Alberta paid out $2.3M in expenses to ministers & staffers last year

Of that, $98,783.96 went to just one person.

Last month, I broke a story on how much Alberta MLAs were paid during the 2019–2020 budget year.

Someone asked me if I had expense numbers for UCP staffers. Since I didn’t, I decided to go through the data and see what I could find.

I downloaded the travel and expense disclosure table from the government’s website, extracted just data for the 2019–2020 budget year, and grouped it by ministry.

You can find my curated data here.

First, here’s what I found by ministry:

Advanced Education$30,256.33
Agriculture & Forestry$112,877.75
Children’s Services$107,283.54
Community & Social Services$85,511.32
Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women$58,153.46
Economic Development, Trade, and Tourism$409,359.88
Environment & Parks$172,045.52
Executive Council$338,985.16
Indigenous Relations$60,555.68
Labour & Immigration$85,534.79
Municipal Affairs$34,072.92
Seniors & Housing$28,917.30
Service Alberta$35,025.30

So, the first thing we notice is that combined, all ministries were reimbursed for about $2.3 million last year. This includes both staffers and ministers. The average per ministry was $114,106.76.

The Ministry of Economic Development, Trade, and Tourism was reimbursed the most, at over $409,000. The next highest was Executive Council at nearly $340,000. This is basically Jason Kenney’s “ministry”.

Five other ministries—Agriculture & Forestry, Children’s Services, Energy, Environment & Parks, Justice—all had reimbursed expenses totalling over $100,000.

The ministry with the lowest reimbursement amounts was Seniors and Housing, at $28,917.30. Four other ministries—Advanced Education, Infrastructure, Municipal Affairs, and Service Alberta—came in at under $50,000.

Now let’s look at each ministry.

Advanced Education

Minister’s Chief of Staff$7,190.67
ED, Apprenticeship, Student Aid, Policy & Standards$4,499.04
Principal Advisor to the Minister$2,717.78
ADM, Advanced Learning & Community Partnerships$1,937.69
ED, Campus Alberta$1,731.21
Ministerial Assistant$1,664.33
Press Secretary$1,493.08
ADM, Strategic & Corporate Services$1,434.54
ADM, Apprenticeship & Student Aid$1,203.27
ED, Student Aid$822.50
ED, Ops, Client Connections, Apprenticeship & Stud. Aid$163.58
ED, Operations$125.00
ED, Strategic Policy & Planning$113.35
DM, Advanced Education$51.15
ED = executive director; ADM = assistant deputy minister; DM = deputy minister

Advanced Education had the second lowest total reimbursement amounts of all the ministries.

The highest amount paid out in expense reimbursements went to Jesse Robertson, the minister’s chief of staff, who was reimbursed for 125 claimed expenses. The highest reimbursed amount for a single day was 29 October 2019. Robertson was reimbursed for 6 expenses totalling $1,016.90 for airfare, meals, and ground transportation for tours of SAIT and Keyano College. This included a meal expense for 6 people at Murrieta’s in Calgary of more than $300. This was part of a larger tour 4–13 September, which included stops at various postsecondary institutions throughout Alberta and totalled over $2,900.

The largest single reimbursed expense was for $683.91, which was hotel accommodations in Calgary for Robertson, as part of the above tour. The next largest single expense ($629.25) for Robertson was for airfare to Grande Prairie to tour the college there.

The minister himself, Demetrios Nicolaides, received the second most reimbursements last year, coming at $5,109.14 for 45 expenses. His most reimbursed day was 29 October, when he was reimbursed $924.36 for 3 flights: a return flight to Calgary following a cabinet meeting and two flights to Fort McMurray to tour Keyano College. His largest single reimbursed expense ($629.25) was for airfare to Grande Prairie to tour their college.

Agriculture & Forestry

Deputy Minister$22,170.94
Chief of Staff$17,546.66
ED, Irrigation & Farm Water$10,216.09
ED, Wildfire Management$6,444.55
ADM, Forestry$3,620.69
ED, Industry Gov & Research$2,945.83
Press Secretary$2,485.66
ADM, Processing, Trade & Intergovernmental Relations$1,881.63
ED, Livestock & Crop Research$1,873.52
ED, Environmental Stewardship$1,852.55
Ministerial Assistant$1,851.85
ED, Food Safety$1,210.84
ED, Food & Bio Processing$1,074.73
ED, Forest Management$1,024.14
ED, Policy, Strategy & Intergovernmental Relations$915.13
ED, Rural Programming$893.07
ED, Animal Health$727.02
Farmers’ Advocate$499.12
Policy Advisor$425.46
ED, Crop Health & Assurance$350.68
DM, Trans$350.00
ED, Forest Stewardship & Trade$310.95
ADM Lead$256.95
ED, Strategic Policy & Extension$165.46
Chair, Agricultural Products Marketing Council$114.44
Senior Financial Officer & ED$75.00

The highest amount paid out to one person in the Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry was $22,170.94, which went to André Corbould, the deputy minister. This position was recently taken over by André Tremblay, and Corbould is now the deputy minister in the education ministry.

Corbould total reimbursement covered 187 claimed expense, the average of which was $118.56. The singlemost expensive reimbursement was $3,759.26 for return airfare 5–11 June 2019 to Japan and Korea. Total reimbursed expenses for that trip, for Corbould, came to $5,888.18.

Devin Dreeshen, the agriculture minister, had the second largest amount in total expense reimbursements, at $18,835.49, for 139 expenses. His most expensive reimbursements were those related to his Japan–Korea trip last year. He also had another Japan–Korea trip this year, which amounted to several thousand dollars in reimbursed expenses.

Children’s Services

Regional Director$32,042.66
Provincial Director, Child Intervention Delivery$27,402.06
ED, Policy, Practice, Program Dev.$9,935.82
Press Secretary$9,769.95
ADM, PIIC$4,634.84
Chief of Staff$4,448.02
Deputy Minister$3,880.95
ED, Early Childhood Development$2,658.12
ED, Reg Community Program Del$1,685.94
Ministerial Assistant$853.20
Senior Press Secretary$835.47
ADM, Child Intervention Div$682.05
ED, PEIY$660.75
ED, Indig and Comm Conn$355.24
ED, Social Innovation$272.87
ED, Cl Office Statutory Dir$149.00
ADM, Indigenous and Commun Conn$34.35
ED, Policy$28.00

The Children’s Services ministry had the 7th highest total reimbursement amount, and the lowest amount of those ministries with over $100,000 in claimed expenses.

