Average salary at Ontario government down 1 per cent: Minister of Finance

But hospital CEO pay needs to be capped, says SEIU
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 04/01/2011

The average employee's salary at the Ontario public service dropped by one per cent in 2010 compared to the average salary in 2009. There was also a decrease of the average broader public sector employee's salary for those earning more than $100,000, according to the Public Sector Salary Disclosure compendium.

In keeping with its commitment to increased accountability and transparency, the salaries and taxable benefits of Ontario public service and broader public sector employees who were paid $100,000 or more in 2010 are released in an annual “sunshine list.”

The province also posts on a separate website the expense information for cabinet ministers, political staff, Ontario government senior management, appointees and senior executives at Ontario's 22 largest agencies.

Recently, the Ontario government announced in its budget plans to have major agencies “deliver efficiencies” of $200 million by 2013-14, along with reduced funding for executive offices of specific transfer payment recipients such as hospitals, school boards, universities, colleges and major government agencies. An additional 1,500 positions are also to be reduced in the Ontario public service between April 2012 and March 2014.

"Our government continues to modernize the delivery of public services to achieve better value for Ontario taxpayers. This includes our proposal to reduce the size of the Ontario public service by an additional 1,500 positions and trim funding for executives and their offices at hospitals, universities and other government agencies," said Dwight Duncan, minister of finance.

The government froze the compensation structures of non-bargaining political and legislative staff, as well as non-bargaining employees in the broader public sector (BPS) and Ontario Public Sector (OPS) for two years. Additionally, the freeze on pay for Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) was extended from one to three years.

However, hospital CEO pay has hit new records as executives thumb their nose at taxpayers and brush off appeals from government for moderation, according to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents more than 50,000 front-line health-care workers in Ontario

The sunshine list of public sector salaries showed hospital CEOs in Ontario continue to pocket massive bonuses, it said.

"These CEOs are out of touch and need to be reined in. We need to cap CEO pay," said Carol McDowell, president of the nursing division of SEIU.

Humber River Regional Hospital CEO Rueben Devlin enjoyed a 10-per-cent pay increase at a time when hospital budgets are growing by less than two per cent, said the SEIU, while at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, CEO Robert Howard enjoyed a 14-per-cent jump in compensation.

Sunnybrook Hospital CEO Barry McLellan saw his compensation package jump by 18 per cent over two years to $693,000. In Windsor, hospital CEO Warren Chant saw a 35-per-cent hike in his compensation.

The disclosures show hospital executives have ignored appeals from the government of Ontario, which has urged hospital boards and executives to act voluntarily.

"As a nurse, I cannot stand by and watch these CEOs siphon off millions in tax dollars that should be going to front-line care," said McDowell. "The time for patience is over; we need to cap hospital CEO pay now."

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