At the recent meeting of the Christian Reformed Church’s Council of Delegates, delegates discussed why the CRC’s employees in Canada are paid differently than their American counterparts. (The Council conducts the business of the church between the annual meetings of synod.)
Rev. Paul Verhoef, a CRC chaplain at University of Calgary in Alberta, wrote to the Council asking why, in his perception, U.S. employees of the denomination are paid more than Canadian employees, considering that the cost of living near Burlington, Ont. (the Canadian CRC’s main office) is higher than Grand Rapids, Mich. (the U.S. main office). He also noted that even if salaries were numerically the same, the Canadian dollar is usually worth less than the U.S. dollar.
John Bolt, the denomination’s director of finance and operations, said that the Mercer group was consulted during the recent salary structure review and responded that they are not aware of any organizations that use the same pay scale for workers in different countries, because they are separate employment markets. “Cost of living alone does not drive pay,” he told delegates. He noted that the pay scales fulfilled the CRC’s Philosophy of Compensation, found in the Council’s governance handbook (pp. 74-75).
Andy DeRuyter, from British Columbia, is chair of the Canadian side of the Council of Delegates (known as Canada Corp), which makes up slightly more than a quarter of the 52-member Council. “We need to deal with this,” he said. “If that means we have to stand apart from market, so be it.” He asked for time to deal with the issue in the Canada Corp. meetings.
However, the Council voted to respond to Rev. Verhoef assuring him that the salary structure provides appropriate compensation on both sides of the border. Canadian delegates Bev Bandstra, Christopher DeWinter, and Aaltje van Grootheest registered their negative votes.