The twelve most surprisingly high-paying jobs from the 2016 ‘Sunshine List’

It turns out you don’t have to be a Nuclear Physicist or University Chancellor to earn the big bucks.

The Ontario government has just released it’s annual ‘Sunshine List’ of public sector jobs that pay over $100,000 a year. Of course, $100,000 isn’t what it used to be. At one time, hitting the ‘six-figure’ mark was considered a significant milestone on the road to success. Today it’s still a decent wage, but by no means exorbitant.

Coincidentally, on the same day that the Sunshine List came out, Statistics Canada published its latest update on Canadian salaries. So, we can see what the average person is earning as compared to the top paid public servants. (The average Canadian wage is $50,285 right now – or about half of what it takes to crack the Sunshine List.)

We all know by now that Police Officers, Firefighters, Nurses, and Paramedics regularly make over $100,000. There are tens of thousands of names in these professions on the Sunshine List.

However, as I read through the data, there were some job titles that still stood out. Apparently, you can make a pretty decent wage in some roles that you might not expect. Here are a dozen or so surprising jobs that pay six-figure salaries.


The skilled trades are big. We’ve been hearing for years that there is a shortage of skilled workers. So naturally, there are plumbers and electricians on the Sunshine List, and also over a hundred Mechanics, track mechanics and licenced mechanics earning an average of about $111,000. (There are even Track Mechanic Trainees making over $100K.) I should have paid more attention in shop class.

TTC Station Collectors

Yes, the man or woman in the booth who grunts as you drop your token in the window, they can be earning over $100,000. Kind of puts the photo of that guy sleeping on the job from a little while back into perspective.

Security guard

There are a variety of security-related job titles on the SL, including a Security Guard who earns $124,396.23. Nice work if you can get it.


Another surprisingly high-paying job title was that of a Janitor making $104,498. Now, I have seen some places – men’s room at a pub on St. Patrick’s Day, for example – that you could not pay me enough money to clean. It can be a rough gig. This guy is particularly well-compensated, though.

Parking Enforcement Officer

The folks who write you a ticket for staying over time in a one-hour parking zone or who’re checking how much time is left on your metre can be earning six figures. There are 13 of them on the 2016 Sunshine List making an average of $116,004.

Customer Service

I used to work in customer service for about 20 minutes in college. I think I was barely topping minimum wage at the time. Too bad nobody told me about the earning potential of that career path. Now, apparently, Customer Relations Specialists can earn $102,297, if they’ve got the right employer.


Nope, not an artist presumably. The TDSB has a painter on staff earning $100,356. The TTC has a few auto body painters making even more.


There are roughly 150 librarians for a variety of organizations on the SL who are making an average of $125,500.

Executive Assistants

I’ve known some EAs who were indispensable. If not for their input, organization, and sheer force of will, whole companies would have collapsed. Still, I didn’t realize they were adequately rewarded for the efforts. It turns out that some are. There are 38 Executive Assistants on the SL making $108,377 on average.


There are nearly 100 bus drivers on the Sunshine list who earned an average of $106,735 in 2016. Several truck drivers make the cut as well. There’s also a Ferry Captain making $107,616.


I was under the impression that an apprenticeship was something you undertook for little or even no money in order to learn a skill or a trade. However, Ontario Power Generation has 13 people with the job title ‘Apprentice‘ making an average of $108,818.

Gym Teachers

There are literally thousands of teachers on the SL. It’s an important gig, and it’s hard work. Of course, it comes with a lot of perks too: job security, generous pension, loads of time off – including summers. Even the ones who don’t have to actually know anything can now earn top wages. Yes, there are Gym Teachers on this year’s Sunshine List.

There’s also a high school Guidance Counsellor bringing in $120,015. (Kids, you can actually take career advice from that guy.)

Of course, the money is good in education. University professors, associate and assistant professors routinely make over $100,000. So, this isn’t news, but I did enjoy reading the job title of a Professor of Hairstyling who makes $121,304.86. I only wish that the Sunshine List came with photos. The pressure must be on that person to constantly have really good hair.

The key takeaway from reading through the massive pile of data from the Sunshine List seems to be this: become the boss. There are literally thousands, tens of thousands of people with the job titles Manager, Director, Principal, and Chair making serious salaries.

Oh, and you know who’s underpaid? There’s one Explosives Disposal Coordinator who is making $137,209. That guy should get more.

You can search through the database or download the full spreadsheet here.

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