Frequently Asked Questions about Compensation Disclosure

  1. Why is the University of Alberta releasing my salary information?
  2. What is the Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act?
  3. How do the requirements of Alberta's Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act compare to other provinces' "sunshine lists"?
  4. Who does the act apply to?
  5. How is the university preparing for compensation disclosure?
  6. What is defined as compensation?
  7. Will 'compensation' match annual salary?
  8. What are non-monetary benefits?
  9. What is severance?
  10. What information will be published on the disclosure?
  11. How much is the annual threshold?
  12. Why are the compensation figures so different in your disclosure versus what’s reported in the university’s annual report?
  13. Why is the threshold for the Government of Alberta employees lower?
  14. When will the disclosure be published?
  15. Where will the disclosure be published?
  16. Who will prepare the data for compensation disclosure?
  17. How long will the compensation disclosure data remain public?
  18. Is releasing employee compensation information allowed under the province's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act?
  19. Is there any way information can be exempted from being publicly released? 
  20. How do I apply for an exemption from the 2015 disclosure? 
  21. If I am granted an exemption, when does it expire? 
  22. What happens if an exemption application is denied?
  23. What is the exemption process?
  24. Who do I contact to inquire about the status of my exemption application? 
  25. How will I be informed if I will appear on the disclosure?
  26. Will employment contracts and severance agreements be published?
  27. How will the university support employees who appear on the list?
  28. What if I am contacted by the media?
  29. Who do I contact for more information?
  1. Why is the University of Alberta releasing my salary information?

    The Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act applies to all public sector bodies in the province of Alberta. The U of A, along with other post-secondary institutions in the province, must comply with the act.

  2. What is the Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act?

    The Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act was introduced in the fall 2015 legislature by the Government of Alberta as Bill 5. The act became law Dec. 11, 2015. The act requires the annual disclosure of name, position, compensation, non-monetary benefits and severance for all employees whose total calendar-year remuneration (earnings and taxable benefits) and severance exceed a threshold. Employer contributions to pension are not included in the calculation to determine who meets the threshold. The threshold will be adjusted cumulatively from year to year by a percentage equal to the increase to the Alberta Consumer Price Index. If the threshold is met, all remuneration, including severance and employer pension contributions, will be disclosed. 

  3. How do the requirements of Alberta's Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act compare to other provinces' "sunshine lists"?

    Please refer to this table outlining disclosure requirements in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Alberta.

  4. Who does the act apply to?

    The act applies to all public sector agencies, board and commissions governed by the Alberta Public Agencies Governance Act. The University of Alberta is legally bound by the act and must comply.

  5. How is the University of Alberta preparing for compensation disclosure?

    The university assembled a Compensation Disclosure Working Group to assess the impact of and prepare for annual compensation disclosure.

  6. What is defined as compensation?

    Compensation is the total of all salary, allowances, supplements, and taxable benefits or other amounts paid to an employee that are included in Box 14 of the T4 slip or Box 028, 104 or 105 of the T4A slip for the reporting year. It does not include any amount of severance paid in the reporting year.

  7. Will "compensation" match annual salary?

    Compensation is the amount that is paid to an employee in a year and required to be reported on Box 14, 105 or 028 of a T4/T4A slip. The amount paid may differ from an employee's annual salary due to variables such as date of hire or termination in the year, personal leave plan participation, unpaid leaves of absence, partial paid leaves, salary changes, overtime earned, additional teaching/appointments, additional taxable benefits, etc. The amount in Box 14 or 028 may also include taxable benefits provided by the university (e.g., life insurance, critical illness premiums, parking, housing support, etc).

  8. What are non-monetary benefits?

    Non-monetary benefits include employer paid benefits for supplemental health, dental, supplemental retirement plan contributions, employee/family assistance program, long-term disability, pension and workers compensation. Non-monetary benefits also include the employer's portion of CPP (Canada Pension Plan) and EI (Employment Insurance) contributions. The total amount of non-monetary benefits will be reported for all employees on the disclosure.
    Changes in reporting non-monetary benefits were made for 2017. The GOA has confirmed that public sector bodies should not be reporting payments from the university’s supplemental retirement plans as compensation. Instead, they will be reported as non-monetary benefits in 2017. This will create a discrepancy between how supplemental retirement payments were reported in prior years. The GOA is still considering if the U of A will need to correct the 2015 and 2016 disclosures.

  9. What is severance?

    Severance is the total of any remuneration paid or payable to an employee in lieu of or supplementary to notice of termination of employment and any salary or remuneration paid or payable to an employee after permanent termination of employment. This number is reported in Box 66 and 67 of the T4 slip.

  10. What information will be published on the disclosure?

    Information about employees with annual compensation and severance equal to or greater than the annual threshold will include:

    • employee's name
    • the position or appointment last held by the employee in the previous year
    • the amount of compensation provided to the employee during the previous year
    • the amount of value of all non-monetary benefits provided to or in respect of the employee during the previous year
    • the amount of severance, if any, paid to the employee, or to which the employee became entitled, during the previous year
  11. How much is the annual threshold?

    You can review the annual thresholds here. The threshold will be adjusted cumulatively from year to year by a percentage equal to the increase to the Alberta Consumer Price Index.

