Who is the highest paid Ontario public sector worker on the ‘sunshine list’?

News Mar 24, 2016 by Rob Ferguson Hamilton Spectator

With a payout of $1.5 million, recently retired chief executive Tom Mitchell from Ontario Power Generation remained atop the provincial sunshine list of public sector workers making more than $100,000 a year.

But absent from the 2015 salaries released Thursday were thousands of executives and staff at Hydro One, which is being partially privatized and is no longer subject to disclosure laws.

That is a "glaring omission," said Progressive Conservative finance critic Vic Fedeli (Nipissing), who earned the base salary of $116,550 for MPPs.

"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 told reporters.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said taxpayers still deserve to know about pay packets at Hydro One, which is being parcelled off by Premier Kathleen Wynne to raise $9 billion to reduce debt and fund public transit expansion.

"We will never know how much the increase in salaries that's occurring is going to be impacting our bills. We all know our bills are going through the roof already."

Despite the exemption for Hydro One, the number of workers on the list still increased by about 4,000 to 115,432.

That sets another all-time high amid questions as to whether the $100,000 threshold, in place for almost 20 years since the system was established by former Progressive Conservative premier Mike Harris, should increase to account for inflation.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said she's not about to change the level intended to shed light on who is earning what from taxpayers.

"Is $100,000 a lot of money? I think it is," she told reporters at Danforth Tech before the list was released. "I think it is still relevant."

Horwath, who represents a Hamilton riding and earned $158,157 as leader of the third party in the legislature, agreed.

"The average household income in this province is much, much less than $100,000 and I know where I come from there's a lot of people that are trying to make it on much, much less," she said.

"It's a good round number that people can compare to."

According to the Bank of Canada inflation calculator, $100,000 in 1996 is worth $142,338 in 2015 dollars, meaning that would be the level the list would have to be set at if it were adjusted for the rise in the Consumer Price Index over 19 years.

Conversely, $70,255 in 1996 would be worth $100,000 today.

Wynne defended the timing of the release of the data, which often stirs up a hornet's nest of criticism over public sector wages.

It came on the day the verdict in the high-profile Jian Ghomeshi case was handed down, and on the eve of the Easter long weekend.

"We had no idea when the Ghomeshi hearings were going to be," said Wynne, whose 2015 earnings held steady at $208,974 because of a salary freeze.

By law, the government must release the data by fiscal year-end, which would have given it until next Thursday.

Horwath said it's clear the government picked Thursday in hopes of sweeping the public sector earnings under the rug.

"Of course, this is what the government does: they use these kinds of opportunities when there's another big news story or when there's a long weekend to try to avoid the accountability and transparency on things like the sunshine list."

Also absent from the sunshine list is new PC Leader Patrick Brown, who did not win a seat in the legislature until last September and did not cross the $100,000 threshold.

Toronto Star

Who is the highest paid Ontario public sector worker on the ‘sunshine list’?

News Mar 24, 2016 by Rob Ferguson Hamilton Spectator

With a payout of $1.5 million, recently retired chief executive Tom Mitchell from Ontario Power Generation remained atop the provincial sunshine list of public sector workers making more than $100,000 a year.

But absent from the 2015 salaries released Thursday were thousands of executives and staff at Hydro One, which is being partially privatized and is no longer subject to disclosure laws.

That is a "glaring omission," said Progressive Conservative finance critic Vic Fedeli (Nipissing), who earned the base salary of $116,550 for MPPs.

"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 told reporters.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said taxpayers still deserve to know about pay packets at Hydro One, which is being parcelled off by Premier Kathleen Wynne to raise $9 billion to reduce debt and fund public transit expansion.

"We will never know how much the increase in salaries that's occurring is going to be impacting our bills. We all know our bills are going through the roof already."

Despite the exemption for Hydro One, the number of workers on the list still increased by about 4,000 to 115,432.

That sets another all-time high amid questions as to whether the $100,000 threshold, in place for almost 20 years since the system was established by former Progressive Conservative premier Mike Harris, should increase to account for inflation.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said she's not about to change the level intended to shed light on who is earning what from taxpayers.

"Is $100,000 a lot of money? I think it is," she told reporters at Danforth Tech before the list was released. "I think it is still relevant."

