Skip to content

Here's how much the North Shore's mayors and councillors get paid

How should we decide how much to pay our local leaders? The three North Shore councils have different ways.
District of North Vancouver council members have given a raise to their successors | Cindy Goodman / North Shore News files

The next mayor and six council members elected in the District of North Vancouver will be getting a pay raise over what the current ones make – but they will be expected to work for it.

District of North Vancouver council members voted unanimously July 18 to update the compensation for elected members, effective Jan. 1, 2023 after the new council is sworn in.

The next mayor will receive a base salary of $142,000, up from the current $129,817, while council members' salaries will rise from $51,927 to $56,800.

For years, it’s been district policy to seek an independent consultant near the end of the term to review remuneration with a goal to keeping compensation fair and in line with that of Coquitlam, Langley, Delta, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam and the two other North Shore councils.

Mayor Mike Little acknowledged it was “tacky” for politicians to be setting the wages for politicians but added he was comfortable with the district’s process.

“As unpalatable as it may be to the public that politicians (raise) their own wages, this is the only way that it is going to happen. And there’s no question that in our community cost of living has been going up significantly,” he said.

The demands of the job have grown in recent decades, he added. The size of the developments being vetted by council has changed drastically. And, thanks to email and social media, council members get non-stop comments from the public on a host of issues, which they feel compelled to respond to.

“It’s really a combination of those two aspects that I think have been driving the burden and expectation on council members and politicians locally for the amount of time that they have to spend addressing issues,” he said.

The North Shore’s three municipalities use different methods for updating how much their elected officials take home.

At the City of North Vancouver, council tends to update the pay schedule annually using a formula that reflects one-third of the negotiated increase with its unionized staff in CUPE Local 389, one-third of the increase bargained with International Association of Fire Fighters Local 296, and one-third of the consumer price index. In 2022, the city mayor’s compensation was set at $134,449 while council members earned $44,905.

Since 2012, West Vancouver, has had a policy to review council pay every three years, with a goal to keeping salaries in line with those earned by their North Shore neighbours as well as New Westminster and Maple Ridge’s councillors and mayors. That salary is then adjusted annually in line with the CPI. As of 2021, the West Vancouver mayor’s base salary was $129,924 and council members’ was $53,774.

Coun. Jim Hanson said he could vouch for the hours of work his colleagues put in and stressed that one has to find the service of council rewarding in other ways.

“I know I for one have lost nights of sleep and I’m sure all of us have as we as we ponder these difficult decisions,” he said. “It simply is nothing that anyone would do for the money given the magnitude of time and responsibility involved.”

The volume of work has grown so much, holding a second job can only be done with a very understanding employer, other council members noted.

While the optics of pay for politicians is always fraught, Little said remuneration must be set high enough that people of all financial backgrounds can survive while serving on council.

“We can’t be a community that can only be run by the rich,” he said.