Public sector employment

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Fourth quarter 2011 (preliminary) (Previous release)

Employment in the public sector was about 3,633,000 in the fourth quarter, edging up 0.1%, or 2,000, from the third quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Employment increased by 5,000 in health and social services institutions and by 4,000 in school boards. These increases, however, were partly offset by a decline of 8,000 in the federal general government. Most of this decrease was the result of temporary workers hired for the 2011 Census program being laid off.

In addition, employment fell by 4,000 in universities and colleges, continuing its downward trend. Since its peak in the fourth quarter of 2010, employment in this sector has declined by 11,000. Also, employment was down by 2,000 in local general government.

Employment in the provincial general government was virtually unchanged in the fourth quarter. Employment in this sector has remained the same since 2009.

The three levels of general government (federal, provincial and territorial, and local) accounted for 38.0% of total public sector employment in the fourth quarter. Educational institutions represented 29.3%, followed by health and social service institutions, at 23.8%, and government business enterprises, at 8.8%.

Total public sector wages and salaries increased 0.2% between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the fourth quarter of 2011.

Public sector employment

Public sector employment

Chart description: Public sector employment

Note: The public sector includes all economic entities controlled by government and comprises four major components: the three levels of government (federal, provincial and territorial, and local) and government business enterprises. Each level of government has a general government component comprising ministries; departments; agencies and non-autonomous funds; autonomous funds and organizations; and, non-autonomous pension plans. Provincial and territorial government includes universities and colleges as well as health and social service institutions. Local government includes school boards. Government business enterprises are institutional units controlled by government; they operate on an autonomous basis as commercial corporations in the marketplace.

Available without charge in CANSIM: tables 183-0002 and 183-0004.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 1713.

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

Available without charge in CANSIM: tables 183-0021 and 183-0022.

Data tables on public sector employment are also available in the National economic accounts module of our website.

For more information, or to order data, contact Client Services (613-951-0767; To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Alain Baril (613-951-4131;, Public Sector Statistics Division.