CEOs earn your annual salary by lunch time on day 4 of the new year

January 4, 2016

The CCPA released an important new report today looking into CEO compensation in Canada, relative to the rest of us, and the findings are appauling:

According to the CCPA:

January 4, 2016

TORONTO – On the first working day of the New Year, Canada’s highest paid 100 CEOs are seriously power lunching: by 12:18 pm today, their average pay is already $48,636 — what it takes the average full-time, full-year worker all of 2016 to earn.

In the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ (CCPA) annual examination of CEO pay in Canada, the country’s top 100 CEOs pocketed, on average, $8.96 million in 2014 — 184 times more than the average wage in Canada.

“The total pay package of the 100 highest paid CEOs exceeds the 2014-15 budgetary deficits of every province in Canada except Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland,” says CCPA Research Associate Hugh Mackenzie, who has been tracking CEO pay since 2006.

“What we’ve learned is that the average pay of the top 100 CEOs in Canada has proven to be extraordinarily resilient, in good times and bad.”

The report, Staying Power: CEO Pay in Canada, shows several trends for CEO compensation since the Great Recession, including:

In 2008, a recession year, the top 100 CEOs made $7.3 million, on average. They bounced back: 2013 represented a record high for average CEO pay since we’d begun tracking it: they made, on average, $9.2 million. In 2014, average pay had staying power — it was two per cent less than the previous year, on average at $8.96 million.

Share grants are replacing stock options as the preferred route to higher pay. Stock options dropped from 21% of pay in 2008 to 13% in 2014 while share grants increased from 26% in 2008 to 39% in 2014.
Only two women made the top 100 CEO pay list in 2014.

Despite their eye-popping pay packages and corporate Canada’s opposition to expanding public pensions, nearly half the top 100 can look forward to equally exorbitant pensions. Those 46 CEOs had pensions averaging $961,000 a year; almost as high as their $1.1 million average base salaries.

About the study: This analysis is based on total earnings of CEOs on the 249 publicly listed Canadian corporations in the TSX Index, as reported in proxy circulars issued in 2015. It represents 2014 earnings data, the most recent year available.

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