Ontario’s ‘Sunshine List’ grows as nearly 9,000 more public workers make above $100K

Just what exactly will $100,000 get you in Ontario these days?

It’s barely enough to get you a down payment on a house in Toronto, but it is still enough to get you on the list of highest-paid government employees.

Nearly 9,000 more Ontario public employees made more than $100,000 last year, according to a new list of taxpayer-funded salaries released on Thursday.

The so-called Sunshine List publicly discloses all the government employees that make six-figure salaries during the previous fiscal year. Routinely topped by Crown agency executives and hospital board members, it also includes a fair share of police constables, bus drivers and trash collectors.

This year, it contained 88,412 names – 8,823 more than the previous year. That is an 11 per cent increase in the number of people considered to be in the upper tier of public salaries.

Ontario Power CEO Tom Mitchell topped the list this year with a salary of $1.7 million. Hydro One CEO Laura Formusa followed at $1.04 million.

The government itself painted a rosy picture with the release, pointing to a slight decrease in the average salaries of those on the list. The average salary of public employees making over $100,000 was $127,525 in 2012, compared to $127,566 the year before.

But considering there are 8,823 extra employees making over the $100,000 mark, it is hard to consider to that decrease much of a victory.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath quickly attacked the list as evidence the Liberal government was failing to cut spending.

The list, formally known as the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act, was launched in 1996 by premier Mike Harris as a way to watch over the public payroll.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said some consider it time to increase the income threshold of the Sunshine List. Considering the list was established nearly 20 years ago, when $100,000 was worth much more than it is today, it is not an empty point.

"People would still say $100,000 is a lot of money and we need a light shone on that," Wynne told CBC News on Thursday. Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, however, told the Canadian Press they would not be raising that threshold.

For the record, since it is available, Wynne made $158,181.99 last year, when she sat as a government minister. Then-premier Dalton McGuinty made $208,974.00.

Horwath made $158,157.96 and Conservative Leader Tim Hudak made $180,885.96.