More than 3,000 members of the Toronto Police Service, roughly 2,000 professors at a leading Canadian university and even half a dozen plumbers at a cash-strapped school board ranked among Ontario’s highest-paid public-sector workers last year.
The number of employees who earned more than $100,000 jumped 11 per cent in 2012 to 88,412, according to the Sunshine List released on Thursday. The pattern is consistent with previous years and reflects the impact of collective bargaining on the pay of many rank-and-file employees. as well as a threshold that is out-of-date.
The $100,000 cutoff has been in place since 1996, when salary disclosure was first introduced in the province. Adjusted for inflation, it would be $137,570 in today’s dollars and only one in five employees on the list would have made the cut.
But Premier Kathleen Wynne said Thursday her government has no intention of touching the threshold.
“People would still say $100,000 is a lot of money and that we need a light shone on that,” Ms. Wynne said. “People need to know what folks are earning and what the work is that they are doing for that money.”
The governing Liberals under Ms. Wynne’s predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, had been criticized by opposition members for presiding over lavish pay increases for employees of the province’s schools, hospitals, universities and Crown agencies.
The list reveals that the McGuinty government’s efforts to curb wages are beginning to yield results in some pockets of the public sector, notably electricity utilities and hospitals. But there are still plenty of top executives earning hefty six-figure pay packets, as well as a couple who cracked the $1-million threshold.
The most common jobs on the list are professors (13,167), followed by registered nurses (1,931), sergeants (1,442) and police constables (1,146).
A Globe and Mail analysis matched 48,005 people to last year’s list. Of those, 74 per cent saw their pay rise. Just under 19 per cent had their pay reduced, while 7 per cent saw no significant change.
What follows is an analysis of various sectors:
The top executives of the province’s two Crown-owned electricity utilities both had their pay cut in 2012. Tom Mitchell, chief executive officer of Ontario Power Generation, saw his pay shrink $104,000. But he ranked at the top of the list with a little over $1.7-million.
Over all, 7,960 OPG employees made the Sunshine List with pay averaging $138,037, The Globe analysis shows. OPG spokesman Neal Kelly said this was up 111 employees year over year, a fact he attributed to the large number of unionized workers. But he said OPG is becoming a much leaner organization and is shedding hundreds of jobs.
At Hydro One, former CEO Laura Formusa took a 5-per-cent pay cut in 2012 to $912,874, said spokesman Daffyd Roderick. Ms. Formusa pocketed just over $1-million, including vacation pay after retiring at the end of 2012. The ranks of Hydro employees on the list grew by just 1 per cent, well below previous years, Mr. Roderick said, thanks to a “significant effort” to reduce overtime pay. There were 3,355 Hydro One employees on the list, The Globe analysis shows.
Eleven hospital chief executive officers were paid more than $500,000 in 2012, down from 14 the year before. The highest-compensated among them, University Health Network CEO Robert Bell, was paid $753,992 – unchanged from the year before.
TORONTO POLICE SERVICE:
Austerity has not touched the 7,500 uniformed and civilian members of the service. Toronto police negotiated a raise over the rate of inflation two years ago, which led to a spike in members joining the list. Even as overtime costs dipped, 3,181 made the list, compared with 2,027 in 2011.
TORONTO DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD:
Six plumbers made more than $100,000, ranking them among the highest-paid education-sector employees in the province. At the same time, the TDSB has been forced to cut secondary school staff, including special-education teachers and guidance counsellors.
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO:
More than 2,800 employees made the list, with salaries averaging $152,422, according to The Globe analysis. The list included 1,991 professors making an average of $134,374.
New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath renewed her call for a hard cap on the salaries of public-sector chief executive officers.
“Money that should be going to front-line health care or lowering tuition fees is being spent on CEO salaries,” she said, “and that’s not fair for families who are struggling.”
With reports from Timothy Appleby and Kate Hammer
Breaking down the list by the numbers
More than 68,000 people on this year’s list would be excluded if the $100,000 minimum was adjusted for inflation. The figure, originally set in 1996, would be $137,570.94 in 2012 dollars. Only 19,537 people (or 22 per cent of the list) made more than this in 2012.
The average salary of Ontario Power Generation’s 7,960 employees is $138,036, compared to an average salary of $114,144 for the 3,834 staff at Community Safety and Correction Services, or an average salary of $152,421 for 2,855 staff at the University of Toronto.
Forty-three employees saw their pay rise by double or more in 2012, despite more than half of them keeping the same job title as 2011.
A Globe analysis matched 48,005 people to last year’s list, based on an identical match of name and employer. Of those, 74 per cent (35,723) saw their pay rise. Just under 19 per cent (9,070 people) had their wages reduced, while seven per cent (3,210 people) saw no significant change.
The most common jobs on the list were professors (13,167 people), followed by registered nurses (1,931), sergeants (1,442) and police constables (1,146).