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CTF Calls for Wage Rollback as Alberta Teachers are Highest Paid in Canada

March 03, 2016
CTF Calls for Wage Rollback as Alberta Teachers are Highest Paid in Canada

Calgary, AB: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is calling for the provincial government to roll back teachers’ wages in upcoming negotiations.

“As the Alberta government inches closer to negotiations with the teachers union, they should be seeking a wage rollback,” said CTF Alberta Director Paige MacPherson. “The province is staring down a potential $10.4 billion deficit. Teachers should not be exempt from necessary spending reductions.”

On Wednesday, Alberta Education Minister David Eggen made an announcement on education funding. In the media scrum that followed, he wouldn’t take a firm position when asked about teachers’ compensation.

Reportedly, the Alberta teachers union isn’t ruling out a raise for teachers.

“If the teachers union asked for a raise now, the degree to which they would be out of touch is almost incomprehensible,” said MacPherson. “We have wonderful teachers. They’re paid extremely well. This isn’t an area where we need to increase spending.”

According to the BC Teachers Federation, Alberta teachers at the maximum level are the highest paid of any province, bringing in $99,004 on average.

Canadian teachers are the third-best paid in the world, averaging $85,296 after 10 years’ experience in 2013-14 according to the World Economic Forum.

For Alberta teachers at the top level, a 10 per cent wage rollback would mean an average salary of $89,104 – nearly $4,000 higher than the national average.

“By every reasonable measure, teachers’ salaries are out of touch with the economic realities faced by the province,” said MacPherson. “Rolling back salaries is a way to save money on education without hurting students.”

A CD Howe Institute study found no clear relationship between student performance and relative compensation.

“It is completely unnecessary to undermine the valuable work teachers do by putting them at odds with cash-strapped taxpayers with another wage debate,” said MacPherson.

By Tim Mills
on March 03, 2016
Fiscal prudence is important in any public sector. Given the evidence that dual school systems generate huge inefficiencies because of duplication, both in infrastructure and student transportation, it would seem that (on top of arguments about inclusion, special treatment, and international human rights standards), disestablishing separate schools would create substantial savings. This has been done in Manitoba, New Brunswick, and even Quebec. Can we start pushing for the same thing to happen in Alberta?

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By harrigan
on March 04, 2016
Hello Paige - I was wondering - "The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is calling for the provincial government to roll back teachers’ wages in upcoming negotiations." Did all 5 members of the CTF agree to this? When was the meeting held where this was discussed? Is it possible to see minutes? Thanks, look forward to your reply

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By Reality
on March 04, 2016
Targeting teachers is often the first thing any government does. Why not target doctors? They make significantly more than teachers. Oh wait, they are "traditionally" in a "male" profession vs teachers in a traditionally "female" profession. CTF is displaying a remarkable amount of discrimination. Disappointing.

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By Moxy
on March 05, 2016
Teachers are grossly overpaid for what is just a part time job. They have three months off including summer, Christmas and easter. Plus it seems like there is at least one teacher improvement day every month. My kids tell me most of the teachers are gone at 3:30, some even earlier. Some of the teachers are even heading off to other jobs, one is private contractor who heads out to do renos as soon as the bell rings. Add to this their gold plated pension And we in Alberta have the highest paid teachers in Canada.... Meanwhile everybody else in the private sector is suffering in Alberta. We have layoffs, salaries being cut back, hours being cut back. This isn't fair. I don't think a 10% cut is enough. It is obvious by the comments there is a real entitlement attitude among teachers. Now I know where our kids are getting it from.

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By Arabella
on March 06, 2016
During the boom times (2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15) the teachers took a zero percent increase for three consecutive years while hefty salary increases were being had by everyone else. That easily would have been an increase of over 10% over those years...remember, the teachers didn't receive it, so they shouldn't have to be losing even more. The teachers didn't even get back the 5% the Klein government took from them in the early 1990's, even though the government said they'd get it back. Teachers don't get paid for summer holidays, nor do they receive any EI for the summer. Teachers get 3 weeks paid holidays per year (2 weeks for Christmas/1 week for Easter). Many teachers work over 10 hours per day and don't get paid for the extra time put in. Many Alberta teachers coach (not obligatory), and don't get extra compensation. The top salary of any teacher that has a 4 year B.Ed. is 93,000 per year, not 99,000. Instead of teachers always being targeted for a cash-strapped government, ALL public employees should be targeted. Police, who don't even have to hold a degree in anything, earn as much as teachers, and can qualify to retire much earlier. Doctors, nurses, and firefighters don't get treated with the same negative attitude as teachers. Instead of targeting one profession, why doesn't the province pass a provincial tax? That way, all Albertans contribute, instead of targeting one profession. Too many people think teachers are important, but don't want to pay them much. Where would anyone be without their education? So many people believe that teachers are just "glorified babysitters". Great, figure that out and pay them that...let's see, 8 dollars an hour (cheap babysitter rate) for each kid in a class (25 kids per class realistically, if not more) would be 200 dollars per hour. Six hours of real instructional time equals 1200 dollars per day per teacher. 180 instructional days (No PDs) X 1200 equals 216,000 dollars salary. 93,000 (even 99,000) now seems like a bargain. If children are our greatest resource, then teachers should be paid accordingly. Give all teachers in Canada a higher salary. Better yet, give them the same treatment the provincial politicians give themselves...first give the teachers a 30% pay raise, then have them take a wage rollback of 15%.

