With an annual salary of $623,517 in 2021, The Ottawa Hospital’s president and chief executive officer Cameron Love is the highest paid provincial public sector employee in Ottawa, according to the annual sunshine list of public sector salaries.
Love also received $15,468.13 in taxable benefits as part of the job he took over from long-time president and CEO Dr. Jack Kitts, just after the start of the pandemic in 2020.
Love’s salary was up 31.3 per cent from a year earlier. However, he took over the CEO position partway through 2020, which meant his compensation in 2020 did not reflect a full year of his salary in the job. Love previously served as hospital vice-president.
Hospital leaders, in general, are among the highest paid public sector employees in the province, with a dozen other health care leaders earning more than Love in 2021. Kevin Smith, who heads Toronto’s University Health Network, earned the most of any hospital leader, with an annual salary of $845,092.20 and $87,193.64 in taxable benefits.
The salaries of hospital leaders and a range of hospital executives are in stark contrast with the one per cent salary cap imposed on most public employees, including nurses, PSWs and other frontline workers by provincial wage-restraint legislation, Bill 124. The bill, which became law in 2019, limits bargaining for many provincial employees to no more than one per cent. It has become a focus of frustration for burnt-out nurses and others who have worked through the pandemic, often doing more than one job because of worsening staff shortages and putting themselves at risk. More than 11,000 health care workers have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
“Not to say that CEOs and directors are not hard working and well qualified but at the same time, so are nurses and all the other workers and they are going to take significant wage cuts in real terms over a three-year period under this wage restraint program,” said Michael Hurley, president of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions. Local polling by the unions shows most people support a wage increase for all hospital workers.
Although not captured in Bill 124, many senior executives and health leaders in the Ottawa area took cuts to their compensation in 2021, or it remained the same as a year earlier.
In 2020, several directors at The Ottawa Hospital received wage increases around nine per cent, reflecting a trend that has now largely changed. The average raise at the hospital in 2020 was 6.5 per cent. That changed in 2021, when compensation at the hospital dropped, on average, by 0.9 per cent.
Meanwhile, Matt Anderson, who is CEO of Ontario Health, got a 29.3 per cent raise in 2021, to $826,000 from $629,065 a year earlier.
“Front-line workers in health care are neglected, thanks to this premier’s Bill 124, but the premier’s CEO of Ontario Health got a $186,000 raise just this year. That’s three times the average Ontario worker’s salary,” NDP MPP Taras Natyshak said in the Legislature Monday.
Other Ottawa hospital CEOs on the sunshine list include:
- Montfort’s President and CEO Dr. Bernard Leduc, who earned $434,515.30 with $4,029.90 in taxable benefits. His compensation did not increase in 2021.
- Thierry Messana, president of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, who earned $432, 250.54 with $251.94 in taxable benefits. His compensation went down by 3.3 per cent from a year earlier.
- Guy Chartrand, president and CEO of Bruyere Continuing Care, who earned $415,214.49 in 2021 and $11,531.04 in taxable benefits. His compensation was down seven per cent from a year earlier.
- Joanne Bezzubetz, president and CEO of the The Royal Mental Health Centre, who earned $376,873.76 with $18,423.32 in taxable benefits, that was a total of two per cent higher than in 2020.
- Andrew Falconer, president and CEO of Queensway Carleton Hospital, who earned $362,880 with $2,074 in benefits, that was 2.8 per cent lower than a year earlier..
- Alex Munter, president and CEO of CHEO, who earned $330,000 and $1,246 in benefits, the same amount as in 2020 and has been unchanged since he took on the role in 2012.
Other high health-care earners in the region include:
- Duncan Stewart, executive vice-president of research at The Ottawa Hospital, who earned $522,501.80 in 2021 with $10,231 in benefits. That makes him the second highest public sector health executive in Ottawa. His compensation was down 3.4 per cent from a year earlier.
- Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, the medical officer of health and chief executive officer of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, earned $409,842 with $2,091.38 in benefits. His compensation was up 14.7 per cent from a year earlier.
- Shaun McGuire, chief of staff at Bruyere Continuing Care, who earned $402,037 and $1,308 in benefits in 2021, down 3.8 per cent from a year earlier.
- Vera Etches, Ottawa’s chief medical officer of health and one of the most familiar public faces of the pandemic in Ottawa, took an 11.7 per cent pay cut in 2021, to $326,603 (with $1,014 in benefits), down from $369,834 a year earlier.
More than 240,000 provincial employees were on the list this year, indicating they earned more than $100,000. The list was first released in 1996 by the Harris government as part of the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act. Critics say it has lost its meaning, since it has not been indexed for inflation during the intervening 25 years, and the threshold for disclosure should now be closer to $157,000.