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Municipal governments must take air out of ballooning labour costs: Taxpayers Federation

Author: Franco Terrazzano 25/06/2020

CALGARY, ABThe Canadian Taxpayers Federation released a report that shows that municipal labour cost increases between 2014 and 2018 were out of touch with the realities facing Alberta workers outside of government.

“Labour costs make up a huge portion of municipal budgets and this report allows Albertans to see how their governments’ labour costs have increased during the downturn,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director. “These costs are out of touch with the years of hardship that Alberta families and businesses have faced. It’s time for municipal governments to take some air out of their ballooning labour costs.”

The CTF’s municipal labour report, based on data published by the Alberta government, highlights labour cost growth between 2014 (beginning of the oil price collapse) and 2018 (most recent data for all municipal governments). Alberta’s municipal government labour costs have increased by about $873 million, or 16.9 per cent, while total compensation for Alberta workers has declined by six per cent, according to Statistics Canada data.

The three Alberta cities (population above 30,000 people) with the fastest growing labour costs between 2014 and 2018 are:

  1. Leduc = 33.3 per cent increase
  2. Spruce Grove = 31.9 per cent increase
  3. Airdrie = 30.9 per cent increase

The three mid-sized municipalities (population between 5,000 and 30,000 people) with the fastest growing labour costs are:

  1. Municipal District of Taber = 56.1 per cent increase
  2. Municipal District of Greenview = 54.8 per cent increase
  3. Blackfalds = 52.8 per cent increase

The three small towns (population below 5,000 people) with the fastest growing labour costs are:

  1. Gadsby = 169.4 per cent increase
  2. Edberg = 156.7 per cent increase
  3. Lougheed = 146.0 per cent increase

“Councils must address these ballooning costs and provide much-needed tax relief,” said Terrazzano. “Municipal governments need to help shoulder the burden of the downturn and that means addressing out of touch labour costs.”

The CTF’s municipal labour cost report, based on data published by the Alberta government, can be found here.