Alberta government announces 2-year salary freeze at provincial agencies, boards and commissions

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci. Amber Bracken, The Canadian Press

As Alberta continues to find ways to cut down on costs, the finance minister announced Thursday the government is freezing salaries for all management and non-union employees at provincial agencies, boards and commissions.

Alberta Health Services, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission and the Alberta Energy Regulator are among the organizations affected. The government said the freeze will be in effect for two years, beginning April 1.

“We are facing once-in-a-generation economic challenges, and we need to reduce our costs while doing all we can to protect jobs and maintain public services that support families,” Finance Minister Joe Ceci said.

Wildrose shadow finance minister Derek Fildebrant applauded the move but want the government to take the salary freeze further.

“It’s now time for the government to take a serious position on immediate freezes for every single employee, union and non-union,” Fildebrant said. “Alberta is facing one of its worse financial situations in decades and the government can no longer sit on the fence on the need to control wages and save taxpayers money.”

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In January, the province announced a similar salary freeze for all management and non-union public service employees in Alberta. That wage freeze is also set for two years, and is estimated to save $28.5 million annually.

READ MORE: Alberta extends wage freeze to non-union employees in public service

Thursday’s announcement comes a week after Ceci said the government plans to axe or amalgamate at least 25 of its agencies, boards, and commissions. It would save the province $35 million over the next three years.

Ceci wouldn’t specify which boards face the axe or will be reconstituted. He said details will be released in or around the 2016-17 budget on April 14.

READ MORE: Review of boards shows Alberta can save $35M

Also Thursday, the province said it will review Alberta’s Workers’ Compensation Board. A three-member panel will look at the board’s governance, effectiveness, principles of compensation and policies.

With files from The Canadian Press.

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