Every major Canadian city except Calgary discloses the salary of its police chief

The exact salary of Calgary’s chief of police is being kept secret in order to protect his privacy despite the fact that every other major Canadian city discloses the salary of its chief of police. 

Similar to how we put in a freedom of information (FOIP) request for the salary of Edmonton’s police chief, we did the same with the Calgary Police Commission. When the FOIP came back, Chief Mark Neufeld’s yearly salary was blacked out. The reason given for the redaction is that the “disclosure would be an unreasonable invasion of a third party’s personal privacy.”

Other cities’ police commissions and police boards don’t think it would be so unreasonable. Here are the publicly available, exact salaries of the police chiefs of nearly every major municipal police force in Canada: 

  • Victoria:  $244,169.66 in 2021
  • Vancouver: 376,368 in 2021
  • Edmonton: $340,000 in 2021
  • Regina: $257,375 in 2021
  • Saskatoon: $244,833 in 2020
  • Winnipeg: 291,834 in 2021
  • Toronto: $332,024 in 2021
  • Peel Region: $327,220
  • Hamilton: $295,675 in 2020 
  • Ottawa: $341,827 in 2021
  • Montreal: $252,000 in 2021
  • Halifax: $253,946.39 in 2021

In Calgary, the most they’ll tell you is what salary range the city is willing to pay: $244,677 - $299,250.

Just up the road, the Edmonton Police Commission recently disclosed Edmonton’s chief’s salary and promised to bring in new policy to regularly disclose it. This decision came after reporting and a freedom of information request by the Progress Report

The Calgary Police Commission said in a statement that they follow all salary disclosure practices for city employees and that they’re just following the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

“While the Commission acknowledges that other police services release the exact salaries of their chiefs, the practice in our municipality is to balance the need for public transparency with employee’s right to privacy by releasing salary ranges for all municipal employees. This includes senior leadership positions,” the commission said in an emailed statement. 

Here’s what wasn’t blacked out in the response they sent us, and how Chief Neufeld’s contract stacks up to the closest comparison, Chief Dale McFee in Edmonton:

Image via @CalgaryPolice.

Neufeld gets 30 days paid vacation. McFee gets 35 days of paid vacation. 

Neufeld gets an annual clothing allowance of $4000. McFee gets an annual clothing allowance of $1500. 

Neufeld gets a City of Calgary Flexible Spending Account Plan worth $3000 per year. McFee gets a health care spending account of $6,600. 

Both police chiefs get a free car with all of its expenses covered. 

We reached out to Chief Mark Neufeld for comment through Calgary Police Service media relations to ask if he believes it would be a violation of his privacy to disclose his exact salary when every other major Canadian city discloses this information. Neither Chief Neufeld nor anyone else from the CPS got back to us. 

For a laugh, we reached out to the local pro-austerity business lobbyists, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, for their take on how anyone could possibly justify keeping the exact salary of one of Calgary’s highest-paid civil servants a secret when every other major Canadian city discloses this information. But wouldn’t you know it, they didn’t get back to us either.