Dear colleagues, 

In bargaining for our current Collective Agreement, the government issued a potential 0.5% salary increase to public sector employers dependent on what is called a “Gain Sharing Formula.”

I regret to inform you that the threshold for this increase was not met. The increase was conditional based on Alberta’s Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2023. If the 2023 GDP number was at or above 2.7% higher the 2022 GDP number as of February 2024, then 0.5% would have been added to wages retroactively to December 1, 2023. 

I received a letter from Provost Verna Yiu yesterday detailing the Provincial Bargaining and Compensation Office (PBCO) determination that the Real GDP forecast for 2023 is 2.07% than the 2022 Real GDP. Please see the breakdown here for details on the gain sharing formula calculation. 

This loss is a reminder of the disconnect between the government’s vision for our university, and what is required to preserve our world-class education. 

Since about 2010-2011, the U of A has consistently allocated a diminishing fraction of its operating budget to academic salaries. To be on par with salaries at other Top 5 Canadian universities, (University of Toronto, UBC, Waterloo, McMaster, Queens and Western) we would need a 17% Across the Board (ATB) increase. 

This is precisely AASUA’s compensation ask in our opening proposal for a Renewal Collective Agreement, which you can read more context for in my in-depth report here.

U of A Academic staff need an ATB that reflects both inflationary increases and our position as a Top 5 Canadian University. It is not a matter of whether this increase is “nice to have.” It is essential to retain the caliber of work we are known for on a global scale. We can protect our future, or we can lose it. 

So far, the meagre offerings the government has proposed in this round of bargaining and in the past do not bode well for protecting the U of A’s top-quality education and research. We must show our resolve to demonstrate we are fighting for better, both for our university and for Alberta. 


Gordon Swaters
AASUA President