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Ontario Power Generation CEO tops 'Sunshine List' at $1.7M

Executives from Ontario’s energy companies are at the top of the list of public sector employees paid over $100,000 last year.

Tom Mitchell, president and CEO of Ontario Power Generation (OPG), was the highest paid at $1.72 million, down slightly from 2011, followed by Hydro One CEO Laura Formusa at $1.04 million.

The so-called sunshine list of people earning at least $100,000 — which includes doctors, nurses, teachers, police and firefighters in addition to civil servants — increased 11 per cent last year to 88,412. The number has jumped 38 per cent since 2009.  Click here for the list.

However, the government says the average salary on the list has decreased by $41 from 2011 to $127,566.

OPG and Hydro One have 11,376 employees on the list. Some of the top OPG salaries included those of CFO Don Hanbidge ($653,144), senior VP Frank Chiarotto ($620,071.58) and senior VP William Mark Elliott ($536,180). And some top earners at Hydro One included those of CFO Sandy Struthers ($516,829), executive VP Carmine Marcello ($493,655) and executive VP Peter Gregg ($486,022).

TVO anchor Steve Paikin made $307,539 including taxable benefits — about $7,700 more than 2011 — compared to TVO CEO Lisa De Wilde at $268,556, virtually unchanged from the year before.

Former premier Dalton McGuinty clocked in at $209,272, about the same as 2011.

Over at Ontario’s troubled air ambulance service, 129 Ornge employees made the list, but disgraced CEO Chris Mazza’s payout wasn’t on it. Ornge’s former chief operating officer Tom Lepine topped the group at $297,513.

In 2012, 7,123 employees of Toronto and its agencies, boards and commissions made the sunshine list, up 30 per cent from 5,481 in 2011, according to the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition.

“I can’t see how anybody could argue a 30-per-cent increase to municipal employees on the Sunshine List is sustainable,” coalition president Matthew McGuire said in a release.

Robert Bell, CEO of Toronto’s University Health Network, collected $828,552 last year, while Catherine Zahn, president and chief executive officer of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health earned $746,321, both slightly down from 2011. Other hospital chief executives with big paycheques included Mt. Sinai’s Joseph Mapa ($690,201), North York General’s Tim Rutledge ($471,925), Sunnybrook’s Barry McLellan ($714,999), SickKids’ Mary Haddad ($616,000), St. Michael’s Robert Howard ($544,502), Toronto East Generals Robert Devitt ($425,001) and Women’s College Hospital’s Marilyn Emery ($426,611).

Toronto mayor Rob Ford made $172,686, Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion, $136,640.92, and Brampton mayor Susan Fennell, $114,375.38.

Four people at the Ajax Public Library made the list, as did five members of the public library board in Brampton.

The bulk of municipal employees on the list appear to be police and firefighters, including about 3,200 or 40 per cent of Toronto’s police force.

Opposition reacts

The Progressive Conservatives were steamed that the list continues to grow amid a $12-billion deficit and promises to curb public sector compensation if elected.

“This is a government that wants people in Ontario to believe that they have effectively dealt with salaries in the broader public sector,” said Tory finance critic Peter Shurman. “They haven’t and this is the proof that they haven’t, and this is the reason why we say we need a legislated mandatory wage freeze.”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath reiterated the party’s desire to cap CEO salaries in the public sector to no more than twice what the premier earns.

“The premier technically runs the entire province so any public agency that’s part of that province I don’t think should be earning any more than double what the premier is earning,” she said.

“When every day Ontarians see that these top salaries keep increasing at this rate they’re wondering where the priority is while they’re watching front-line staff being laid off at hospitals, they’re watching tuition fees increase [and] they’re watching home care not be[ing] available for when people need it.”

Meanwhile, Premier Kathleen Wynne acknowledged some people want to raise the $100,000 income threshold first set almost 20 years ago, but said that’s still a lot of money for most people.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the Liberals have no intention of raising the income limit for the sunshine list, which was first set in 1996.

Wynne said what’s important is that the system is transparent so people know how much public sector workers are earning and what they’re doing for that money.

Do you think the province should raise the $100,000 threshold? Let us know in the comments.