OTTAWA — Members of Parliament who have decided not to run for re-election this fall will cash in a cumulative $1.6 million in severance payments, and millions more will likely be paid out after the election.
Thirty-nine sitting MPs have declared they won’t run again in the next election, of whom 18 are eligible for severance payments totalling an estimated $1,618,850, according to an analysis by The Canadian Press.
Sitting MPs who have served for less than six years are not eligible for pensions, and instead receive a lump severance payment worth half their annual salary. They also get back any pension contributions they’ve already made, plus interest.
Members who have served for more than six years but are under 55 years of age, and thus not immediately eligible for pensions, will have that pension deferred and can take severance pay at a rate similar to their rookie colleagues.
The standard salary for MPs currently sits at $178,900 for 2019, meaning most sitting MPs receiving severance will walk away with just under $90,000 — money that gets paid even when they choose not to run.
Some MPs who hold higher offices are eligible for more money: the retiring Liberal MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, for example, is a parliamentary secretary and should receive about $9,000 in additional severance.
The total doesn’t include three Independent MPs — former Liberals Hunter Tootoo, Darshan Kang and Raj Grewal — who have not announced whether they will run again. Each would receive $89,450 if they do not re-offer, boosting the total to almost $2 million ahead of the election.
The amount of money set to be paid out to retiring MPs is just a first wave. The total is set to skyrocket after the election, when MPs who lose their races and are not eligible for pensions will also get golden handshakes.
It’s difficult to calculate exactly how much will be paid out in October, since it depends how many MPs who have served less than six years or MPs younger than 55 years old are defeated. But the average severance payment will likely be higher than for the MPs who definitely aren’t running. That’s because most MPs already set to receive severance are backbenchers, while those defeated in the coming election may include cabinet ministers and others with boosted pay because they have additional duties.