TORONTO — Two executives with Ontario’s giant power utility who made more than $1 million last year topped the province’s highest-paid public-sector workers, according to the annual “sunshine list” released Friday.
In all, more than 200,000 people were paid at least $100,000, up from the more than 150,000 in 2019. At the same time, the average reported salary fell slightly to $125,871 in 2020 from $127,396 the previous year.
At the top of the list was Kenneth Hartwick, head of Ontario Power Generation, who took home $1,236,056.84 in salary and taxable benefits. That’s roughly one-third more than he earned for the second spot on the list in 2019.
Right behind him was Dominique Miniere, the utility’s chief strategic officer, who collected $1.14 million. Six of those in the top 10 were employed by the power utility.
Kevin Smith, head of Toronto’s University Health Network, fell to fifth spot from third last year, taking in more than $920,000 _ the highest paid employee in the province outside of Ontario Power Generation.
By contrast, Premier Doug Ford made less than $210,000.
The province attributed the spike in the overall number of people making the list to the COVID-19 pandemic, which created significant demands on parts of the public service, particularly in health care and education.
Staff were required to work extraordinary amounts of overtime or earned pandemic pay, boosting the numbers of those making $100,000 threshold, the government said.
“We know that Ontarians are relying on their government now, more than ever, during this pandemic to keep them safe and deliver the critical services they rely on,” Treasury Board Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said in a statement.
Besides straight salary and overtime, promotions, raises, bonuses and severance payments can also push someone onto the list.
The government has been releasing the “sunshine” list under the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act enacted by former Progressive Conservative premier Mike Harris in 1996. All organizations that receive public funding from the province are required to report the names, positions and pay of those making more than $100,000.
The act applies to direct provincial employees as well as to the broader public sector.
“We are also delivering on our promise to the people of Ontario to be transparent and accountable; respecting their tax dollars in order to deliver critical front-line services,” Bethlenfalvy said.
The head of the Ontario Pension Board, Mark Fuller, at almost $800,000 and Stephen Rigby, former head of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, were the only Crown corporation employees to make the top 10.