The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says public service spending cuts have mostly focused on service delivery, contradicting the Harper government's assurances that cuts would spare front-line resources.
The agency predicts the public service will lose 28,700 jobs between March 2012 and March 2016.
It says the ranks of the federal public service will be down 8 per cent by 2016, although the 2012 budget predicted a reduction of only 4.8 per cent.
The analysis by senior economist David Macdonald says Human Resources and Skills Development will take a 24 per cent hit to its workforce, losing 5,700 jobs by 2016.
Macdonald says Statistics Canada will take the largest proportional loss, losing a third of its staff, while Veterans Affairs will cut almost a quarter.
National Defence and the Canada Revenue Agency are scheduled to slice 3,577 and 2,491 positions respectively, but the proportional impact of those reductions represent a relatively smaller 4 per cent and 6 per cent drop respectively.