Nearly a third of the expenses reimbursed in the ministry were claimed by one person: Michelle Basarab, Regional Director.

The minister, Rebecca Schultz, was reimbursed $6,496.30 for 52 expenses. Her largest expense claimed was $1,257.25 for airfare to Ottawa.

Community and Social Services

ED, Housing and Homeless Supports$16,211.10
Chief of Staff$12,203.40
ED, Family and Community Services$7,839.15
Regional Director, North Central$6,311.87
Regional Director, Central$3,326.98
Regional Director, NW$2,861.60
Regional Director, South$2,630.61
Deputy Minister$2,558.41
Regional Director, Calgary$2,369.02
Senior Policy Advisor$2,021.71
Advocate, Persons with Disabilities$1,999.67
ADM, Community Services and Supports$1,455.91
ADM, Delivery Services$1,201.85
Regional Director, ASIES$1,067.60
ED, Disabilities$981.16
ADM, Corporate Services$719.71
ED, Disability Services$589.09
ED, Strategic Initiatives$568.31
Press Secretary$501.50
ED, Common Service Delivery$440.41
Regional Director, Edmonton$439.51
Executive Lead, PDD Review$319.98
Senior Financial Officer$246.00
Director, Access & Service Delivery$245.52
Regional Director, Calgary$192.72
ED, Strategic Policy$80.22
ED, Income and Employment$58.71
ED, Business Services$57.50
ED, Cross Ministry & Community Partnership Initiatives$35.00
ED, Corporate Finance$24.00

This ministry came in 12th place regarding total amount paid out in expense reimbursements.

About 19% of the total $85,511.32 was expensed by Sharon Blackwell, the executive director of Housing and Homeless Supports in a total of 286 claims. The largest expense paid out to Blackwell was $1,062.86 for air fare between Edmonton and Peace River to attend meetings.

The minister, Rajan Sawhney was reimbursed for the 3rd highest amount in the ministry. The $11,387.09 she received was for 63 expenses. Her most expensive claim was just under $800 for a 4-night stay at the Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel.

Culture, Multiculturalism, and Status of Women

ED, Culture Industries/Film Commissioner$7,892.30
CEO, Alberta Sport Connection$6,676.05
Press Secretary$6,242.12
Chief of Staff$5,394.34
Deputy Minister$4,595.23
ED, Community Engagement$2,596.97
ADM, Strategic Services, Community & Social Services$2,537.91
Ministerial Assistant$2,359.12
ED, Arts$2,344.84
ADM, Heritage Division$1,666.82
ED, Francophone Secretariat$1,630.52
ED, Policy, Research & Business Development$1,477.23
ADM, Creative & Community Development$1,350.91
Chief of Staff$965.85
Parliamentary Secretariat$709.95
ADM, Status of Women & Strategic Integration$667.62
ED, Status of Women, Multiculturalism, & Inclusion$611.98
ED, Provincial Archives$452.90
ED, Historic Resources Management$382.27
ED, Royal Alberta Museum$304.15
ED, Destination Development$249.26
ED, Gender Equality and Advancement$207.90
ED, Royal Tyrell Museum$171.01
ADM, Gender Policy, Innovation & Policy$160.19
ED, Recreation & Physical Activity$57.57
Senior Financial Officer$54.10
ADM, Creative & Community Development, Culture…$46.00
ED, Historic Sites and Museums$32.35
1. The ED, Status of Women, Multiculturalism, & Inclusion and the ED, Gender Equality and Advancement are the same person.
2. The ADM, Status of Women & Strategic Integration and the ADM, Gender Policy, Innovation & Policy are the same person.

This ministry collectively received the 6th lowest amounts of reimbursed expenses and was the lowest ministry with reimbursements above $50,000.

The largest total reimbursements in the ministry were paid to Mark Ham, the executive director of Culture Industries and Alberta’s film commissioner: $7,892.30 for 255 expenses. His largest reimbursed expense was $447.32 for a 2-night stay at Hotel Arts in Calgary to attend the 2019 Canadian Country Music Association Awards. Total expenses during the CCMA Awards trip was $609.91.

Leela Aheer, the minister, was reimbursed $6,316.00 for 114 expenses, putting her in 3rd place. Her highest single expense was $1,456.00 for a 3-night stay at The Fairmont Banff Springs while she attended the Banff World Media Festival. Her total expenses for the festival were $1,590.20.

