The number of Ontario public sector employees making six-figure salaries has now hit 111,440 according to figures released this week.
That’s 13,474 more employees than last year’s list, an increase of about 14 per cent. That means the equivalent of the population of cities the size of Thunder Bay or Kingston made this year’s list.
The top ten list of public earners was dominated by electricity, university and hospital sector big-wigs.
Topping the chart is Tom Mitchell, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) CEO, who took in a $1.55 million salary and another $6,893 in taxable benefits in 2014. This a 9.2 per cent decrease from last year, when Mitchell’s salary was $1.72 million.
OPG also took the second spot on the list, though it was $1.2 million in severance for former Chief Financial Officer Donn Hanbidge, who was fired in 2013 after an auditor general’s report excoriated the power utility for runaway compensation costs.
Two university presidents filled in the third and fourth spots: the University of Toronto’s William Moriarty ($937,500 in salary) and Western University’s Amit Chakma ($924,000 in salary). However, Chakma’s salary, more than double what he was paid in 2013, is slightly misleading as he was given a one-time payment for agreeing not to take a sabbatical1.
Ontario Premier Wynne took in $208,974 while Progressive Conservative interim leader Jim Wilson made $159,266 and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath took home $158,157.
Cabinet ministers made $165,851 while MPPs’ base salary remained $116,550 and parliamentary assistants made $133,799. Thanks to severance payments, former premier Dalton McGuinty made $189,667 last year while Dave Gene, his ex-deputy chief of staff, pulled in $117,002 even though both departed Queen’s Park in early 2013.
There are also a number of notable City of Toronto employees on the list: Joe Pennachetti made $424,756.22 as Toronto’s city manager in 2014. Toronto Transit Commission head Andy Byford pulled in $359,674.26 in taxable income and benefits.
Ian Troop, who was fired as CEO of the forthcoming Pan Am and ParaPan Am Games, took home $496,940.12 in severance. His successor Saad Rafi, who has long been the top paid civil servant in the province as deputy minister of health, did not appear on the Pan Am list but as deputy minister in Cabinet office. Rafi earned $448,814.48. In all, 101 people from Pan Am were on the Sunshine List, for a total cost of $17,162,728.88 in compensation.
According to data from the treasury board office, last year saw the sunshine list grow by another 3,063 Ontario Public Service workers, 2,321 hospital and health board sector workers, and 723 university and college sector workers. The government has also been conducting its collective bargaining with public sector unions using a net-zero condition: that means any increases in wages will have to come with offsetting savings elsewhere.
MPP salaries, meanwhile, continue to be frozen at $116,550, with a bump up to $165,851 for Cabinet ministers.
Catherine Fife, NDP finance critic, said the sunshine list shows the Liberals are a “walking and talking contradiction.” “The outrageous public sector CEO salaries that Kathleen Wynne has done nothing to control, and the deep cuts to public services that Ontarians will face…are an insult to the people of this province,” she said.
Tory MPP Randy Pettapiece said the list shows “this government cannot control its spending habits…this government has said for years that it’s going to get this under control by 2017/18, but basic math tells you it’s not going to happen.”
In response, the Liberals distributed information showing pay increases the NDP and Liberals are giving some of their own taxpayer-funded staff on the sunshine list.