Ontario releases its annual Sunshine List of top public sector salaries

The Ontario government has published its annual Sunshine List of public sector employees who earned more than $100,000 last year.

Premier Kathleen Wynne says residents have a 'right to know' what public servants are earning

The Ontario government has released its annual Sunshine List of public sector employees who earned more than $100,000 last year. (Mike Crawley/CBC)

The Ontario government has published its annual Sunshine List of public sector employees who earned more than $100,000 last year.

Ontario Power Generation executives, a pair of hospital CEOs, and a university president are among the highest paid people on the list.

 At the top is Ontario Power Generation CEO Jeffrey Lyash, who was paid $1,554,456.95 last year. 

Daren Smith, president and chief investment officer of University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation, who earned $936,089.48, and Glen Jager, chief nuclear officer for Ontario Power Generation, who earned $858,445.43, round out the top three.

At the top of the Sunshine List is Ontario Power Generation CEO Jeffrey Lyash, who was paid $1,554,456.95 last year. (LinkedIn/Jeffrey Lyash)

Other 2017 salaries in the top 10 include:

  • Bruce Campbell, president and CEO of Independent Electricity System Operator, was paid $749,862.59.
  • Mark Fuller, president and CEO of the Ontario Public Service Pension Board, was paid $745,211.84.
  • Scott Martin, senior vice-president business and administration services of Ontario Power Generation, was paid $739,854.78.
  • William Reichman, president and CEO of Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, was paid $722,875.00.

The only woman in the top 10 was Jill Pepall, executive vice-president and chief executive officer of Ontario Public Service Pension Board, who earned $721,224.22 last year.

Two hospital executives are also in the top 10: Michael Apkon, president and CEO of Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, who was paid $719,694.40, and Peter Pisters, president and CEO of the University Health Network, who was paid $718,300.56. 

There are 131,741 workers on the list, an increase from 123,410 last year, earning salaries and benefits that total over $16.8 billion.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, at microphone, listens to a question at a news conference at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children on Friday. 'We think the people in the province have a right to know what folks are earning,' she told reporters. (CBC)

Premier says $100K still a lot to 'vast majority'

Premier Kathleen Wynne said on Friday she believes it's important for the government to publish the list. The 2017 version of the salary disclosure list was released on Friday morning. 

"Let me just say that we are committed to transparency. We think the people in the province have a right to know what folks are earning," Wynne told reporters at a news conference in Toronto.

All agencies that receive public funding from the province must disclose the names, positions and salaries of each employee paid $100,000 or more in a calendar year.

According to provincial legislation, the disclosure requirement applies to municipalities, school boards, hospitals, universities, colleges, and many charities, in addition to the Ontario public service.

The $100,000 figure represents total pay — salary plus any bonuses or overtime — but not benefits. Taxable benefits are reported on a separate line. 
Left to right: Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was paid $208,974 last year. Her salary compares with that made by former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown, paid $180,885.96, and by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, paid $158,157.96. (Canadian Press)

Wynne said $100,000 is still a significant amount of money to the "vast majority" of Ontario residents.

The premier was paid $208,974 last year. Her salary compares with that made by former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown, who was paid $180,885.96, and with NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, who was paid $158,157.96. 

Christine Elliott, who ran unsuccessfully for the PC leadership, made $203,543.30 as the patient ombudsman for the Ontario Health Quality Council.

Doug Ford, who was elected PC leader, was not on the public sector payroll last year. 

Ford said on Twitter that "there is nothing sunny" about the Sunshine List.

Toronto Mayor John Tory earned $188,529.02 and his chief of staff, Christopher Eby, made $195,077.35.

Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders, meanwhile, was paid $337,744.78, while former TTC CEO Andy Byford earned $346,791.51 for his efforts before leaving in late December.

Threshold would be $151K in today's dollars

The $100,000 salary threshold for disclosure has not changed since the legislation came into force in 1996, and has not been adjusted to keep up with inflation.

The government says if the salary threshold was adjusted for inflation, it would be $151,929 in today's dollars, reducing the number of employees included on the list by 85 per cent.

The Sunshine List was first published 20 years ago, by the Progressive Conservative government of Mike Harris. Just 4,576 names appeared on the first list. 
Ontario Power Generation executives, a pair of hospital CEOs, and a university president are among the highest paid people on the Sunshine List. (Julie-Anne Lamoureux/Radio-Canada)

With files from The Canadian Press, Muriel Draaisma, Mike Crawley