End Sunshine List

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

So the annual “Sunshine List” has been published (CJ, March 29) and the requisite disdain has been expressed for the public servants who earn in excess of $100,000 per year.
While I do agree that there are certain earners whose stratospheric earnings seem out of touch with reality, earners at the lower end of the list are not, in fact, diving into their vaults while sipping caviar (or whatever you do with caviar).
The Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act has continued to set the threshold for entering the list at $100,000. This has been constant since 1996. The average rate of inflation since 1996 was roughly 1.88 per cent. This means that an individual who earned $100,000 in 2013 has the same buying power as someone who earned $60,254 in 1996.
So, would those who were in the workforce in 1996 have been on the Sunshine List if the threshold were $60,254? Is it any wonder that the number of public servants landing on the list increases every year given that the threshold hasn’t changed in 17 years?
Personally, I find the reporting of the Sunshine List to be ludicrous. It’s chief purpose seems to be to stir up public disdain for the very individuals who sacrifice much to enter the public service (think police, fire, etc.).
I’m not certain of the original intention of the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act but I imagine that it was somehow geared toward creating self regulation based on public accountability.
This is clearly not having the intended effect; the incomprehensible earnings continue to swell (i.e., Ontario Power Generation CEO Tom Mitchell at $1.71 million. Could it be argued that the Sunshine List has kept Tom’s (that’s right, first name basis) earnings from becoming unreasonable? It does not appear so.
Publishing the Sunshine List is stupid and achieves nothing useful. It’s time to stop.
Matt Denis
Kakabeka Falls

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the “Sunshine List” of workers earning at least $100,000 were all supposedly tax-funded workers as your front-page headline on Saturday proclaimed.
It seems to me that the “11,538 employees from OPG, Hydro One and their subsidiaries on the 2013 list” are compensated from revenues ultimately generated from the sales of electricity, and not taxes.
This same argument may be stretched to include others, for example, the CEO of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., whose salary is ultimately paid by our own gambling losses.
Whether I agree or not with these high salaries is not the point, but public sector employees should not be counted if they are not compensated directly from taxes, but other sources of revenue.
Including them is misleading and only inflates this list, further inflaming public opinion on how hard-earned tax revenues are being spent, justified or not.
I’m sure the list in the private sector is longer. Just consider what pro sports pays out, for argument’s sake.
As to whether I am on this list, definitely not, but I sure wish I was.
Rob Lavoie
Thunder Bay