Economic Development, Trade and Tourism

MD, Alberta New Delhi Office$39,034.24
AB Senior Rep for Asia Pacific$33,954.74
Principal Secretary$22,384.51
MD, Alberta Beijing Office$19,936.15
Chief of Staff$18,658.54
Deputy Minister$17,396.96
MD, Alberta Singapore Office$15,198.21
Executive Assistant to the Premier$14,389.21
ADM, Economic Development$13,796.62
Principal Advisor$13,628.06
Chief of Staff to the Premier$12,389.78
MD, Alberta Japan Office$12,235.10
Deputy Director Communications, Premier Press Sec.$12,081.51
ADM, Investment & Trade$11,858.59
Executive Assistant to the Premier$10,711.75
MD, AB Washington Office$10,659.60
ED, Invest Alberta$6,653.21
ED, Innovation System Engage$6,478.78
ADM, Tourism & Recreation$5,699.72
ED, Access to Capital$5,613.31
ED, Europe, Middle East, India, & Africa$4,173.64
Communications Coordinator to the Premier$4,018.80
Minister of Energy$3,740.15
ED, Policy, Research, & Business Development, Tourism$3,553.55
MD, AB UK Office$2,862.53
DM, Policy Coordination Office, Executive Council$2,777.79
Ministerial Assistant$2,776.26
ED, Asia Pacific$2,460.18
Press Secretary$2,317.42
ADM, Science & Innovation$2,234.62
ED, Entrepreneurship & Regional Development$1,977.38
ED, Americas$1,803.99
Deputy Press Secretary to the Premier$1,801.42
Director of Operations to the Premier$1,636.19
ADM, Executive Council$1,567.81
ED, International Engagement$1,531.51
ED, Technology Partnerships and Investments$1,093.41
Sr. Representative to the USA$1,047.10
ED, Trade Relations$852.62
Director, Stakeholder Relations to the Premier$824.34
MD, AB Mexico Office$802.13
ED, Oil Sands Monitoring Program$789.45
ADM, Strategic Policy and Corporate Services$614.30
ED, Science & Innovation, Policy & Strategy$850.57
ED, Policy & Strategic Initiatives$500.69
ED, Entrepreneurship & Regional Development$495.09
ED, Program Delivery & Engagement$351.70
MD, AB Korea Office$316.80
ED, Strategy$269.00
Interim CEO, Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corp.$187.46
ED, Economic Development$173.52
ED, Investment Services$48.95
ED, Finance & Admin / SFO$13.13
1. MD is short for managing director.
2. The 2 executive assistants to the premier are different people.
3. The ED, Science & Innovation, Policy & Strategy and the ED, Strategy are the same person.
4. The ED, Technology Partnerships and Investments and the ED, Economic Development are the same person.
5. The ED, Entrepreneurship & Regional Development and the ED, Investment Services are the same person.
6. The ED, International Engagement and the ED, Americas are the same person.
7. The ED, Asia Pacific and the ED, Trade Relations are the same person.
8. The MD, AB UK Office and the MD, AB Mexico Office are the same person.

This ministry has, by far, the largest amount of expense reimbursement.

Now, keep in mind, that these expenses weren’t all incurred by the minister and her staff. Some expenses were incurred by the premier and some of his staff, as well as the minister of energy.

For example, Jason Kenney was paid the 4th highest amount in reimbursements under this ministry: $28,003.46. His principal secretary (Howard Anglin) was 5th highest.

If you add up all the expenses from the premier and his staffers, it totals $126,214.63, or about a third of the ministry’s expense reimbursements.

The person with the single highest reimbursement amount was Rahul Sharma, the managing director of Alberta’s New Delhi Office. The $39,034.24 in total reimbursements were for 188 claimed expenses. His largest reimbursed claim was $24,219.35 in airfare from India to Edmonton, as part of a 2-month stay in Edmonton. Most of the expenses for that trip fall under the current fiscal year, rather than the one I’m analyzing in this news story.

The minister, Tanya Fir (who has since been removed from the position), was reimbursed $28,403.33 for 180 expenses. Her largest expense was $4,008.52 in round-trip airfare to Tokyo and Seoul. The entire trip cost $8,217.89.


Chief of Staff$10,509.61
ADM, System Excellence$9,513.64
ADM, Program & System Support$8,709.92
Deputy Minister$8,616.34
Ministerial Assistant$7,069.73
Press Secretary$4,455.43
ED, Strategic Financial Services$2,958.44
ED, Field Services$2,517.74
ED, Evidence & Labour Relations$2,241.01
ED, Teaching & Leadership Excellence; Registrar$1,717.90
ED, Capital Planning$1,554.48
ADM, FNMI Education$1,489.67
ED, Education Supports$931.48
ED, FNMI Education$789.04
ED, Policy and Planning$687.99
ADM, Curriculum$629.39
ADM, Strategic Services & Governance$341.37
ED, Curriculum Coordination & Implementation$337.50
ED, Curriculum, Early & Middle Years Sector$128.36
ED, Provincial Assessment$127.97
Deputy Minister$69.24
1. The two deputy ministers are different people; the first moved to Advanced Education in January.

The Education ministry had the 13th highest amount of total reimbursements, paid out to 22 individuals for 1,201 expenses.

The person with the highest payout in reimbursements was Nicole Williams, the minister’s chief of staff. She received $10,509.61 for 133 reimbursed expenses. The largest single expense she was reimbursed for was $1,415.48 in accommodations for a 3-night stay at the Calgary Marriott Downtown for meetings between the minister and various stakeholders.

Adriana LaGrange, the minister of education, was reimbursed $8,792.37, the third largest amount for the ministry. Her reimbursement was for 54 expenses. The largest single expense was, unsurprisingly, $1,419.48 in accommodations for a 3-night stay at the Calgary Marriott Downtown for the above mentioned stakeholder meetings.


Chief of Staff$41,556.48
Deputy Minister$19,176.71
Associate Minister, Natural Gas$17,463.84
ADM, Natural Gas$16,443.34
ED, Market Access$8,669.45
ED, Natural Gas$7,627.34
ADM, Energy Operations$6,230.76
Commissioner, public inquiry into anti-oil campaign$5,027.71
ADM, Ministry Services$4,746.75
ED, Petroleum Marketing & Valuation Experts$3,041.99
Special Advisor$3,022.24
ED, Strategic Policy$2,928.18
ED, Strategic Initiatives$2,661.97
ADM, Resource Stewardship$2,604.79
Press Secretary$2,281.60
Sr. ADM$1,976.60
ADM, Natural Gas & Electricity$1,675.26
ADM, Energy Policy$1,609.61
ED, Royalty Operations$1,247.29
ADM, Electricity & Sustainable Energy$1,148.91
ED, Resource Stewardship Policy$1,118.27
ED, Retail, Distribution & Coal$1,069.03
ED, Market Policy$1,046.81
ED, Strategic Policy$939.78
Sr. ADM, Projects & Initiatives Advisory$917.56
Chief of Staff, DMO$714.25
ED, Strategy and Integration$595.35
ED, Professional & Program Services$580.07
ED, PNG Tenure$262.19
ED, Generation & Transmission$250.24
DM, Policy Coordination Office$26.75
1. ADM, Energy Operations and ADM, Electricity & Sustainable Energy are the same person.
2. ADM, Energy Policy and Sr. ADM, Projects & Initiatives Advisory are the same person.

The energy ministry had the 3rd highest amount of expense reimbursements in 2019–2020.

The person with the single highest amount of reimbursements was Grant Sprague, the deputy minister. He was reimbursed $19,176.71 for 82 claimed expenses. His largest single expense was $2,208.20 in return airfare for a trip to London. He expensed $4,422.98 for the entire 5-day trip.

