment mid-way through the July–September timeframe.

Compared to the same three months of 2005, public sector employment rose 1.5% in the third quarter. Within general government, the federal component posted the largest increase with more than 386,000 employees on payroll, up 4.3% from the same quarter of 2005. This increase was partly attributable to the employment of census employees, particularly during July and August. Provincial and territorial general government employment remained stable at approximately 359,000 employees. Local general government had an estimated 407,000 employees, up 3.6% from the same quarter of 2005.

In terms of distribution, the three levels of general government (federal, provincial/territorial and local) accounted for 39.3% of total public sector employment. Health and social service institutions accounted for 26.5%, educational institutions 25.2%, and government business enterprises 9.0%.

Public sector employment1
  Second quarter 2005 Third quarter 2005 Second quarter 2006 Third quarter 2006
Public sector 3,015 2,886 3,102 2,930
General government 1,100 1,122 1,149 1,152
Federal 373 370 405 386
Provincial and territorial 350 357 351 359
Local 377 395 393 407
Educational institutions 898 729 918 737
Universities and colleges2 304 282 315 287
School boards 593 447 603 450
Health and social service institutions 752 769 770 776
Government business enterprises 266 266 265 265
1.Numbers may not add up due to rounding.
2.Includes vocational and trade institutions.

Estimates of public sector employment and aggregate public sector wages and salaries for the third quarter of 2006 are now available. The data for the first and second quarters have been revised.

A data table on public sector employment is also available online in the Summary tables module of our website.

Note: The public sector includes all economic entities controlled by government. It includes four major components: federal government (ministries, departments, agencies and non-autonomous funds, and autonomous funds and organizations); provincial and territorial government (ministries, departments, agencies and non-autonomous funds, autonomous funds and organizations, universities and colleges, and health and social service institutions); local government (municipalities and non-autonomous funds, autonomous funds and organizations, and school boards); and government business enterprises (at the federal, provincial/territorial and local levels).

For a more detailed description of how public sector employment is defined and reconciled with other information sources, please refer to the document entitled Reconciliation of Public Sector Employment Estimates from Multiple Information Sources by clicking on survey number 1713.

Available on CANSIM: tables 183-0002 and 183-0004.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 1713.

For general information or to order data, contact Jo-Anne Thibault (613-951-0767; To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Claude Bilodeau (613-951-1816;, Public Institutions Division.