P.E.I. deputy ministers' salaries, pensions under review

Teresa Wright
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FILE PHOTO - Premier Robert Ghiz speaks to reporters after the legsialture closed its spring session.

The P.E.I. government is undergoing a review of salaries and pension benefits paid to deputy ministers.

Premier Robert Ghiz says the salary levels of P.E.I.’s deputy ministers are the lowest in the region.

 “I would say our deputy ministers in Atlantic Canada are probably underpaid by about $50,000 compared to all the other regions,” Ghiz said during the recent sitting of the legislature, adding New Brunswick and Nova Scotia offer higher pay than P.E.I.


This makes it difficult to attract and retain well-educated professionals qualified to run whole government departments and provide policy advice to cabinet.

“Accountants, lawyers, doctors – if you’re good at those professions you’re making, I don’t know, at least one and half, maybe two, three, four times what a deputy minister makes. If you want to attract them in, it gets difficult,” Ghiz said in the legislature May 9.

Independent PC MLA Olive Crane points out deputy ministers make a generous salary of over $100,000 a year.

But it’s the added perk of getting two pension years for every one year of work that Crane believes is over the top.

“When you think of somebody that’s out there in the general public that works and gets no pension… and even those lucky enough to get a pension usually earn one year,” Crane said.

“That is what my concern is and I’ve been raising this for a long time.”

Deputy ministers are appointed by the premier and their salaries range from between $122,000 and $148,000.

The province’s Senior Compensation Plan provides them a pension supplementary to benefits provided by the regular civil service pension fund. Benefits for the Senior Compensation Plan are based on the number of years they’ve been a deputy to a maximum of five years, multiplied by two per cent of their best three years’ average salary.

The plan is unfunded, which means government covers all premiums and deputies do not have to pay into it.

The province is also responsible for any unfunded liability in this plan and makes payments from its operating fund as they become due, according to the 2012-13 audited public accounts report.

Crane said she understands it may be difficult to attract qualified individuals if other provinces offer higher salaries, but says a double pension may be a little too generous.

“I really think in today’s climate, the double pension is just not fair to people.”

When she raised this in the legislature in the spring, Ghiz said he understands her concern and may consider different options as part of the current review.

“You never know, we may get rid of the deputy ministers’ double (pension), then bump (salaries) up by 50 per cent or something like that to help make the difference. But it’s one of those things where if we want to continue to be able to recruit in top level deputies, we’re going to have to look at something.”

Crane said she would not be opposed to seeing a modest salary increase for deputy ministers, so long as it would accompany an elimination of the double pension earnings.

“You work one year and you get two full pension years based on your salary of $130,000? Think about the person that makes $13 or $14 an hour,” Crane said.

“That’s what I have a big issue with.”




Organizations: Community Services

Geographic location: P.E.I., Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Is this guy for real??
    July 07, 2014 - 13:49

    truly stunning that Ghiz would even think of such an idiotic idea in the context of the absurd policies and projects this out-of-touch government has wasted our $$s on since day one. Is he joking? I can do that job and hereby offer my services for 1/2 what they are currently getting - it is not that tough running a whole government department - oh he makes it seem like such a task - what a joke - can only gag at the absurdity of it all!

  • rob
    July 07, 2014 - 12:28

    How stupid do you think we are, Mr. Ghiz? Well you are right, we are stupid, that is why you are there to try to pull this trick on us now.. One of current DMs are from 'away', you did not advertise for any of them, they were you pick, - and if any of them have been ineffective you have not fired them. So even if you come across as saying you saying you are operating with a poor quality crew, you have not let any of them go.? Two female DMs have left, one we were never told why, (part of a scuffle supposedly) and the other because she was part of scandal involving tourism and the university. Let's face it Mr. Premier, your current DMs know a great deal, and besides that the severance pay, that has evolved, is such that it would ruin the Province further if you were to let them go. While you are at it, tell us just how much they each are entitled to, will you?????

