When Travis Toews, Alberta’s finance minister, commented last week on wage negotiations between the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees and Alberta Public Service, one thing he mentioned was that “Alberta’s government has led the way with pay cuts for the Premier, MLAs and most recently for political staff”.
The pay cuts to MLAs he’s referring to was a 5% wage cut (and 10% for the premier) implemented last year. This brought the base MLA salary from $127,296 to $120,936, the first cut since the PCs cut compensation in 2015 (also by 5%).
There were no changes to MLA base compensation under the NDP.
Related to this change, and the AUPE negotiations, someone recently reached out to me to see if I had researched how Alberta MLA compensation compares to that of the other provinces.
I hadn’t, so I did.
Alberta MLAs are definitely paid more than their counterparts in the other provinces. Here’s what it looks like in a graph:
The red line is the average of all the provinces, which happens to be $98,448.21.
Now, since Alberta has the highest compensation, it’s going to drive up the average of all the provinces. So, here’s what the provinces look like with the average of all the provinces besides Alberta, which is $95,949.57.
This makes 5 provinces above the average, with 2 others pretty close.
However, it also means that Alberta is no longer $22,487.79 higher than the average. If you don’t include them in the average calculation, then they’re $24,986.43 above the average.
In the first instance, Alberta is 22.84% higher than the national average, but 26.04% higher than the adjusted average. The next highest is Ontario, which is at 18.39% and 21.47%, respectively.
Now, there might be a few readers who are thinking to themselves, “Well, Alberta has the highest median income in the country, so it’d make sense that MLA compensation here would be higher.”
And they’d be right.
See? Median wage is highest in Canada. MLA compensation is highest in Canada. Makes sense, right?
What if we compared the median wage in each province with the MLA compensation in those provinces?
Well, here’s what we get:
Not only is the median wage highest in Alberta and not only is MLA compensation highest in Alberta, but the difference between the two is also the highest of all the province.
Alberta MLAs have a base compensation that is $80,136 more than the median wage.
Here’s another way to look at it, the difference between the averages.
In other words, the difference between Alberta MLAs’ base compensation and the national average is about 1.7 times higher than the difference between the Alberta median wage and the national average.
Not only do Alberta MLAs get more than MLAs in other provinces, but the gap between how much they get and the median wage in their province is the highest in the country.
You can find the data and all the graphs here.