Canada’s top 100 CEOs are now making 200 times more money than the average worker for the first time in history, according to the latest data from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Using 2016 earnings, the centre’s report “Climbing Up and Kicking Down” pegs the average for the CEOs at $10.4 million, compared to the average worker’s total of just under $50,000.
The report says to put that in perspective, those executives made the average worker’s yearly pay by 11 a.m. Tuesday, January 2.
CCPA Executive Director Peter Blair said 2016 data represents many records being broken.
“They’ve broken the 200 to 1 barrier,” Blair said, noting the CEOs made 193 times more in 2015, but now it’s 209. “Now the minimum to get into that club is $5.3 million, up from what was $3.7 million, so that’s also a huge jump.”
The report notes the difference between CEO compensation and the average workers, specifically around stock-based compensation.
For example, base salary only makes up about 11 per cent for the executives, while another 33 per cent is share-based, 26 per cent from a bonus and 15 per cent is option-based.
“This is almost certainly due to federal discussions over this period about possibly cancelling or lowering the stock option deduction, a sweetheart tax loophole that reduces the taxes paid on stock options by half,” report author David Macdonald said.
Canada’s top 2016 earner, Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc. CEO Joseph Papa is a good example of share-based earnings.
While his base salary was just under $1.3 million., he made over $55 million from share-based options, along with over $12 million in bonuses and over $13 million in option-based compensation.
The CCPA report suggests comprehensive tax reform and changing the share-based model.
“You’re looking at providing motivation to these top CEOs, which is entirely around short-term gains, and not tied to performance, be it profits or revenue and real corporate growth in the long-term,” Blair said.
Blair has often heard the criticism that he’s suggesting socialism or communism when he talks about better income equality, but he said that’s not the case and that CEOs should certainly be paid appropriately for company growth.
“What we have is a runaway train here that people are getting away with it and just pushing forward and pushing forward and it’s not doing anybody any favours,” he said. “We get the kinds of mergers and acquisitions and other kind of paper deals that generate increases in stock value, as opposed to real infrastructure building, corporate infrastructure building that we all need.”
TOP ALBERTA EARNERS:
Based on the 2016 data, the top Alberta earner was Canadian Pacific Railway LTD. CEO Hunter Harrison at over $18.8 million for the year, making fifth on the list overall.
Other Alberta CEOs in the top 50 include:
7 – Encana President and CEO Doug Suttles-$17.5 million
20 – Canadian Natural Resources LTD Executive Chair Murray Edwards-$11.8 million
26 – Suncor Energy President and CEO Steven Williams-$11.4 million
27 – Enbridge President and CEO Al Monaco-$11.3 million
32 – Shaw Communications Executive Chair James Shaw-$11.2 million
42 – TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling-$10.1 million
To read the full report, click here – https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/National%20Office/2018/01/Climbing%20Up%20and%20Kicking%20Down.pdf