Sudbury hospital explains why so many more new names are on the 2020 Sunshine List

·2 min read

When the Ontario government released the "Sunshine List" last week, showing the number of public sector workers whose annual earnings are $100,000 or more., people wondered about Health Sciences North employees.

What stood out in this year's accounting was the fact that the 713 employees who were on the list in 2020 accounted for more than double the 341 HSN employees who were on the list the year before, in 2019.

There are reasons for that, said HSN Communications Manager Jason Turnbull.

He said HSN wasn't alone as many other Ontario hospitals saw an increase in the number of individuals identified on the list.

"Every year, the number of individuals identified on the list increases because of wage increases for eligible employees, or as employees progress through their salary grid with experience," Turnbull said.

Of the 713 HSN employees on the 2020 Sunshine List, 89 were registered nurses earning more than $109,000. The 22 pharmacists listed earned more than $123,000. Nine nurse practitioners were listed as earning more than $109,000.

A graph outlining the distribution of workers and their wages showed the majority of workers as being just over the line, earning between $100,000 and $110,000. This accounts for more than 450 workers at the hospital.

Turnbull added there were some "unique factors" that contributed to the higher numbers last year.

"HSN had 27 pay periods in 2020 instead of 26. This occurred as well in 2009 and is expected to occur again in 2032," he said.

"As well, some eligible frontline employees received additional payments under the government’s temporary pandemic payment plan," he added.

This was a reference to the fact that many health care workers were granted an additional $4 per hour in their pay, along with lump sum payments, for a period of 16 weeks in 2020. In most cases, the additional pay was assigned to frontline hospital workers.

Turnbull said HSN also had more employees on the roster because of the pandemic.

"Additional hours worked during the current fiscal year ending on March 31st are forecasted to represent 125 additional full-time equivalent employees compared to the previous fiscal year," he explained. "Finally, some frontline staff received more overtime pay than usual because of workload requirements.”

Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com