2018 Ontario Public Sector Salary Disclosure Reveals Unsustainable Trend Across the Public Sector

Published on March 28, 2019

Restoring Trust and Accountability in Ontario’s Finances


Toronto— Ontario's Government is working for the people by releasing the salaries of Ontario Public Service and broader public sector employees who were paid $100,000 or more in 2018. Proactively releasing information on public sector salaries is part of the government's commitment to being open and accountable to taxpayers.

The release shows the total number of employees disclosed under the Act continued to grow in 2018, increasing by 19,131 employees, or 14.5%. A large portion of the increase is attributable to the Broader Public Sector, which specifically saw an increase of 17,792 employees disclosed, or 15.4% in 2018.  

In addition, the data shows that the number of employees earning more than $100,000 at the agencies that make up Ontario Health has grown from 138 in 2003 to 1,469 in 2018, a 964.5% increase.

Between 2003 and 2018, average salaries of all employees in the public sector, including those making less than $100,000, increased by 48.1%. By 2017, the average private sector worker earned $16,049 less than the average Ontario public sector employee. This income disparity has steadily grown since 2003 and the average private sector Ontario worker's salary in 2017 is now 33.6% lower than the salary for the average Ontario public sector employee.

"Releasing the Public Sector Salary Disclosure compendium is part of our government's commitment to restoring trust and accountability for the people of Ontario," said Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board. "These are your taxpayer dollars, and we remain committed to directing government spending towards front-line programs and services - such as healthcare and education."

The 2018 data is available in a downloadable, machine-readable, sortable, searchable table format on Ontario.ca/salarydisclosure, making it transparent and accessible to the people of Ontario. Every disclosure dating back to 1996 is also available in accessible, downloadable, sortable formats.

The Treasury Board Secretariat has paused all pending compensation adjustments for public sector leaders, and all pending broader public sector executive compensation increases, while a full review takes place. Fair and sustainable compensation costs are a key component of the provincial government's plan to ensure value for money, direct tax dollars towards front line services, and restore sustainability in the province's finances.

"With more than half of government expenses going towards wages, we will continue to review compensation costs through the lens of sustainability," said Bethlenfalvy. "In order to protect public services, we need to consider new approaches to compensation and reform public services in a way that puts reliability and the taxpayer at the centre of everything we do. To do this, we must put structures in place that create a culture of efficiency and balance the need to attract necessary talent with respect for taxpayer dollars."

Quick Facts

  • The total salaries cost to the government was $19,207,224,624 in 2018, a 14.1% increase from the previous year.
  • The Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act requires most organizations that receive public funding from Ontario to disclose annually the names, positions, salaries and total taxable benefits of employees paid $100,000 or more in the previous calendar year.
  • The Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act applies to the provincial government, Crown agencies and corporations, Ontario Power Generation and subsidiaries, publicly-funded organizations such as hospitals, municipalities, school boards, universities and colleges, and not-for-profit organizations that meet a funding threshold.

Additional Resources