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Ontario bureaucrat paid more than $700K after leaving post

The province’s former deputy health minister was paid almost $763,000 last year for a post he no longer held.

Last week’s sunshine list of public sector workers making more than $100,000 revealed Ron Sapsford made $672,917 in salary and $89,152 in taxable benefits as an employee of Hamilton Health Sciences. But Sapsford had left the government in 2009 after the $1-billion eHealth scandal.

“By law, we can only disclose what’s on the sunshine list,” said Neala Barton, press secretary to Health Minister Deb Matthews. “You’d have to follow up with Ron Sapsford himself for more details.”

Sapsford, now the chief negotiator for the Ontario Medical Association, declined to comment.

Former eHealth CEO Sarah Kramer also made $107,000 in 2010 despite being fired the year before.

The New Democrats believe both Sapsford and Kramer’s salaries were actually severance payments, and introduced a bill Monday to stop “excessive compensation and sweetheart severance deals” for bureaucrats.

“When they get those golden handshakes, they need to be put on the sunshine list,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “We don’t want to see the hiding of these severance packages in other line items.”

Hospitals and school boards paid the salaries of more than 120 government employees. But Premier Dalton McGuinty denied the province was burying numbers, pointing to a second part of the sunshine list that detailed “those kinds of arrangements.”

With files from the Canadian Press