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CTF: Thousands of university and college employees collect bigger paycheque during downturn

CALGARY, AB: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is releasing documents showing more than 11,500 university and college employees in Alberta got a pay raise in 2020, costing taxpayers and students $29 million.

“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.”

There were more than 11,500 employees at Alberta universities and colleges that received a pay raise during lockdowns in 2020, costing taxpayers and students $29 million. 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. The findings are included in a report released by the CTF today.

While compensation paid to all workers in Alberta has declined by about 10 per cent from 2014 through 2020, total compensation paid to post-secondary employees has increased by nearly nine per cent, 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 that the cupboards aren’t bare at these schools and that there’s clearly room for savings.”

You can find the CTF’s report here.

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