CEO Salaries Soaring in Canada

By 10:09 am on January 2, 2020 Canada’s highest paid CEOs had made as much money as the average Canadian will earn all year, according to an annual report on CEO compensation, released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

According to another article published by the  CBC,  Canada’s top CEOs earn 227 times more than the average Canadian’s salary and in 2018 it was the first time the ratio has been more than 200:1.

Jetting around the world in private jets, living extravagantly and getting special treatment is all part of being one of the top paid CEOs in Canada. 

Take Aly MacGregor, the president of London-based PR firm Reicura, as an example. She took her mother, who lives in Toronto, to a Napa Valley winery for the latter’s 50th birthday. The vineyard gave them a private tour for the special occasion, even though tours of the grounds aren’t offered to the general public. MacGregor, whose net worth is said to hover around US $30 million, had a one-of-a-kind specialty tasting experience.

However, this splurging may seem quaint in comparison to the mega-home of Hugo Powell, former president of Labatt. Powell owns the Chelster Hall home in Oakville, Ontario worth $59 million. The 47,000-square-foot home includes a bowling alley, gym, sauna, dance floor, movie theatre, wine cellar, tennis court, and pool house, among other amenities.

That sort of extravagance may be a harbinger of spending for Canada’s business elite as these days, the country’s top earners are making more than ever.

The net worth of the top two richest people in Canada – David Thomson, Chairman of Media and Publishing Group Thomson Reuters Corporation and Joseph Tsai, the vice-chairman and co-founder of Alibaba Group – makes more than 11 million Canadians combined.

And the wealth gap between the people at the top and those who work for them is continually widening.

Joseph Papa, CEO and chairman of Baush Health (formerly known as Valeant Pharmaceuticals), earns more than $83 million, according to Macleans, while Valeant workers earn an average of $71,000. Magna’s Donald Walker makes nearly $30 million, while his staff’s average pay is $66,000. And Canada Pacific’s Hunter Harrison, who brings home almost $19 million, pays his staff an average of $48,000.

Despite these high salaries, there are still many humble spenders among the country’s CEOs. Nearly three-quarters of millionaires in Canada have shopped at Walmart within the year. More than 80% of the wealthiest Canadians fly economy (but still manage to spend more than three times as much on vacations as the average Canuck). Kevin O’Leary, billionaire investor and panelist on TV’s Shark Tank, says he’d never spend $2.50 on a cup of coffee, preferring to make it at home for 18 cents.

All of this might go a long way towards explaining why it makes sense to save your cents. After all, the super-rich didn’t get that way by wasting their money.

Dave Gordon | Contributing Writer

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