Justin Trudeau has increased the size of the federal public service more than any other Canadian Prime Minister since 1984, concludes a study published this Thursday by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI).“Since the Trudeau government came to power, there has been an unprecedented expansion in the size of the bureaucracy,” says Gabriel Giguère, public policy analyst at the MEI and author of the study. “The government seems to have lost control of government growth.”The latest figures from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat state that as of March 31 2023, the federal government comprised 357,247 public servants.This represents a 37.9% increase, i.e., a rise of almost 100,000 employees over the size of government when the first Trudeau budget was tabled in March of 2016.Canada now has nine federal employees for every 1,000 inhabitants, a number 25.3% higher than it was eight years ago.Labour costs, meanwhile, have risen by 53.2% since this government took office, according to the latest figures from the Parliamentary Budget Officer.“Given such a large increase in the size of government, one might expect Canadians to see a significant difference in the quantity and quality of federal services, but this has not materialized,” said Giguère. “The rate of growth in the federal workforce was already high in 2019 and this has been sustained right through 2023 at a pace unmatched at any point in the preceding forty years."The author noted that across their mandates the Mulroney, Chrétien, and Harper governments each reduced the number of federal public servants per 1,000 inhabitants.A ranking of the prime ministers since 1984 according to the change in the number of civil servants per 1000 inhabitants is as follows:Brian Mulroney, –10.2%Jean Chrétien, –9.7%Stephen Harper, –6.3%Paul Martin, –1.0%Justin Trudeau, +25.3%The Brian Mulroney Progressive Conservatives took power following 16 years of Pierre Trudeau Liberal governments which had increased the civil service to 253,000 people. Mulroney only reduced the civil service by 1,000 people over almost nine years in power, but the ratio of bureaucrats per thousand Canadian residents dropped from 9.9 to capita to 8.9 because he ramped up immigration.The Jean Chretien Liberals reduced the federal public service by 38,000 people from 1993 to 1997, a 15.6% reduction per capita. However, by the time he handed power to Paul Martin, the total reduction for his decade of rule was just 3,500.During the Stephen Harper Conservative era, the civil service grew by 33,000 during his minority terms, then dropped in the majority term. The government ended up with 7,100 more positions in 2015 than it had in 2006. However, the amount of federal civil servants dropped from 7.7 employees per 1000 residents down to 7.2.The Justin Trudeau Liberals had just under 260,000 federal bureaucrats when they took power in 2015, but had 357,247 by March 2023. Between 2022 and 2023, 21,290 were hired.“The Trudeau government has increased the headcount of the federal public service by 37.9% and the ratio of public servants per 1,000 inhabitants by 25.3%. If the current rate of growth were to continue, the workforce would reach more than 386,505 by 2025, representing an almost 50% increase in the federal public service in just 10 years,” Giguère wrote.“The rising trajectory of the magnitude of the government’s labour force requires a new approach. This should begin with a thorough analysis of the necessity of every government position with a view to reducing the size of government (and its associated personnel costs) the way the Chrétien government did in the 1990s.”The MEI is an independent public policy think tank with offices in Montreal and Calgary. Through its publications, media appearances and advisory services to policymakers, the MEI stimulates public policy debate and reforms based on sound economics and entrepreneurship.