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Following suit: MLAs propose two-year freeze to their salaries

Northwest Territories MLAs are considering a freeze to their inflation-linked salary increases starting in April.

On Thursday, Mackenzie Delta MLA Frederick Blake Jr. moved that Bill 1: An Act to Amend the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act be read for the first time.

Currently, the Act provides for a member’s salary to be adjusted annually by the percentage increase or decrease in the consumer price index.

Mackenzie Delta MLA Frederick Blake Jr.
Mackenzie Delta MLA Frederick Blake Jr.

That would mean an automatic salary increase of 1.1 percent for MLAs on April 1 and a similar increase on the same date next year.

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But the bill introduced on Thursday would freeze salaries at current levels for the next two years.

Blake says MLAs want to follow suit after it was announced that the salaries of deputy ministers, senior managers and excluded workers would be frozen for two years, starting in 2016.

That decision was announced by territorial finance minister Robert C McLeod in the legislature last Friday.

McLeod says it affects a total of 844 people, including 597 excluded employees, 225 senior managers and 22 deputy ministers.

Even though employees will still be eligible for raises in their pay grade, the announcement was criticized by Kam Lake MLA Kieron Testart since it affects people working in non-managerial positions.

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He believes it’s unfair for people working as executive assistants, human resource professionals or executive secretaries to be included in the freeze alongside more senior staff.

If MLA salaries are in fact frozen over the next two years, the government will save $30,000 this year alone. Any future savings would be dependent on changes in the consumer price index.

The bill will have to be read two more times, and approved by a majority of members, before it takes effect.

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