High public sector CEO salaries indefensible to Ontarians struggling to get by

Ms. Catherine Fife: My question is to the Premier. The CEO of OPG earned more than $2 million in total compensation last year, not the $1.2 million that was stated on the sunshine list. The government’s gradual thawing of public sector executive pay allowed the CEO to walk away with over $2 million in salary, bonuses and pension money, and almost $40,000 in other pay. That $40,000 is what most young people in this province would be thrilled to earn. They face stagnant wages. How can this Premier justify these executive salaries to the struggling young people of this province?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Energy.

Hon. Glenn Thibeault: I’m pleased once again to rise and speak to the great work that OPG is doing in our province, making sure that we have affordable power that’s also clean. I know that on paper those salaries do look very large, but let’s not forget that these individuals are nuclear technical experts. The comparators that are used make sure that they’re not the highest-paid in this sector, but they’re also not the lowest-paid in this sector.

We also want to ensure that our nuclear facilities are run by the best—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Finish, please.

Hon. Glenn Thibeault: —that our nuclear facilities are run by the best people to ensure the safety and health of everyone in the province. That’s what the executive is doing at OPG.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary.

Ms. Catherine Fife: Again to the Premier: These high salaries, bonuses and pension perks are indefensible. They are not just high on paper; they’re high in the real world, which is the province of Ontario.

Does the Premier understand that a whole generation in this province is struggling with part-time, contract and unstable work? They’re not getting ahead; they are barely treading water.

A new report out today shows that Ontario has the second-worst economy for young people in the country. In fact, “No province reports a decline in full-time earnings since 2003 except Ontario.” This means young Ontarians are working for less money than their parents, at a time of skyrocketing rents and hydro costs.

When is this government actually going to do something and make life more affordable for the people of this province?

Hon. Glenn Thibeault: Once again, I do acknowledge that these salaries are high, but these are our nuclear technical experts who are keeping our facilities operating at high safety standards, making sure that all health and safety standards are being met, and making sure that we have power right across this province.

But when it comes to making sure that people have affordable lifestyles, that’s what we’ve done with our fair hydro plan. Bringing forward a plan with a 25% reduction—we worked with the experts at OPG to ensure we can find ways to bring down our rates. A 25% reduction for all families, small businesses and farms right across the province is extremely—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Finish, please.

Hon. Glenn Thibeault: It is something that we’re very proud to bring forward, our Ontario fair hydro plan, which is helping families and businesses right across the province.