January 2, 2014 8:18 pm
Updated: January 2, 2014 8:23 pm

Canadian CEOs rack up average workers’ pay by afternoon break


WATCH: A new study says Canada’s highest paid CEO earns about $49 million more than the average Canadian. Vassy Kapelos reports

Shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday – the first official work day of the year – employees across the country will be settling back into their afternoon schedules after the holiday break, going about the everyday task of earning a living.

By that time, the 100 highest-paid Canadian executives will have earned what it takes the average employee the rest of the year to make.

An annual review of Canadian CEO compensation published Thursday indicates that by 1:11 p.m. today, the country’s top 100 execs will have pocketed somewhere around $46,635, or the average Canadian worker’s salary.

Average pay (including stock options) among corporate Canada’s chief executive ranks was $7.96 million in 2012, the latest data available.

Hunter Harrison, the chief of Canadian Pacific Railway, earned $49.1 million in 2012, making him the highest paid executive in the country.

Canadian Press

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And that considerable gulf has only widened in recent years.

READ MORE: Incomes up, taxes down for Canada’s 1%

CEO pay for publicly traded Canadian companies has surged 73 per cent since 1998, according to the report, while salary gains for full-time workers have barely budged over that same time span – up a meagre 6 per cent over the same 14-year period.

The study, which was published by the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, said CEO earnings in the report were 171 times higher than the average Canadian income earner – up from 105 times in 1998.

CEO pay packet graphic

Other key findings:

  • Compensation of Canada’s 100 highest-paid CEOs continues to skyrocket, with earnings 171 times higher than the average Canadian income earner—up from 105 times more in 1998.
  • There is a new CEO at the top of the compensation list: E. Hunter Harrison, CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway. He was Canada’s highest paid CEO in 2012, pocketing $49.1 million in 2012.
  • The lowest paid of the top 100 CEOs pocketed $3.85 million.
  • There are only three women among Canada’s 100 highest-paid CEOs.
  • Shares and stock options comprise a significant portion of CEO pay. Among Canada’s highest-paid 100 CEOs, 78 of them received part of their pay in grants of stock and 78 enjoyed stock options.
  • The average share in grant in 2012 was valued at $2.87 million; the average option award was valued at $2.17 million.

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