Total compensation of Québec government employees has weakened compared to that of other Québec employees since 2009, but is on par with the private sector

Montréal, November 30, 2017. – In 2017, the salaries of Québec government employees1 are 13.9% lower than those of other Québec employees working in enterprises with 200 or more employees. Their salaries are also lower than those of private sector employees (-10.2%). With regard to total compensation, which includes salaries, benefits and hours at work, Québec government employees are behind Québec employees as a whole by 8.6%, though they are on par with their counterparts in the private sector. These are among the main findings from Rémunération des salariés. État et évolution comparés 2017, a report prepared by the Institut de la statistique du Québec and made public today.

Québec government employees are in a more favourable position for total compensation than for salaries because of a shorter normal workweek and more paid time off (holidays). This means that Québec government employees spend fewer hours at work (obtained by subtracting paid time off from normal working hours).

Costs for benefits in the Québec government, at 25.4% of the salary, are lower than those of other Québec employers (27.0%), but higher than in the private sector (24.2%).

The differentials are calculated based on 76 benchmark jobs representative of the Québec government employee structure and comparable to those in the different segments of the labour market. The jobs used are spread across five categories: professionals, technicians, office employees, service employees, and manual workers. The benchmark jobs in the technician and office employee categories account for 26% and 37%, respectively, of the total number of Québec government employees included in the comparison.

The comparative situation of Québec government employees remained stable between 2016 and 2017 in relation to that of other Québec employees as a whole and to the private sector, in terms of both salaries and total compensation.

The findings take into account the new collective agreements signed in 2016 with the majority of Québec government employees. On April 1, 2017, the employees covered by these agreements received a 1.75% adjustment to their salary structure. The collective agreements of certain groups of employees, mainly those in benchmark jobs in the professionals category, were still not signed when this report was produced.

Between 2009 and 2017, the comparative situation of Québec government employees has weakened in relation to that of other Québec employees and the private sector. The salary gap between Québec government employees and employees in those sectors is wider in 2017 than it was in 2009, going from -8.7% to -13.9% and -6.0% to -10.2%. In terms of total compensation, the same holds true in relation to other Québec employees, with the differential going from -3.7% in 2009 to -8.6% in 2017. In comparison with the private sector, however, the situation of Québec government employees has remained stable.

Weaker projections for 2018 on account of inflation

Based on the collective agreements signed with the Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale and surveys conducted by consulting firms, the Institut predicts that Québec employees (unionized and non-unionized) will benefit from average salary-scale increases of 1.8% in 2017 and 1.9% in 2018. Unionized employees should receive average increases of 1.8% in 2017 and 2.0% in 2018. Non-unionized employees are expected to obtain an increase of 1.8% for both years. According to available inflation forecasts (1.0% in 2017 and 1.6% in 2018), Québec employees as a whole should see a gain in purchasing power in both years, though the gain should be higher in 2017 than in 2018 (0.8 versus 0.3 percentage points).


1. This sector includes the Québec public service, as well as the public education system and health and social services network. Public bodies, for example government corporations, are excluded. They are part of the “government business enterprise” sector.

The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for conducting all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.

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  • Nadège Jean

    Coordinator, Compensation Studies
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