McGuinty defends rise in staff making over $100K
Published Tuesday, March 31, 2009 9:08PM EDT
The number of Ontario public sector workers earning six-figure incomes has increased by 26 per cent since 2007, something Premier Dalton McGuinty defended.
"I think it's only natural that the sunshine list does keep growing given what happens to salaries and inflation and the like," McGuinty said Tuesday before the list was made public.
"If we take a look at (Ontario Public Service) workers, those that have made it on the list this year have done so as a result of about a one per cent increase in their pay."
About one million Canadians have incomes of $100,000 or higher. There are 53,572 Ontario public sector workers on the list -- an increase of 10,000 people since the last list.
"For most Ontario families, $100,000 is a lot of money," McGuinty said.
"I think it's in their interest -- it's in everybody's interest -- that they know when somebody has achieved that level of publicly funded compensation."
The so-called "sunshine list" began in the 1996 during the days of former Progressive Conservative premier Mike Harris.
It lists everyone in the Ontario public service and broader public sector who make more than $100,000 annually. Those broader agencies include hospitals, municipalities, schools and post-secondary institutions, and government-owned energy companies.
CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss said if one adjusted for inflation, the new figure would be about $135,000.
Jim Hankinson, CEO of Ontario Power Generation, topped the 2008 list, earning $2,485,000.
CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss noted that Hankinson is running a multi-billion-dollar corporation.
OPG vice-president Pierre Charlebois took home $1.4 million, while Hydro One CEO Laura Formusa was paid $926,000.
A number of other executives at those two utilities earned between $500,000 and $900,000.
Michael Nobrega, CEO of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), earned $1.9 million. He topped the 2007 list.
Five other OMERS executives earned between $705,000 and $839,000.
In health care, Stephen Hebert, CEO for Toronto's Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, earned $627,000 in salary and benefits. Six other executives from that institution made it onto the list.
This year's list is not available on paper.Previous lists have run to three volumes.
Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, whose ministry is responsible for the list, said the government went paperless this time as an environmental measure.
Opposition parties accused the government of making it harder for the public to learn who is earning big public salaries.
With a report from CTV's Paul Bliss and files from The Canadian Press