Sunshine List to shed light on civil service salaries, names to be released Friday

Provincial government workers who earned more than $100,000 last year will have their salary and other compensation information published Friday.

List to contain names of people making $100,000 and more, with some exceptions

The list of government workers who made more than $100,000 last year will be released Friday. (John Gushue/CBC)

Provincial government workers who earned more than $100,000 last year will have their salary and other compensation information published Friday.

The so called Sunshine List will have the name, job title, severance, bonus and other pay information.

This is the first time the Newfoundland and Labrador government has published a list, but similar lists are published in many other provinces.

The Telegram compiled its own list through access to information but some departments left off the names, and unions such as the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association (NLTA) went to court to prevent the individual names from being disclosed.

Legislation passed by the government last fall paved the way for a formal list, including names, but the head of the NLTA isn't happy.

"There's real fear amongst some of our teachers that it's going to make it much more difficult for them to live in the community without [being] I guess, pried into by the community, by other people in the community," said Jim Dinn, the union's president.

"I'm more interested in transparency when it comes to Muskrat Falls than I am to what a principal in a school in some community on the Northern Peninsula is making."

Jim Dinn, head of the teachers' union, says having the names attached to salaries over $100,000 doesn't achieve greater transparency but puts workers at risk. (Cal Tobin/CBC)

If employees can show that their health or safety would be compromised, their name can be left off the list.

Dinn is aware of about 80 of his members who applied to be excluded, but only 20 or so were granted the exemption.

Government did allow the names of rank and file police officers to be left off the list.

A spokesperson told CBC News the number of people who have been granted an exemption is still being finalized.

Expand the list: business group

The Employers' Council for Newfoundland and Labrador is happy to see the list coming out.

"It gives us a better understanding about how our tax dollars are being spent, and that's greater accountability and greater transparency for people of the province," said Richard Alexander, the head of the organization.

Alexander said the negotiations with unions for new collective agreements is the most important in the province's history.

Richard Alexander, the head of the NL Employers Council, says the Sunshine List should be expanded to cover workers who make less than $100,000. (CBC)

He said this list will help break down the costs for what he calls the "most expensive government of any province in Canada."

Alexander would like to see the list expanded to include workers who make less than $100,000. He pointed to Saskatchewan where the list is published for all workers making more than $50,000 a year.

"If a government is controlling salary costs and spending taxpayers dollars in a responsible manner then there should be no issue with releasing that information," he said.

As well as core government the list will also include other agencies, boards and commissions, such as the English school district, health boards and Nalcor Energy.

About the Author

Peter Cowan

CBC News

Peter Cowan is a St. John's-based reporter with CBC News.