  • Fact Is
    July 07, 2014 - 11:02

    The fact is PEI is done , even with a election , we haven't any choice , none of the parties here on PEI are any different . The only choice we had is gone with Olive . No one else will stand up to the old style back room boy's running all the parties & filling their pockets . Only chance now is for PEI to become one city within the Maritimes having one small government for whole of PEI (maybe 10 or 14) from across the whole city of PEI . Can anyone else suggest anything better . What we have now is certainly not working anymore . Politicians today are too crooked to do a decent job any more . There is a lot of Islanders that would serve like in New Hampshire for token pay .Think bout it .

  • How Would You Know
    July 07, 2014 - 09:34

    The Ghiz Government appointments all of the Deputy Ministers - so how we it even know what kind of talent and expertise is out there more than ready and willing to serve the public at even $50,000 less than what he pays now! Open it up to competition - see who applies and what they have to offer. Nobody believes that the Government is doing a great job as it is - why reward bad behaviour! P.S. - I also don't believe that the CEO of the PEI Liquor Control Commission has to travel to ensure liquor sales on PEI!! I doubt we even need one - another waste of taxpayers money!

  • Serious Reader
    July 07, 2014 - 09:28

    This is disgusting. Ghiz - why would you use other provinces to compare this when you refused to compare HST rebates, Income tax exemptions, Social assistance allowances for food and heat, tax on fuel and electricity amongst other things ?? Other provinces and their leaders are ahead of you by light-years....so are you trying to keep up with the Jones'? If they jumped off a bridge would you too? I cannot believe that you would even consider padding the DM's pockets more than they already are...get rid of the second pension and cut back on their expense account - I am sick and tired of paying you and your crew to have a good time on my dime...and I think every Islander feels the same. You will never see another term and I'm betting most of your cronies won't either.

  • Big fish in a little pond
    July 07, 2014 - 07:57

    Big fish in a little pond, all right, - an other way to say it is: Overpaid fish in a little pond. The Premier's assessment of the provincial situation and our size needs a reality check. I am sure his ambitions stretches beyond our borders, but meanwhile, Mr. Premier, get a grip. Curb your generosity towards yours friends and cronies and have a heart for the little people in the little pond, that have given you 8 years of 'glory' and comfortable living, that you never deserved or would have attained in the real world.

  • over governed
    July 07, 2014 - 07:51

    We have too much government in PEI. This island does not need to be a province (with MLAs & premier & deputy ministers & civil servants), let alone have 70-odd municipalities within it (with mayors & councilors & CAO's & municipal staff). We need to make PEI be a single regional municipality within a single larger province. That's the only way to cut out this cr@p.

  • don
    July 07, 2014 - 07:47

    what gets me is ghiz has said so many times that his government "listens" to the people well some of the people are telling him in this paper what they think. and do you think he will listen? NO. he is the top bully he owns the island and we are the same as tfw "SLAVES to ghiz. plus i think i know why we hear nothing from wes ghiz is hoping we will forget what he and wes has done to PEI but ghiz we have not.

  • Obscene and intriguing
    July 07, 2014 - 07:46

    Interesting list, - wonder how the 'low end' is feeling? - Time to lower pay for the recent top paid Deputies. (Allowing them to pursue better paying jobs off island, as the Premier so eloquently suggest could happen. Let's just test that theory.) The one in Environment was floundering around before this "prize" fell into her turban. The one in Tourism was salvaged from The Conf, Centre. Also the architect of the failed Founders Hall project. The one in Health was recycled from a devastating stint in Innovation. The Bio-Science expert, as it was. Not exactly star candidates, and certainly not warranting these kinds of salaries.

  • boo,hoo,hoo
    July 07, 2014 - 07:26

    Thanks Guardian for the list, now give us the rest, - fringe benefits and perks. These salaries are an abomination, but worse yet is the Premier suggesting they be increased. What is wrong with him? He should be looking out for the people and how to run the Province efficiently and cost effective, not making excuses for perking up the benefits for a selected few, that are already getting more than they should. The sad truth is that these political appointments have been turned into agents for the liberal government, instead of advisers for the public good. There was a time when the D.M.s served and were listened to as professional advisers, instead of being used as axe-men and secret keepers.

    • bird dog
      July 07, 2014 - 10:52

      Sorry but this list incomplete as it doesn't have the CEO'S of the boards and commissions and the people in his office.

