Surprisingly High Salaries

Peter's picture

Did you know that the salaries of all Ontario public sector employees earning over $100,000 are disclosed to the general public? I only recently discovered this. After doing some quick searching, I also discovered a couple of other things that surprised me:

  • There are a lot of people receiving very high salaries paid using public funds
  • There are a few professions which are stereotypically underpaid, yet have a strong contingent of members each earning over $100,000 annually.

Let's take a closer look at what I discovered and what I think we should take away from it all.

Who's Included

Before going into the details of the actual salaries and the people earning them, we should take a closer look at who is included in this program. This is an excerpt from the Ontario Ministry of Finance website:

"The Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act (PSSDA) was passed in 1996 to make Ontario's broader public sector more open and accountable to taxpayers. The Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act requires organizations that receive public funding from the Government of Ontario to disclose annually the names, positions, salaries and total taxable benefits of employees paid $100,000 or more in a calendar year.

The Act covers the Government of Ontario, Crown Agencies, Municipalities, Hospitals, Boards of Public Health, School Boards, Universities, Colleges, Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation, and other public sector employers who receive a significant level of funding from the provincial government."

Basically, any organization that receives funding from the Government of Ontario is included in this disclosure. I think it is great that we've got this kind of openness about how public money is spent.

Interesting Findings

The CBC has a page on their website where you can search a database of all the people who were disclosed under this initiative. You can search by salary, surname, position, sector or individual employer.

I started by just doing a quick search of the whole database to see who was earning the biggest bucks. Here's what I got as a top 10 list:

Given Name Surname Position Organization Salary Paid Taxable Benefits
PAUL HAGGIS President/Chief Executive Officer, OMERS OMERS Administration Corporation $2,240,007.70 $9,551.80
JAMES F HANKINSON President/Chief Executive Officer Ontario Power Generation $1,788,719.42 $7,572.46
PAUL PUGH Senior Vice President, Investments OMERS Administration Corporation $1,240,584.59 $4,682.19
PIERRE R CHARLEBOIS Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Ontario Power Generation $1,031,720.14 $6,528.00
SELMA LUSSENBURG Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary OMERS Administration Corporation $950,358.43 $6,115.96
WILLIAM ROBINSON Senior Vice President, Nuclear Programs & Training Ontario Power Generation $842,909.48 $3,374.40
LAURA FORMUSA President/Chief Executive Officer Hydro One $794,299.31 $966.00
THOMAS MITCHELL Chief Nuclear Officer Ontario Power Generation $780,776.80 $2,832.00
ROBERT S BELL President/Chief Executive Officer University Health Network $771,630.69 $64,284.39
JAMES TWOMEY Executive Vice President, Fossil Ontario Power Generation $729,417.24 $6,092.28

As you can see, there are quite a few highly paid individuals in that list. I've only shown the first ten people but there are plenty of others as well. In fact, the person sitting in position 250 earns $347,000 annually.

By Profession

I also had a bit of fun searching by profession. This gave me some surprising results:

All these people earned over $100,000 in 2007. That is a very respectable income and a lot more than I've ever been able to earn in one year!

Seeing these results was a bit of a surprise for me because I had always thought that these particular professions didn't pay very well. Maybe that is due to my personal ignorance or maybe it is due to a more widely held belief. Most likely it is a combination of both! Of course, I know not all nurses, teachers, truck drivers and cleaning supervisors earn that amount. But some do and I found that surprising.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking at these salaries and thinking that the people earning them don't deserve them or if you are feeling jealous, I think you've missed the point. The best way to look at this is to realize that there are incredible opportunities out there, no matter what you do, to start earning what you deserve. This is just a peek into the Ontario public service; there are way more jobs out there in the economy as a whole. We shouldn't resent other people who are fortunate enough to be able to exchange their time for the kind of money it's worth. We should strive to follow in their footsteps!

We've only got a finite amount of time in our lives so, when we exchange that time for money, we owe it to ourselves to get as much in return as possible. On the other side of the coin, when we get money in exchange for our time, we owe it to ourselves to use it wisely, since we can never get that time back again.

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