Albertans are fortunate to have dedicated and hard-working health care professionals committed to our well-being. Government values their dedication to Albertans, but also must work to make service delivery sustainable now and into the future.

For health care to be sustainable over the long term and to invest in the services Albertans rely on, over time collective agreements must bring compensation - which is well above national averages – to levels of other comparable provinces.

To protect a universally accessible, publicly funded health care system during today’s economic realities, common sense collective agreements that serve workers and taxpayers must be negotiated.

Government is also managing unsustainable growth in physician spending by making practical changes to how physicians are compensated.

Health spending

Albertans depend on access to high quality health care. But today, health care accounts for about 40% of total government expenses.

Alberta spends significantly more per capita on health care than comparable provinces but Albertans are not seeing the health outcomes they should expect from this level of investment. In fact, some results are worse than elsewhere in Canada.

MacKinnon panel report

Employee compensation

Employee compensation accounts for well over half of overall health care expenses. Alberta spends significantly more on overall health care compensation than other big provinces.

Excluding payments to physicians, Alberta’s spending on health care compensation would be approximately $2.5 billion less every year if it matched the average spending of other big provinces.

In many health occupations, compensation in Alberta is significantly higher than comparable provinces.

Compensation for registered nurses in Alberta is 8.1% higher

Chart showing registered nurse rates projected based on estimated public sector wage settlements in each jurisdiction;2018: AB 0%, MB 0% and SK 0%, 2019: AB 0%, MB 0.75% and SK 1%
Source: Treasury Board and Finance

Compensation for health care aides is 6.8% higher

Health care aides rates projected based on estimated public sector wage settlements in each jurisdiction; 2018: MB 0%. 2019: AB 0%, MB 0.75% & ON 1.6%.
Source: Treasury Board and Finance

Compensation for pharmacy technicians is 16.3% higher

Pharmacy technician rates projected based on estimated public sector wage settlements in each jurisdiction; 2018: MB 0%. 2019: AB 0%, MB 0.75% & ON 1.6%
Source: Treasury Board and Finance

Compensation for social workers is 18.2% higher

Social worker rates projected based on estimated public sector wage settlements in each jurisdiction; 2018: MB 0%. 2019: AB 0%, MB 0.75% & ON 1.6%
Source: Treasury Board and Finance

Rates have been based on estimated public sector wage settlements in each jurisdiction.

Additional comparisons within the health care field

Making health care sustainable will require common sense collective agreements that over time bring Alberta’s spending in line with other provinces. This will allow Alberta Health Services to sustain and improve the services Albertans need, while continuing to pay the province's dedicated health professionals good, competitive wages.

Current collective agreements

Collective agreement for licensed practical nurse and health care aides

Collective agreement for Paramedical Professional and Technical staff

Collective agreement with the United Nurses of Alberta

Collective agreement for General support services

Collective bargaining with the United Nurses of Alberta

On January 14, Alberta Health Services (AHS) began negotiations with the United Nurses of Alberta on a new contract.

Alberta nurses are deeply committed to the sustainability of the health care system, a commitment shared by the government. To sustain health care and free up limited resources to improve the system we all rely on, it is important that salaries be brought in line with other provinces.

Registered nurses are paid on average more than nurses in comparable provinces and enjoy generous provisions in collective agreements that either don't exist or significantly exceed those in other provinces.

We're here to answer your questions

If you want to know why the government is taking a certain action, how that action is being taken, or have any other questions about our efforts to make spending sustainable, we want to hear from you.

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This personal information is collected under the Freedom of Information of Privacy (FOIP) Act. Read more about information collection.

  • Is the government planning to cut health care spending?

    No. Any savings on salaries will be reinvested into front-line care for Albertans.

    This government has committed to maintain or increase health spending and maintain a universally accessible, publicly funded health care system.

    Read more

  • How will government meet increasing demand in the health care system?

    Demand will be met by maintaining funding, managing expenses, improving operations and reinvesting savings that are found through efficiencies.

    Alberta has the funding and resources to provide the best care in Canada, including world-class facilities and dedicated, highly skilled health practitioners. Alberta’s history teaches us that ever-increasing levels of spending do not result in quality improvements. Real progress is made by setting clear priorities, reallocating funding to where it’s needed most, making evidence-based decisions, leveraging partnerships, and improving accountability mechanisms.

    Read more

News

Arbitration award: Minister Toews
Feb 5, 2020

President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance Travis Toews issued the following statement about the arbitration decision involving the Health Sciences Association of Alberta.

AHS review will direct more funding to patients
Feb 3, 2020

Internal savings will allow more money to be directed to patients and front-line care and will free up funds for more surgeries to cut growing wait times.

Arbitration awards: Minister Toews
Jan 10, 2020

President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance Travis Toews issued the following statement about two arbitration decisions of no wage increases involving the Alberta Teachers Association and the United Nurses of Alberta.