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By
on March 07, 2016
How dare you suggest my daughter should receive a 10% wage cut ! As a kindergarten teacher she is struggling to support and raise a young family while her laid off husband is desperately looking for work with no EI. Irresponsible statements like yours cause them enormous stress and worry because they believe people like you have power and influence. Thank goodness you do not and for a democratic system that keeps your extreme right wing views out of our politics. Do you have any idea how much pressure the boards of education exert on teachers? Or are you just another member of the biased ignorant general public who believe teachers just have high pay, short hours and long holidays? “There is there is no strong correlation between how much teachers are paid and how well students perform.” Is that a theory you might be willing to test on your own children? The prevalence of private education throughout the world might suggest otherwise. There is also no correlation between the intelligence of the members of right wing pressure groups and the validity of their opinions. Have you any idea how much of my daughters own unpaid time goes into preparation of lessons and consultations with parents? How much of her own money is spent to provide educational material for her class room? How many newly immigrated children she has to teach English to before they can begin their real education, whilst delaying the education of the other 22-30 class size members that cuts in education funding have caused? Of course you don’t, you just go after easy targets, hard working teachers and nurses, because those people who are the most vulnerable in our society. You should be ashamed of your tactics but I’m sure that is an emotion you are unfamiliar with.

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By Jeremy
on March 08, 2016
Yes --- Yes --- Yes. OMG Yes! This is NOT an easy target for the CTF. It is utterly courageous. I grew up in a teacher's family in the nineties. To all you people who think this is uncalled for: You have no sense of context. I can assure you my parents were not paid the equivalent of $90k and certainly not $100k. Teachers' salaries have absolutely ballooned and - I'm sorry - but the good times are over. Are the rest of the lot overpaid too? Absolutely.

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By
on March 08, 2016
Moxy, your children are probably right, some of their teachers are rushing out the door immediately after their classes for other part time jobs. That's because teachers do not always get full time contracts. More and more are job sharing which is ok if it's a second income, but when the main wage earner only has a .65 contract they truly have no choice but to supplement that lost income. I know one teacher whose assignments this year are a cobbled together assortment of LST and ESL to create a .4 position. Teachers do not walk out of school on the last day like Mary Tyler Moore without a care in the world until the first day students are back in class. They do work many of the days the students are not there. They do miss out on numerous evenings with their own families due to school volunteer requirements such as sports, clubs, concerts and parent teacher nights. They take care of a wide variety of student needs from cultural differences to often times deadly health concerns, and I am not talking simple peanut allergies, but even more severe. They defer portions of their pay to cover the summer months. And before you think I'm entitled, we do not get to travel because we will not put it on a credit card. My kids would love to go to disney anything, and we'd love to take them, but we are teaching them how NOT to be entitled. With four sons our home is full of hand me downs and thrift store finds, we cook from scratch and drive older vehicles. Our house does not play pricey hockey. Paige, if Albertans, and more pointedly, the CTF, were really and truly interested in creating savings in education the best way, bar none, is to streamline the dual funded public/separate education systems. Transportation savings alone would be in the millions province wide. We'd still have roughly the same amount of students attending so very few, if any, teachers would experience job loss. No real savings there. However, when we aren't operating competing systems we do not need duplication in trustees, or associations or their weekend retreats we ARE ALL PAYING FOR. We aren't paying for competing advertising. We aren't paying for special privileges for one group whose former need of protection has long been lost. We can site schools where they're needed without having to reduce ourselves to kindergarten attitudes of "nope it's mine I had it first and you will not pry it out of my chubby little petulant hands". Apologies to the 5yr old set I've just offended. People like to say they direct their taxes towards that board. They happily do not realize that the school taxes we pay do not actually cover the entire cost of providing an education so extra monies are taken from the general pot, so in truth we are all paying into that board. That board who often refuses children based on higher needs as well as club requests and gender issues. People like to say the right to a publicly funded single religious education system is enshrined in the constitution. Hey guess what?! Other provinces have adjusted their constitutions to remove this right and I see no valid reason why Alberta shouldn't. Bishop Henry seems to enjoy his media presence, but do people realize he is an un-elected church official and has NO right to be dictating what happens in our classrooms? Perhaps he should consider running for office if he feels so passionately about having the ability to dictate public policy. Planting seeds in the media that teachers should take a 10% roll back is picking the low hanging fruit. If you were truly interested in saving tax payer dollars you would focus on the infinitely higher earners, and again, the duplication. A senior manager of client relationship services earns nearly $200K in salary and cash and non cash benefits. That's not a front line position. An executive assistant earning over $155K/year in salary and cash and non cash benefits. That's not a front line position. I could go on and on and on. And on. And just for fun, if we stopped funding these dual systems perhaps when we did build new schools parents wouldn't be on the hook for $300K+ for playgrounds. Because we could afford to have them paid for within the education budget. I say all of this as someone who is not a teacher, and whose husband works in the oilfield and like the lucky ones who are still working, has happily taken a number of remuneration changes to allow the company to continue to try to keep as many employees as possible working.

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