  12. Why are the compensation figures so different in your disclosure versus what’s reported in the university’s annual report?

    The numbers reflect two different reporting criteria between the Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act and what the university is required to report in its annual financial statements. In contrast to the requirements of the PSCT Act, in the financial statements, we are required to report salary plus accrued benefits not paid, which includes supplementary retirement pension income as well as accrued administrative leave. Also, the financial statements are based on a fiscal year April to March, whereas reporting under the PSCT Act is done on a calendar year basis. These factors account for the difference.

  13. Why is the threshold for the Government of Alberta employees lower?

    The threshold for Government of Alberta employees has been adjusted cumulatively from year to year by a percentage equal to the increase to the Alberta Consumer Price Index. The definitions of salary and benefits applicable to Section 2 of the act that apply to government employees are slightly different from those for other public sector bodies.

  14. When will the disclosure be published?

    The disclosure will be published on or before June 30 of each year.

  15. Where will the disclosure be published?

    Each public sector body must publish the disclosure data on their respective organization's website. The disclosure data for the University of Alberta will be published on the U of A Human Resource Services website and will be accessible directly from the Government of Alberta's compensation disclosure site.

  16. Who will prepare the data for compensation disclosure?

    Human Resource Services will extract the applicable compensation, non-monetary benefits and severance data from the university's PeopleSoft Human Capital Management system and prepare the data for annual disclosure required under the act.

  17. How long will the compensation disclosure data remain public? 

    In accordance with Section 3 of the Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act general regulations, compensation data disclosed must remain public for five years from the date it was required to be disclosed.

  18. Is releasing employee compensation information allowed under the province's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act?

    Disclosure under the Public Service Compensation Transparency Act is permitted by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP).

  19. Is there any way information can be exempted from being publicly released? 

    Section 6(2) of the act authorizes the minister responsible for the act, or their delegate, to exempt a public sector body from the requirement to disclose an individual's information if, in the designated minister's opinion, the disclosure could unduly threaten the safety of that individual. There are no other grounds for granting exemptions to individuals. Please read the Exemption Process for more detailed information.

  20. How do I apply for an exemption from compensation disclosure? 

    If you believe that the compensation disclosure could unduly threaten your safety, you may make an application to the minister to request a personal exemption. The minister will only consider applications for this reason. To apply for an exemption, complete the Compensation Disclosure Exemption Form (PDF) and send a copy of your application to compensation@ualberta.ca. Call 780-492-0210 for more information.
    The deadline for application for exemption from compensation disclosure is November 1 of the previous year.  

  21. If I am granted an exemption, when does it expire? 

    Exemptions that are granted will have an expiry date. The exemption will generally be valid for five years unless the circumstances warrant an earlier expiry date. An employee would need to reapply at the end of the term to have the exemption continue. This would allow the exemption to be reviewed in order to ensure it is still required. If an employee leaves the university and moves to another public sector body, the employee has to reapply for an exemption. In accordance with the act, an exemption is granted to the employer in relation to the employee, and if the employer changes, the exemption no longer applies. When an exemption expires, disclosure will resume for future years only.

  22. What happens if an exemption application is denied? 

    The designated minister's decision is final. However, an employee is entitled to apply for an exemption in a subsequent year if the individual's facts or circumstances changes.

  23. What is the exemption process? 
    Employees who wish to make an application for exemption should contact Human Resource Services at compensation@ualberta.ca or 780-492-0210 to discuss the application. When ready, an employee applies for exemption. Upon receipt of an application for exemption from disclosure by an employee, the minister's designate will contact Human Resource Services at the U of A to request supporting information and to inform us to withhold disclosure until a decision is made. Employees who wish to make an application for exemption should contact Human Resource Services at compensation@ualberta.ca or 780-492-0210 to discuss the application. Once a decision is made on an application, the minister's designate will inform Human Resource Services and we will inform the employee. Disclosure will then be withheld subject to the Minister's direction.
  24. Who do I contact to inquire about the status of my exemption application? 

    Human Resource Services at compensation@ualberta.ca or 780-492-0210.

  25. How will I be informed if I will appear on the disclosure?

    All employees with an annual compensation exceeding the threshold will be informed in spring. Employees will have an opportunity to view the information that will be disclosed prior to the public disclosure through a CCID/password-protected website. Affected employees will be contacted with access information.

  26. Will employment contracts and severance agreements be published? 

    The U of A must disclose the remuneration, appointment, severance, contract and names as specified under the Reform of Agencies, Boards and Commissions (Post-secondary Institutions) Compensation Regulation

  27. How will the University of Alberta support employees who appear on the list?

    Affected employees will be contacted prior to annual disclosure.

    If you have questions or concerns related to disclosure, please contact Human Resource Services at compensation@ualberta.ca or call 780-492-0210.

  28. What if I am contacted by the media?

    Although some elements of an individual’s compensation will now be public knowledge, the particular factors that determined their compensation remain private personal information. Employees are under no obligation to answer questions or defend their annual compensation. 

    If you are contacted by the media, you can call Media Relations at 780-492-2325 for advice and support.

  29. Who do I contact for more information?

    For more information about compensation disclosure, please email Human Resource Services at compensation@ualberta.ca or call 780-492-0210.