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B.C. city asks province to stop making councillors decide their own pay

Plea for change comes after councillors criticized for giving themselves a raise this term
Victoria wants B.C. to remove councillors from making decisions on their own compensation. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria council will ask the province to amend a process it says is awkward: councillors having to set their own pay.

The call for changes in the compensation process for local politicians comes after Victoria councillors faced weeks of public scrutiny for voting to give themselves a 25-per-cent raise this term, before they decided to pause that move.

Council on Thursday (April 11) passed a motion calling on the province to change the council remuneration approval process to remove councillors from making decisions on their own compensation.

The province currently relies on a council to set its own pay at amounts “that it feels are appropriate.” The B.C. government also notes larger municipalities may require more time commitment or full-time work for councillors to fulfil their duties, and council salaries often reflect that.

Councillors on Thursday said some other provinces already set council pay levels and other B.C. cities have found themselves in a similar similar position where pay rates fell behind as elected officials of the day avoided raising their compensation.

Coun. Krista Loughton said she was contacted about how Port Coquitlam councillors recently gave themselves a raise after their pay fell behind their counterparts because, year after year, they kept saying it wasn’t the right time to increase their pay.

Victoria’s council member’s have their pay adjusted each year to reflect inflation increases, but the base compensation level has long gone unchanged.

As it pleas for changes from the province, Victoria council has directed staff to form an independent task force to make recommendations regarding council compensation by July 25. The task force is expected to include diverse community, non-profit, labour, government and business leaders.

With files from Christine van Reeuwyk

READ: Victoria council pauses pay raise, strikes task force for advice

Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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