Dale Nally, MLA for Morinville–St. Albert and the associate minister of natural gas, was reimbursed for $13,149.42 in 59 expenses. His largest reimbursed expense was $2,144.13 for a return airfare to Japan and Korea for the GZERO Conference. He was reimbursed $5,331.98 in total expenses for the entire conference.

Sonya Savage, the energy minister was reimbursed for $6,989.10 in 117 expenses. Her single highest reimbursed expense was $2,640.73 in airfare to Ottawa and Vancouver for various meetings.

Environment and Parks

Chief Scientist and ADM$23,171.50
ED, Peace Region$14,787.85
ED, South Sask Region$9,935.41
ED, Integrated Environmental Analytics & Prediction$8,300.06
Chief of Staff$6,361.47
ED, Regulatory & Compliance$4,794.27
ED, Regulatory Assurance South$3,980.75
ADM, Operations$3,432.61
ED, Water Policy$3,344.42
ED, Lower Athabasca$3,251.43
ADM, Strategy$3,144.82
ED, Operations Infrastructure$3,003.96
ED, Water and Waste Policy$2,931.40
ED, Water Infrastructure & Operations$2,738.04
ED, Climate Change Policy$2,700.11
ED, Environmental Monitoring & Observations$2,633.12
ADM, Corporate Services$2,625.25
ED, Indigenous Relations$2,457.36
ED, Land Policy$2,441.66
ADM, Policy & Planning$2,228.34
ED, Upper Athabasca$2,115.62
ED, Indigenous Knowledge, Community Monitoring…$2,023.64
Manager, Legislative Affairs & House Procedures$1,887.86
ED, Red Deer–North Saskatchewan$1,862.57
ED, Oil Sands Monitoring$1,840.16
ED, Environment Support & Emergency Response$1,707.03
ADM, Climate Change$1,388.40
ED, Regional Service Delivery$1,297.77
Press Secretary$1,296.86
ED, Lower Athabasca$1,157.57
ED, Operations$1,127.78
ED, Alberta Land Use Secretariat$1,110.31
Ministerial Assistant$1,087.69
ED, Watershed & Resilience$986.18
ED, Regulatory Assurance North$875.95
ED, South Saskatchewan Region$710.31
ED, Science Integration$648.12
ADM, Regulatory Assurance$642.08
ED, Fish & Wildlife$638.64
ED, Provincial Programs$614.94
ED, Community Engagement$561.65
ADM, Parks Division$514.20
ED, Lands Planning$513.42
ED, Lands Policy & Programs$456.44
ADM, Lands Division$415.57
ED, Regulatory Programs$331.25
ED, Program Coordination$278.38
ED, Environmental Emergency Management$221.75
ED, Air and Climate Policy$219.30
ADM, Policy and Planning$152.41
Chief of Staff$130.69
ED, Fish & Wildlife Stewardship$48.10
ED, Land Use$39.90
1. The Manager, Legislative Affairs & House Procedures is not a position specific to this ministry.

The environment and parks ministry had the 4th highest amount paid out in expense reimbursements, just barely behind the energy ministry. It paid out over $172,000 between 56 employees, including the minister.

The person with the highest total amount in reimbursement payments as Beverly Yee, the deputy minister. She received $26,382.85 for 123 claimed expenses. Her largest single expense was $1,418.76 was for return airfare to Ottawa. She was reimbursed $2,450.51 to total for all the 27 expenses she claimed on the 4-day trip.

The minister, Jason Nixon, was reimbursed $8,323.35 for 80 expenses. His largest reimbursement payment of $1,491.12 was for a 6-day stay at the Residence Inn Calgary Downtown for TIER stakeholder roundtable meetings. Total reimbursements for the entire event were $1,648.12.

Executive Council

Principal Advisor$98,783.96
Chief of Staff$28,193.38
DM, Policy Coordination Office$26,588.28
DM, Intergovernmental Relations$20,818.38
Principal Secretary$14,893.62
Secretary to Cabinet$14,223.76
Executive Assistant to the Premier$13,716.33
Press Secretary$11,574.80
Director of Talent$10,056.52
Ministerial Assistant$9,969.06
ED, Intergovernmental Operations$8,786.28
Communications Coordinator$8,515.07
Director, Digital Strategy$7,294.34
Ministerial Assistant$5,975.04
Director, Stakeholder Relations$5,295.56
Deputy Press Secretary$5,259.78
Chief of Protocol$5,027.84
Deputy Secretary to Cabinet$4,259.65
ED, Communications and Planning$4,112.12
Manager, Stakeholder Relations$3,494.96
Director of Operations$2,061.92
ADM, Economic Policy, Policy Coordination Office$2,044.59
Special Advisor$2,025.73
ED, Social Policy$1,919.64
ED, Cabinet Coordination$1,788.00
ADM, Intergovernmental Relations$1,647.77
Managing Director, Washington Office$1,328.09
ED, Prem Southern AB Office$961.05
ADM, Community, Jobs, and Economic Policy$770.01
ED, Legislative Review$635.52
ADM, Social Policy$427.77
ED, Issues Management$303.00
Minister of Finance$222.73
Chief of Staff, Minister of Finance$222.73
ADM, Economics & Fiscal Policy$222.73
ADM, Legislative Review$7.50
1. Director, Stakeholder Relations and Manager, Stakeholder Relations are two different people.
2. Managing Director, Washington Office and ADM, Community, Jobs, and Economic Policy are the same person.

The Executive Council ministry is basically the premier’s staff but it also oversees transministerial services, such as strategic planning and policy development.

The person working for the Executive Council ministry who was paid the highest amount in 2019–2020 was David Knight-Legg, Jason Kenney’s principal advisor.

He was reimbursed $98,783.96 for 1,047 expenses. This is, by far, the most any one person was reimbursed of all ministries. His single largest reimbursed expense was a $3,571.29 one-way trip from London, England, to Calgary. He was reimbursed a combined total of $9,273.91 for the entire trip to England.

