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You can have a say in how much colleges pay their top managers

Move is in response to provincial guidelines to cap compensation in public sector
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College Boreal and Cambrian College are looking for feedback on the maximum of what their top management staff can be paid in salary. File photo.

Collège Boréal and Cambrian College are looking for feedback on the maximum of what their top management staff can be paid in salary.

Both institutions are looking at capping the president's salary at $325,000, while top executives would top out at $221,000. While the move wouldn't immediately raise anyone's salary, it would set a ceiling. Last year, Boréal president Pierre Ropel made $241,000, while top managers made around $205,000. Cambrian president Bill Best earned $240,000, while top managers made just more than $190,000.

The moves to limit salaries – formally known as the Executive Compensation Program (https://www.ontario.ca/page/executive-compensation-framework-guide?_ga=1.70976025.822352142.1464891330) – is a result of a provincial framework aimed at placing restrictions on what executives working at Ontario's public-sector institutions can make.

“In presenting this program to the community, the Board of Governors at Cambrian College is cognizant of the need to attract and retain the very best leaders possible – leaders who can deliver high-quality public services on behalf of the college and, at the same time, manage responsibly,” David McNeil, chair of the board of governors, said in a release detailing the program.

“Our college has a vibrant community of nearly 7,000 learners, with over 4,200 full-time students in 80 full-time programs across three campus locations in Northern Ontario: Sudbury, Espanola, and Little Current. Our senior leadership team is accountable for a budget of $80 million that is used to provide students with the necessary education for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Therefore, it is important that our executive compensation program is appropriate, accountable and effective.”

The salary maximums were determined by comparing what managers at comparable institutions make. For both Cambrian and Boréal,  Conestoga, Humber, Seneca and Sheridan colleges were used. Salaries at comparable universities and hospitals were also factored in.

Under a provincial formula, the maximum salary for the college presidents would be $445,000, which is discounted by 27 per cent using factors such as relative size and complexity of the job.

The same formula was used to calculate the maximum salary for top managers. 

In addition to salary limits, severance pay is being capped at two years salary and can't be given to any manager who is let go because of poor performance.

The compensation framework applies to all Broader Public Sector employers as defined under the Broader Public Sector Executive Compensation Act:

  • Public hospitals and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute
  • School boards
  • Universities
  • Colleges
  • Community care access corporations
  • Independent Electricity System Operator and Ontario Power Generation
  • Ornge
  • Public bodies under the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 that are not also Commission public bodies under that act

The framework applies to employees and office holders of designated employers who are entitled to receive cash compensation of $100,000 or more in a calendar year and who are:

  • The head of a designated employer, regardless of whether their title is chief executive officer, president or something else;
  • The vice president, chief administrative officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer or chief information officer of a designated employer;
  • A person holding any other executive position or office with a designated employer, regardless of title;
  • A director of education or supervisory officer of a school board.

All designated employers are required to post draft executive compensation programs on their public-facing website for a minimum of 30 days to allow a reasonable opportunity for members of the public to comment.

Members of the public who want to comment must do so before Jan. 14. To provide feedback to Boréal, email consultations@collegeboreal.ca. For Cambrian, go to the college's website.