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Salaries and Allowances of Federal and Provincial Legislators
Gary Levy

At the time this article was written Gary Levy was a Research Officer in the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament

For many years legislators in most Canadian jurisdictions could only increase their salary by introducing a bill which went through the usual legislative The problem with introducing legislation even when based on recommendations of an impartial committee, is that it invites public criticism and thus tends to inhibit frequent changes.

To eliminate the need for full scale debate on each increase Parliament Passed an amendment to the Senate and House of Commons Act in 1975. Beginning January 1, 1976 there was to be an automatic increase of 7 per cent or an amount equal to the percentage increase in the Industrial composite Index for the preceding twelve months whichever was lesser. In view of the anti--inflation policy announced in October 1975 the President of the Treasury Board, Mr. Chrétien, subsequently introduced a bill to eliminate the increase for 1976. Some members felt this was contrary to the principle that salary matters would no longer require a specific bil1. However, it was adopted and the increase was cancelled.

For the last two years federal parliamentarians have received increases amounting to approximately 5.6 per cent in 1977 and 5 .0 per cent in 1978 .

The following table shows the indemnity and expense allowances for federal and provincial legislators . Quebec, Manitoba and New Brunswick along with the Yukon and Northwest Territories have indexed the salary of legislators. Both Alberta and Saskatchewan have statutes providing for annual increases over a three or four--year period. In Nova Scotia legislation specifies that indemnities and allowances be reviewed at least every f our years by a Select Committee of the House. In 1976 British Columbia legislators reduced their salary by 10 per cent for a one--year period which ended, on April 1, 1977.

Aside from the indemnity and expense allowances shown in the table parliamentarians enjoy a wide range of benefits and services which enable them to carry out their legislative and representative functions. For example, a federal member is entitled to 52 return trips by air to any place in Canada. He is also entitled to free railway travel. Federal members have franking privileges for sending and receiving first class mail in Canada and for all documents printed by both Houses. Members may also send four mailings per year to constituents. They can use the government leased telephone or credit cards for long distance calls. Since 1972 each member of the House of Commons has been given at least two adjoining offices, furnished and equipped on his behalf. He is also given funds to hire three secretaries or research assistants and he may draw upon the resources of the party caucus research staff, the Library of Parliament, the Parliamentary

Centre for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and of course the clerical staff and committees' branch of the House of Commons. Members are permitted $4,800. To rent a constituency office and approximately $10,000. to staff it. Although not all members have chosen to take advantage of these allowances.

Most provinces also provide transportation, communication, constituency and other allowances although the amounts and conditions vary widely from one legislature to another. In all provinces except Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island members serving on committees during an adjournment receive a daily allowance. Each legislature has a pension plan for its legislators but once again the details differ considerably.

 

 

 

House of Commons

Senate

Alta

BC

Man

NB

NFLD

NS

Ont

PEI

Quebec

Sask

NWT

Yukon

Indemnity

26,900

26,900

12.352

16,000

12,199

12,152

12,450

9,600

19,242

10,000

27,800

8,470

11,564

11,912

Expense allowance

12,000 -- 16,000

5,900

6,175

8,000

6,099

4,050

10,225

4,800

7,500

5,000

7,000

11,090

Actual expenses

Actual expenses

Most recent increase

1978

1978

1978

1974

1977

1978

1978

1974

1978

1978

1977

1978

1978

1978

Prime Minister

33,000

--

34,962

28,000

16,6000

25,000

22,555

25,000

25,000

24,500

41,700

24,580

--

--

Opposition Leader

20,000

8,500

28,488

19,000

15,600

16,000

14,245

21,000

18,000

10,000

30,580

18,205

--

--

Minister

20,000

--

28,488

24,000

15,600

16,000

14,245

21,000

18,000

14,500

30,580

18,205

--

--

Minister without portfolio

20,000

--

20,719

21,000

--

10,000

8,310

21,000

7,500

--14,500

--

--

--

--

Parliamentary secretary

5,300

--

--

--

2,500

--

--

--

5,000

--

8,340

3,000

--

--

Speaker

20,000

12,500

10,360

19,000

5,000

5,000

8,310

11,000

9,000

3,000

30,580

6,535

12,614

20,200

Deputy Speaker

8,000

--

6,475

8,500

2,500

2,500

5,935

5,000

5,000

1,500

13,900

3,925

12,114

14,755

Chairman of a Select Committee

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

 

4,170

--

--

--

Deputy Chairman of Committees

5,300

--

--

--

--

--

2,970

6,000

3,000

 

12,510

9,102

11,614

--

Assistant Deputy Chairman of Committees

5,300

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

Leader of recognised party

5,300

--

--

8,500

6,000

--

--

--

5,000

--

--

--

--

--

Chief Government Whip

5,300

--

--

--

--

500

2,970

50 x b

5,000

 

12,510

1,310

--

--

Chief Opposition Whip

5,300

--

--

--

--

500

2,970

50 x b

3,000

 

8,340

1,310

--

--

Chief Whip recognised party

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

50 x b

2,500

 

6,950

655

--

--

Deputy Government Whip

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

3,000

 

6,950

--

--

--

Deputy Opposition Whip

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

2,100--

 

6,950

--

--

--

House Leader Official Opposition

5,300

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

5,000

 

12,510

--

--

--

House Leader Recognised Party

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

2,500

--

11,120

--

--

--

Leader of the Government

 

20,000

--

--

--

--

--

--

 

--

--

--

--

--

Deputy Government Leader

--

4,200

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

Deputy Opposition Leaders

--

3,400

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

 

 

 

 

 

 

--

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Indemnity and expense allowances as of September 1978. Other allowances as of November 1977.

(a) Includes both annual and sessional expense allowance. Slightly higher for members from Athabasca and Cumberland

(b) Whip's salary is equal to $50 multiplied by the number of members in caucus.


Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 1 no 2
1978






Last Updated: 2019-11-29