AB paid out $20M to current & former MLAs in 2021–22

This is about $93,000 less than the previous year.

Recently, the Alberta government released the most recent Report of Selected Payments.

The 105-page report outlines the various payments made to MLAs, including salary, benefits, and expense reimbursements, between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022.

I decided to go through the document, extract the data, and import it into a spreadsheet so I could compare amounts. You can see the spreadsheet here.

Current MLAs

First, here are the totals for the various payment categories for the 87 current MLAs. Let’s start with remuneration and benefits:


Compensation is the base amount each MLA receives, which was $120,936.

Retirement is the retirement investment amount (equal to 13% of their indemnity allowance). For every current MLA, it was $15,722.

Fees are the amounts paid for serving on committees. Generally membership in a government committee is unpaid, but committee chairs are paid. Only 13 MLAs were paid fees.

Statutory salary is an added amount on top of the base salary, and is for those who hold additional offices, such as premier, leader of the official opposition, ministers, government whips, and so on.

And, of course, benefits include CPP, WCB, a health plan, and—if the MLA chooses to do so—a matching contribution to their personal RRSP account.

Now for expense reimbursements:

Travel (Minister)$234,688
Travel (MLA)$921,493
Travel (other)$9,905

This is all pretty self-explanatory, but I should point out that accommodation includes not just accommodation expenses while travelling within the province on MLA business but also expenses incurred in maintaining a temporary residence to attend a legislative sitting or other MLA business.

Now let’s add them all up.

Remuneration & benefits$14,369,722
Total reimbursements$2,402,574
Total payments$16,840,541

So, the Alberta government paid out over $16.8 million to current MLAs in salary, benefits, and expense reimbursements. (And “other”, but we’ll get to that in a bit.)

Former MLAs

The Alberta government also doles out payments each year to the Legislative Assembly Pension Plan for former members of the assembly or their spouses or beneficiaries. In total, there was nearly $3.1 million paid out during the 2021–2022 budget year to the pensions of 93 former MLAs.


Now that we know the numbers, let’s look at some of the specifics.

For example, the MLA with the highest total remuneration last year was Jason Kenney, which shouldn’t be that surprising. Alberta’s premier gets the highest additional allowance, at a total of $65,244 per year. In total, he received $213,606 last year.

The next highest was Prasad Panda, the infrastructure minister, who received $60,468 in statutory pay and total remuneration of $211,951. Rajan Sawhney, who served as minister of Community and Social Services and then as transportation minister, received just $1 less than that.

There were actually another 17 MLAs who received over $200,000 last year:

Tyler ShandroMinister: health; labour; justice$211,752
Jason NixonMinister: environment$211,699
Doug SchweitzerMinister: jobs, economy & innovation$211,698
Josephine PonMinister: seniors and housing$211,687
Nathan CooperSpeaker$211,604
Ric McIverMinister: transportation$211,584
Nate GlubishMinister: Service Alberta; Tech & Innovation$211,538
Sonya SavageMinister: Energy$211,536
Rebecca SchulzMinister: Children’s Services$211,514
Rick WilsonMinister: Indigenous Relations$211,490
Adriana LaGrangeMinister: Education$211,380
Travis ToewsMinister: Finance$210,422
Jason CoppingMinister: Labour & immigration; health$209,763
Rachel NotleyLeader of official opposition$209,291
Demetrios NicolaidesMinister: Advanced education$208,619
Kaycee MaduMinister: Justice; labour & immigration$204,467
Jason LuanMinister: Community & social services$201,688

All but 2 of those 17 are ministers, and each minister receives a $60,468 top up, the same amount as the leader of the opposition and the speaker of the legislature, who is Nathan Cooper, listed as 5th on the list and 8th highest overall.

The lowest paid MLA is Laila Goodridge, a UCP member representing Fort McMurray–Lac La Biche, who received $69,374 in remuneration (including benefits) last year. She stepped down to run in the 2021 federal election.

There are 15 other MLAs who received under $150,000, 8 of whom are NDP members. The remaining MLAs received between $150,000 and $200,000; although, technically, only 3 of them received over $180,000.