  • yolanda
    July 07, 2014 - 07:15

    Interesting salary list in the paper this a.m. The deputy that bombed out with the Prosperity Plan in Innovations is no the highest paid D.M. in the whole system at $147.940.- unless the DM of Fisheries is topping that, since his amount is unknown. The Prosperity Plan expert is seconded by the recent arrival in Environment at $ 146.890.- and also fairly recently arrived D.M. of Tourism . (If he is really there, unseen as he is .) The tried and true old D. M. s are paid top salaries for what the job is worth in this Province, and the rest are grossly over paid. That should be adjusted downwards, and should they choose to leave, there are others equally qualified. Let's get some sense here.

  • Larry
    July 07, 2014 - 06:52

    Thank you Guardian for the list in todays paper. Now go the extra mile and provide a list of all the benefits and perks, especially explain the 2 pension arrangement for these 'valuable' individuals. These salaries are over the top, and one wonders about the inequities in them. For instance the newly minted deputy of Environment, with expertise in HR and the law, immediately needed an assistant deputy with some environmental credentials. Just starting and somewhat out of her element, she is clicking in at $ 146.890 and through the back door. Supreme connections I would say-------

  • DL
    July 06, 2014 - 21:11

    Where is the consistency? The government has been forcing changes in the pension plans for teachers, etc, without a corresponding increase in salaries to make up for the reduced pension benefits. Why is the Premier so quick to suggest a reduction in pension benefits to DM's would be compensated by an offsetting increase in salary?

    • Discouraged
      July 07, 2014 - 05:47

      Right on with your comment! Wes and Ghiz broke written contracts and sabotaged the pensions of retired teachers and civil servants this spring with no increases in pension to make up the difference!! Yet; Ghiz as he always does, uses his gift of the gab to argue that his Liberal cronies will get salary increases, if the perk of double years of pensions is changed! How I live for the day that I see the last of Ghiz and his inept government; and most sensible Islanders do as well!

  • Joe Blow
    July 06, 2014 - 19:17

    I don't care if our MLA's and ministers are getting paid less than other Provinces....our average salary isn't as high as other provinces either.....so if we can't make as much money as other provinces, why does our government think they should get paid a large amount more than the rest of us? The greed of this Ghiz government makes me sick to my stomach. Whenever the average family income on PEI is $50,000 more than it is now, then our government officials can get paid $50,000 more too. With the debt this Ghiz government has put us into as a province.....how do they figure they should get paid more. If I do a crappy job at my job, I don't get raises. Maybe if our government cleared the debt and looked after Islanders...then we'd have no problem giving them a raise....but with the current mess the Island is in.....they don't deserve a penny more.

  • Big Joe
    July 06, 2014 - 18:29

    If this was any more ridiculous it might be hilarious! The province is in debt over $2 billion and Ghiz says his deputy's are underpaid. If clues were shoes he'd be barefoot. This nonsense needs to stop!

    July 06, 2014 - 17:44

    Premier Robert Ghiz says the salary levels of P.E.I.’s deputy ministers are the lowest in the region. We are the smallest province in the region - and in all of Canada. Why should your salaries match anywhere. This Ghiz Liberal govt is NUTZ

  • The Guardian
    July 06, 2014 - 16:10

    The Guardian need's competition here on PEI that will tell the news as it should be told . Have you noticed that nearly every weekend there is a story like this , where government is announcing spending our money foolishly , people don't read the news paper on Sunday's but nearly every Sunday there is a story like this in the paper . The news paper is not suppose to be aiding & abetting this government to slide this kind of news bye PE Islanders . I'm sure these stories would be better read during the week & reach more islanders . The paper is being sleazy .

    • Old One
      July 07, 2014 - 07:07

      It's an old tactic that is wearing thin. Release bad new on Friday. If it's really bad wait until a few days before Christmas. This gov't is as sleazy as they get. They likely have no intention of giving the DMs a raise. They'll back off and make it look like they "hear" the people. Another sleazy trick than most people are catching on to.

