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Alberta v.s Ontario - pension... benefits


So, who here has worked in either province and what can you comment about their pension and benefits etc..?

I use to work in Ontario and HOOPP (Hospitals of Ontario Pension Plan) isn't that greatest in my opinion. It's mediocre. The health benefits are also just basic too. I feel as though I was 'just getting by'.

After talking with a friend who work's ICU in UofA, the pension seems quite good (did not get into figures), and the health benefits are outrageous. Glasses, laser eye surgery, massage.. at great rates, far superior than Ontario. Forgot to mention their recent pay increase.

I'm asking these questions as I'm debating where I'd like to move to next. Being from Ontario, i'm hesitant on returning (currently in the NWT), but all family and friends reside there. As for Alberta? Great opportunities, but no family. The debate is on.

Thanks for any info.

NotReady4PrimeTime, RN

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PCVICU and peds oncology. Has 25 years experience.

I've never worked in Ontario, but I do currently work in Alberta. As part of our recent negotiations the United Nurses of Alberta compiled a cross-country comparison of wages and benefits and you can find it here:


There are hundreds of nursing vacancies in Alberta. Infer what you will about the workload... Housing is at a premium here, with extremely low rental vacancies but hoards of houses for sale at inflated prices. Taxation, if you look purely at income and sales taxes, is low, but there are huge user fees and deregulation costs that are passed on to the individual. And the bureaucracy will make you shake your head. The weather can be very disappointing... it's still August but they're forecasting an overnight low of 3 for Sunday night... But then if you're in the NWT, that won't necessarily be a bad thing.;)

Thank you very much for help. The chart really summed everything up for me.

Can you elaborate on "huge user fees and deregulation costs that are passed on to the individual"?

Is the rental vacancy really that low? I have a friend living in a high rise apartment building and there are many 1 and 2 bedrooms available. She says it was quite easy to find a place. Are the rates for renting reasonable?

The temperatures do drop, but you get use to it :) I have yet to be exposed to a winter, but it shouldn't be too bad - Just have to bundle up :)

NotReady4PrimeTime, RN

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PCVICU and peds oncology. Has 25 years experience.

Where I live, there are user fees for almost everything. We don't have curbside recycling, so we have to take our recyclable goods to the recycling depot and drive from bin to bin sorting things as we go. Our pay-as-you-throw garbage collection costs $10.65 per month for two bags or one can per week; extra bags are $1.75 each. If we have larger items we either pay the 1-800-got-junk folks to haul it away, find a sympathetic tradesman with a bin who will take it off our hands or pay an access fee to the landfill. We need a permit to have a garage sale. The flat fees for water and sewer amount to $21.55 a month, plus consumption.

Energy utilities were deregulated in the 1990s and now the bill is several pages long so that all the fees can be enumerated. Electricity for example has an administration charge of $6.04 per month, distribution charges of $0.30418 per day, transmission charges of $0.01019 per kWh, energy access charges of $0.00717 per kWh and consumption charges of $0.10982 per kWh (but this amount fluctuates monthly based on whatever the supplier decides it wants to charge). Then there's natural gas: energy charges include an administration fee of $6.05 per month and variable rates for the amount of gas used, which on my most recent bill were $5.55 per GJ from July 6 to 31 and $5.757 per GJ from August 1 to August 9. Then there are the distribution charges: a fixed rate of $18.02, a variable delivery charge of $2.32 and a municipal franchise fee of $1.67. Confused?

The city of Edmonton charges an adult $7.25 to drop in to a city pool for a swim, or you can get a monthly pass for $70, or an annual one for $515. A casual skate on an outdoor rink will cost $8.75. Picnic site rentals at city parks run from $3.75 all the way up to $27.25 an hour and if you want an electrical outlet it's another $33.75. If you need an ambulance you'll be billed $358 plus mileage if you're out of range. If you only need the EMTs and aren't transported, then you pay $229. False alarms from your home alarm system escalate rapidly after the first free one.

If you like to be able to drive your car on the street to your house in the winter, you might have a problem, since city policy is not to plow residential streets, although they had to rethink that one after last winter.

The list of fees the province charges to fund its bloated self is too long and detailed to include here. I can tell you it cost me $300 to obtain guardianship of my handicapped son, not including legal fees.




The first article is a year old, but no less true now. The second is more recent. The newspapers have been full of stories of massive rent hikes and evictions so the apartments can be condo-ized... http://communities.canada.com/edmontonjournal/blogs/offtheledge/archive/2007/05/10/a-picture-is-worth.aspx

university students are renting rooms in private homes because there are no suitable vacancies. There was a story in today's paper about a family of three who are supported by Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped who are living in their van because they can't find a place they can afford. You decide.

Now, all of that notwithstanding, I like living here and have managed to pay off a huge amount of debt since moving here. But when my husband has to retire from the military, given that he has received all of his education through the military and has no "wallpaper", I will become a single breadwinner and that will most certainly change. We'll have to see what comes.

I'm curious xtreme as to why you are leaving the NWT. Are the benefits not that good there? What about salary? I hear if you work in a remote area the pay can be quite good, and the pension is not so shabby either.



Has 18 years experience.

Ditto what Jan has to say.

People I work with are being evicted so that the landlord can get new tenants and raise the rent.

I am paying $84.96 for using $48.50's worth of electricity. I pay $14.05 to have my garbage and recycle picked up everymonth. And don't get me started on the ruts on the road in my subdivision last winter.

I'm curious xtreme as to why you are leaving the NWT. Are the benefits not that good there? What about salary? I hear if you work in a remote area the pay can be quite good, and the pension is not so shabby either.


Leaving because I have no family here and limited things to do. I came for one reason - to pay of my school loans. The pay is the highest in the nation, but money is not the reason to keep me. Cost of living is expensive. When there is nothing to do, you can only save.

I'm glad I am getting the experience, but in the end, money will not by me happiness. I figured i'd stay for a few years, but I quickly realized how much I love the city life.

Life is too short and to each is their own. Some people love it up here - me, not so much :)

Thanks everyone for the extra bit of information.

I'm going to have to decide where I would like to head too next :)

I just realized no one addressed pension.

Can anyone provide figures to the pension offered in larger hospitals, such as UofA?

What is the contribution % yourself, matching % from emploer, etc...

NotReady4PrimeTime, RN

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PCVICU and peds oncology. Has 25 years experience.

All unionized facilities in Alberta have the identical pension structure administered by the Local Authorities Pension Plan. Nurses must work a minimum of 14 hours per week, averaged out over the complete shift cycle to be eligible.

Current contribution rates are shown below, as a percentage of pensionable salary. These rates will remain unchanged through 2008.

Members' Rate 6.75% up to YMPE 9.64% over YMPE

Employers' Rate 7.75% up to YMPE 10.64% over YMPE

*YMPE refers to the Year's Maximum Pensionable Earnings as determined by the Canada Pension Plan. In 2007, the YMPE is $43,700.

The collective agreement also provides for an employee RRSP to which the employee may deposit up to 2 % of their regular earnings and have it matched by the employer. It's like free money.

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