Next, let’s discuss travel expenses. These are expenses incurred while travelling as part of conducting business, either as a minister or as an MLA. This includes mileage for personal vehicle use, vehicle rentals, air fare, accommodation, meals, taxis, and parking.

Minister travel expenses

The minister claiming the most in travel expenses was Travis Toews, who was paid $19,547 in travel reimbursements for work he did as finance minister. He also was reimbursed for $16,402 in MLA travel expenses.

The next highest travel expenses for a minister was for Prasad Panda, who received $15,542. Eight others—Mike Ellis, Sonya Savage, Tyler Shandro, Dale Nally, Kaycee Madu, Rebecca Schulz, Jason Copping, and Rick Wilson—also received over $10,000 in travel expenses for minister work.

Dan Williams received the lowest reimbursement for travel expenses as a current minister: $358. The next lowest were Leela Aheer and Ric McIver, who received $1,416 and $1,535, respectively.

MLA travel expenses

As far as MLA travel expenses go, Nathan Cooper, UCP MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, came in at the highest, having been reimbursed $48,613 for travel expenses related to MLA work. The next highest was Dan Williams , UCP MLA for Peace River, who was reimbursed for $36,210. The 10 highest amounts that were reimbursed were over $20,000.

Nathan CooperUCPOlds-Didsbury-Three Hills$48,613
Dan WilliamsUCPPeace River$36,210
Joseph SchowUCPCardston-Siksika$35,041
Jackie Armstrong-HomeniukUCPFort Saskatchewan-Vegreville$31,182
Miranda RosinUCPBanff-Kananaskis$30,996
Jason NixonUCPRimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre$26,286
David HansonUCPBonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul$24,797
Drew BarnesUCPCypress-Medicine Hat$24,017
Todd LoewenUCPCentral Peace-Notley$22,579
Pat RehnUCPLesser Slave Lake$21,925

Here are the MLAs with the 10 lowest reimbursements for MLA travel expenses:

Adriana LaGrangeUCPRed Deer-North$936
R.J. SigurdsonUCPHighwood$918
David ShepherdNDPEdmonton-City Centre$699
Prasad PandaUCPCalgary-Edgemont$141
Jon CarsonNDPEdmonton-West Henday$130
Christina GrayNDPEdmonton-Mill Woods$11
Rod LoyolaNDPEdmonton-Ellerslie$11
Kaycee MaduUCPEdmonton-South West$0
Jason KenneyUCPCalgary-Lougheed$0
Nate GlubishUCPStrathcona-Sherwood Park$0

Keep in mind that 5 of those 10 claimed travel expenses while ministers or associate ministers over the last year.

Other travel expenses

There was also 1 MLA—Tracy Allard—who was reimbursed for what was labelled as “other” travel expenses, basically those incurred while serving on government boards, commissions, committees, or other bodies. Allard received $9,905.


Referred to technically as subsistence allowance, this consists of accommodation costs while travelling within the province on MLA business or maintaining a temporary residence to attend a legislative sitting or other MLA business.

The MLA who received the highest reimbursement in this area was Joseph Schow, the UCP MLA for Cardston-Siksika, at $25,592. The next highest was Martin Long UCP MLA for West Yellowhead, who was reimbursed $25,328.

There were 48 MLAs who were each reimbursed for over $20,000 worth of subsistence expenses. Here are the 10 highest:

Joseph SchowUCPCardston-Siksika$25,592
Martin LongUCPWest Yellowhead$25,328
Tany YaoUCPFort McMurray-Wood Buffalo$24,937
Tracy AllardUCPGrande Prairie$24,465
Michaela Frey-GlasgoUCPBrooks-Medicine Hat$24,347
Dan WilliamsUCPPeace River$24,334
Jackie Armstrong-HomeniukUCPFort Saskatchewan-Vegreville$24,269
Shannon PhillipsNDPLethbridge-West$23,938
David HansonUCPBonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul$23,800
Grant HunterUCPTaber-Warner$23,800

There were 6 MLAs who claimed $0 in accommodation expenses:

Rachel NotleyNDPEdmonton-Strathcona
Chris NielsenNDPEdmonton-Decore
Jon CarsonNDPEdmonton-West Henday
Rod LoyolaNDPEdmonton-Ellerslie
Kaycee MaduUCPEdmonton-South West
Nate GlubishUCPStrathcona-Sherwood Park

It shouldn’t be a surprise that these are all in the Edmonton area.

