When discussing employment with conservatives, I often hear claims like, “The only jobs the Alberta NDP created were government jobs.” I was curious about how true this was, so I decided to see whether the data supports this position.
According to the 2015–2016 provincial budget, there were the equivalent of 26,289 full-time people working within the various government ministries prior to the Alberta NDP taking office.
The 2019–2020 budget, on the other hand, shows that there were 26,734 full-time equivalent workers in government ministries by the time the NDP were voted out.
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That means the NDP increased the number of equivalent full-time government jobs by 445 while they were in power, or about 111 jobs per year.
Here’s how the total numbers look for each year.
Here’s a look at the increases and decreases over the NDP term.
Even though the loss of jobs in the final year was enough to wipe out the gains in the first year, the gains in the other two years still meant a net gain in total ministry jobs.
That’s not all.
The NDP had actually planned to increase jobs by far more in their second year than they did. They had hoped to go from 26,523 in 2015–2016 to 29,618 the next year, a jump of 11.67%. That would’ve been the highest increase of their term.
But instead, their second year came in at 2,824 fewer full-time equivalent jobs they had planned.
Here are how the jobs looked when broken down by ministry.
|Agriculture & Food||1,690||0|
|Agriculture & Forestry||0||1,701|
|Community & Social Services||0||3,163|
|Culture, Multiculturalism & Status of Women||0||568|
|Culture & Tourism||613||0|
|Economic Development & Trade||335||0|
|Economic Development, Trade & Tourism||0||373|
|Environment & Parks||2,134||2,213|
|Jobs, Skills, Training & Labour||609||0|
|Justice & Solicitor General||6,865||6,987|
|Labour & Immigration||0||816|
|Status of Women||3||0|
|Treasury Board & Finance||777||548|
Okay, so this can be a bit confusing. The data comes from the 2015–2016 and the 2019–2020 budget documents. The PCs, NDP, and UCP didn’t use the same names for the same ministries, and they moved portfolios around between ministries.
For example, what was Indigenous Relations under the NDP and UCP was Aboriginal Relations under the PCs. Also, you’ll notice that tourism moved from Culture and Tourism to Economic Development, Trade & Tourism. Also, the Seniors ministry became the Seniors and Housing ministry.
Either way, we can see that the number of people working within government ministries also increased.
But wait, there’s more.
The provincial government also hires workers to fill positions in schools, universities, colleges, and health, also referred to as SUCH, as well as public agencies and other arm’s length entities.
Here are all the government workers in the SUCH sector for the year before the NDP took office and their final year in office.
|Agriculture Financial Services||647||630|
|Alberta Energy Regulator||1,232||1,240|
|Alberta Health Services||76,101||80,570|
|Alberta Insurance Council||25||24|
|Alberta Investment Management||372||427|
|Alberta Local Authorities Pension Plan||6||8|
|Alberta Pensions Services||282||297|
|Alberta Securities Commission||191||204|
|Alberta Utilities Commission||150||143|
|Certificated Edcuation Staff||34,375||37,197|
|Energy Efficiency Alberta||0||34|
|Health Quality Council of Alberta||31||35|
|Natural Resources Conservation Board||47||47|
|Non-certificated Edcuation Staff||24,218||26,452|
|Safety Codes Council||0||60|
|Transportation Safety Board||13||12|
|Victims of Crime Fund||37||54|
The SUCH sector grew from 172,700 when the NDP took power to 182,566 over the next 4 years, an increase of nearly 10,000.
And that seems like a lot, but keep in mind that bulk of those are in 3 areas. Here are the jobs listed by total increases.
|Alberta Health Services||4,469|
|Certificated Edcuation Staff||2,822|
|Non-certificated Edcuation Staff||2,234|
|Safety Codes Council||60|
|Alberta Investment Management||55|
|Energy Efficiency Alberta||34|
|Victims of Crime Fund||17|
|Alberta Pensions Services||15|
|Alberta Securities Commission||13|
|Alberta Energy Regulator||8|
|Health Quality Council of Alberta||4|
|Alberta Local Authorities Pension Plan||2|
|Natural Resources Conservation Board||0|
|Alberta Insurance Council||-1|
|Transportation Safety Board||-1|
|Alberta Utilities Commission||-7|
|Agriculture Financial Services||-17|
During the NDP administration, the equivalent of over 9,500 full-time jobs were created in healthcare and K–12 education. That’s 96.5% of the jobs hired in the SUCH sector.
The other 19 entities accounted for only 341 new jobs, the other 3.5%.
And those numbers for AHS and schools aren’t all admin either. In fact, AHS management dropped from 3,382.74 FTEs in 2014–2015 to 3,113.27 in 2018–2019, a decrease of roughly 270.
Medical staff, on the other hand, increased by 5,332.5 during those 4 years, according to AHS annual report data. There were 1,013 more registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, and grad nurses; 1,021 more LPNs; 1,418 more other health technical and professionals; and 1,904 more unregulated health service providers.
So, while it’s true that public sector jobs increased by 10,321 while the NDP were in power, over 90% of them were medical personnel and K–12 staff.