Eye-popping pay on University of Alberta sunshine list shows there’s room for savings

Author: Franco Terrazzano 2021/03/23

CALGARY, AB: In response to a petition launched by the University of Alberta’s Association of Academic Staff, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is showing there is room for saving by releasing data highlighting the 1,614 employees on the university’s sunshine list, which discloses salaries of more than $132,924.

“We’ve all had to find ways to save money during the pandemic and downturn and university professors and administrators need to do their part to show we’re all in this together,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director. “We don’t think it's right to ask families struggling to put food on the table or small business owners who may lose their life savings to pay more taxes because university employees don’t want to share in the downturn.”

In 2019, there were 1,614 employees on the University of Alberta’s sunshine list because they make more than $132,924. The average compensation was $220,371.

In 2019, the university’s president and vice chancellor received $829,994 in total compensation, $187,533 more than in 2016 (top position in 2015 less comparable).

The total compensation cost of the university's 2019 sunshine list was $355 million, which is $50 million and 116 employees more than the 2015 total.

While the 2020 sunshine list has not yet been released, 4,130 University of Alberta employees received a raise during lockdowns last year, according to documents obtained by the CTF through freedom of information requests. Pay raises for the university’s employees cost more than $75 million since 2015.

The CTF released this analysis in response to an online petition launched by the university’s academic staff association, which is opposing the Alberta government’s efforts to reduce costs.

“The eye-popping pay on the university’s sunshine list shows there’s still room for savings,” said Terrazzano. “If the university’s cupboards are so bare, then why did thousands of its employees receive a pay raise last year during lockdowns?”

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