Canada Year Book


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    The federal, provincial, territorial and local levels of government (plus the Quebec and Canada pension plans) spent $691.4 billion in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011.

    Revenues reached $626.7 billion, up 2.1% from 2010. Most government revenue comes from taxes, which totalled $432.7 billion in 2011, a 1.1% increase from $428.1 billion in 2010.

    Governments ended the year with a net operating balance of -$64.7 billion and a net financial debt of $798.3 billion.

    At the federal level, the government reduced its borrowing, but its debt load increased by $47.3 billion. By end of the fiscal year, the ratio of net financial debt to gross domestic product (GDP) stood at 36%, continuing its upward trend since the third quarter of 2008 when it was just under 32%.

    Provincial and territorial governments increased their debt load as well. The combined net financial debts of provincial governments reached $329.6 billion, up 12% from 2010. Local governments also increased their debt load, reaching $40.1 billion.

    Employment growth in the public sector

    Employment in the public sector accounts for 20% of employed Canadians. The public sector employed 3.6 million people in 2010, an increase of almost 46,000 jobs (1.3%) from 2009. In 2010, the wages and salaries of public sector employees totalled $191.8 billion, a 4.4% increase from $183.7 billion in 2009.

    In 2010, the roster of federal general government employees (including reservists and full-time military personnel) numbered 420,685, an increase of 5,288 federal jobs from a year earlier. General government comprises ministries, departments, non-autonomous funds and organizations, autonomous funds and organizations, and non-autonomous pension plans.

    Most (3 out of 4) federal government employees work in a census metropolitan area (CMA). This proportion, which excludes employees of government business enterprises, has been stable since 2001.

    Nearly 1 out of 3 federal employees works in Ottawa–Gatineau. This proportion has been on the rise since the mid-1990s, when it was roughly 1 out of 4. Federal employees comprise nearly 20% of Ottawa–Gatineau's employed labour force. Montréal has the second-largest number of federal employees; Toronto, the third largest.

    Provincial, territorial and local governments

    Provincial and territorial general government employment declined from 2009 by 224 jobs to 358,237 employees in 2010. The number of university, college, vocational and trade school employees (a component of provincial/territorial government) rose to 387,056, an increase of 12,311 jobs from 2009 to 2010. As well, employment in health and social service institutions (another provincial/territorial government component) increased by 21,858 jobs, to total 844,762 employees.

    There was an increase in local general government employment in 2010: it was up by 9,418 jobs to 605,562 employees. Employment at local school boards declined by 2,746 jobs to 677,857 employees.

    Government business enterprises hit by recession

    Government business enterprises (GBEs) employed 315,114 people in 2010, 40 fewer jobs than a year earlier. GBEs are government-controlled, public corporations (financial and non-financial) engaged in selling goods and services to the public in the marketplace.

    Federal GBEs (including monetary authorities) earned after-tax profits of $4.8 billion in 2009, a decline of nearly 18% from 2008. In 2009, the net worth of federal GBEs increased 17% to $22.6 billion.

    The federal government used several GBEs to add liquidity to financial markets during the 2008–2009 recession. In 2009, federal GBEs borrowed $143.1 billion from the federal government, a 46% increase from 2008. In addition, the share capital of federal GBEs increased by 57% to $5.0 billion.

    GBEs in every province except Ontario and Alberta recorded a decline in after-tax profits; yet after-tax profits were virtually unchanged in the Northwest Territories. The net worth of provincial and territorial GBEs amounted to $45.5 billion in 2009, up 15% from 2008.

    Chart 16.1 Public sector employment, 2010
    View data source for chart 16.1

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