Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is defending a $7-million bonus package for 64 executives organizing the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games.
She says the compensation structure was put together as a way of being competitive with all the other cities that were bidding on the Games.
Wynne says people may think the bonuses are “out of whack” compared to other projects, but the province needed to be competitive.
Ian Troop, CEO of the Pan Am committee, will be eligible for a $780,000 bonus if the Games come in on budget and on time.
He was paid a base salary of $390,000 last year plus an $87,000 bonus.
Wynne says people should be celebrating that Toronto won the Games.
Pan Am executives earning between $190,000 and $250,000 will be eligible for bonuses of up to 100 per cent of their annual pay when the Games are over – half for staying on the job and the other half conditional on performance.
The opposition parties say it’s ridiculous to pay people just to complete the job they were hired to do.
But the government said the bonuses are standard procedure to avoid losing key personnel close to the actual Games.
The bonus structure adopted by Toronto 2015 is similar to other multi-sport event organizations like the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games, they said.
The Ontario government ordered Toronto 2015 to tighten its expense rules earlier this week after it was learned some of the well-paid executives, including Troop, had billed taxpayers for things like a 91-cent parking fee and a $1.89 cup of tea.
The Progressive Conservatives also complained the $1.4-billion budget for the Pan Am Games doesn’t include $700-million to build the athletes’ village or $10-million for the provincial Pan Am secretariat, and said they fear the event will come in way over budget.