by Stephen Dafoe
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has released an analysis of what it says is Alberta’s increasing provincial government labour costs, and is calling on the UCP government to find savings in light of the province’s largest deficit and a debt nearing $100 billion.
“We couldn’t even afford the high-cost government we had before the pandemic and we definitely can’t afford it now,” said CTF’s Alberta Director Franco Terrazzano in a media release Thursday morning. “Finance Minister Travis Toews doesn’t have a hope in balancing the budget and paying down the debt unless he takes some air out of Alberta’s ballooning government labour costs.”
The report indicates labour costs have grown 15 per cent each year between 2014 and 2019 while employee compensation to Albertans has dropped by 5 per cent over the same time.
CTF is looking to the province to dial back labour costs to the levels of 2014-2015 when Alberta’s economic downturn began. The taxpayers’ group believes such a move would save the province $3.5 billion every year and could be realized through attrition, pay cuts, job reductions or a combination.
“It’s not fair to keep asking struggling Albertans to pay for a bloated bureaucracy and inflated government salaries and benefits,” Terrazzano said. “Over the last five years many workers outside of government have lost their job or taken pay cuts and now it’s time for government employees to help shoulder the burden and take a cut.”
The full CTF 2020 Alberta Labour Day Reality Check report can be read online at http://www.taxpayer.com/media/Alberta-Labour-Day-Reality-Check-2020.pdf