CCPA report shows CEO compensation doing more than well

Between 2008 and 2014, CEOs made 184 times more than the average wage in Canada.

Ottawa (11 Jan. 2016) — By 12:18 p.m. on January 4, the average CEO in the top 100 will have had already earned $48,636 — as much as the average full-time worker makes in a year, says a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

These results are stunning when the average-income minimum wage produced of only $22,010. 

Top 100 CEOs made $8.96 million in 2014

In this study, Staying Power: CEO Pay in Canada, associate researchers compared compensation levels for Canada's highest paid 100 CEOs from 2008 – 2014 and finds that the average pay of Canada’s top executives has been extraordinarily resilient, in good times and in bad.

The study shows that Canada's top 100 CEOs each pocketed, on average, $8.96 million in 2014—that's 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.

"These numbers are staggering and obscene," said James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "There is no doubt that these executive compensation packages are adding to the problem of income inequality across the country." 

"At a time when people don't have, or are losing workplace pensions, these CEOs are indulging in pensions that put their salaries to shame," said Clancy. "These are likely the same people who would fight against increasing the minimum wage, negotiating workplace pensions, and increasing the benefits of the Canada Pension Plan."

Findings show the dramatic and widening wage gap 

The report shows several trends for CEO compensation since the Great Recession: 

In 2008, a recession year, the top 100 CEOs each made $7.3 million, on average.

They bounced back in 2013 where there was a record high for average CEO pay since CCPA 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 $8.96 million.

Share grants are replacing stock options as the preferred route to higher pay. Stock options dropped from 21 per cent of pay in 2008 to 13 per cent in 2014, while share grants increased from 26 per cent in 2008 to 39 per cent in 2014.

Only two women made the pay list of the top 100 CEOs 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.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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