Cabinet ministers from outside Yellowknife are now making more money than they have in the past because they're no longer expected to move to Yellowknife when they take a seat on cabinet.
There was a time when ministers were expected to be at the legislative assembly from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. For that reason they were given a generous allowance meant to cover the cost of relocating themselves and their families to the capital.
"With advances in technology and the ability to respond to emails and receive briefings from just about anywhere, it was agreed that there was no longer a requirement for cabinet ministers to leave their home communities and relocate, lock stock and barrel, their whole lives to Yellowknife," said Tim Mercer, clerk of the legislative assembly.
All of the current cabinet ministers from ridings outside Yellowknife still count their home ridings as their primary place of residence. That means that now in addition to their pay, they are also entitled to a northern living allowance. For Inuvik-based ministers Robert C. McLeod and Alfred Moses, that means an extra $14,000 per year.
Out-of-town cabinet ministers are also entitled to an additional $7,400 non-taxable allowance for maintaining a second residence.
Cabinet ministers still have the option of forgoing those benefits and moving to Yellowknife.