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OPG generous salaries, pensions, bonuses push up electricity rates

Ontario auditor general’s cites significantly more generous compensation than other public service positions.


TORONTO — Salaries, pensions and bonuses at Ontario Power Generation are “significantly more generous” than for comparable positions in the civil service, and have a financial impact on the cost of electricity, Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk reports.

OPG has cut staff by 8.5%, but increased the size of “its highly paid executive and senior management group” by almost 60% since 2005, creating “a top heavy organization,” Lysyk said in her annual report, released Dec. 10.

“Earnings and benefits were significantly more generous at OPG than for comparable positions in the Ontario Public Service, and many of OPG’s senior executives earned more than most deputy ministers,” she reported.

Incentive awards for OPG’s non-unionized staff can be up to $1.3 million, and their top five executives will be eligible for pensions ranging from $180,000 to $760,000 a year.
OPG has contributed “disproportionately more” to its pension plan that its employees have, said Lysyk.

“The employer-employee contributions ratio at OPG has been around 4:1 or 5:1, significantly higher than that 1:1 ratio” in the public service, she said. “OPG is also solely responsible for financing its pension deficit, about $555 million in its latest actuarial valuation.”

The auditor general also found it could cost the government up to $820 million or even more to divest itself of the Ontario Northland Transportation Corp., which the Liberals listed on the books as savings of $265.9 million.

“The (government) did not include a number of other significant revenues and expenses that would need to be considered in determining any net savings resulting from the divestment of the ONTC,” said Lysyk. “The $265.9 million … optimistically assumed that the ONTC’s operations would be fully divested within one year of the 2012 budget announcement.”

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© 2013 The Canadian Press