Last year's Pan American Games in Toronto paid handsomely for its executives, vaulting four of them to among the 10 highest-paid public sector workers in the province. Nearly two-dozen Pan Am employees – including the Games' public relations chief – earned more than Premier Kathleen Wynne.
These revelations were contained in the Sunshine List of Ontario public-sector employees who earn more than $100,000 annually. The Liberal government released the list on Thursday afternoon before the start of the long weekend.
The list contained the names of 115,431 workers, up from 111,440 the previous year – an increase of 3.6 per cent. The government also removed the names of more than 4,000 Hydro One employees from the list as part of its plan to privatize the electricity company; starting this year, salaries for most Hydro One employees will be kept secret.
The highest-paid public employee was former Ontario Power Generation chief executive Tom Mitchell, who stepped down in August. He raked in more than $1.5-million. Two other OPG employees joined him in the top 10 – chief nuclear officer Glenn Jager, who pulled down $797,895.07 in salary and benefits; and Jeffrey Lyash, Mr. Mitchell's successor as CEO, who took in $789,960.14. The second-highest paid person on the list was William Moriarty, CEO of the University of Toronto Asset Management Corp., with $1.47-million.
But the government agency with the most spots in the top 10 was Pan Am. Chief financial officer Barbara Anderson pulled down $862,861.18, human-resources head Karen Hacker took in $804,976.70, executive vice-president of operations Allen Vansen received $817,175.89 and Katherine Henderson, the head of marketing, earned $776,583.17.
By comparison, Ms. Wynne made $209,374.8 last year, putting her at No. 3,682 on the list. The Premier's salary, like that of all MPPs, has been frozen since 2009. There were 71 Pan Am employees in total on the Sunshine List, including 23 who made more than Ms. Wynne. Pan Am spokeswoman Neala Barton, for instance, took in $300,937.93, nearly $100,000 more than the Premier.
The Games cost $2.4-billion to stage but took in just $175-million in revenue, leaving taxpayers on the hook for a hefty subsidy.
Deputy Premier Deb Matthews on Thursday said the generous compensation at Pan Am was necessary to get top talent.
"When you run an international event, you have to run it with the very best people you can find and pay the price that international events pay," she said.
Asked whether it made sense for mid-level Pan Am employees to make more than Ms. Wynne, Ms. Matthews said: "I never compare to the Premier because, as we all know, she's vastly underpaid."
Other notable entries from the list include:
- Mount Sinai Hospital president Joseph Mapa ($761,556.83) and Ontario Pension Board vice-president Jill Pepall ($740,378.24) also cracked the top 10.
- Former Toronto District School Board education director Donna Quan, who stepped down in December after a rocky tenure, earned a salary of $587,000, plus another $20,000 in benefits. TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird said the inflated amount takes into account the fact Ms. Quan was owed money from her unused vacation days during her 14 years as a superintendent, associate director and then director. She was paid out for just over a year’s worth of vacation, but at the director’s rate.
The single largest sector represented on the list was municipal, including police officers, with 34,112 names, followed by universities (17,065), school boards (15,346) and health care (13,148.)
Progressive Conservative finance critic Vic Fedeli took aim at the government for pulling an iron curtain over Hydro One's salaries. "Although we still own 85 per cent of Hydro One, the people of Ontario now have no access to the knowledge of what the salaries are," he said.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath accused the Liberals of deliberately dumping the list on the final afternoon before the long weekend to avoid attention. "They use these kind of opportunities, when there's another big news story or there's a long weekend, to try to avoid accountability and transparency," she said.
With reports from Caroline Alphonso and Affan Chowdhry