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BCTF Research Report

Section I
2005-TS-01


 

Inter-city teacher-salary comparisons, 2005–07

By Colleen Hawkey, BCTF Research
September 2005

The tables in this report show the comparative earnings of teachers in four major cities across Canada – Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Edmonton. These comparisons indicate that B.C. teachers are falling behind.

Table 1 shows three years of salary-grid data, beginning in 2005, for teachers with 17 years of education. In B.C., this is Category 5 on the salary scale; in Toronto and Ottawa the equivalent is Category A3, and in Edmonton it is Category 5. The years of experience, shown as steps from 1 to 11, are also included for each year.

According to the 2005 data in Table 1, a new classroom teacher with less than one year of experience, hired full-time in Vancouver in September 2005, would earn about $42,700 per annum. A teacher in Edmonton with the same experience would earn about $48,300, or $5,600 more than the teacher in Vancouver. A teacher in Vancouver at the top of the salary scale (11 years experience) would earn $63,700, and an Edmonton teacher with the same experience would earn $11,200 more.

With a zero-percent increase for teachers in Vancouver compared to 10.2% in Ottawa and Toronto, and an estimated 6.5% in Edmonton, Vancouver teachers will increasingly fall behind. By 2007, teachers at the top of the salary scale will earn between $12,500 and $14,000 less than teachers in these other cities.

The differences between Vancouver teachers and other teachers are even greater when the cost of living is taken into account. Table 2 shows salary differentials projected over the next three years, adjusted for relative cost of living. As shown in this table, if a new classroom teacher were hired full-time to teach in Vancouver starting September 2005, she or he would earn approximately $1,000 less than such a teacher hired in Ottawa, and over $8,000 less than such a teacher hired in Edmonton. A teacher at the top of the salary scale in Vancouver in 2005 would earn approximately $8,700 less than one in Ottawa and well over $15,000 less than one in Edmonton.

The story is somewhat different when comparing Toronto to Vancouver. Because of the relatively high cost of living in Toronto, a new teacher in Vancouver would earn over $3,200 more than a new Toronto teacher. However, this difference disappears for teachers with six years experience, with the Vancouver teacher earning $189 less than the Toronto teacher. For teachers at the top of the salary scale, the difference is over $4,000 less for the Vancouver teacher.

If B.C. teachers receive no salary increases over the next three years, depending on one’s teaching experience and assuming a constant education level, Vancouver teachers could earn thousands of dollars less than teachers with comparable education and experience in other cities. The greatest differential could be as much as $18,500 for a Vancouver teacher compared to one in Edmonton.

Teachers in Ontario and Alberta already have contracts that guarantee increases over the next few years. A Provincial Framework Agreement in Ontario has secured a 10.2% increase for teachers from 2004 through to 2008. The Edmonton Public school system will see increases of 7.0% between 2004 and 2006.

When making these salary comparisons, four key factors were considered: teacher education, teacher experience, relative cost-of-living in the city of employment, and of course, salary increases over time.

The Statistics Canada inter-city retail price differentials index was used as a proxy for cost-of-living.1 The index compares a selection of commodities and services at a specified point in time2 across eleven cities, to an all-cities average of 100. (See Table 3 for details.) In other words, in Vancouver the all-items index of 103 is 3.0% higher than the all-cities average (100); shelter alone is 3% higher and food is 6% higher. The most expensive city of the group is Toronto, with an all-items index of 110.

The selection of Toronto, Ottawa, and Edmonton3 for comparison to Vancouver was based on their inclusion in the price index and on the availability of salary-grid and teacher-settlement information for the next three years.

Detailed information on the retail price differentials index has been published by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, March 2005-2 edition of Notes. It is available to members on the CTF web site: www.ctf-fce.ca/. This Notes publication includes minimum and maximum actual and adjusted salary comparisons for all eleven cities.

Sources:

Canadian Teachers’ Federation (March 2005). “Teacher Salary Scales: A comparison of current and future minimum and maximum teacher salaries in Canada,” Bulletin, 2005-2.
Canadian Teachers Federation (March 2005). Notes, 2005-2.
Statistics Canada (2005). The consumer price index, Catalogue no. 62-001-XIB.

Contact Colleen Hawkey, BCTF Research (chawkey@bctf.ca), for more information about the data in this report.

Table 1: Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Edmonton, salary comparison of teachers with 17 years schooling, 2005 to 2007.

2005ts01table1

Notes:
Toronto: Elementary-school salary grid; there is a 1.0% increase as of February 2007.
Ottawa: Secondary-school salary grid; there is a 1.0% increase as of February 2007.
Edmonton: Public School district; 2006 & 2007 calculations are based on an assumption of a 2.0% increase per year.
Vancouver: Assumes zero percent salary increase over the next three years.

Table 2: Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Edmonton: Salary comparison of teachers with 17 years schooling, 2005 to 2007, adjusted for cost-of-living using all-items inter-city index of retail price differentials

2005ts01table2

Notes:
Toronto: Elementary school salary grid; there is a 1.0% increase as of February 2007.
Ottawa: Secondary school salary grid; there is a 1.0% increase as of February 2007.
Edmonton: Public School district; 2006 & 2007 calculations are based on an assumption of a 2.0% increase per year.
Vancouver: Assumes zero percent salary increase over the next 3 years.

Table 3: Inter-city Indexes of Retail Price Differentials, as of October 2003, for Selected Groups of Consumer Goods and Services, Combined City Average = 100

2005ts01table3

Source: Source: Statistics Canada (2005). The consumer price index, Catalogue no. 62-001-XIB.

_____________________________

1A cost-of-living index measures the price changes experienced by consumers maintaining a constant standard of living. It is almost impossible to calculate a true cost-of-living index because individual consumers change consumption behaviour depending on the costs of goods, the flexibility of personal economies, and on personal preferences, but the retail price differentials index (RPDI) is a satisfactory proxy. Compared to the RPDI, the consumer price index (a measure of inflation), tracks changes in the cost of a fixed basket of goods of unchanging quality and quantity, over time. The goods in the basket are unchanged and only the price of the goods fluctuates. (Statistics Canada, 1996, p.3). [back]

2 Note that because the most recent RPDI uses 2003 data, the inter-city comparisons in this report assume that the relative cost-of-living between cities will remain stable over the next four years. [back]

3 In Ontario, over the 4-year period between September 2004 and August 2007, teachers will receive salary increases of 10.2%. In Alberta, increases have ranged from 7 to 12% for the period of September 2003 and August 2007. The Edmonton Public system was used for Alberta because both salary-grid and salary-increase information was available for 2005; an increase of 2% per year is assumed for 2006 and 2007. [back]


 

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