  • Olive
    July 06, 2014 - 16:05

    Now that this has been brought up--- where is the crack reporter who can bring us the whole picture What are we laying out per year for these ``professionals`` Salaries Pensions Vacations Cars Allowances Severance pay Other perks Please somebody, we have a right to know, --- of course we would faint if the government itself were `transparent``. (That was a word Ghiz heard somewhere, and thought it would be impressive to repeat.)

  • chris
    July 06, 2014 - 15:59

    This is he usual drivel coming out of Ghiz's mouth ? He is not a Premier or manager, he acts as he always has, like a dictator, simply because he unfortunately does not know any better. This I how poorly we are helped as citizens and taxpayers It is well know that a managing scientist plucked out of his 'world' to become deputy of Innovation to save us all with a Bio-Science Park, was a mistake. - Eventually, due to ineptness and wasting all kinds of money, he became too much of a political liability and within the bureaucracy itself. It turned out he could not fit back in where he came from at the same level of pay and kers. Remedy: he was stashed in an other department at deputy level, - where he can carry with the same ineptness as before, - thanks to being a crony of Ghiz. No rest for the taxpayers.

  • SlyFox
    July 06, 2014 - 15:55

    Who are we to question the wisdom of our leader.We are mere peasants who supply the funds for Deputy Ministers knowledge and leadership.So we should not complain for they know what is best for us peasants.

  • disgusted
    July 06, 2014 - 15:26

    The Premier, as usual, deems us stupid, as well he should, we elected him twice. However, his musing about not being able to compete for quality professionals for deputy minister jobs, unless we pay through the nose, takes the cake. Being the smallest, poorest, the highest taxed, and (according to the statistics) having the stupidest population, he asserts we should pay deputy minister according to the pay scale of other 'jurisdictions' (a word he loves) with the opposite attributes. Go away with you, Ghiz---

  • ward
    July 06, 2014 - 15:11

    What kind of crap talk is this, Robert? You know darn tooting well ,that there is a line - up for jobs like that, --- overpaid and underworked. Not one of those people could make any place near that money in the private business world. If they could, they would be long gone. Most people would not sell their soul, is they could make the same on '"the outside".

  • camilla
    July 06, 2014 - 15:00

    Dear Mr. Premier: Please accept my advise. During these hard times, do not add anything to the running of the Government. Most of us are trying hard to make ends meet, although the circles you travel in are immune to that, including your aids and deputies. As a pilot : remove the double pensions, no replacement, and freeze the salaries for a couple of years. If you assertions are right, we should see an exodus from their ranks, not witnessed before. I am not a betting man, but I doubt we will see anybody leaving as a result. Please give it a try. Yours sincerely, A worn out taxpayer

  • Garth Staples
    July 06, 2014 - 14:44

    Hey Premier: I got the job done in fine fashion in Tourism. It's called experience and business maturity. Give me a call. We can negotiate! LOL.

  • bernard
    July 06, 2014 - 14:33

    Has Bobby not grasped the seriousness of our situation yet, ---- please you highly paid deputies, enlighten him that this is hard times , have the guts to tell him, this is not the time to favour you with a raise or extra benefits.

  • stupid is as stupid does
    July 06, 2014 - 14:29

    Yes , I can believe this from Ghiz, but the rets of you could not, you wanted more and elected him a second time. Why would he not try to screw the plough operators, - they are noting to him, - his cronies on the other hand, that is what matters. His excuse for loading up salaries and benefits to his friends and cronies is B.S., he just wants to, ---- and he will, whether we like it or not, ---that is the man you put in charge ------- hope you relish it.

  • obscenely top heavy
    July 06, 2014 - 14:01

    I cannot believe what i'm reading here, Mr. Gihz is truly a piece of work. PLEASE, PLEASE people make the next election COUNT. This madness will stop, eventually, due to simple economics BUT by that time PEI will look more like a Detroit suburb. Talk about talking out of both sides of ones mouth, it's true about the plow operators and mechanics, we were denied any kind of "national average "increase as there was no money AND PEI"s low cost of living was also cited , WHERE IS ALL THIS MONEY GOING TO COME FROM????????? The time has come to start properly paying the people ACTUALLY DOING THE WORK. Jesus, this govt is starting to look like General Motors in the eighties, 15 managers per 1 employee. ENOUGH

  • shuffleing
    July 06, 2014 - 13:25

    I think there should beva few in these posotions that are educated in LIFE someone that was not born with a silver spoon in tbeir mouth .with some compass ion and empathy .for people and who had advetsity ...Ghizzy may have studoed hard ..but has he every had a week with out food can hardly feed your kids or provide heat ?no they dont .. people that live a life of privledge do not know as much as they think they do .

