We all contribute to multi-million dollar CEO compensation packages

As we flail managers in the public sector for their annual bonuses, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reminds us who is hauling down the really big bucks at everyone’s else’s expense.

In 2011 Canada’s top 100 CEOs – all of them in the private sector – earned an average of $7,695,625 in compensation. By comparison, the average Canadian wage was $45,488, and if you are a woman, it would be $39,136. In our sector, the median salary for a hospital CEO in Ontario is $266,000.

The CCPA notes that Canada’s top 50 CEOs made 235 times more than the average Canadian in 2011. The staggering growth in inequality is reflected in this figure – in 1995 the top 50 CEOs made 85 times the average pay.

While we think of public sector compensation as being at our expense as tax paying citizens, clearly these staggering levels of compensation are reflected not only in the goods and services we buy as consumers, but also are reflected in costs directly borne by government. Consider 36 per cent of Ontario government spending is directly in the private sector for everything from construction costs to the gas in the vehicles of conservation officers.

If you have a mortgage, credit card or bank account with one of Canada’s major charter banks, you have likely contributed to compensation levels ranging from a low of $8.4 million for the National Bank’s Louis Vachon to a high of $11.4 million for William Downe of the Bank of Montreal. The larger banks also have significant involvement with government public private partnership projects.

Those car repairs? If the parts came from Magna, then you contributed to the $40.9 million in compensation to departing Chair/CEO Frank Stronach AND another $14.8 million to his successor Donald Walker. Stronach and Walker are 1st and 7th on the CCPA’s annual list.

If you bought something at Canadian Tire, you contributed to the much more modest $6.6 million earned by CEO Stephen Wetmore.

Have a cell phone? CEOs of Telecommunications giants are certainly high up on the list. Take your pick between Telus CEO Darren Entwistle ($10.2 million), BCE’s George Cope ($9.6 million) or Rogers’ Nadir Mohamed ($8.2 million).

Rogers also is a big cable TV provider, as is Cogeco, which paid $4.1 million to its CEO Louis Audet in 2011.

If that cell is a Blackberry, you contributed towards $7.9 million in compensation paid to Mike Lazaridis, CEO of Research in Motion. If you think he is worth it, consider in December Research in Motion reported revenue for the third quarter was down five per cent from the previous quarter and down 47 per cent from the same quarter last year. Ouch.

Have Enbridge gas in your house? You are contributing to the $7.6 million compensation paid out to CEO Patrick Daniel.

Bombardier is certainly involved in the public sector. When you ride those spanking new subway cars in Toronto or the double-decker train cars operated by GO Transit, remember you are contributing to the $8.4 million in compensation paid to CEO Pierre Beaudoin. Bombardier also has a maintenance contract with Metrolinx.

British Columbia-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates is involved in the defense and space industries (among others). They made the legendary space shuttle Canadarm. So you might say we all contributed to CEO Daniel E. Friedman’s compensation of $3.7 million (he just squeaked into the top 100).

Sure, you can always choose not to buy goods and services from these companies – that is if you could live without ever using a bank, without consuming any energy, survive without a phone, and have forsaken cable TV. Governments pay many of the same bills we do as consumers and just about all of us pay government.

Your taxes are not just paying for the $753,992.40 compensation to the University Health Network’s CEO Bob Bell, but to all these multi-million dollar compensation packages paid to Canada’s high flyers in business.

To see what Canada’s CEOs are really taking home, click here to link to the CCPA report “Overcompensating: Executive Pay in Canada.”

2 responses to “We all contribute to multi-million dollar CEO compensation packages

  1. If you want to fall asleep from fatique, scan through the never ending Ontario Government Sunshine list.
    My take on outrageous salaries for both government and private salaries is to reduce and balance corporate and union powers.

  2. Pingback: We all contribute to multi-million dollar CEO compensation packages | Ian's City Scope Blog

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