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CTF says 11,500 staff at Alberta post-secondary institutions received raises during pandemic

Pay raises since 2015, when the downturn in Alberta began, cost $218 million, according to documents the CTF obtained from post-secondary institutions through freedom of information requests.

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More than 11,500 employees at Alberta colleges and universities got a pay raise during the pandemic last year, costing taxpayers and students $29 million, says the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF).

The CTF released documents Monday showing the raises at individual locations.

“One way for universities and colleges to help struggling taxpayers and students would be to stop handing out pay raises that we can’t afford,” said Franco Terrazzano, Alberta Director for the CTF.

“The government is right to look for savings at Alberta’s colleges and universities and it should push these employees to help share in the burden and take a pay cut.”

Pay raises since 2015, when the downturn in Alberta began, cost $218 million, according to documents the CTF obtained from post-secondary institutions through freedom of information requests.

While compensation paid to all workers in Alberta has declined by about 10% from 2014 through 2020, total compensation paid to post-secondary employees has increased by nearly 9% according to Alberta government budgets.

Alberta spends $36,510 per post-secondary student, according to the Blue Ribbon Panel on Alberta’s finances. That’s $10,000 more per student than what the other large provinces spend on average.

“It’s not fair to force struggling families and students to pay a bigger bill so professors and bureaucrats can collect a bigger paycheque,” said Terrazzano.

“All of these pay raises show the cupboards aren’t bare at these schools and that there’s clearly room for savings.”

You can find the CTF’s report here.

Post-secondary institutionNumber of employees that received pay raise in 2020Cost of pay raises 2020Cost of pay raises 2015-2020
University of Calgary4,352$10,523,109$78,884,413
University of Alberta4,130$11,763,319$75,544,311
SAIT456$1,737,431$12,253,374
Athabasca University504$1,127,607$10,733,382
University of Lethbridge563$1,377,334$9,486,427 
Bow Valley College258$846,698$7,892,730
Mount Royal University498$728,924$7,599,626
Red Deer College151$118,472$4,091,837
Keyano College72 (number of pay raises)$205,618$2,824,878
Medicine Hat College46$161,112$2,454,646
Banff Centre110 (number of pay raises)$103,826$2,298,858
Olds College135$161,056$1,486,613
Portage College50$121,213$1,476,928
Alberta University of the Arts86$194,266$701,188
Northern Lakes College57$39,836$451,904
NorQuest College327N.A.N.A.
TOTAL11,500+$29,209,821$218,181,115 
Courtesy CTF

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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NDP support holding strong across Alberta

That’s enough of a lead to form a majority government, say pollsters.

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The UCP would be gutted and Rachel Notley back as premier if an election were held today, an exclusive new poll done for the Western Standard shows.

The Mainstreet Research poll shows Notley’s NDP currently has the support of 41% of Albertans with Jason Kenney’s UCP well back at 25%

That’s enough of a lead to form a majority government, say pollsters.

Courtesy Mainstreet Research

The upstart Wildrose Independence Party collect 11% support in the new poll, with 5% siding with the Alberta Party, with the Liberals and Greens at 1% each. A total of 14% of voters were undecided.

Wildrose leader Paul Hinman polls best among people who are refusing to get vaccinated. When they were asked, 34% chose Wildrose, 29% for the UCP and only 2% for the NDP.

If the undecided are removed from the poll, the NDP checks in with 45%, the UCP with 29%, the WIP with 13% and the AP with 6%

In that poll, the NDP is also leading in Alberta’s two major cities. In Edmonton, the NDP has 62% support with the UCP at 21% In Calgary, the NDP leads with 48% support and the UCP at 31%.

Rural areas seem split. Northern rural areas favour Kenney 34% to 29% for Notley. Southern rural areas like Notley at 32% with Kenney at 29%.

Courtesy Mainstreet Research

“Things are looking pretty grim for Kenney,” said Mainstreet CEO and President Quito Maggi.

“It’s 18 months until the next election, and that can be an eternity, but numbers in this realm for the better part of a year, with no positive movement, shows the trouble he is in.”

Maggi said he was a little surprised by the lead of Notley in Calgary, normally a Conservative bastion.

“It speaks of the personal unpopularity of Jason Kenney himself. The policies of the NDP probably aren’t supported in Calgary but they are willing to vote for the candidate that will defeat Kenney,” he said.

Maggi noted Kenney is now getting it from both sides of the political spectrum and the WIP is taking enough to leave Notley with a majority victory. He predicted an NDP victory would only be by one or two seats.

