To help government retain and attract the best employees for its most senior positions, the province is changing the way it pays deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers. Nova Scotia’s deputy ministers are paid between $103,000 and $134,000 in base salary, with the opportunity for an additional 10 to 15 per cent, based on performance. “The performance component of the salaries has been around since 2003, but we want to be clear and transparent about salaries for our most senior officials,” Treasury and Policy Board Minister Angus MacIsaac said. “This new system is being implemented over two fiscal years. Pay for performance has been eliminated effective April 1, 2006, and we are implementing a salary-based package for senior officials, which will take effect April 1, 2007.” There will be a retroactive payment to April 1, 2006, and new salary levels for deputy ministers effective April 1, 2007 will be $134,000 to a maximum of $184,000. The range for assistant deputy ministers will be $117,000 to $161,000. Officials will be placed within the ranges on an individual basis. Progression through the range will depend on performance, and government meeting its policy and fiscal objectives, including a balanced budget. “Once this policy is applied on April 1, the salary for the majority of deputy ministers and assistant deputies will be in the middle to lower end of their respective ranges,” Mr. MacIsaac said. The new salary levels were determined after a review by consultants Robertson Surrette of executive salaries in comparable positions in other provinces, the federal government and other public-sector positions, such as school boards, universities and health authorities in Atlantic Canada. “The results confirmed what we already suspected — that salaries paid to senior government officials in Nova Scotia are at the low end of the scale compared with senior public sector positions in Atlantic Canada,” Mr. MacIsaac said. “This has a direct impact on government’s ability to keep our senior officials and attract the best candidates to the civil service. “To help ensure the quality of government programs and services, and that excellence in the senior civil service continues, we must offer competitive salaries for these senior positions.” Senior officials include deputy ministers, assistant deputies and selected other Cabinet appointments.