Frank Klees

Frankly Speaking

Frankly Speaking
Article by Frank klees, MPP
As published in The Auroran

October 9, 2012

What Does An MPP Get Paid ?

I am dedicating this column to all those teachers who wrote, emailed, blogged and tweeted about my last column in which I made it known what I think about teachers refusing to make extra-curricular activities available to students, and my support for a two-year wage freeze for teachers.

The accusations came fast and furious about how rich the compensation package is for MPPs compared to teachers and that I have no right to ask teachers to take a pay freeze or question their right to withhold their voluntary extra-curricular activities. Given the many references to the exorbitant compensation and  rich pensions of MPPs, I thought it only appropriate that I respond publicly by providing full disclosure of my compensation as an MPP.

For clarity, I want to point out that the compensation for Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) is different from that of federal Members of Parliament (MPs).

The MPP Pension Plan was eliminated in 1996.......

"Your pension and severance are better than a teacher's" ..... This was one of the messages on twitter from one teacher going by the handle @Badnewsbears.

Interesting I thought, that not one of these well-informed critics were aware that Ontario MPPs passed legislation on April 25,1996 that eliminated their defined benefit pension plan, which had been referred to as a "gold-plated" pension. That pension plan, similar to the pension arrangements for teachers provided a guaranteed monthly pension, indexed to the cost of living and payable for life. Eliminating that plan was a cornerstone of the PC platform in the 1995 election campaign.

As of 1996, Ontario MPPs have a "defined contribution" plan under which the Legislative Assembly contributes 10% of MPPs salary to an investment account administered by Great West Life. Whatever has been accumulated in the investment account, is what will be available to the MPP to either purchase an annuity or Life Income Fund. There is no guaranteed monthly income, regardless of how long an MPP has been elected.

Severance Allowance

A severance allowance is payable upon retirement, defeat, resignation or death. The amount is based on a Member's length of service and average annual remuneration. Four years or less of service, the severance will be equal to six months average salary,  

more than four years up to eight years, it will be equal to one year average salary and after eight years, the severance will be equal to eighteen months of average annual salary.

MPP Salaries ..... 

The same 1996 legislation that eliminated the MPP gold-plated pension plan, also eliminated the tax-free portion of MPPs salaries. Effective April 1, 2008, the MPP base salary has been $116,550. ( I received a number of emails asking if MPPs salaries would be frozen for two years as well, given I support the two-year freeze for teachers and the broader public sector).  I can report that MPP salaries have been frozen for the past four years, and will be frozen for at least, the next two.

The base MPP salary is increased based on additional responsibilities. The Premier and Cabinet Ministers, Leaders of the Opposition Parties and certain positions such as Committee Chairs receive additional remuneration. For the record and the benefit of those who have been questioning my remuneration specifically, I do not receive any additional remuneration from the legislature beyond the base MPP salary. The full salary and additional remuneration schedule can be accessed on my website under MPP Remuneration.

MPP Employee Benefit Plan ......

MPPs have an employee benefit plan that includes basic life insurance, drug and dental  coverage. The cost of long term disability insurance benefits are paid for by MPPs and terminate upon retirement, resignation or defeat at the polls.

Time commitment of an MPP ? 

There is no such thing as a day when an MPP is not on call. That's part of the job. Whether the legislature is in session or not, constituents' issues don't wait. The passing of Bills takes place in the legislature, the work on behalf of constituents takes place in the riding year round. My staff and I consider it a privilege to serve, and I trust that my constituents feel they've been getting their money's worth for the past 17 years.

As always, I welcome your comments and advice. I can be reached through my website at www.frank-klees.on.ca or at
905 750 0019. I look forward to hearing from you.