Hi ho hi ho it's off to work I go

Shannon Deveau / Yorkton News Review
January 12, 2012 01:00 AM

And what do YOU want to be when you grow up??? A CEO!!!!!!!!

Did you know that by the time the average Canadian finished work on January 3, Canada's top CEO's had each already earned an entire years worth of our wages?!?

According to a report issued last week, the richest of the rich are gaining even more ground in Canada, now making 189 times more than the average Canadian wage. In fact according to reports, Canada's 100 highest paid chief executives made an average of $8.38 million in 2010 - a whopping 189 times higher than the $44,366 an average Canadian made working full time in 2010. This also represents a 27 per cent raise from the $6.6 million average compensation for the top 100 CEOs in 2009, the report says.

Regular Canadians, on the other hand, have seen their wages stagnate over the past few years. In 2010, after adjusting for inflation, average wages actually fell.

"The gap between Canada's CEO elite 100 and the rest of us is growing at a fast and steady pace, with no signs of letting up," says economist Hugh Mackenzie, who authored the report.

"The extraordinarily high pay of chief executive officers is more than a curiosity. It actually is a reflection of a troubling redistribution of society's resources in Canada and the United States, and in most of Western Europe."

Now to me it wouldn't be so bad if salaries were solely based on performance but it seems that's not the case in most instances. "...many companies use stock options for a large part of their executives' bonuses, a practice that not only drives up pay packages but also ties compensation to share price rather than company performance, Mackenzie explains. The report also blames "the cozy club" that makes up Canada's executive ranks. Many chief executives sit on each other's boards as directors and are involved in determining each other's pay, the report says. "You're on the board because your buddy, the CEO, recommended you. Are you going to say we should cut this guy's pay in half? No," Mackenzie said in a recent interview. "The process of paying CEOs is really quite incestuous."

As the average Canadian struggles to pay his mortgage, put food on the table and make ends meet, it just seems unfair that a system could work this way. I don't begrudge anyone from making money - lots of it even - but shouldn't pay be at least somewhat commensurate with performance?

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