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UCP finance minister bumps pay for pension investment execs

Travis Toews approved wage increases for AIMCo executives that were as high as 39%.

Last month, Alberta’s finance minister, Travis Toews, published a ministerial order approving pay increases for several executive positions at Alberta Investment Management Corporation.

AIMCo, as it’s commonly referred to, is in charge of managing pensions for several public sector employee groups in Alberta, including teachers, municipal workers, judges, and postsecondary faculty and staff.

They’ve been in the news over the last few years, as the UCP government has been forcing some public sector employee groups, such as public school teachers, to switch their pension fund management over to AIMCO.

Last April, the UCP government passed a regulation that explicitly prohibited increasing public sector executive wages. Section 5(1) of the Salary Restraint Regulation, effective 1 April 2021, stated

5(1) No public agency shall increase the base salary of a designated executive during the restraint period.

Salary Restraint Regulation, 1 April 2021, p. 2

The restraint period, according to section 1(e) of the same regulation was from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.

Towes’ ministerial order approved pay increases ranging from 3% to 39%, effective 1 January 2022.

So, not only did Toews file his ministerial order before the restraint period ended, but he made the effective date roughly 3 months prior to the end date.

The pay increases apply to nearly 450 AIMCo employees and vary depending on class and group designations.

For example 2 group 1 specialist executives and 1 group 1 administrative executives qualify for the 39% increase. Likewise, 4 group 2 specialist executives and 1 each of the group 1 manager, executive, analyst, and accountant classes will qualify for up to 27% more in salary. Another 95 executives will qualify for the 20% increase.

You can see the entire breakdown at the end of this article.

It’s not clear who specifically fits into the classes outlined in the appendix of the ministerial order, but I’ll point out that according to the 2021 annual report AIMCo published last June, their CEO, Kevin Uebelein, received $2.7 million in total compensation between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021.

Uebelein was their highest paid executive; although 2 othe executives—Sandra Lau, executive vice-president, and Dale MacMaster, chief investment officer—also received over $2 million in total compensation.

As well, 3 other executives received over $1 million in total compensation: Ben Hawkins, senior vice-president of infrastructure and renewable resources; Peter Teti, senior vice-president of private equity; and Michael Dal Bello, senior vice president of real estate.

The AIMCO executive salary increases approved by Toews come on the heels of calling for wage rollbacks of nearly 11% for social workers, as well as wage rollbacks of varying degree for other healthcare workers. And that’s not even counting wage freeze for the next 3 years.

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By Kim Siever

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

2 replies on “UCP finance minister bumps pay for pension investment execs”

Hi Kim. I wonder if you could change your headline on this to read pension investment managers? In truth pension managers have pay freezes in place. AIMCo manages investments, not pensions. Thanks.

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