Ontario’s Sunshine List seems to have nowhere to go but up.
The annual list of public servants who earn more than $100,000 increased in one year by 20,000 public servants.
Across Ontario, 151,198 public servants cashed paycheques that qualified them for the list last year, up from 131,742 in 2017.
Ontario’s agriculture ministry is no exception, though the growth does seem to be slowing. OMAFRA paid 256 employees over $100,000, a small increase from 244 in 2017. In 2010, only 38 employees at OMAFRA made over $100,000, but by 2015 there were 144.
The ag ministry’s top earner without exception is the Deputy Minister. Greg Meredith took home $273,579 last year.
Topping the list overall was president and CEO of Ontario Power Generation, Jeffrey Lyash. He was tops in 2017 as well. Last year he took home $1,746,824, up by about $200,000 from his take-home in 2017.
Former Hydro One CEO Mayo Schmidt used to dominate the sunshine list; he made almost $5 million in salary and benefits in 2016, before Hydro One was privatized.
Schmidt no longer helms Hydro One, and the Ontario government recently announced a $1.5-million salary cap for the CEO, Paul Dobson.
Politicians have a good take-home as well. Ag minister Ernie Hardeman took home $163,399 last year, and Premier Doug Ford made $112,770. That’s about half what former Premier Kathleen Wynne took home in 2017, though Ford took office about halfway through the year.
Here are the number of $100,000-plus earners at agriculture-related ministries, agencies and universities:
• University of Guelph: 961
• Ministry of the Environment: 521
• Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry: 546
• Ministry of Agriculture: 256
• Agricorp: 40
• Vineland Research and Innovation Centre: 15
• OSPCA: 8
• Ontario Food Terminal Board: 3
• Soil and Crop Improvement: 4
• Animal Care Review Board: 2
• Agricultural Adaptation Council: 1
• Ontario Agri-Food Education: 1
• Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission: 1
• Rural Ontario Institute: 1