If we add all of the reimbursement amounts up, here are the 10 MLAs with the highest payouts:

Nathan CooperUCPOlds-Didsbury-Three Hills$72,318
Dan WilliamsUCPPeace River$60,902
Joseph SchowUCPCardston-Siksika$60,633
Travis ToewsUCPGrande Prairie-Wapiti$57,179
Jason NixonUCPRimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre$55,792
Jackie Armstrong-HomeniukUCPFort Saskatchewan-Vegreville$55,451
Miranda RosinUCPBanff-Kananaskis$54,426
Martin LongUCPWest Yellowhead$49,161
David HansonUCPBonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul$48,597
Grant HunterUCPTaber-Warner$47,283

What’s interesting is that of these 10, only 2 are ministers— Toews and Nixon—although Cooper is the speaker. Dan Williams is the non-minister MLA with the highest total expense reimbursement payout.

Here are the 10 lowest for total reimbursements:

Rod LoyolaNDPEdmonton-Ellerslie$11
Jon CarsonNDPEdmonton-West Henday$130
Christina GrayNDPEdmonton-Mill Woods$437
R.J. SigurdsonUCPHighwood$1,110
David ShepherdNDPEdmonton-City Centre$1,376
Lorne DachNDPEdmonton-McClung$1,587
Jordan WalkerUCPSherwood Park$1,721
Janis IrwinNDPEdmonton-Highlands-Norwood$2,418
Sarah HoffmanNDPEdmonton-Glenora$3,540
Richard FeehanNDPEdmonton-Rutherford$3,659


There were 4 MLAs who received payments that don’t fall into any of these other categories:

Jason LuanUCPCalgary–Foothills$56,465
Rick WilsonUCPMaskwacis-Wetaskiwin$7,100
Kaycee MaduUCPEdmonton-South West$2,340
Doug SchweitzerUCPCalgary-Elbow$2,340

Here are what they’re for:

  • Luan: Pension benefits under the Local Authorities Pension Plan. Prior to being elected, Luan was a city planner with the City of Calgary for over 20 years.
  • Wilson: Blind trust fees paid by the Department of Indigenous Relations
  • Madu: Membership fees to Law Society of Alberta paid by the Department of Justice and Solicitor General
  • Schweitzer: Membership fees to Law Society of Alberta paid by the Department of Jobs, Economy and Innovation


Since I live in Lethbridge, I’m taking some editorial liberty to highlight how the 2 local MLAs fared:

RemunerationNathan NeudorfShannon Phillips
1. Neudorf was the parliamentary secretary for water stewardship to the environment and parks. He also chaired the Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future.
2. Phillips chairs the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, which is where the fee comes from. She was also environment minister for the first few weeks of the fiscal year, just prior to the election.
ReimbursementNathan NeudorfShannon Phillips
Travel (minister)$0$0
Travel (MLA)$21,837$16,759
Travel (other)$0$0

So, Neudorf received a combined $198,111 (including reimbursements), and Phillips received a combined $194,789. Last year, they received $188,682 and $188,449, respectively (including reimbursement for expenses).

Finally, here’s a breakdown of what the government paid out last year and the previous year.

Remuneration & benefits$14,510,330$14,491,904-$18,426
Travel (Minister)$162,281$241,244$78,963
Travel (MLA)$939,088$925,883-$13,205
Travel (other)$271$9,905$9,634
Total reimbursements$2,309,227$2,422,550$113,323
Former MLA pensions$3,287,261$3,097,775-$189,486

Update (1 Feb 2022): The original version of this chart add up all rows, rather than just remuneration & benefits, total reimbursements, other, and former MLA pensions. As a result, it showed a total payment that was $17 million higher.

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.

Comment on this story

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: