Wednesday, December 12, 2012
No 'Kraft Dinner' for MLAs?
BC MLAs among
top earners across Canada
Released by Dermod Travis, IntregrityBC.ca
to the MLA pension plan, living allowances and meal per diems should be
among the top New Year'sresolutions B.C. MLAs make this season, according to
IntegrityBC is calling for an independent panel to review and make
recommendations on existing MLA benefits which need to be seen in the
context of a salary that already places them in the top five percent of
B.C. income earners.
MLAs are also the second highest paid provincial legislators in Canada,
third highest if tax free allowances given to MLAs in Quebec are included.
“No one expects an MLA to subsist on Kraft Dinner, couch surf or give up a
pension plan,” said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis. “It isn't
about nickel and diming, it's about leading by example and striking the
right balance between the costs of being an MLA with existing public and
private sector policies.”
In 2007, the B.C. government changed MLA pension plan contributions from a
system where taxpayers contributed $1 for every $1 put in by MLAs to a plan
where taxpayers now contribute $4 for every $1 put in by MLAs.
While MLAs deserve a pension plan that is reasonable, taxpayers deserve a
plan that is equitable and the province should follow the federal lead where
the MP pension plan was recently reformed to a 50/50 contribution system
between MPs and taxpayers.
When one of the three options for MLA living allowances from outside the
Capital Regional District doesn't require receipts for “administrative
efficiency” and receipted claims for meals under the per diem policy are not
accepted, it's difficult to have an accurate sense of MLA expenses.
However, figures released by the legislature in October show that from April
to September, 63 MLAs billed $366,194 for living allowances and 67 MLAs
billed $93,518 in meal per diems while in Victoria. These numbers do not
include allowances and per diems paid for by ministries on behalf of their
At least 43 MLAs billed the $1,000 monthly allowance for six months, even
though the legislature only sat for 24 days in April and May. The $1,000
monthly allowance does not require receipts. Eight MLAs billed over $6,000.
Under existing rules, MLAs are entitled to bill “$61 per day for meals when
in Victoria,” with the policy stating that: “Partial days or a per-meal rate
can not be claimed. No receipted claims are accepted.”
“A per diem is justified when an MLA stays in a hotel,” said Travis.
“Otherwise their living arrangements are no different than an MLA with a
home in the capital region and a per diem shouldn't apply.”
For more information, visit
or call 250-590-5126 or e-mail here.
Dermod Travis, Executive DirectorIntegrityBC
Note 1: To contextualize a $61 per diem, IntegrityBC purchased $61.83
in food (including HST and bottle deposits) from the Thrifty Foods' outlet
three blocks from the Legislature. A photo of the groceries and scan of the
receipt is available
Note 2: BC Legislative Dining Room menu is available
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