  • Over the top
    July 06, 2014 - 13:10

    I work for this govt and not very many jobs go to qualified people. DM's are appointed by the Premier so no competition needed. What a joke. 2 billion dollar deficit, and climbing! I pity the person who has to try and clean up the mess these greedy dogs are making.

  • Enraged
    July 06, 2014 - 12:16

    This is too far, Ghiz. Islanders will not let you get away with this.

  • Amazed
    July 06, 2014 - 11:52

    Why does the government continue to compare PEI to NB and NS. The populations of these two provinces are a lot higher. Therefore a DM would have a much heavier workload, and therefore deserves higher pay. Even the city of Halifax has over 400,000 people vs. our 145,000 or so. Maybe PEI should be just a city... And a small one at that... Rather than being a Province and the Premier and the MLA's could be paid accordingly. Oh yes... There then would be a lot less of them as well

  • bird dog
    July 06, 2014 - 11:38

    Can anyone believe this from Ghiz!!! First all of these positions including the CEO of Boards and Commissions are appointed by Mr. Ghiz (no competition), secondly, when the Union negotiates with Government and put forth the argument that the plough operates want the same wages as thier counterparts in N.B.and N.S. The Government tells the Union that we can't afford to pay and it is a cost of living inPEI. Does he not know that this Province is near bankrupt. Chive on till next election.

  • Keith
    July 06, 2014 - 11:30

    Job description: Experience or willingness to learn skills in covering up and practice patronage, operations of hatchets, turning a blind eye, delivering half truths or lies, and applaud stupid ideas and remarks. Salaries, perks and other goodies (PNP): the highest per capita in the world. You need not apply, we will contact you if we deem your ``dubiousness` adequate.

  • peter
    July 06, 2014 - 11:01

    That is SOME salaries and perks. Ghiz looking after the elite and cronies again. From where I sit, they are not worth a dime more, - and the double pension idea should be scrapped immediately. If we need to cut back, start here. We do not need to, nor DO we, go competing for people to fill these jobs. Ghiz picks them from his circle of friends. In turn they cover up political stupidity and mistakes, so rampant during this administration. They are yes men hired to do the hatchet jobs and cover up patronage. The current group of deputies and assistant deputies do not work for the taxpayers, they work for the party, which was so vividly illustrated when the President of the party, Ewan Clark at the last AGM of the Liberal Party, listed plan B among his party's achievements. The lines have been blurred, if not totally erased, between public service and "party service", -- which explains Ghiz's eagerness to line their pockets. - If you want more of this excuse for a government, go and vote Ghiz in again -

    July 06, 2014 - 10:57

    It is standard practice across all provinces of Canada to give two (2) years of pension time for every year of service.

    • bird dog
      July 06, 2014 - 14:24

      Yes these positions in other Provinces are advertised in the national newspapers. As aposed to PEI were they are appointed be the supreme power

    • Garth Staples
      July 06, 2014 - 14:46

      So we are followers not leaders? How funny is that?

      July 06, 2014 - 20:11

      In the Province of Ontario, the Deputy Ministers are appointed by the Premier Rarely do you see a Deputy Minister position advertised in newspapers

    July 06, 2014 - 10:57

    It is standard practice across all provinces of Canada to give two (2) years of pension time for every year of service.

