TORONTO — The CEO of Ontario Power Generation earned nearly $1.2 million last year, making him the highest-paid public-sector employee in the province on a growing list of those earning $100,000 or more.
Jeff Lyash tops the so-called sunshine list with $1,155,900 in pay and $9,800 in taxable benefits, but next year he could be making even more.
OPG wrote a letter this week to the Ontario government saying its CEO would be paid a maximum of $1.9 million, but it is not changing a $3.8-million compensation cap the premier had asked to be revised.
The board "took great care" in calculating the $3.8-million regulatory cap, board chair Bernard Lord wrote, but it has voluntarily set the maximum compensation much lower, with the target at $1.5 million.
As a wage freeze lifts, all broader public-sector agencies have until September to post their proposals for new executive compensation packages under a framework that caps salaries at the 50th percentile of "appropriate comparators." That means next year's sunshine list totals could be much higher.
This year there are 123,410 workers on the list, up from 115,431 last year, earning salaries and benefits that total nearly $16 billion.
The $100,000 threshold has not changed since it was introduced by then-premier Mike Harris in 1996. While the premier has suggested she won't be increasing it because that is still a lot of money, the government notes that if that were adjusted for inflation it would be almost $150,000 and 84 per cent fewer employees would be on the list.
The second highest earner — and the only other person on the list who made more than $1 million — is William Moriarty, the president and CEO of the University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation, at about $1,046,000.
The rest of the top 10 is rounded out with the executive vice-president and chief investment officer of the Ontario Pension Board, OPG's chief nuclear officer, and hospital presidents.
There were 59 people who cracked the half-a-million-dollar mark, including a radiologist at the Woodstock Hospital who made about $615,000. It also includes former OPG CEO Tom Mitchell, who left the company in 2015 but got a payout of $563,000 last year on top of the $1.59 million he received in 2015.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was paid about $209,000 — which is not the highest of legislative employees. The director of broadcast and recording services, the clerk and the sergeant-at-arms, all of whom retired last year, earned more. Wynne's own chief of staff, Andrew Bevan, made about $313,000.
Pat Sorbara, who is on a leave of absence as Wynne's deputy chief of staff, made $156,000. She was charged late last year with two counts of bribery under the Election Act, charges that were laid after she had already started the unpaid leave effective Oct. 3.
Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown made $181,000 and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath made $158,000.
The PCs note that the former president of the Union Pearson Express made $231,000 despite resigning last March.
"As everyday Ontarians are working harder than ever before but continuing to fall further behind, the Wynne Liberals are handing out massive raises to public-sector executives," critic Todd Smith said.
The employer with the most workers on the list is OPG with 7,730 employees, including nuclear operators, senior technical engineers and electrical & control technicians. A janitor at OPG made $105,562 last year in salary and benefits.
The most common job is professor, with 5,790 on the list, followed by 3,725 associate professors. There are more than 15,000 police officers of different ranks on the list as well.
Meanwhile, the $4.5 million in pay received by Hydro One's CEO is not on the sunshine list, even though the province owns 70 per cent of the company. The government intends to sell up to 60 per cent of Hydro One.
As soon as the initial shares were sold, Hydro One was no longer subject to the public-sector salary disclosure. Financial filings only require it to disclose the salaries of its CEO, CFO and next three highest-paid executives.
NDP critic Peter Tabuns said that's not good enough.
"Ontario families struggling to keep up with rapidly skyrocketing hydro bills don't know just how many well-positioned people are taking home untold billions from Hydro One," he said.
Allison Jones and Jessica Smith Cross, The Canadian Press