The analysis in this report is based on the results of a survey conducted on October 12-13 2021 among a sample of 935 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in Alberta. The survey was conducted using automated telephone interviews (Smart IVR). Respondents were interviewed on landlines and cellular phones. The survey is intended to represent the voting population in Alberta. 

The margin of error for the poll is +/- 3.2% at the 95% confidence level. Mar- gins of error are higher in each subsample. 

Totals may not add up 100% due to rounding. 

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News

People not getting COVID jabs a diverse group

Deonandan predicted Canada will not achieve “herd immunity” against COVID-19 until at least 91% of eligible citizens are fully vaccinated. The rate is currently 81%, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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Canadians against getting a COVID-19 jab are not just a group of crazed, anti-vaxxers, says a leading epidemiologist.

Four million Canadians who’ve declined a COVID-19 are an assorted lot, said the executive editor of the Interdisciplinary Journal Of Health Sciences .

“The unvaccinated are a diverse group,” Dr. Raywat Deonandan, of the University of Ottawa, told Blacklock’s Reporter.

“They include the hardcore anti-vaxxers. They include the vaccine-hesitant who are just afraid of the vaccine.”

“They include those who want to get vaccinated, but can’t get time off work or get child care. And they include the apathetic. The apathetic tend to be the young people who think the disease is not serious to them. Vaccine passports really do well on that group.”

Speaking during a webinar with a federal union, the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers, Deonandan said he generally supported domestic vaccine passports, likening them to a driver’s licence, but strongly opposed mandatory immunization of young children.

“Vaccine mandates are controversial,” said Deonandan, adding compulsory shots for children under 12 “just creates far too much distrust in the population and doesn’t rub people the right way.

“I have a small child. I’m not happy about injecting him with strange things. I will if his mother agrees. But it does not fill me with comfort to do so. I get it.”

Deonandan said he thought compulsory vaccination for federal employees was legally defensible, but acknowledged it would draw protest.

“The weakness is our democracy,” he said.

“Our biggest value is our freedom and our democracy. That is the thing that’s our Achilles’ heel here. Authoritarian governments do better with COVID because they control the messaging and compel behaviour. We don’t want to be that. So we need to empower the citizens to think more rationally to their own ends.”

Deonandan predicted Canada will not achieve “herd immunity” against COVID-19 until at least 91% of eligible citizens are fully vaccinated. The rate is currently 81%, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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Freeland says Canada has to stop cutting business taxes

The Liberal Party has proposed $4.2 billion a year in new taxes mainly on corporations.

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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada has to put a stop to cuts to corporate taxes, calling it a “race to the bottom.”

Blacklock’s Reporter noted the Liberal Party proposed $4.2 billion a year in new taxes, mainly on corporations.

“Part of building an equitable recovery is strengthening international tax fairness, ending the global race to the bottom in corporate tax and ensuring that all corporations, including the world’s largest, pay their fair share,” said Freeland.

“We will stem the world tendency to reduce the corporate tax rate.”

The Party’s August 25 campaign document, Asking Financial Institutions To Help Canada Build Back Better, proposed an increase in the corporate tax rate from 15 to 18% on banks and insurers with revenues more than a billion dollars a year.

It also proposed an unspecified Canada Recovery Dividend to be “paid by these same large banks and insurance companies in recognition of the fast-paced return to profitability these institutions have experienced in large part due to the unprecedented backstop Canadians provided to our economy through emergency support to people and businesses.

“The allocation of this dividend between applicable institutions will be developed in consultation over the coming months with the Superintendent of Financial Institutions,” continued the document.

It would be “applied over a four year period.”

Cabinet estimated all new taxes, including a new charge on tobacco manufacturers and tighter collections on offshore accounts, would generate $4,241,000,000 next year and nearly twice as much, more than $8.2 billion, by 2025.

The figures were calculated by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

“Big banks got a windfall,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters August 25.

“So as we rebuild we’re going to ask big financial institutions to pay a little back, to pay a little more, so that we can do more for you.

“Big banks and insurance companies have been doing very well over these past many months. Canada’s biggest banks are posting their latest massive profits of billions of dollars.

“Everyone else had to tighten their belt. We’re going to ask them to do a little bit more.”

New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh said September 21 he expected cabinet to raise corporate taxes with support from his caucus.

“People are worried about who’s going to pay the price for the pandemic,” said Singh.

“We don’t believe it should be small business,” said Singh. “We remain resolute that it should be the ultra-rich.”

The New Democrat platform proposed a general increase in the income tax rate on all large corporations from 15% to 18%, not just banks and insurers, and a hike in the top federal income tax rate from 33% to 35% for individuals earning more than $216,500 a year.

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