Politics·CBC Forum

What's a fair wage for a government employee?

Thousands of employees of the Ontario government earn a higher salary than the premier, the latest version of the province's Sunshine List reveals. What's a fair wage for a government employee?

More than 115,000 Ontario public-sector employees make more than $100K a year

The Ontario Sunshine List chronicles every public provincial servant whose paycheque exceeds six figures. What do you think is a fair wage for a government employee? (CBC)

Thousands of employees of the Ontario government earn a higher salary than the premier, the latest version of the province's Sunshine List reveals.

Premier Kathleen Wynne earns $208,974 to lead the province, but only places 3,682nd on the list of highest-paid provincial employees.

Tom Mitchell, the former CEO at Ontario Power Generation, who resigned last summer, topped the 2015 list at $1.59 million.

In all, 115,431 earned more than $100,000 in 2015. Fifty-eight people had salaries over $500,000.

What is a fair wage for a government employee?

Readers let us know what they think in the latest CBC Forum — a live, hosted discussion about topics of national interest.

(Please note that user names are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style. Click on the user name to see the comment in the blog format.)

"Considering that public service employees have better pensions and job security as compared to the private sector, I am convinced that their salaries are too high compared to other Ontarians. The extra money can be better spent by governments. There certainly is no shortage of needy recipients." — nkandy

​"A fair wage would be about 15 per cent less than the average private-sector equivalent. Government people are not subject to layoff or job loss or reduction in benefits, and if there is a strike they don`t risk the employer moving to Texas." — 2centsmore

"​In general, civil servants and government employees should earn $50,000 to $75,000 per year. Ontario is not in a position fiscally to offer or pay more than that. If people aren't willing to receive that, it should be contracted out to those willing to receive that. And I am certain the average Ontarian would appreciate that kind of pay." — metalofu 

"​As a retired health-care worker, I feel more qualified to address that sector than others. Hospital CEO salaries are outrageous and obscene. The counter-argument that they represent a small portion of a hospital's budget is the kind of obfuscation described by George Orwell in 1984. We front-line workers have our workloads increased tiny bit by tiny bit while we fill out mandatory surveys of how we spend our time (without capturing the time wasted filling them out). The results analyzed by the admin folk are always the same: lay off more front-line workers, which inevitably leads to poorer health outcomes. Try laying off some administrators!" — 1stresponder

"A 'fair' wage is one that allows someone to live with dignity and comfort as long as they are performing a valued function for the community, and then be able to have a similar retirement. That goes for everyone, public or private sector doesn't matter. Also, the $100,000 line in the sand is irrelevant. With inflation, all it means is that we have arrived at a wage level where an ever greater percentage of people will be approaching or crossing that line. It's psychological — the real number could just as easily be $123,480.22." — EEWint

​"For the most part the public gets what it pays for. We want the best teachers. We want the best city managers. We want the best medical practitioners. We want the best computer programmers. The best can go to other jurisdictions or to the private sector if they are not compensated competitively." —  Tim Lethbridge

"I​f I were to seek a government job, the fair wage would be the best income I could negotiate or the best wage negotiated for me by those entrusted to do the negotiating — i.e., the union. And if others want to whine about it, let them seek their own government job and work for less." — northstar10

​"I'd like to see government salaries and benefits emulated as a standard by which to improve conditions for workers throughout our society. If governments can't lead the way and set the bar higher, then who can?" — voula

​You can read the full discussion below.

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With files from The Canadian Press