CEO pay sets new record: study

The average CEO made $49,510 by 11:47 a.m. on January 3, 2017. Salary for CEOs increased 178 per cent between 1998 and 2015.

Toronto (04 Jan. 2017) — Canada’s 100 highest-paid CEOs have set a new record: their total compensation in 2015 hit a new high at $9.5 million, on average, according to a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The report shows Canada’s 100 highest paid CEOs on the TSX index now make 193 times more than someone earning an average wage.

Public outcry has no effect

“Although public outrage over exorbitantly high CEO pay continues unabated, especially since the Great Recession of 2008–09, CEO pay in Canada takes a licking and keeps on ticking,” says economist Hugh Mackenzie.

“In 2015, CEO pay set a new record, with only one factor threatening new heights: an unpredictable global economy," Mackenzie said.

The report’s findings about the highest-paid 100 CEOs in Canada show that

  • They earn the average Canadian's wage ($49,510) by 11:47 a.m. on January 3.
  • The average Joe will have to work full-time all year to earn that amount.
  • The average earnings of Canada’s corporate top 100 increased by 178 per cent between 1998 and 2015
  • The glass ceiling still exists in this elite club: only 2 women made it in the top 100 rankings in 2015.

"These salaries are a clear indication that income inequality remains a major problem for our country," says Larry Brown, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "But it doesn't seem to matter how much evidence we provide that this inequality is damaging to our society, our governments are not moving on solutions that will make a dent in the crisis."

Government needs to step in

“I’ve been tracking CEO pay in Canada for 10 years and nothing has changed,” says Mackenzie. “CEO pay keeps soaring, luxe stock option, pension and bonus packages remain the gold standard for CEOs, and despite public outrage, neither corporate boards nor shareholders are stepping in to put a lid on things.

“In the absence of corporate leadership, it falls to government to bring in laws to put a cap on the incentives fuelling soaring CEO compensation packages.”

Mackenzie says Canada should take a cue from Portland, Oregon, which is going to charge a surtax on companies with a CEO-to-worker pay gap that’s 100 times or more.

More information:

Throwing Money at the Problem: 10 Years of Executive Compensation


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 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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