Salaries at Comparator Institutions

Categories: Bargaining Updates 2012, Salary, Salary Increases

What is our primary objective in looking at a salary increase for 2012-2014? Our primary objective is to achieve a sufficient across-the-board (ATB) salary increase to protect the entire salary structure of our members from the effects of inflation, and to ensure that salaries at UBC maintain pace with salaries at other Canadian universities of comparable academic quality and size.

In both respects ATB increases for UBC faculty in recent years have been inadequate. According to Statistics Canada, the Consumer Price Index in British Columbia increased by 1.3% in 2010, and 2.4% in 2011. Yet we have had no ATB increases since July 1, 2009. In fact, between our last raise in July, 2009 and February 2012, the purchasing power of our paycheques has fallen by 4.3%. Meanwhile, the Consumer Price Index in BC is generally forecast to rise by about 4% over the next two years. In other words, it will take approximately an 8% increase over two years just to get us back to where we were two years ago, which is behind where we were in 1993. (For more on the relationship between salary settlements and inflation since 1993 read Rob Clift’s excellent article in November 2011’s Faculty Focus.

Within Canada, the university most directly comparable to UBC in terms of academic quality and size is the University of Toronto. (In the most recent Times Higher Education World Rankings the University of Toronto ranks 19th, while UBC ranks 22nd.)  However, other large Canadian universities, like Queen’s, Western, York, and Alberta would also be considered useful comparators. In recent years, we have not kept up with the University of Toronto, nor with any of the large Canadian Universities, as the following table of recent settlements demonstrates.


This is obviously not a complete list. A much more complete list, with data sources has been created by Professor Carl Schwartz at SFU.

When the University of Toronto Faculty Association submitted a brief to their Arbitrator on April 23, 2010, they included an analysis of how salaries at the University of Toronto had fared visàvis their comparators. They demonstrated that between 2000 and 2009 “with the exception of the University of British Columbia, all of the major universities in Canada have narrowed the gap between their salaries and those at the University [of Toronto].” Ouch. Since the brief was written there has been a 6.5% increase in salaries at the U of T, making the gap between Toronto and UBC that much larger.

Clearly, a decent across the board increase is in order for our members and we will be looking to achieve that at the bargaining table.