The Alberta government acknowledged Monday that it broke its promise to freeze salaries for top managers and has instead given them 7-per-cent raises.
That will boost salaries for top civil servants to more than $300,000 a year by 2016.
Government spokeswoman Jessica Jacobs-Mino said while the government promised in 2013 to freeze salaries for three years, things changed this spring when the government struck a deal with the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.
That deal provides an $1,850 lump-sum payment and a 6.75-per-cent salary increase over three years.
Ms. Jacobs-Mino said the government’s standard practice has been to give managers the same deal that unionized staff get.
“We’re looking at treating all public servants fairly here,” Ms. Jacobs-Mino said.
The union represents rank-and-file employees from prison guards to social workers. It ratified a new contract last month after more than a year of bitter debate and court action against the province.
To show it was serious in keeping salaries lean, the province announced in February, 2013, that it would freeze the salaries of all top managers.
But the opposition Wildrose party on Monday revealed documents showing that cabinet quietly approved the senior manager pay increases last week.
Wildrose finance critic Rob Anderson said the decision puts to rest any notion that the culture of entitlement that has plagued the Tory government was all former premier Alison Redford’s fault.
“It’s just the blatant dishonesty,” said Mr. Anderson. “How many times do they think they can just flat-out lie to Albertans about what they’re going to do, and that Albertans are just going to forget about it?”