Canada's 100 highest-paid CEOs made 227 times more than average worker

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      It's good times for Canada's corporate elite.

      A new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has revealed that the country's 100 highest-paid CEOs of companies in the S&P/TSX index collected $11.8 million, on average, in 2018.

      That eclipsed the previous record of $10.4 million set two years earlier.

      The figures for 2019 are still not available.

      These huge paydays meant that these CEOs pocketed 227 times the amount earned by the average worker in 2018.

      Only four of the best-paid CEOs are women.

      "Put another way, by 10:09 a.m. on January 2, the average top CEOs will have made as much money as the average Canadian worker will make all year," CCPA senior economist David Macdonald said in a news release. "That's the earliest time on record in the 13 years we've been tracking these numbers."

      To crack the top 100 list of Canadian CEO pay, an executive would need to make $6 million annually.

      That's twice the figure that was necessary to make the list 10 years ago.

      Nearly 80 percent of the pay for these CEOs came through bonuses linked to the company's share price.

      The top income earner among CEOs in 2018 was Blackberry's John Chen, who took home nearly $142 million, including $137.7 million in share-based awards, in 2018. (He was paid in U.S. currency but Macdonald converted it to Canadian dollars.)

      Next on the list was Helena Foulkes of the Hudson's Bay Company, whose compensation clocked in at $29.4 million. That included $19.6 million in share-based awards and $5.7 million in a non-equity incentive plan.

      Ranking third was Donald J. Walker of Magna International, who raked in $26 million, of which only $421,103 was in salary.

      The top-paid B.C.-based CEO on the list was Darren Entwistle of Telus Corp., who received $12.6 million in total compensation in 2018.

      Macdonald suggested that the government could address excessive CEO pay by reviewing preferential tax treatment of stock options and capital gains.

      "Higher tax brackets for the extremely rich and the eliminations of corporate deductions for pay over a million dollars would also help," he stated.

      In the 2015 book Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few, U.S. political economist Robert Reich proposed linking corporate tax to the multiple of CEO pay over company employees' income.

      For instance, if the CEO took home more than 400 times the employees' median wage, the corporation would be dinged at a higher tax rate. But the corporation would get a break on taxes if the CEO's pay were only 20 percent higher than the median.

      According to Reich, this would encourage companies to pay their workers more and contain the pay for the boss.