July 16th, 2024

Nearly 2,400 AHS workers paid $126K or more

By Gillian Slade on July 8, 2017.

Medicine Hat Regional Hospital is the workplace home to several of the nearly 2,400 Alberta Health Services employees paid at least $126,000. A wage freeze has kept some salaries from increasing, but a lot needs to be done to trim the fat, according to local MLA Drew Barnes.--NEWS FILE PHOTO


It pays to work for Alberta Health Services.

Almost 2,400 employees are on the 2016 sunshine list having been paid more than $126,375, and of those about 67 were paid more than $300,000, according to the AHS online compensation disclosure.

In the south zone, former chief zone officer Sean Chilton, now a vice president in Edmonton, received $310,618, representing an increase of about $2,000 over 2015.

At Medicine Hat Regional Hospital, Linda Iwasiw, senior operating officer acute care east south zone, received $221,638.

Senior operating officer Grant Walker was paid $211,701 representing an increase of about $5,000 over 2015.

Director of critical care and medicine Brenda Ashman is listed as receiving $152,986, representing a small increase over 2015.

Salaries have changed very little since 2015 due to an AHS wage freeze, effective April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2018, for its non-union employees, said an AHS spokesperson. Union employees received salary increases as per their collective agreements.

There are in fact 100 fewer AHS employees on the 2016 sunshine list compared to 2015 but no wage rollbacks, said the AHS spokesperson.

A wage freeze is a “drop in the bucket,” said Paige MacPherson, Alberta director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“Albertans have seen layoffs, they’ve seen salary reductions,” said MacPherson. “We’ve called for a 10 per cent wage rollback for government employees across the board.”

She claims Alberta government employees are paid substantially more than the national average, and that Alberta spends more on health care than any other province.

“The issue is that a wage freeze was not matched with an overall budget freeze or accountability and results oversight,” said Drew Barnes, Wildrose MLA for Cypress Medicine Hat.

He claims the AHS budget reflects increased spending of more than 3.5 per cent, and came in hundreds of millions over budget at a time when Alberta’s economy contracted 3.5 per cent. Barnes is calling for decentralization and results-based auditing for oversight and accountability.

“Some of the increases seen in the compensation disclosure list are due to promotions,” said the AHS spokesperson. “Another reason some small increases are seen is because the employer-paid portion of group benefit premiums (dental, health, etc.) continues to rise.”

The “compensation” column also includes overtime, shift premiums, weekend premiums, on-call pay, sick pay and vacation pay, said the spokesperson. Where salaries are less than in 2015 there may have been less overtime in 2016 for union employees on the list.


Salaries of Interest

Medicine Hat’s director of addiction and mental health services Rita Duren: $132,529

Chief paramedic senior provincial director Darren Sandbeck: $194,704

EMS executive director Nick Thain: $181,442

South zone executive director Colin Zieber: $171,879

Executive director Palliser Primary Care Network Treena Klassen: $150,200

Listed registered nurses: from $126,375 to $276,496

Laboratory technologists: from $127,426 to $208,357.

More than $500,000 —

President and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu served in an interim capacity from January 1 to June 2, 2016 having been seconded from the University of Alberta and paid through that payroll. Yiu’s contract with AHS was for $568,000. She was paid $299,677 by AHS for six months in 2016.

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