Ontario government circumnavigates its own pay rules

Hospital secondments let ministries offer top salaries to compete with private sector
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 11/02/2009

To compete with the big salaries of hospital CEOs and top-level executives, Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has been using a controversial system of secondments since 1994 to pay salaries to top bureaucrats that exceed government-set guidelines.

“We need to be competitive with senior salaries in the broader health-care sector so we can attract the very best people,” said Kevin Finnerty, a ministry spokesperson. “We need to give them compensation that’s commensurate with their talent, their dedication, their ability, their experience and, quite frankly, the compensation they’ve been getting in the broader health-care sector.”

Ontario’s Ministry of Government Services sets the recommended pay guidelines for government employees, with the recommended maximum for a deputy minister of $220,150. The salary range for associate and assistant deputies is $148,700 to $188,950.