  • rolf
    July 06, 2014 - 10:43

    Based on the quality of the Ghiz government performance, either we do NOT have high quality deputy ministers, or Ghiz is not listening to them. The slaries mentioned and the perks are a disgrace for a SMALL province. Nobody mentioned the severance package they are getting, - which should be a great incentive to leave, if they were so under paid compared to other Provinces. The argument that we will not attract smarter people without higher salaries is hogwash. There is no shortage of candidates for these positions (political appointments (cronies) anyway). You never see any of them resign for greener pastures, and advertisements for new ones. Many from the professional categories Ghiz mentions would give their eye tooth to become deputy ministers. The plain fact is that few if any of the current crop have any particular distinction, most would NOT make that kind of salary and perks outside of government. These jobs are pretty cushy with a car, lots of travels and meetings. Half of them can't handle the job and we are paying for 'assistant deputies' although they are not all called that. I think Ghiz, in a time of what should call for prudence and cut backs, is just looking to make sure his current crop keep their mouths shut and well fed, after all they are all hand picked by him. But let's get the full picture, salaries, pensions, severance pay and perks like cars and allowances, published like they used to be in the Grapic.

  • Who Are We Trying to Fool
    July 06, 2014 - 09:03

    Government covers all premiums and deputies do not have to pay into it. Salaries range from between $122,000 and $148,000. No wonder we the taxpayer + each of our children owe $14000 and no end in sight . I sure would like to be a friend of this government . What fools we Islanders are . Retarded

  • DL
    July 06, 2014 - 08:35

    Reality check.....using PayScale (Canada) stats, here are some average salaries across Canada to consider. Accountant (48K) Lawyer (72K) Medical Doctor (118K) University Professor (91K) Operations Manager (65K) Even without the pension perks, it is very hard to justify that PEI DM's are not paid enough. The Premier's salary comparison comments are misleading. If he is in favor of higher compensations for DM's he should choose another argument. As it is, salary comparisons alone suggest that attracting good people should not be a problem. Perhaps the real issue (of not being able to attract good qualified people), if this is indeed true, is the limited scope of candidates which the Premier of the day tends to consider. As for the retention issue, it is no secret that tenure as a DM is limited more by the discretion of the Premier's Office (change of government, etc) as it is the choice of the person in the position. Finally, in my opinion, justification of increased compensation by comparison with other provinces is a weak argument if hiring is generally from within the province. There is no need to say, " we need to pay what they do in Nova Scotia, otherwise that person from Ontario will take the job in NS instead of coming to PEI".

  • don
    July 06, 2014 - 07:59

    here we go again more money for the ghiz gang and less for the working DEAD. why not pay ghiz and the top guys 1 million a year plus $50,000 in food "thats for ronnie only",$50,000 and to think the dummies on PEI will vote them back in. no wonder pei is the biggest joke in north america.

  • How it is
    July 06, 2014 - 07:46

    Ever consider this, Mr. G.? The best people are not the ones who are just doing it for the money. What we need is some kind of reward system for those who do a good job.

    • nitpicker
      July 06, 2014 - 13:17

      not a bad idea. Offer a base salary, but if you meet certain performance criteria for exceptional leadership, innovation, etc., some sort of reward structure kicks in.

    • Truth Seeker
      Truth Seeker
      July 06, 2014 - 18:17

      I've met a lot of people who aren't doctors, lawyer or accountants who are far brighter and more capable than the big 3 I deal with. Think outside the box! We have too much government per capita. Eliminate some positions and disperse it in the amount of the raise these positions require. As for the pensions, LEAVE THEM ALONE! We'll need these spending dollars 20 years from now. We have to protect pension plan not matter how ridiculous bias as they me seem. We can not put a chink in the armour of any pension plan. It will cut the legs from under us.

  • they get to much now
    July 06, 2014 - 07:21

    Ghiz should also remember PEI is the highest taxed place in canada

  • Janet
    July 06, 2014 - 07:19

    I wonder if ever on PEI , anyone has refused a Deputy Ministers Job.

    • don
      July 06, 2014 - 15:00

      do not forget the tfw that ghiz has hired. now read this and tell me if islanders are being SCREWED by ghiz? and tell me why islanders can not do the same job with training?. "Health P.E.I. currently has approximately 19 individuals employed on the Island through the temporary foreign worker program, with salary ranges between $15 and $187 per hour, a spokeswoman for Health P.E.I. told The Guardian in a statement. this was in the guardian may-30-2014 and this so called man bully that he cares for islanders. you need to think if you vote them back in you should be horse whipped.

  • Forever
    July 06, 2014 - 05:56

    Don't forget to take off the 7.5%. It sure helped lower the provincial debt last time.