Of the more than 1,000 expenses, 22 of them were over $1,000.00—23 if you count the one that was $999.55. These ranged from the $3,571.29 mentioned above and $1,001.08. All of them were related to travel (including another London flight over $3,000.00), mostly accommodations and airfare; although a $1,492.40 expense was for a 2-week vehicle rental to drive between Calgary and Edmonton after his flight was cancelled.

Finally, 933 of his reimburses expenses were under $100 (totalling over $20,000), and 284 of those were under $10 (totalling $2,300). Even though he was reimbursed nearly $100,000 in total, his average reimbursed claim actually works out to $94.35.

Knight-Legg was recently appointed the head of Invest Alberta Corporation.

Jason Kenney was reimbursed the 6th highest amount of anyone in this ministry: $14,452.33 for 177 expenses. His largest single reimbursed expense was $1,947.79 for a 4-day stay at the Sofitel in Washington DC; his lowest rate for his stay was $186.15 a night, and his highest was $492.15 a night. He was reimbursed a combined total of $5,063.61 for the 7-day trip (which included a couple of days in Montréal).

Finance and Treasury Board

Chief of Staff$10,072.00
Ministerial Assistant$5,974.76
Press Secretary$4,613.81
ED, Capital Markets$4,456.90
ED, Intergovernmental Relations$3,907.14
ADM, Treasury & Risk Management$3,905.24
ED, Automobile Insurance Rate Board$3,866.55
ADM, Financial Sector Regulation & Policy$3,851.19
Deputy Minister$3,782.48
Chief of Staff, Red Tape$3,611.82
ADM, Economics & Fiscal Policy$3,195.00
Associate Minister, Red Tape$2,788.20
ED, Strategy and Client Services$1,914.93
DS, Insurance Regulations & Market Conduct$1,548.89
Consumer Rep, Automobile Insurance Rate Board$1,476.70
DS, Pension$1,351.29
ED, Strategic Negotiations Lead$1,258.97
ED, Portfolio 3$1,348.38
ED, Tax Policy$1,096.37
ED, Revenue Operations$1,115.43
Senior ADM, Red Tape Reduction$943.04
ADM, Financial and Corporate Services$860.33
ED, Labour Relations Research, Analysis & Compensation$657.64
ED, Portfolio 4$656.27
Treasury Board Secretariat$653.83
ED, Learning & Development$633.95
Chief Advisor on Negotiations$570.58
ED, Insights and Coordination$556.67
ED, Financial Institutions Policy$526.97
ED, Talent Acquisition Services$519.82
ED, Internal Audit Operations$422.04
ED, Corporate Planning, Policy, & Administration$420.97
ED, Audit$417.52
ED, Sector 5$388.81
Chief Economist$291.66
ED, Capital Planning$284.35
Senior Assistant Deputy Minister$246.39
ED, Employee Relations Services$215.69
ED, Alberta Public Service Communications$196.00
ED, Budget Development & Planning$166.17
ED, Banking & Debt Operations$125.00
ED, Employment Policy$93.00
ED, Workforce Plan & Analytics$91.56
MD, Communications & Public Engagement$87.88
Public Service Commissioner$73.58
ED, Communications$71.00
ED, Pension Policy$70.00
ED, Portfolio 1$64.00
ED, Portfolio 2$56.00
ED, Talent Management$54.00
Special Advisor, ERP & Financial Transformation$48.00
ED, Risk Management & Insurance$42.00
ADM, Labour & Employment Practices$24.76
ED, Total Compensation$17.75
1. The ED, Intergovernmental Relations is an Executive Council position.
2. DS means Deputy Superintendent
3. ED, Strategic Negotiations Lead was filled by 2 persons
4. ADM, Financial Sector Regulation and Policy was filled by 2 persons
5. Treasury Board Secretariat was the same person as one of the ADM, Financial Sector Regulation and Policy
6. ED, Portfolio 1 and ED, Talent Management are the same person

Unlike most of the other ministries, the person from this ministry with the largest amount in total reimbursement is the minister, Travis Toews. He was reimbursed $18,888.51 for 111 expenses. His single highest reimbursed expense was for a $1,431.76 flight to Ottawa. There was no indication of any other reimbursed expenses connected to that trip.

Grant Hunter, the associate minister of red tape, was reimbursed $2,788.20 for 25 expenses. His largest reimbursement was $1,023.02 for a 3-night stay at the Ramada in downtown Calgary while he attended Calgary Stampede events.


Chief of Staff, Mental Health & Addictions$24,801.02
ADM, Health Workforce Planning & Accountability$10,770.01
Ministerial Assistant, Mental Health & Addictions$6,697.27
Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health$6,333.36
Associate Minister, Mental Health & Addictions$5,789.27
Member, AISH & IESA Appeal Panels$4,702.00
ED, Health Insurance Programs$3,290.57
ADM, Health Standards, Quality & Performance$3,285.50
ED, Health Workforce Partnerships$2,595.24
Deputy Minister$2,447.20
ADM, Financial & Corporate Services$2,363.57
ED, Mental Health & Addictions$2,077.63
ED, Research & Innovation$1,665.77
ADM, Pharmaceutical & Supplementary Benefits$1,664.40
Chief of Staff$1,497.47
ED, Health & Wellness Program$1,304.13
ED, Health System Planning & Quality$1,273.42
ED, Professional Regulation & Physician Workforce$1,152.20
ED, Continuing Care$1,100.99
ED, Indigenous, Intergovernmental & Agency Relations$1,022.07
Press Secretary, Mental Health & Addictions$1,012.27
ED, Primary & Community Health$948.94
ADM, Health Information Systems$895.13
Senior ADM, Health Systems Integration$808.78
ED, Compliance & Monitoring$668.67
Health Advocate$558.08
ADM, Health Service Delivery$550.09
Senior Press Secretary$384.06
ADM, Child Intervention$347.09
ED, Pharmaceutical & Supplementary Benefits$324.80
Chief Medical Officer of Health$303.99
ED, Health Facilities Planning$287.14
ED, Opioid Implementation Team$132.83
Health Advocate$82.85
Medical Advisor$70.00
ED, Planning & Operations$26.25
Dr. Bernard Sowa$14.25
1. ADM, Health Workforce Planning & Accountability and ADM, Child Intervention are the same person.

