Boards, universities, Alberta Health Services salaries may be revealed next year
Bill 5 aims to start public disclosure of salaries at agencies, boards and committees
Compensation paid to Alberta professors, health executives and physicians will be revealed next June if the government passes a new law that extends the so-called "sunshine list" for high-paid employees.
Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley introduced Bill 5, the Public Sector Transparency Act, in the Alberta legislature Thursday.
"This government is serious about increasing transparency and this bill will show Albertans how their tax dollars are being spent," she said.
The Alberta government already reveals the salaries of 3,556 employees making over $100,000 a year.
The proposed legislation extends disclosure to 157 boards, agencies and commissions under the Alberta Public Agencies Governance Act, including Alberta Health Services, Travel Alberta and all post-secondary institutions.
Compensation paid to board members of these bodies will be disclosed, regardless of the amount.
Employees of these agencies, boards and commissions including Covenant Health, AHS and all post-secondary institutions are included, if they make more than $125,000 a year.
Doctors will have to disclose all payments they receive from the provincial government, AHS, the Alberta Medical Association and bodies like Covenant Health. That includes all fee for service billings.
The legislation gives school boards and municipalities the legal ability to disclose their employee salaries, but the decision to do that is left up to them.
The government will continue to post salaries of employees already covered under the sunshine list. The threshold has been raised to $104.754 to account for inflation.
Salaries will be revealed each year, with the first disclosure occurring on or around June 30, 2016.
The bill allows the minister to exempt employees who feel their personal safety may be threatened if their salary is revealed.
The threshold is set at $125,000 for agencies, boards and commissions so employers don't have to remove overtime from T4s to find the base salary rate. Ganley said this would help reduce administrative costs, but opposition members say the $104,754 threshold should apply to everyone.
"It doesn't make any sense to us to have two different standards across the government," said Jason Nixon, the Wildrose critic for accountability. "We believe that the NDP need to give Albertans a bit better of an explanation today than what they've already given."
The boards, agencies and commissions affected by the bill are either funded completely by the Alberta government or have at least half their members appointed by the province.
The first salary sunshine list was released in January 2014. It gave Albertans their first look at about 3,100 government employees who made over $100,000 a year in 2012 and 2013.