Between 2009-10 and 2013-14, the budget for staffing at the regional offices rose from $1.6 million to $2.7 million, according to figures tabled in the House of Commons this week.
The number of satellite locations with staff has risen from 11 to 16 to include smaller centres such as Kitchener, Ont., Charlottetown and Iqaluit.
Several cabinet ministers, including Employment Minister Jason Kenney, Industry Minister James Moore and Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, have regional offices in addition to their headquarters in Ottawa, their MPs' offices, and other federal buildings.
The offices are top spots for patronage hiring.
For example, Aglukkaq employs ex-candidate Sandy Lee in her Yellowknife office, and Kenney has former regional organizer and candidate Mani Fallon working in a Vancouver office. Fisheries Minister Gail Shea employs a campaign worker and former Conservative nomination candidate in Charlottetown.
Finance Minister Joe Oliver recently stationed two senior political staff in a regional office in Toronto — former chief of staff Dan Miles and communications director Patricia Best.
The Liberal governments of the past also employed political staff in regional offices, commonly know as MROs.
Liberal MP Sean Casey, who submitted the written questions about the offices in the Commons, said he has no issue with ministers having political staff organizing events and meeting with stakeholders in the regions.
But Casey said the steep increase in spending is a hard pill to swallow considering recent cuts to veterans services, immigration and tax offices, and to Canada Post, among others.
Casey also noted that there has been a freeze for several years on MPs' office budgets, which he argued translates into a pay cut for employees when inflation is taken into account.
"It's not whether or not these things should exist, it's whether the austerity program that's applied to all other Canadian citizens has an exemption for members of the cabinet," said Casey, who represents a P.E.I. riding.
"This is the sort of thing that makes people cynical about politics — cabinet ministers increasing the budget because they're paying their friends."
Public Works Minister Diane Finley's office said the government believes all Canadians should have reasonable access to ministers' regional offices.
"That is why in 2010, we expanded and launched three offices in the three northern territories," spokeswoman Alyson Queen said in an email.
"While the opposition may believe that northern Canadians don't deserve the same services as other regions of the country, our government is committed to serving all Canadians in all parts of our country."
The Yukon News reported in 2012 that Aglukkaq's new Whitehorse office cost $826,926.40 to establish, and that members of the public could not gain entry without prior invitation.
In all, the number of full-time employees in the ministerial satellite offices has gone from 20 to 30 in seven years.
Such regional offices have come under criticism for being nothing more than hubs of political campaign activity within the various provinces. Former Canadian Heritage staffer Saulie Zajdel, a one-time Tory candidate in Montreal, was accused of acting as a "shadow MP" in a riding held by a Liberal.
The NDP is currently fighting a decision by the board of internal economy, which oversees Commons spending, requiring 23 MPs to repay untold millions in salaries paid to aides who worked in satellite offices in Toronto, Quebec and Montreal.
"How can (Treasury Board President) Tony Clement justify cutting support for seasonal workers, cutting mail service for senior citizens, cutting support for Canada's veterans, while spending millions of dollars on partisan advertising and operations in satellite offices," NDP MP Dan Harris said during question period Thursday.
Bernard Trottier, Finley's parliamentary secretary, responded by repeating Queen's talking points.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version had an incorrect spelling for Saulie Zajdel's surname.