The health ministry paid out the 9th highest total amount of reimbursements during 2019–2020.

The person who was paid the single highest total amount in reimbursed expenses was Marshall Smith, the chief of staff for Jason Luan, the associate minister of mental health and addictions. Smith received $24,801.02 for 349 claimed expenses. The largest expense he was reimbursed for was $982.35 for a 5-night stay Residence Inn in downtown Calgary to attend stakeholder meetings.

Luan himself was the 5th highest reimbursed person in the health ministry. He was reimbursed $5,789.27 for 48 expenses. His single highest reimbursed expense was $697.26 for a flight from Edmonton to Grande Prairie to tour the supervised consumption site there.

Speaking of the associate ministry for mental health and addictions, 5 of the 38 people reimbursed from the health ministry were connected to Luan’s associate ministry. Of those, 3 of them—including Luan—were in the top 5 people who were paid the highest reimbursements.

Tyler Shandro, the health minister, was paid only $442.36 in reimbursements, putting him in 28th place, or 11th lowest. Of all the ministers in the UCP cabinet, he received, by far, the lowest amount in reimbursements, the only one who came in at under $1,000. Of the 6 expenses he was reimbursed for, his highest was $387.86 for a flight to Grande Prairie to tour the hospital.

Indigenous Relations

ADM, First Nations and Métis Relations$16,790.47
Chief of Staff$10,160.54
Press Secretary$4,492.55
ED, First Nations Relations$3,498.46
Deputy Minister$3,342.41
Policy Advisor$1,797.48
ED, Aboriginal Consultation Office$1,595.24
ADM, Consultation, Land & Policy$1,306.21
ED, Aboriginal Initiatives$615.73
Interim CEO, Indigenous Opportunities Corporation$562.36
ED, Stewardship & Policy Integration$106.35
ED, Metis Relations$82.76
ADM, Executive Council$8.32

The ministry of Indigenous relations had the 7th lowest amount in total reimbursements of all the ministries.

The most reimbursed person in this ministry was Clay Buchanan, the associate deputy minister of First Nations and Métis relations. He received $16,790.47 for 64 expenses. His single highest reimbursed expense was $3,576.68 for catering a meeting between Jason Kenney and chiefs and proxy chiefs from most of the 48 First Nations communities with Alberta.

The minister, Rick Wilson, was the second highest reimbursed member of the ministry, barely lower than Buchanan at $16,196.80. Of his 218 expenses, Wilson’s highest single reimbursement was $1,109.25 for a flight to Ottawa as part of a delegation that travelled with Kenney. Wilson’s reimbursed expenses for the entire trip totalled $1,821.64.


ADM, Capital Projects Delivery$10,428.37
Chief of Staff$3,140.84
ADM, Properties$2,654.72
ED, Government Facilities$2,470.62
Press Secretary$1,559.55
Junior Press Secretary$1,207.40
Ministerial Assistant$1,142.90
ED, Property Management$776.93
ADM, Corporate Strategies & Services$283.25
Senior Financial Officer$242.40
ED, Operations & Administration$205.24
ED, Policy & Strategic Initiatives$92.00
ADM, Strategic & Consumer Services$43.50
1. ADM, Corporate Strategies & Services and ED, Policy & Strategic Initiatives are the same person

The infrastructure ministry paid out the 5th lowest amount of total reimbursed expenses.

This is one of three ministries where the person with the highest amount of reimbursements was the minister. Prasad Panda was reimbursed $14,325.65 for 356 expenses. His largest single expense was $860.25 for a flight from Calgary to Grande Prairie to Calgary to Edmonton and back to Calgary; in Grande Prairie, he toured the hospital, and in Edmonton, he attended a meeting with the ethics commissioner.

Justice and Solicitor General

DM, Crown Prosecution Service$19,168.78
ED, Court of Queens Bench$9,314.19
ED, Court of Appeal & Registrar$8,644.17
Assistant Chief Medical Examiner$8,484.86
ADM, Solicitor General$8,178.79
Chief of Staff$7,841.49
ED, Specialized Prosecutions$7,186.95
Chief Crown Prosecutor$5,985.36
Senior Press Secretary & Senior Advisor$5,606.56
Chief, Alberta Human Rights Commission$5,706.69
ED, Provincial Court$4,874.90
Director, Alberta Human Rights Commission$4,025.05
Deputy Chief Medical Examiner$3,980.94
Assistant Chief Medical Examiner$3,354.30
ED, Legal Services Coordination$3,276.52
ED, Provincial Court$3,154.15
ED, Sheriffs Branch$2,958.17
ED, Adult Centre Operations$2,646.16
ED, Resolution Services$2,546.08
ED, ASIRT$2,453.71
ED, Regional Prosecutions$2,075.40
ED, Appeals, Education and Prosecution Policy$1,988.07
Crown Prosecutor, Specialized Prosecutions$1,986.36
Public Trustee$1,909.52
ED, Law Enforcement Oversight$1,546.83
ADM, Legal Services$1,288.34
Member, Alberta Review Board$983.21
ED, Chief Fish & Wildlife Officer$853.37
ED, Court of Queens Bench$813.63
Property Rights Advocate$755.93
Ministerial Representative$675.27
ED, Financial Services & Senior Financial Officer$629.20
ED, Public Guardian & Trustee$483.38
ED, Policy & Planning Services$210.36
ED, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner$165.20
ED, Results Based Budgeting$152.03
ED, Training Academy$148.00
ED, Business Innovation$100.67
Member, Victims of Crime Programs Committee$57.35
ED, Legal Services$30.00
Ministerial Assistant$28.39
Member, Law Enforcement Review Board$24.00
Policy Advisor$13.80
1. Lawyer was actually 3 individuals, all members of the Law Enforcement Review Board.
2. ED, Adult Centre Operations and ED, Young Offender are the same person.

The justice ministry and solicitor general office paid out the 5th highest amount in reimbursements of all the ministries.

The person who was paid the highest amount was Eric Tolppanen, the assistant deputy minister of the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service. He received $19,168.78 for 477 claimed expenses. His single highest reimbursed expense was $588.45 for car rental and fuel to attend a budget meeting in Edmonton. Actually, he was reimbursed over $6,000 for over 75 claimed expenses for ground transportation that year, including car rentals, fuel, Red Arrow, and mileage. Tolppanen was recently appointed a provincial judge.

