Health region CEOs getting huge raises: NDP

CBC News: Posted: Apr 19, 2011 2:12 PM CST

The NDP Opposition says the Saskatchewan government is paying huge raises to highly paid health region CEOs and not enough to front-line workers.

New Democrat leader Dwain Lingenfelter told the legislature this week that the the CEO of the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region recently received a 60 per cent pay increase.

Lingenfelter also said the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region paid a $71,000 increase to its CEO. At the Saskatoon Health Region, the CEO got an increase of $100,000 in one year and is now being paid over $400,000 a year, Lingenfelter said.

He contrasted the CEOs with front-line health care workers. Some, he said, are being told they should accept increases of 1 or 1.5 per cent a year.

“This is not fair,” Lingenfelter said during Question Period.

“You’re rewarding for cuts or how little you’re doing and giving low pay for people who are doing a good job in the health care system,” he told reporters later.

“I just think that’s backwards to what any of the people who developed medicare thought would be the proper way to compensate.”

In reponse, Health Minister Don McMorris said the province has to make sure CEO salaries remain competitive with the rest of Western Canada.

“I can guarantee if you wanted to go talk to some of our CEOs, they’re being courted in other jurisdictions,” he said. “You know, we have a huge loyalty to our province but we can’t rely just on the loyalty. We have to make sure that we’re competitive.”

McMorris said he can think of one CEO who has left the province for a better job in the past three years.

He also said that the average salary increase for non-union, out-of-scope health region employees — which includes CEOs and lower-level managers — is only 5 per cent.

“We feel that’s a fair compensation, 5 per cent increase on average across the board,” McMorris said.

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