Alberta’s chief medical officer of health received almost $228,000 in cash and benefits during the 2021 calendar year.
That was on top of a salary of $363,634 and “non-cash benefits” of about $5,200 for Dr. Deena Hinshaw last year.
It’s the largest cash benefit payout for a provincial employee since records started in 2016.
The numbers are listed on the Alberta government’s salary disclosure page.
In total, 107 provincially-paid employees — most in management positions and working in health — received cash payouts in 2021.
Twelve people, including Hinshaw, logged six-figure cash bonuses.
The so-called “Sunshine List” discloses the compensation of almost 2,000 people.
Health Ministry spokesperson Steve Buick confirmed the payments to CTV News, calling them standard practice in an emergency.
He says Hinshaw’s bonuses were calculated using her base hourly rate and the number of overtime hours she worked in 2021 beyond 45 hours a week.
The COVID-19 pandemic has killed 4,665 Albertans and has required sometimes-frequent public health updates from Hinshaw throughout the last two years.
Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt says he understand the pandemic-related payouts — but he doesn’t think every Albertan will.
“This is just going to add to the discussions about ‘was Hinshaw providing advice to the Kenney government? Was she providing advice that she felt that they needed? Was she operating independently?’ Those discussions I think are going to continue and she’s going to be under an even deeper microscope,” Bratt told CTV News.
He also says it will pose some questions about a personnel move in April.
“In several respects, you have to contrast Hinshaw’s bonus with, for example, the firing of Verna Yiu as Alberta Health Services CEO, or with the efforts of — at least in 2020 — trying to hold the line and rolling back wages for doctors and nurses,” Bratt said.
The province set aside a COVID-related contingency fund last year to help with increased health spending during the pandemic.
It tells CTV News that the $2.4 million in total special services compensation for 2021 is around .04 per cent of the $10 billion total cost of the province’s pandemic response.
A statement also thanked all employees for their added work over the last two years.