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Municipal governments must take air out of ballooning labour costs; Taxpayers Federation

Posted on July 1, 2020 by Vauxhall Advance

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation released a report that shows that municipal labour cost increases between 2014 and 2018 were out of touch with the realities facing Alberta workers outside of government.

“Labour costs make up a huge portion of municipal budgets and this report allows Albertans to see how their governments’ labour costs have increased during the downturn,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director.

“These costs are out of touch with the years of hardship that Alberta families and businesses have faced. It’s time for municipal governments to take some air out of their ballooning labour costs.”

The CTF’s municipal labour report, based on data published by the Alberta government, highlights labour cost growth between 2014 (beginning of the oil price collapse) and 2018 (most recent data for all municipal governments). Alberta’s municipal government labour costs have increased by about $873 million, or 16.9 per cent, while total compensation for Alberta workers has declined by six per cent, according to Statistics Canada data.

The three Alberta cities (population above 30,000 people) with the fastest growing labour costs between 2014 and 2018 are: Leduc (33.3 per cent increase), Spruce Grove (31.9 per cent increase) and Airdrie (30.9 per cent increase).

The Town of Taber ranks number five with a labour cost growth of 44.5 per cent and a labour cost increase of $3,318,313.

The three mid-sized municipalities (population between 5,000 and 30,000 people) with the fastest growing labour costs are the Municipal District of Taber (56.1 per cent increase), the Municipal District of Greenview (54.8 per cent increase) and Blackfalds (52.8 per cent increase).

The M.D. of Taber also sees a labour cost increase of $3,127,280.

The three small towns (population below 5,000 people) with the fastest growing labour costs are Gadsby (169.4 per cent increase), Edberg (156.7 per cent increase) and Lougheed (146.0 per cent increase).

The Town of Vauxhall ranks 34 with a growth of 35.3 per cent which is an increase on $233,436.

“Councils must address these ballooning costs and provide much-needed tax relief,” said Terrazzano. “Municipal governments need to help shoulder the burden of the downturn and that means addressing out of touch labour costs.”

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