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Members of Parliament paid thousands more but sitting less

Author: Franco Terrazzano 2021/11/15

OTTAWA, ON: As Parliament resumes next week, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation released analysis showing that member of Parliament pay has increased by thousands of dollars over the last 10 years despite sitting less days. 

“Canadians are paying politicians more than ever, but are we getting better performance?” asked Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director with the CTF. “Taxpayers expect their MPs to deliver accountability. But politicians are spending significantly less time in the House of Commons debating policies and expect taxpayers to pay their higher salaries.”

The CTF’s analysis examines House of Commons sitting days over 10 years. This year, the House is scheduled to 33 less days than 10 years ago. In 2012, the House sat for 129 days. In 2021, the House will sit for 96 days. This year is the third year in a row that the House will sit for less than 100 days. The 2011 election year included more sitting days than each of the last three years (2019-2021). 

“Between 1945 and 1975, the House of Commons sat 138 days per year on average,” according to analysisfrom the Globe and Mail. “However since then, the House of Commons has sat 123 days per year on average. After the Trudeau Liberals formed government in the fall of 2015, the House has sat for 105.6 days on average during the five full calendar years it has been in power (2016-2020).”

Despite sitting for fewer days, MP are receiving significantly more money. Over the last 10 years, the prime minister’s annual salary has increased by $54,560, ministers are receiving $40,094 more and backbench MPs are receiving $27,280 more. The comparison between sitting days and MP pay is illustrated in the table at the end of the news release. 

MPs received two pay raises during the pandemic. MPs are scheduled to receive another pay raise on April 1, 2022. The federal government stopped the annual pay raises between 2010 and 2013 in response to the 2008-09 recession. 

“MPs pocketing two pay raises during the pandemic is a slap in the face to the millions of Canadians struggling through COVID-19,” said Terrazzano. “It shouldn’t be rocket science and taxpayers expect our politicians to do the right thing and reverse their pandemic pay raises when Parliament resumes.” 

Sitting days vs MP salaries

Year

House of Commons sitting days

Backbench MP

Minister

Prime Minister

2021

96

$185,011 

$273,341 

$370,022 

2020

86

$181,680 

$268,457 

$363,360  

2019

75

$178,086 

$263,216 

$356,173 

2018

122

$174,885 

$258,540 

$349,770 

2017

123

$172,133 

$254,462 

$344,266 

2016

122

$169,654

$250,806 

$339,308

2015

81

$166,488 

$246,144 

$332,975 

2014

127

$162,837 

$240,742 

$325,674 

2013

109

$159,591 

$235,999 

$319,182 

2012

129

$157,731

$233,247

$315,462

*** MP pay is adjusted to reflect calendar year salaries to align with calendar year sitting days, rather than fiscal year salaries.