EN FR

Pay raises during lockdowns and downturn a slap in the face for Calgary taxpayers

Author: Franco Terrazzano 2021/03/18

CALGARY, AB: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation slammed Calgary city council for giving 13,875 city employees pay raises during lockdowns in 2020.

“It’s unacceptable that nearly 14,000 city employees received a pay raise in 2020 while Calgary was shedding jobs and businesses were shut down,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director. “It’s a slap in the face for Calgarians who lost their job, took a pay cut or closed their business to know they are paying higher taxes so bureaucrats could get a pay raise.”

Pay raises for city employees cost Calgary taxpayers $230 million between 2015 and 2020, as first reported by Postmedia columnist Rick Bell. In 2020, 13,875 city employees received a pay raise, costing taxpayers $27 million.

Calgary’s unemployment rate has remained above 10 per cent since April 2020, according to Statistics Canada data.

The city of Calgary has never reduced its unionized employees’ pay, according to documents obtained by Secondstreet.org dating back to 1974.

“Councillors fell asleep at the wheel and now struggling Calgarians are paying higher taxes because bureaucrats have been receiving pay raises during the downturn,” said Terrazzano. “It’s pretty clear that city hall’s cupboards aren’t that bare if thousands of bureaucrats are getting pay raises.

“Families and businesses have made sacrifices, when will city hall?”

The table below shows the combined cost of pay raises for city bureaucrats and the city’s police service since 2015. The data comes from a response to an inquiry made by Coun. Jeromy Farkas and can be found here.

Year

Number of employees receiving a pay raise

Cost

2015

16,448

$57,781,596

2016

17,204

$55,861,889

2017

16,510

$57,341,527

2018

2,591

$12,607,379

2019

5,638

$19,159,283

2020

13,875

$27,170,727

Total

 

$229,922,401