The Supreme Court of Canada has imposed a constitutional obligation on provincial governments to use an independent commission process to set the compensation for judicial officers, including Provincial Court judges and Court of Queen’s Bench masters in chambers.
Several pieces of provincial legislation are relevant to the judicial compensation commission process:
- Judicature Act
- outlines the commissions’ functions
- Provincial Court Judges and Masters in Chambers Compensation Regulation
- sets out judges’ salary and benefits
- Provincial Judges and Masters in Chambers Registered and Unregistered Pension Plans
- sets out judges’ pension benefits
- compensation commission regulation
- used to establish a specific commission
- for example, the Provincial Judges and Masters in Chambers 2013 Compensation Commission Regulation was used to create the 2013 commission
Scope of commissions
Every 4 years, the commission reviews and recommends changes in compensation for:
- Provincial Court judges
- Court of Queen’s Bench masters in chambers
For both groups, this includes the following for the next 4 years:
- salary rates
- design and level of pension benefits
- types and kinds of benefits and allowances
- any other issues relevant to financial security that the commission agreed to resolve
The 2017 Judicial Compensation Commission presented its report of recommendations to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General on May 9, 2019 and an amended report was provided on May 23, 2019:
Cabinet responded to the Commission’s recommendations by Order in Council dated September 13, 2019:
Provincial Judges and Masters in Chambers 2017 Compensation Commission Regulation (web page) or PDF version (381 KB).
Judicial compensation review
In 1997, the Supreme Court of Canada determined that there is a constitutional obligation on governments to set compensation for judicial officers through an independent, objective and effective commission process.
An independent Judicial Compensation Commission was established under Alberta’s Judicature Act to review and recommend the appropriate level of compensation for the Provincial Court of Alberta judges and Court of Queen’s Bench masters in chambers, for the period April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2021.
The Commission held a public hearing in 2018.
Submission of the Alberta Provincial Judges’ Association (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Submission of the Law Society of Alberta (PDF, 52 KB)
To learn more, contact: