CEO pay sets new record: study

January 3, 2017

TORONTO – 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 Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) report.

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

“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. "Like clockwork, Canada's highest paid CEOs consistently earn what it takes a Canadian working full-time, year-round to make within the first working day of every new year."

Among the report’s findings about the highest paid 100 CEOs in Canada:

  • They earn the average 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% between 1998 and 2015;
  • The glass ceiling still exists in this elite club: only two women made it in the top 100 rankings in 2015.

“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.


Throwing Money at the Problem: 10 Years of Executive Compensation is available on the CCPA website.

For more information, please contact Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Director of Communications: (613) 563-1341 x306.