Canada’s best paid CEOs have smashed average income already

Survey reveals extent of pay gap between CEOs and workers

Canada’s best paid CEOs have smashed average income already
Steve Randall

As workers return from their holidays, Canada’s 100 highest paid CEOs have already earned more than the average worker.

A report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) says that those high earning bosses receive 197 times more per year than the average worker.

Based on 2017 figures for the S&P/TSX Composite Index, the top 100 made an average $10 million, down from a year earlier but the second highest since the CCPA began tracking the figures.

“Despite what appears to be a tight labour market, markedly higher wages haven’t materialized for the average worker,” says study author CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald. “This report serves as a reminder that immense wealth continues to circulate through the economy—it’s just not making its way into the hands of the average worker.”

The average worker will have to work full time all year to earn what a top CEO does by 11:33 a.m. on January 2.

Gender pay gap
Last year’s CEO pay numbers were particularly high due to six men receiving extreme retirement bonuses worth between $9-18 million each. If these are removed, this year becomes the highest paid year for the richest 100 CEOs.

“Variable” or bonus pay linked to a company’s stock price accounted for 77% of CEO pay and MacDonald says that this is the primary driver of the gender pay gap, where bonuses for male and female executives at the same company based on the same stock price show women paid less.

“If executive bonus pay is really about ‘merit,’ we shouldn’t see such extreme differences in bonuses between different executives at the same company. This cuts right to the heart of the meritocracy argument some use to attempt to justify outrageous CEO pay,” adds Macdonald.