POLITICS

Sunshine List: Ontario Info On Public Employees Earning More Than $100,000 To Be Released Today

03/23/2012 04:00 EDT | Updated 05/22/2012 05:12 EDT
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TORONTO - The sky-high salaries of some of Ornge's former top executives aren't being disclosed by the governing Liberals in their annual list of top public sector pay, despite promises of more transparency.

The eye-popping salary of Ornge's ousted chief executive Chris Mazza and other ex-officers were nowhere to be found on the so-called sunshine list released Friday.

It has been reported elsewhere that Mazza was paid $1.4 million before being replaced in January amid controversy over the air ambulance service, whose "financial irregularities" are under a police probe.

About 135 other Ornge workers, including paramedics and other low-level staff, were included on the list of Ontario's top paid public sector workers in 2011.

Auditor general Jim McCarter criticized the high salaries of Ornge's former executives and directors in a scathing report released earlier this week.

Ornge's top five senior executives received $2.5 million in 2010, which wasn't disclosed to the public, he said.

Its six former board members were paid a total of $643,000 last year as a "retainer," with the board chairman getting more than $200,000, excluding expenses, McCarter said.

The government said the salaries of those Ornge executives can't be released because they were paid through the for-profit subsidiaries they set up and controlled, even though it was still public money.

Those spinoff companies, which shielded the executives and directors from public disclosure laws, are being wound down. All employees at Ornge will be subject to those laws from now on, said Zita Astravas, a spokeswoman for Health Minister Deb Matthews.

The minister has directed Ornge to disclose the former executives' salaries on its website, but it will have to ask their permission first, she said in an email.

The Liberals should reveal those figures, said New Democrat Taras Natyshak.

"You would think that a minister who has received so much pressure to open the books, to make sure that there is transparency at Ornge, would do everything in her capability to make sure that was possible," he said.

Progressive Conservative Jim Wilson — a former health minister — said the government could have released an addendum to the annual list.

"We've all asked to see that information and it's a shame the government didn't provide it today, knowing that would be a top-of-mind question for all of us," he added.

The sunshine list provides the names and salaries of public sector workers — including politicians, civil servants, doctors, nurses and police — who earned at least $100,000.

The list has grown steadily over the years. There were about 78,910 names on the list in 2011, up 10 per cent — or 7,432 workers — from 2010. In 2009, the list contained about 64,078 names.

The increase "makes a mockery of the premier's talk of restraint," said Wilson.

"It should have gone down. Instead it has gone up, in lock step with Ontario heading towards a $411-billion debt."

Tom Mitchell, president and CEO of Ontario Power Generation, once again topped the list with $1.8 million last year, up from $1.3 million in 2010.

Clifford Nordal, president and CEO of St. Joseph's Health Care in London, was second on the list with a total pay package of $1.46 million. It was a sharp rise from 2010, when he topped the hospital sector with $833,000.

Robert Bell, chief executive of Toronto's University Health Network, collected $830,042.53 last year. In total, 27 executives of health-care centres in Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, London and Hamilton — earned more than half a million dollars.

They included Debbie Sevenpifer, president and CEO of Niagara Health System, who earned $622,186 last year, up from $361,417 in 2010.

Catherine Zahn, CEO of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, received $752,499, up from $650,420 the previous year.

In the energy sector, OPG vice-president William Robinson took home $977,050, while its chief nuclear officer, Wayne Robbins, collected $897,958. Four other executives at the Crown corporation were paid more than $670,000.

Hydro One CEO Laura Formusa earned nearly $964,524. Top executives at two other government-owned energy agencies, the Independent Electricity System Operator and the Ontario Financing Authority, were paid more than $550,000.

Gov. Gen. David Johnston collected $610,506 as president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo, while NDP MP Craig Scott — who won Jack Layton's former riding this week — collected $166,200 as a professor at Toronto's York University.

Among the top earners at Ontario universities, William Moriarty, president and CEO of the University of Toronto Asset Management Corp., made nearly $658,000. University of Western Ontario's president, Amit Chakma, earned $591,489.

The province's top paid professor was Kent Womack at the University of Toronto, who earned $561,539.

Ian Troop, CEO of the 2015 Pan Am Games organizing committee, received $581,421.

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