Northwest Territories ministers and regular MLAs want to freeze inflation-tied boosts to their salaries for two years starting in April, a move that will save $30,000 this year.
The news comes a week after Finance Minister Robert C. McLeod announced an upcoming freeze on the salary pay grids of senior staffers such as deputy ministers and top managers.
"MLAs wanted to follow suit with a salary freeze," said Frederick Blake Jr., the MLA for Mackenzie Delta and a member of the assembly's board of management (a mix of regular MLAs and cabinet members) in a news release.
Blake introduced the bill calling for the freeze Thursday afternoon.
All MLAs currently receive a base salary of $103,851, as spelled out in the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act. The premier, ministers and speaker receive top-ups of $78,986, $55,583 and $45,203, respectively.
The bill will have to be read two more times, and approved by a majority of MLAs, before it takes effect.
Base salary has increased by 15% in 8 years
Since the start of the 16th legislative assembly in October 2007, the MLA base salary and the top-ups have been automatically adjusted each year by the percentage of increase or decrease in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Over those eight years, the base salary has increased to $103,851 from $90,199, an increase of 15 per cent.
Before the salary was tied to the CPI, "MLA salary increases were tied to the salary increases negotiated by the Union of Public Workers (UNW) for the GNWT civil service," according to the 2014 Independent Review of Members' Compensation and Benefits.
"This was changed as a result of concerns that it would be perceived a conflict of interest to have MLAs benefit from increases negotiated in a contract for which they had ultimate responsibility."
In 2005, the commission recommended a one-time nine per cent increase to the base salary. MLAs rejected it.