Board of Governors finds loophole in government-imposed salary cap

PSEA board will meet to finalize implementation of transition to performance-based salaries

Christine Beyleveldt // News Editor

Capilano University’s Board of Governors has found a loophole to get around a salary freeze that has prevented most of the University’s administrators and exempt employees from receiving salary increases for several years.

In 2011, the BC Liberal government froze salary increases for administrators and exempt employees, which affected managers and employers at CapU. In 2014, CapU, Vancouver Island University and the University of the Fraser Valley were questioned by the BC NDP about surpassing the government-imposed cap nonetheless.

According to the 2014 report by Vancouver-Point Grey MLA David Eby, CapU’s then-vice presidents Cindy Turner and Catherine Vertesi had salary caps that exceeded by approximately $113,000 and $32,000 respectively. The University released a statement after, stating that administrators were being paid salaries that fell in line with the law.

In 2016, members of the Post-Secondary Employers Association (PSEA) met with the government and discussed a way out of the salary freeze. “The result was an agreement that we could move towards getting out of the freeze if we linked any future increases to performance as well as linked 19 individual compensation schemes to having one compensation scheme for all of the post-secondary employers,” associate vice president of Human Resources, Mike Knudson, told the Board of Governors at a meeting on Jan. 23.

“We would stay with our current compensation scheme,” he noted, and in the event that the performance-based compensation scheme isn’t approved, “which most of our admin and exempt employees have maxed out at, and would be waiting for salary increases until such time as the government permits it.”

Originally, the change over to performance-based salaries was going to be implemented by July 2017, but couldn’t due to delays. The performance-based component of the change has already been implemented, and employees including administrators and exempt groups have actually been working through the new model since April 2017. In December, the Board of Governors received notice from the government that the framework had been approved, but the PSEA would need to finalize the implementation framework.

The PSEA board will likely meet during the first week of February to approve the strategy for implementation and then they can continue to push it out for CapU employees.

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