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Ontario Power CEO Tom Mitchell tops 'sunshine list' once again

Executives from Ontario's energy agencies are at the top of the list of public sector employees being paid over $100,000 last year.

Tom Mitchell, president and CEO of Ontario Power Generation, is once again the highest paid at $1.7 million, down slightly from 2011, followed by Hydro One CEO Laura Formusa at $1.04 million.

Mitchell was paid a salary of $800,000 in 2011, unchanged from the previous two years. He also received incentive pay of $1-million in 2011, bringing his total compensation to $1.8-million, $500,000 higher than in 2010.

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The so-called sunshine list of workers earning at least $100,000 — which includes doctors, nurses, teachers, police and firefighters in addition to civil servants — increased 11 per cent last year to 88,412. The number has jumped 38 per cent since 2009.

However, the government says the average salary on the list deceased by $41 from 2011 to $127,566.

OPG and Hydro One have 11,376 employees on the list.

TVO anchor Steve Paikin made $307,539 including taxable benefits — about $7,700 more than 2011 — compared to TVO CEO Lisa De Wilde at $268,556, virtually unchanged from the year before.

Former premier Dalton McGuinty clocked in at $209,272, about the same as 2011.

Over at Ontario's troubled air ambulance service, 129 Ornge employees made the list, but disgraced CEO Chris Mazza's payout wasn't among them.

Ornge's former chief operating officer Tom Lepine topped the list at $297,513.

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Robert Bell, CEO of Toronto's University Health Network, collected $828,552 last year, while Catherine Zahn, president and chief executive officer of Centre for Addiction and Mental Health earned $746,321, both slightly down from 2011.

Four people at the Ajax Public Library made the list, as did five members of the public library board in Brampton.

The bulk of municipal employees on the list appear to be police and firefighters, including 68 police officers in Guelph. One first-class constable in Barrie was paid $159,671.

The Progressive Conservatives were steamed that the list continues to grow amid a $12-billion deficit and promises to curb public sector compensation.

"This is a government that wants people in Ontario to believe that they have effectively dealt with salaries in the broader public sector," said Tory finance critic Peter Shurman.

"They haven't and this is the proof that they haven't, and this is the reason why we say we need a legislated mandatory wage freeze."

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Premier Kathleen Wynne acknowledged some people want to raise the $100,000 income threshold first set almost 20 years ago, but said that's still a lot of money for most people.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the Liberals have no intention of raising the income limit for the sunshine list, which was first set in 1996.

Wynne said what's important is that the system is transparent so people know how much public sector workers are earning and what they're doing for that money.

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