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Sunshine list: These were the Ontario public sector’s highest earners in 2023

Ontario released its annual sunshine list Thursday afternoon, noting that the largest year-over-year increases were in hospitals, municipalities, and post-secondary sectors.

The sunshine list names public sector employees who have a salary surpassing $100,000 for 2023.

The top earner on this year’s list was Ontario Power Generation President (OPG) and CEO Ken Hartwick, with a salary of more than $1.9 million.

In total, all five of the highest earners in Ontario’s public sector in 2023 were executives employed by OPG. Over 9,300 other employees also made the sunshine list.

Some of the other top earners on the list include:

  • The Hospital for Sick Children President and CEO Ronald Cohn ($851,414)
  • University Health Network President and CEO Kevin Smith ($844,992)
  • Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster ($838,097)
  • President and Chief Executive Officer of Ontario Pension Board Mark Fuller ($826,539)
  • Chief Executive Officer of Ontario Health Matthew Anderson ($821,000)

This year a total of 300,570 employees made the list, up from 266,948 in 2022.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s salary remains unchanged from 2022, standing at $208,974. This is less than some of his staffers, including his chief of staff whose salary sits at just over $324,000.

The salaries of other cabinet ministers are lower, with Government House Leader Paul Calandra and Deputy Premier Sylvia Jones making $165,851.

Municipally, Toronto’s city manager is listed is making $417,216 while the chief of Peel’s police makes $423,050.

TTC CEO Rick Leary earned $562,325 in 2023, representing a nearly 19 per cent increase from his 2022 salary.

Meanwhile Toronto Police Chief Myron Denkiw earned $289,029 with Toronto Fire Chief Mathew Pegg earning $289,509.

Salaries of other public figures:

  • Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore ($464,148)
  • Ontario Chief Coroner Dr. Dirk Huyer ($455,091)
  • Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Thomas Carrique ($373,472)
  • Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles ($174,950)
  • Former Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie ($129,438)

 

Is 100K too low a threshold for the Sunshine List?

The number of people on the sunshine list has nearly doubled since 2018.

The list was first launched in 1996 as part of legislation meant to encourage transparency in Ontario spending.

The threshold has not changed since then, despite inflation and a generally higher cost of living.

If inflation is taken into account, $100,000 from 1996 would equate about $180,000 in 2024.

Government House Leader Paul Calandra, however, said there is no plan to change this threshold while speaking with reporters at Queen’s Park on Thursday.

“I think that it’s an important document that serves the people well in highlighting the salaries of public employees.”

The province’s official opposition agreed, saying that $100,000 is still a lot of money in an affordability crisis.

The Ontario government must release the sunshine list by March 31 every year under the legislation.