Senior managers with the Alberta government received $44 million in bonus pay last year, $4 million more than previously stated, Alberta Liberal finance critic Hugh MacDonald said Thursday.

"They shouldn't get that," MacDonald said. "They're well paid and we cannot afford at this time to be sending out an additional $44 million in compensation to already well-paid senior managers."

The final bonus numbers were in the government's annual report for the 2008-2009 fiscal year that was released Wednesday.

Of the $44 million, $6.5 million was paid to managers in the Department of Justice.

According to MacDonald, the money would be better spent on paying for health-care or education. The provincial deficit currently sits at $6.9 billion.

Program suspended in March

In March, Premier Ed Stelmach told the legislature that the total bonus payout was believed to be about $40 million. At the time, it was estimated about 6,100 government staff qualified for the bonuses, which averaged about $5,300 each.

The bonus program was suspended in March, but the province was still obligated to pay out the bonuses for the 2008-2009 fiscal year, Stelmach said.

That position was repeated Thursday by Stelmach's spokesman, Tom Olsen.

The bonuses paid to senior managers by department, include:

  • Justice, $6.5 million.
  • Service Alberta, $2.8 million.
  • Employment, Immigration and Industry, $2.6 million.
  • Education, $2.4 million.
  • Sustainable Resource Development, $2.2 million.
  • Treasury Board, $2.1 million.
  • Solicitor General, $2 million.
  • Health and Wellness, $2 million.
  • Agriculture, $1.9 million.
  • Finance, $1.9 million. 
  • Transportation,  $1.8 million.
  • Advanced Education and Technology, $1.6 million.
  • Children and Youth Services $1.5 million.