The number of City of Toronto employees who made more than $100,000 last year more than doubled, largely because of an arbitration award given to firefighters.
According to the Ontario "sunshine list" released Friday, 4,892 city workers earned above six figures in 2013, a 106-per-cent increase over the 2,375 workers who made the list in 2012.
But city spokeswoman Jackie DeSouza said the increase is attributable to an arbitration award that gave firefighters a 14.25-per-cent raise and retroactive salary increases for the past three years.
Before the arbitration award in 2012, only 253 firefighters made the list, she said. After it was awarded in 2013, that number jumped up to more than 2,500.
Mayor Rob Ford defended the firefighters' contract Friday afternoon, saying that's where people want to see their tax dollars spent.
"Do they have good contracts? Absolutely they do," he told reporters at City Hall. "But they also work in the biggest city in Canada, and you just saw yesterday that mattress fire on Dufferin. I wouldn't want to do that. I couldn't do that job. They put their lives on the line day in, day out, and they don't know if they're coming home to their families. It's hard to put a price tag on that job."
The number of Toronto Transit Commission employees who made the list increased by 25 per cent, from 1,395 in 2012 to 1,748 last year – about 13 per cent of the transit commission's 13,500 work force. This includes employees in a range of positions from operators and station collectors to supervisors and engineers.
TTC spokesman Brad Ross said that every one of the unionized employees who made that list – 568 of them – earned six figures only because of overtime. "We had a lot of overtime last year with unionized employees related to the storm in July, the ice storm around Christmas," he said. "And we continue to have a lot of closures on the subway to install our new signals."
The city's highest-paid employees last year were City Manager Joe Pennachetti ($363,234), Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair ($334,291) and TTC chief executive officer Andy Byford ($323,638).
Mayor Rob Ford was the city's 112th-highest paid employee last year, earning $175,325. Most city councillors, in comparison, were paid about $104,000.