Published:August 1, 2022
For more than two years, Dr. Deena Hinshaw has been the face of Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s no denying this role has meant a lot of work and long days. And that has led to a significant bump in pay.
Alberta’s sunshine list shows additional cash benefits totaling nearly $230,000. All added up, that is more than $590,000 in compensation.
The sunshine list shows she did not receive this type of payment in 2020 – the first year of the pandemic.
In a statement, government spokesperson Steve Buick said, “Given the scale of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, an extraordinary amount of additional work was required from Alberta’s top public health doctor,” and that the bonus was “determined using a formula for managers based on additional hours worked.”
In total, 107 government employees were given additional compensation, which came to a total of $2.4 million.
This has caught the attention of at least two UCP leadership candidates.
“’We’re all in this together’ didn’t mean what we thought it did,’ wrote to her Twitter followers, adding Albertans are stunned and outraged.
“$19,000 a month as the bonus?” added MLA Brian Jean. “This is unsettling, to say the least.
“The healthcare system is in trouble,” said Lori Williams, a political science professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary. “The wisdom of the expenditures or cuts that have been made are being called into question.”
Williams said it won’t just be UCP leadership hopefuls asking these questions, but other frontline healthcare workers as well.
“Doctors are still – more than two years later – without a contract with the Alberta government. Nurses and frontline healthcare workers, including respiratory therapists, have been repeatedly asked to take cuts,” she said.
The pandemic persists and Dr. Hinshaw continues her work. And Albertans now know what that work is worth.