Students Nova Scotia


Press Releases & Updates

Nova Scotia students reiterate call for wage fairness at NS universities

For Immediate Release

Halifax, N.S. – Students Nova Scotia is calling on Nova Scotia’s public post-secondary institutions, once again, to pursue Wagemark certification to ensure fair wages. The mandatory disclosure of public salaries above $100,000, completed today, revealed that departing executives at Dalhousie and StFX took home $442,141 and $385,730 in 2013-14, while the average salary for top-paid employees at Nova Scotia’s public post-secondary institutions was $265,000.

“It is really distressing for students to see staff at our universities collecting massive paycheques while we’re struggling to make ends meet,” said James Patriquin, StudentsNS President. “The highest amount went to a departing executive who was not even on staff for most of the year, an example that clearly demonstrates the need for change in universities’ executive compensation practices.”

“Universities have had $65 million in cuts in the last four years, but those cuts are impacting a lot more on services to students than on the top salaries,” said StudentsNS Executive Director, Jonathan Williams. “We could provide MSI coverage to every international student in Nova Scotia for less than the two top-paid university executives’ 2013-14 earnings.”

Wagemark certification is a scaled benchmark certifying employers based on the ratio between compensation for its highest paid employee and the bottom ten per cent of its earners. The maximum ratio that is accepted for certification is 8:1. StudentsNS members across the province are lobbying their schools directly to join the certification program, notably through representatives on Boards of Governors. They are calling for support from government, the public and other stakeholders.

“Wagemark’s approach to limiting compensation at the top is fair to students as both funders and often employees of their post-secondary institutions,” said Patriquin. “Universities must be more accountable for how they pay their top employees, especially in light of increasing tuition costs and provincial funding cuts.”

Some progress has been noted; this year’s average highest salary shows a $12,000 decrease from 2013. The number of institutions that could qualify for Wagemark certification also doubled and now includes the Atlantic School of Theology, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, the University of King’s College and Université Saint-Anne.

Current or departing presidents are most commonly the highest paid employees of their institutions, although VPs finance or senior professors are also top earners in some cases. 

Students Nova Scotia is a not-for-profit and non-partisan advocacy group that represents 37,794 Nova Scotia post-secondary students, including 86% of the university population. Our members study at Acadia, Cape Breton, Dalhousie, Saint Mary’s and St. Francis Xavier Universities, the Kingstec Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, and the Atlantic School of Theology.




For more information or questions, please contact:

Jonathan Williams, Executive Director

(O) 902.422.4068

(C) 902.483.5480




James Patriquin, President

(O) 902.422.4068

(C) 902.718.7285


Kate Elliot