Appeal court upholds Manitoba judges’ pay raise

Manitoba Provincial Court judges will receive their much-sought-after salary increase following a decision from the Court of Appeal.

On Aug. 21, the appeal court upheld the decision from the Court of Queen’s Bench to raise judges’ pay, effectively ending the long-standing dispute between the provincial government and the province’s judges.

The judicial compensation committee recommended that judges’ salaries be raised by five per cent for 2009 and 2010, but the government standing committee on legislative affairs rejected that recommendation in 2009 and instead raised it by 2.9 per cent.

The Canadian Association of Provincial Court Judges challenged that decision and won when Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Jeffery Oliphant ruled in its favour and ordered the government to pay the salary differentials and the judges’ court costs. Oliphant called the legislative affairs committee’s actions a “total sham.”

In April, Finance Minister Stan Struthers announced that the legislative committee approved the JCC’s recommendation for a pay increase of 2.7 per cent, which brought the judges’ annual salaries to $230,155.

“The standing committee is of the view that judges, as a recognized third level of government, should not be treated differently than any other level of government,” Struthers said in his motion.

However, even with the increase, Manitoba judges earn less than their counterparts in larger provinces.

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