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Compensation Disclosure Frequently Asked Questions

Submitted by darmstro on Thu, 05/05/2016 - 11:11am

1. Why is this happening?

The provincial government has committed to increasing transparency by addressing the disclosure of compensation paid to a wide variety of public sector employees, appointees, physicians and other health practitioners. This legislation will allow Alberta taxpayers to see where their dollars are spent. The government will work closely with organizations affected by this legislation to support compliance.

2. What is the Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act?

The Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act became law on Dec. 11, 2015 and requires disclosure of the names, positions, compensation (salary and benefits), non-monetary benefits and severance for all employees whose total remuneration and/or severance payments exceeds $126,375 in 2016.

3. Who does the legislation apply to?

The Act applies to all public sector agencies, boards and commissions including universities and requires the University of Calgary to disclose the names of employees with employment income including severance (if applicable) in 2016 that exceeds $126,375.

4. What will appear on the list if I earn in excess of the $126,375 threshold?

The threshold calculation is used to determine if you have total yearly earnings of $126,375 or more. If you do, then you will be included on the compensation disclosure list. If the threshold is met, all remuneration, including severance, will be disclosed. Employer pension contributions will also be disclosed.

5. When will the compensation disclosure lists be posted?

All post-secondary institutions in Alberta are required to post on their institutional websites on or before June 30, 2017 at noon.

6. Will the annual threshold be reviewed each year?

The threshold is indexed to the Alberta Consumer Price Index and will be adjusted accordingly year over year.

Any and all remuneration paid to board members is also required to be disclosed irrespective of the threshold for staff.

7. How is the University of Calgary preparing for Compensation Disclosure?

A Working Group has been established to review the legislation and regulations, gather information and establish a process for complying with the Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act on an annual basis. This Working Group was also tasked with establishing and implementing a comprehensive communication plan.

8. What is included in “compensation”?

Compensation is the total of all salary, allowances, supplements, and taxable benefits or other amounts paid to an employee that will be reported on your T4 for the 2016 tax year.

9. Will "compensation" match annual salary?

The amount paid may differ from an employee's annual salary due to variables such as date of hire or termination in the year, personal leave plan, unpaid leaves of absence, partial paid leaves, salary changes, overtime earned, additional teaching/appointments, etc.

10. What are non-monetary benefits?

Non-monetary benefits include employer paid benefits for supplemental health, dental, life insurance, employee/family assistance program, critical illness, long-term disability, pension and workers compensation. Non-monetary benefits also include the employer's portion of CPP (Canada Pension Plan) and EI (Employment Insurance) contributions. The total amount of non-monetary benefits will be reported for all employees on the disclosure.

11. What is severance?

Severance is the total of any remuneration paid or payable to an employee in lieu of or supplementary to notice of termination of employment and any salary or remuneration paid or payable to an employee after termination of employment.

12. Why is the threshold for the Government of Alberta employees lower?

The threshold for the Government of Alberta disclosure was set in 2012 at $100,000 and has been adjusted cumulatively from year to year by a percentage equal to the increase to the Alberta Consumer Price Index.

13. When will the disclosure be published?

The disclosure must be published on or before June 30 of each year.

14. Where will the disclosure be published?

The disclosure data will be accessible on the University of Calgary website and the Government of Alberta's compensation disclosure site.

15. Is releasing employee compensation information allowed under the province's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act?

Disclosure under the Public Service Compensation Transparency Act is permitted by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP).

16. Is there any way information can be exempted from being publicly released?

Employees may apply to be exempted from having their compensation disclosed only if disclosure could unduly threaten their safety. There are no other grounds for granting exemptions. Employees who believe the disclosure would put their safety at risk may apply to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General for a personal exemption. Affected employees will be informed of the exemption process and exemption applications are required to be submitted by November 1, 2016. It will be extremely rare that an exemption to disclosure is granted. The individual application form is available on the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General website.

17. How will I know whether I will be included in the disclosure?

All employees whose annual compensation in 2016 exceeds $126,375 will receive notification advising them of their inclusion.

18. Will employment contracts and severance agreements be published?

Employment contracts and severance agreements were not required to be posted by June 30, 2016, but may be required to be posted next year.

19. How will the University of Calgary support employees who appear on the list?

Employees should feel no obligation to answer questions or defend their annual compensation. If you are contacted by members of the media, it is your choice how and if to respond, but if you’d prefer, please refer them to Marina Geronazzo, Media Relations Manager in University Relations at marina.geronazzo@ucalgary.ca or 403-220-7722.

20. Who do I contact for more information?

If you have additional questions, please email them to vpfs@ucalgary.ca. For specific enquiries about individual compensation data being disclosed, please contact Tracy Berthelette, Payroll Manager, at tracy.berthelette@ucalgary.ca.