The compensation of Canada's highest-paid CEOs dipped two per cent from 2013 to 2014, but each still raked in an average of $8.96 million, according to a new study.

In a report published Monday, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives looked at salary information from 249 TSX-listed companies. The think-tank then calculated numbers based on the 100 people at the top of that list.

According to the group, the richest 100 CEOs in Canada took in $8.98 million last year, a drop of about two per cent from 2013's level. That figure includes salaries, bonuses, share grants and stock options.

But that's still well ahead of the $48,636 that the group says the typical full-year, full-time worker earned last year.

Based on last year's earnings, Canada's 100 top CEOs will earn by 12:18 p.m. today — Jan. 4 — what the average Canadian will make in a whole year.


It's not yet clear if the slight drop in CEO compensation between 2013 and 2014 is a blip or the start of a new trend, says Hugh Mackenzie, a research associate at the think-tank.

"It's not clear from the data at this point, because we've only seen one year, whether this is indicative of a slight downward trend or whether this is just a blip," said Mackenzie.

"My gut instinct tells me that it's a blip," he says, adding that a change in how stock options are being valued, given the slide in commodity prices that began in 2014, may be responsible for the slight decline.

Between 2008 and 2013, the country's 100 top-paid CEOs saw their compensation climb about 25 per cent to $9.2 million — roughly twice as fast as the average wage for Canadians.

The highest-paid CEOs, according to the study, in order were:

  • BlackBerry's John Chen, who took home $89.7 million in total compensation.
  • Donald Walker of Magna International Inc., pocketing $23.4 million.
  • Gerald Schwartz of the private equity company Onex Corp., who was the top paid CEO the previous year, earned total compensation of $21.1 million.

Peter Blake, former CEO of Ritchie Bros Auctioneers, was the lowest-paid CEO on the list of the top 100, earning $4.3 million.

Only two women made the list — Linda Hasenfratz, of Linamar Corp., who was compensated a total of $10.1 million, and Dawn Farrell, of TransAlta Corp., who earned $4.5 million.

With files from The Canadian Press