Doug Schweitzer, the minister of justice, was paid $5,461.33 for 52 reimbursed expenses. The single largest claimed expense he was reimbursed for a return $1,401.24 flight to Ottawa, where he joined 18 other ministers and public servants to advocate for a “fair deal for Alberta”. Reimbursements for the entire 3-day trip totalled $2,195.53.

Labour and Immigration

Members, WCB Appeals Commission$12,552.72
Chief Appeals Commissioner$10,007.95
ED, WCB Appeals Commission$8,401.24
Fair Practices Commissioner$8,172.06
ED, Fair Practices$7,693.99
ED, Training & Employment Services$7,093.96
Chief of Staff$6,070.03
Special Assistant, Stakeholder & Caucus Relations$4,122.51
Press Secretary$2,808.88
Ministerial Assistant$1,679.90
ED, Labour Relations Board$2,317.36
Essential Services Commissioner, LRB$2,267.11
Medical Panels Commissioner$1,879.84
ADM, Safe, Fair & Healthy Workplaces$943.26
ADM, Workforce Strategies$858.13
ED, Occupational Health & Safety Program Delivery$811.57
ED, Employment Standards Program Delivery$546.24
ED, OHS Education & Prevention$530.27
ED, Workplace Policy, Legislation & Program Dev.$105.33
Director, Medical Services$95.55
ADM, Strategy and Policy$54.19
ADM, Public Agency Secretariat$43.87
1. Members, WCB Appeals Commission includes 10 persons
2. ED, Employment Standards Program Delivery includes 2 persons

The labour and immigration ministry paid out the 11th highest total amounts of reimbursements in 2019–2020. The highest combined payout in the ministry was $12,552.72 to members of the WCB Appeals Commission, of which there were 10.

The single person to be reimbursed for expenses in this ministry was Dale Wispinski, the chief appeals commissioner and the CEO of Alberta Worker’s Compensation. She was reimbursed $10,007.95 for 137 claimed expenses. Her single largest reimbursed expense was $1,065.85 for a 5-night stay at the Fairmont Palliser in Calgary to attend meetings and hearings. Her combined reimbursements for the entire trip totalled $1,783.45.

Jason Copping, the minister of labour and immigration, was the 14th highest reimbursed person in the ministry. He was reimbursed $2,101.26 for 18 expenses. His single largest reimbursement was $566.26 for a return flight between Calgary and Edmonton for “ethnic media outreach” with Jason Kenney.

Municipal Affairs

Chief of Staff$4,223.13
Press Secretary$3,476.52
MD, Alberta Emergency Management Agency$3,350.32
ADM, Public Safety$3,319.08
ED, Policy & Training$2,040.85
ADM, Municipal Services & Legislation$1,883.54
Ministerial Assistant$1,240.37
ED, Housing Capital Program$1,025.82
ED, Strategic Policy and Planning$893.21
ED, Strategic & System Support$840.79
ED, Provincial Operations$757.79
ED, Grants & Education Property Tax$691.35
ADM, Municipal Assessment & Grants$589.89
ED, Capacity and Sustainability$551.26
ED, Recovery$450.25
ED, Assessment Services & Provincial Assessor$118.05
ED, Financial & Support Services$63.13
ADM, Corporate Strategic Service$36.83
Senior Financial Officer$11.75
1. Ministerial Assistant was two persons.

The municipal affairs minister had the third lowest total reimbursement amount last year.

The minister at the time, Kaycee Madu, was the highest reimbursed person in the ministry, one of only three ministers to be the highest reimbursed person in their ministry.

Madu was reimbursed $7,150.34 for 81 expenses. His single largest reimbursement was $1,614.30 for a 3-night stay at the Westin in downtown Calgary for a cabinet retreat. The stay was split between two invoices (here and here).

Seniors and Housing

ADM, Seniors Services$4,130.12
Chief of Staff$3,412.54
Deputy Minister$3,112.42
Press Secretary$3,108.55
Military Liaison$2,367.78
ED, Seniors Strategic Planning$1,810.53
ED, Housing Capital$1,679.18
Seniors Advocate$1,557.66
ADM, Housing$1,504.69
ED, Stakeholder Relations & Housing Strategies$1,132.21
Senior Financial Officer$984.68
Ministerial Assistant$934.68
ED, Housing Policy, Planning & Analytics$722.67

The seniors and housing ministry paid out less in total reimbursements than any other ministry in the provincial government.

The person within the ministry with the highest total reimbursement payout was Evan Romanow, assistant deputy minister of Seniors Services. He was paid $4,130.12 in 86 claimed expenses. His single highest reimbursement was $1,011.25 for a return flight from Edmonton to Charlottetown for a federal meeting regarding seniors.

Josephine Pon, the seniors and housing minister, was the 5th highest reimbursed person in the ministry. She was reimbursed $2,459.59 for 121 expenses. Her highest reimbursed expenses was $139.89 for mileage driving from Edmonton to Drumheller for an announcement.

Brad Rutherford, military liaison and UCP MLA for Leduc–Beaumont, was reimbursed $2,367.78 for 27 expenses. His largest reimbursed expense was $409.36 for a 2-night stay at the Four Points in Gatineau for a “Seamless Canada Trip”.

Service Alberta

ED, Utilities Consumer Advocate$3,493.99
CIO, Environment & Resources$3,371.49
ED, Procurement Services$2,244.11
ED, Telecommunications$2,142.56
ED, Consumer Services$2,072.28
ED, ​​IMT Administrative Services$1,833.22
CIO, People, Families and Communities$1,525.02
ED, Shared Services$1,520.85
CIO, Government Services$1,405.96
Press Secretary$1,184.57
Executive Lead, Enterprise IMT Services$1,087.28
CIO, Community Services & Safety$1,073.05
ED, Corporate Information Security$942.50
Chief of Staff$941.57
ED, Enterprise Service Management$787.18
ED, Land Titles & Surveys$710.09
ED, Infrastructure Operations$618.00
ADM, ERP Transformation$614.57
ED, ERP Engagement$561.00
Policy Advisor$436.31
Deputy Minister$403.80
CIO, Economy & Growth$366.81
Chief Officer, Digital Innovation$344.97
ED, Service Delivery$349.03
ADM, Provincial Telecommunications & Registries$269.72
ADM, Corporate Strategies & Services$261.28
ED, IMT Sector Integration$260.50
Corporate Chief Information Officer$191.30
ED, Strategy Governance$140.15
Senior Financial Officer$101.36
ED, Strategic Integration$86.83
ADM, FOIP$83.82
ED, Enterprise Data & Analytics$73.32
Cutover Lead, ERP Implementation$14.00
1. ADM, Provincial Telecommunications & Registries and Corporate Chief Information Officer are the same person

Service Alberta paid out the 4th lowest amount in total reimbursements of all ministries.

