The 100 highest paid CEOs in the country earned 197 times more money than the average Canadian worker in 2017. To put that in perspective, these CEOs earn a worker’s average yearly earnings of $50,759 before they even have lunch.
According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), these CEOs earned $10 million on average in 2017, slightly less than 2016. While these top executives are doing well financially, the typical employee isn’t reaping the same benefits.
“Despite what appears to be a tight labour market, markedly higher wages haven’t materialized for the average worker,” commented study author and 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.”
In a separate report, “The Double-Pane Glass Ceiling: The gender gap at the top of corporate Canada,” researchers found men made $950,000 more a year than their female corporate executive counterparts, demonstrating that the gender pay gap is still significant.
CCPA also found that last year the salaries of CEOs were particularly robust because six of the men took home hefty retirement bonuses valued between $9 and $18 million each. Without these bonuses, this year would have marked the highest-paid year for the top 100 CEOs.
The report reveals that 77 percent of a CEO’s pay comes from “variable” or bonus pay connected to stock prices. “This type of pay encourages short-term thinking to the detriment of long-term investment and economic growth,” according to CCPA.
The Centre noted that men get substantially higher bonuses than female executives at the same company based on the same stock price.
“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,” noted Macdonald.