01/04/2012 10:50 EST | Updated 03/05/2012 05:12 EST

AUDIO: Why CEOs make so much more than the average Canadian

The average salary of the highest paid chief executives in this country is 189 times more than what the average working Canadian earns, according to a report published Jan. 3 by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The 100 highest paid CEOs whose companies are listed on the S&P/TSX composite index made an average of $8.38 million in 2010. The average Canadian made $44,366 working full time in 2010, the report says.

In his regular money column for CBC Radio, Michael Hlinka points out that the ratio has become increasingly distorted since the 1980s, when CEOs made roughly 40 times as much as the average Canadian. The reasons for the rise in executive compensation include tax exemptions and what Hlinka calls "crony capitalism."

In a feature for The National, senior correspondent Terry Milewski pointed out that zeroing in on the top 0.001 percent of Canadian earners does not give a representive picture of the income gap. The richest 20 percent of Canadian earners are making 39.2 percent of total national income, which is only slightly more than the 37 percent they were making in 1991.