Chris Hunt, the utilities consumer advocate, had the highest total amount of reimbursements, at $3,493.99 for 91 expenses. His highest reimbursed expense was $370.88 for a 2-night stay at the Courtyard Marriott in Edmonton for a UCA panel meeting. Reimbursed expenses for the entire trip totalled $803.92.

Nate Glubish, minister of Service Alberta, was paid $2,954.93 in reimbursements for 45 claimed expenses. His single highest expense was $464.34 for a 2-night stay at the Westin in downtown Calgary, where he stayed during a cabinet retreat. The reimbursed amount for that trip was $552.94 for 8 expenses.


Chief of Staff$15,510.99
Director, Southern Region$9,525.41
ED, Transportation Policy$8,483.75
Deputy Minister$7,066.86
ADM, Safety & Policy$6,175.44
Director, Peace Region$5,860.57
ED, Springbank Reservoir Project$4,924.47
ED, Project Delivery$4,235.02
ADM, Child Intervention$3,285.30
ED, Major Capital Projects$3,047.51
ADM, Construction & Maintenance$2,843.20
Press Secretary$2,622.54
ED, Office Traffic Safety$1,596.92
ED, Carrier & Vehicle Safety$1,511.34
ED, Strategic Procurement$1,327.50
ED, Safety & Compliance Services$1,270.63
ADM, Corporate Strategies & Services$1,052.79
ADM, Planning, Finance & Technical Standards$1,006.59
Senior Financial Officer$957.02
Director, Fort McMurray & North Central$738.30
Executive Director (unspecified)$663.65
ED, Operations, Planning & Programming$466.03
Director, Central Region$346.94
ED, Technical Standards$325.08
ED, Driver Programs$249.16
ED, Planning & Programming Management$140.80
ED, Change Management$13.33
1. ED, Transportation Policy and ED, Springbank Reservoir Project are the same person.
2. ED, Office Traffic Safety and ED, Carrier & Vehicle Safety are the same person.
3. ADM, Corporate Strategies & Services and ADM, Planning, Finance & Technical Standards are the same person.
4. Director, Fort McMurray & North Central was two person.

The transportation ministry had the 10th highest amount in total reimbursements.

Mark Jacka, the minister’s chief of staff, was the person reimbursed the most, at $15,510.99 in 168 claimed expenses. His single largest expense was $1,755.44 for airfare between Montréal, Ottawa, and Toronto, then a flight home to Edmonton, for various meetings. The reimbursed cost of the entire trip was $3,004.86.

The minister of transportation, Ric McIver, had the 4th highest reimbursement total: $8,102.67 for 41 claimed expenses. The largest single reimbursed expense was a $881.50 return flight from Calgary to Toronto for the P3 Conference.

Phew. That’s all of them. Did you make it through all right? It’s a lot of information.

Anyhow. if we add it all up, it comes to $2,282,076.51. That’s split between 33,405 claimed expenses.

By far, the single person paid for the highest total reimbursements, as mentioned earlier was David Knight-Legg, Jason Kenney’s principal advisor, who was reimbursed $98,783.96 for 1,047 expenses. He was recently appointed the head of Invest Alberta Corporation.

The person paid the lowest in total reimbursements was Alice Barnsley-Kamal, also with Kenney’s Executive Council. She was reimbursed $7.50 for parking charges.

The average total reimbursements paid out was $3,682.26 per person. The median total reimbursement was $1,493.08.

The highest reimbursed minister was Jason Kenney. His total reimbursed expenses came to $42,455.79, split between Executive Council and Economic Development, Trade & Tourism.

The lowest reimbursed minister was Tyler Shandro, minister of health, who was reimbursed $442.36.

Combined, the 20 ministers were collectively reimbursed a total of $234,939.27, for an average total reimbursement of about $11,746.96 per minister for 2019–2020. The median total was $8,213.01.

If you include the 3 associate ministers who were reimbursed for claimed expenses—mental health and addiction, natural gas, red tape—the combined total is $260,980.58, with an average of $11,346.98 and a median of $8,102.67.

You can see all the data here.

For reference, here is what total reimbursements looked like under the NDP:

  • 2015-2016: $4,509,396.02 for 66,895 expenses
  • 2016-2017: $4,409,700.16 for 64,804 expenses
  • 2017-2018: $4,522,215.26 for 63,997 expenses
  • 2018-2019: $4,185,400.50 for 59,769 expenses

Keep in mind that the NDP weren’t elected until 5 May 2015, partway into the 2015–2016 budget year. They didn’t take office until 24 May. Total reimbursements 1 April and 23 May came to $556,792.70, or about 12.3% of the entire amount paid out that budget year, despite the 18 days being only 4.9% of the budget year.

Reimbursements averaged $67.41 per expense in 2015–2016, $68.05 in 2016–2017, $70.66 in 2017–2018, and $70.03 in 2019–2020. By comparison, the average reimbursement during the UCP’s first year was $68.32 per expense.

Support independent journalism

By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

5 replies on “Alberta paid out $2.3M in expenses to ministers & staffers last year”

Wow … great work Kim.

I wonder what the Canadian Taxpayer’s Association will have to say about all of this

And I was denied seniors benefit because my pension and my wife annual salary is high $ 44,000 a year. Can someone do something for me in this case?

Funny you should ask. I’m literally compiling the totals for every fiscal year under the NDP. It should be up in a few minutes. It will be at the end of the article.

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