Public Sector Bargaining

Public Sector and Union Relationship Diagram

Government is ultimately accountable to taxpayers for the costs and service delivery outcomes that result from bargaining and non-union compensation.  Provincial mandates in B.C. lay out the broad terms for collective bargaining, consistent across all sectors. 

The Public Sector Employers’ Council Secretariat (PSEC Secretariat), as a central agency, coordinates union and non-union compensation across the public sector. 

Through this centralized model, the PSEC Secretariat coordinates bargaining with unions through sectoral employers’ associations. It also protects the interests of taxpayers by ensuring public sector compensation costs are aligned with the fiscal plan through the budget objectives set by government. 

Public Sector Employees in B.C.

There are 384,000 people in British Columbia working in the public service, at Crown corporations and agencies, and in K-12, post-secondary, health and community social services sectors. Of those people, more than 310,000 are unionized employees. 

An increase of 1% in total compensation for all unionized public sector employees costs approximately $220 million.  If this is applied to non-union and management groups, the total compensation increases to $267 million.

The government and public sector employers spend about $26.7 billion on compensation, equivalent to roughly 56% of the Province's budget on compensation. More than $22 billion, or 82% of these costs, is determined through collective bargaining for B.C.'s public sector. 

Currently, 100% of unionized employees working across B.C.'s public sector are covered by settlements negotiated under 2014 Economic Stability Mandate.