Horwath, who represents a Hamilton riding and earned $158,157 as leader of the third party in the legislature, agreed.

"The average household income in this province is much, much less than $100,000 and I know where I come from there's a lot of people that are trying to make it on much, much less," she said.

"It's a good round number that people can compare to."

According to the Bank of Canada inflation calculator, $100,000 in 1996 is worth $142,338 in 2015 dollars, meaning that would be the level the list would have to be set at if it were adjusted for the rise in the Consumer Price Index over 19 years.

Conversely, $70,255 in 1996 would be worth $100,000 today.

Wynne defended the timing of the release of the data, which often stirs up a hornet's nest of criticism over public sector wages.

It came on the day the verdict in the high-profile Jian Ghomeshi case was handed down, and on the eve of the Easter long weekend.

"We had no idea when the Ghomeshi hearings were going to be," said Wynne, whose 2015 earnings held steady at $208,974 because of a salary freeze.

By law, the government must release the data by fiscal year-end, which would have given it until next Thursday.

Horwath said it's clear the government picked Thursday in hopes of sweeping the public sector earnings under the rug.

"Of course, this is what the government does: they use these kinds of opportunities when there's another big news story or when there's a long weekend to try to avoid the accountability and transparency on things like the sunshine list."

Also absent from the sunshine list is new PC Leader Patrick Brown, who did not win a seat in the legislature until last September and did not cross the $100,000 threshold.

Toronto Star

Who is the highest paid Ontario public sector worker on the ‘sunshine list’?

News Mar 24, 2016 by Rob Ferguson Hamilton Spectator

With a payout of $1.5 million, recently retired chief executive Tom Mitchell from Ontario Power Generation remained atop the provincial sunshine list of public sector workers making more than $100,000 a year.

But absent from the 2015 salaries released Thursday were thousands of executives and staff at Hydro One, which is being partially privatized and is no longer subject to disclosure laws.

That is a "glaring omission," said Progressive Conservative finance critic Vic Fedeli (Nipissing), who earned the base salary of $116,550 for MPPs.

"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 told reporters.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said taxpayers still deserve to know about pay packets at Hydro One, which is being parcelled off by Premier Kathleen Wynne to raise $9 billion to reduce debt and fund public transit expansion.

"We will never know how much the increase in salaries that's occurring is going to be impacting our bills. We all know our bills are going through the roof already."

Despite the exemption for Hydro One, the number of workers on the list still increased by about 4,000 to 115,432.

That sets another all-time high amid questions as to whether the $100,000 threshold, in place for almost 20 years since the system was established by former Progressive Conservative premier Mike Harris, should increase to account for inflation.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said she's not about to change the level intended to shed light on who is earning what from taxpayers.

"Is $100,000 a lot of money? I think it is," she told reporters at Danforth Tech before the list was released. "I think it is still relevant."

Horwath, who represents a Hamilton riding and earned $158,157 as leader of the third party in the legislature, agreed.

"The average household income in this province is much, much less than $100,000 and I know where I come from there's a lot of people that are trying to make it on much, much less," she said.

"It's a good round number that people can compare to."

According to the Bank of Canada inflation calculator, $100,000 in 1996 is worth $142,338 in 2015 dollars, meaning that would be the level the list would have to be set at if it were adjusted for the rise in the Consumer Price Index over 19 years.

Conversely, $70,255 in 1996 would be worth $100,000 today.

Wynne defended the timing of the release of the data, which often stirs up a hornet's nest of criticism over public sector wages.

It came on the day the verdict in the high-profile Jian Ghomeshi case was handed down, and on the eve of the Easter long weekend.

"We had no idea when the Ghomeshi hearings were going to be," said Wynne, whose 2015 earnings held steady at $208,974 because of a salary freeze.

By law, the government must release the data by fiscal year-end, which would have given it until next Thursday.

Horwath said it's clear the government picked Thursday in hopes of sweeping the public sector earnings under the rug.

"Of course, this is what the government does: they use these kinds of opportunities when there's another big news story or when there's a long weekend to try to avoid the accountability and transparency on things like the sunshine list."

Also absent from the sunshine list is new PC Leader Patrick Brown, who did not win a seat in the legislature until last September and did not cross the $100,000 threshold.

Toronto Star