The province released its annual so-called "sunshine list" showing Hamilton's top earners, and health care officials once again top the list of public-sector salaries.

Hamilton's health care bosses earn the highest incomes on the city's public sector salary disclosure list, which was released on Thursday. At the top was Murray Martin, CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences, who earned $647,126.08 in 2012, plus $36,543.63 in taxable benefits.

Number of city employees on the Sunshine List this year:

818

Number last year:

734

Martin leads a top-10 list that includes Kevin Smith, president and CEO of St. Joseph's Health System, who earned $645,126.08 plus $36,543.63 in taxable benefits in 2012. David Higgens, president of St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, earned $497,552.79 plus $9,562.20.

The public may balk at those large numbers, said Marvin Ryder, a McMaster University marketing and business strategy expert. But these people lead large corporations that represent billions in economic spinoffs in Hamilton.

Top municipal earners:

Elizabeth Richardson, Medical Officer of Health: $246,230.28 plus $3,279.94 in taxable benefits

Chris Murray, city manager: $233,608.45 + $12,916.11

Glenn De Caire, police chief: $228,401.60 + $27,734.25

Tran Ninh, Associate Medical Officer of Health: $206,932.77 + $1,537.29

Ken Leenderste, deputy police chief: $195,772.80 + $35,873.08

"People say 'I'm only getting minimum wage,' but you're not running a hospital," said Ryder. "These are very sophisticated organizations."

Andrea Horwath listed several high health care CEO salaries Thursday during her call for a hard cap on public sector CEO salaries.

"When public sector CEOs are getting pay hikes that are bigger than most people’s paycheques, something’s not working," the provincial NDP leader and Hamilton Centre MPP said in a media release.

"Money that should be going to frontline health care or lowering tuition fees is being spent on CEO salaries, and that’s not fair for families who are struggling."

Horwath cited examples such as the salary of Ontario Power Generation CEO Tom Mitchell. Mitchell earned $1.7 million in 2012. She also cited the CEO salaries for hospitals in London and Toronto.

"Until we have a hard cap on public salaries, Ontarians can expect to see the pay packets of public executives continue to grow at the expense of public services," said Horwath. "A single million-dollar salary is enough to keep over a dozen nurses on the job."

Hamilton Health Sciences puts a priority on both, said Louise Taylor Green, the corporation's executive vice-president of corporate affairs and strategy.

Martin oversees a corporation that has six hospitals and a cancer centre, Taylor Green said.

"We're the second largest in Ontario, we're the leading research hospital in the country, the seventh internationally, and the largest employer in Hamilton," she said. "Given the fact that our organization is serving a catchment of 3.2 million, we certainly feel the compensation package for our CEO is competitive and fair."

Here are Hamilton's top 10 earners on this year's Sunshine List:

  • Murray Martin, CEO, Hamilton Health Sciences: $647,126.08, $36,543.63
  • Kevin Smith, president and CEO, St. Joseph's Health System: $645,126.08, $76,227.41
  • Mohamed Elbestani, vice-president research, McMaster University: $506,246.80
  • David Higgens, president, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton: $497,552.79, $9,5622.20
  • John Kelton, dean and vice-president health sciences, McMaster University: $455,504.40, $10,066.18
  • Boleslow Lach, pathologist, Hamilton Health Sciences: $433,617.95, $1,062.48
  • Bill Evans, president, Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre: $426,902.69, $24,762.87
  • Christine Lee, medical microbiologist, Hamilton Health Sciences: $419,175.19, $1,111.44
  • Vina Alexopoulou, anatomic pathologist, Hamilton Health Sciences: $412,000.39, $1,258.32
  • Fiona Smail, medical microbiologist, Hamilton Health Sciences: $411,708.83, $1,160.40

At McMaster University, 1,015 employees earned six figures compared to 947 the year before. Mohamed Elbestawi, a professor and vice-president research, topped that list at $506,246.80 and $9,921.46 in taxable benefits.

John Kelton, dean and vice-president of health sciences, earned $455,504.40 and $10,066.18 in benefits. He was followed by Salim Yusuf, a heart and stroke researcher in the department of medicine, with $387,351.10 and $1,467.60 in benefits.

President Patrick Dean earned $387,287.20 and $23,199.76 in benefits.

At Mohawk College, 247 staff earned six figures last year compared to 226 the year before. Mohawk College president Rob MacIsaac topped that list with $275,515.20 plus $47,210.09 in taxable benefits. He earned the same salary the year before, but his taxable benefits were substantially lower - $4,881.25.

There were 734 city employees who made six figures in 2011. That increased to 818 in 2012.

Topping the list were Medical Officer of Health Elizabeth Richardson, city manager Chris Murray, police chief Glenn De Caire, associate medical officer of health Tran Ninh and police deputy chief Ken Leenderste.

Threshold unchanged

The sunshine list began in the mid-1990s, but the threshold has never changed. Ryder argues that it should.

Adjusted to the rate of inflation, he said, the original $100,000 threshold would be the equivalent about $167,000 today. And the list doesn’t necessarily provide the transparency because it’s only taxable benefits.

"That doesn’t include allowances for cars or equipment," he said. "If the goal is transparency, does the sunshine list do it? I would say no.

"It really just satisfies our prurient interest in what our neighbours are making."

Search the list online

CBC.ca is publishing the entire sunshine list in an online format you can filter and search yourself. Click on the categories at the bottom of this page to search the lists.

Follow these three steps below to filter and isolate the information you're looking for.

You'll need to set the tables to Google's "Classic look," which you can do by clicking the "Help" tab and then clicking "Back to Classic look."

how-to-fusion-460

Some search tips

• You must click the "clear filter" button between searches.

• If you don't see the salary information after conducting a search, click on the small triangle on the right side of the page. This will make visible the columns you can't see.

Read and search the sunshine list, broken down into categories: