ONTARIO — The crop of public servants in Ontario earning six figures continues to grow like a freshly fertilized field in the spring. In a harbinger of the season’s arrival, the province in March dropped the annual “sunshine list” reporting the salaries of those Ontario employees at the $100,000 level and above last year, including 269 on the payroll at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, a 2.3 per cent increase in that particular roster at OMAFRA over a year earlier.
In 2020, Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Ernie Hardeman pulled down a salary of $182,436.12 (and received $258.84 in taxable benefits). The sum would place Hardeman sixth on the OMAFRA list, except that the minister’s salary is paid through the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. His boss, Premier Doug Ford, received $208,974 in remuneration last year.
All told, 205,607 people employed in this province’s public sector made the list in 2020 — up 23 percent from the 167,099 six-figure recipients in 2019.
Add an average 25 percent to salaries on the sunshine list to account for taxable benefits and pension plans that make up total compensation paid out by taxpayers, according to The Fraser Institute.
Six of the top seven salaries overall went to Ontario Power Generation executives, led by CEO Kenneth Hartwick at nearly $1.23 million.
Here’s how many employee in ag-related ministries, agencies and universities are included on the Sunshine list:
• University of Guelph: 1,066
• Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks: 623
• Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry: 556
• Ministry of Agriculture: 269
• Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation: 74
• Agricorp: 36
• Soil and Crop Improvement: 6
• Rural Ontario Institute: 1
• Animal Care Review Board: 2
• Here are the top wage earners at five agricultural organizations:
• Agricorp CEO Doug Larose: $230,000.03
Soil and Crop Improvement executive director Andrew Graham: $176,705.51
• Ontario Agri-Food Education executive director Colleen Smith: $126,441
• Rural Ontario Initiative executive director Norman Ragetlie: $105,000
• Vineland and Research and Innovation Centre chief executive officer Ian Potter: $284,839.31
• Ontario Food terminal Board general manager, secretary treasurer I. Bruce Nicholas: $183,813.74