June 2, 2020

Winnipeg
12° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Help us deliver reliable news during this pandemic.

We are working tirelessly to bring you trusted information about COVID-19. Support our efforts by subscribing today.

No Thanks Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

PCs call payouts 'concerning,' plan to meet with Crown corporations

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Manitoba Crown Services Minister Cliff Cullen said in a statement the Progressive Conservative government will raise the matter of executive compensation and severance with the province's crown corporations.</p>

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Manitoba Crown Services Minister Cliff Cullen said in a statement the Progressive Conservative government will raise the matter of executive compensation and severance with the province's crown corporations.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/7/2018 (691 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

THE provincial government says it will speak to the boards of Manitoba’s major Crown corporations about executive compensation, in light of public disclosure reports revealing high payments to departing managers.

Earlier this week, the Free Press reported a former Manitoba Hydro executive received $805,015 — nearly four times his former annual salary — last year, when he left the corporation. Other departing managers also received buyouts and other unspecified payments totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Free Press has since obtained the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Corp. compensation report for 2017. It reveals two former executives earned more than the corporation’s president and chief executive officer last year — even though they left MLL in December 2016.

Wayne Perfumo, former vice-president, hospitality and entertainment services, received compensation totalling $348,603, while Susan Olynik, vice-president, corporate communications and social responsibility, received $339,694.

Crown Services Minister Cliff Cullen said in a statement Wednesday the Progressive Conservative government will raise the matter of executive compensation and severance with the corporations.

"These numbers are, of course, concerning to government, and shocking to the general public, and further discussions related to executive compensation and severance will take place with all respective Crown corporation boards," Cullen said.

In her last year of work in 2016, Olynik earned $185,566. She was with the corporation for 25 years, according to a media report in early 2017, in which she was quoted as saying she had retired. Perfumo made $200,786 in 2016.

According to the new MLL salary disclosure report, which lists total compensation to all employees earning at least $50,000 a year, Peter Hak, the corporation’s president and CEO, made $260,015 last year.

The controversial payments to departing executives came as Crown corporations followed a government directive to reduce senior management positions by 15 per cent. Government departments and regional health authorities were under the same edict.

Todd MacKay, Prairie director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said some of the payments were excessive.

He said while it is a positive development Hydro and MBLL are reducing overall management costs, they must still be held accountable for "inappropriate" payments to individuals.

"Just because you did something good overall doesn’t give you a free pass on the day-to-day decisions, as well," MacKay said.

Sean MacDonald, who teaches compensation at the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba, said he finds it frustrating the compensation reports don’t provide breakdowns for salary, severance and other significant categories. All that is recorded is the total remuneration figure.

"It is possible that there are legitimate explanations for what seems to be obscenely excessive (compensation). We just don’t know," he said. "The government needs to provide greater clarity in their Public Sector Disclosure Act."

MacDonald said he wasn’t about to "jump on the bandwagon" and declare all Crown corporation executives are overpaid. He said many make less than they would in the private sector, given the size of budgets and number of employees they oversee.

Others have pointed out high severance payments to senior managers are fair since it can take a few years for an executive to find a new job — a process that can involve moving one’s family.

Andrea Kowal, director of communications and corporate affairs with Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, would only confirm Wednesday that Perfumo and Olynik had received severance payments. She would not provide breakdowns on their compensation.

She said the corporation also would not comment on the circumstances surrounding the departures.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

 

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

The Free Press would like to thank our readers for their patience while comments were not available on our site. We're continuing to work with our commenting software provider on issues with the platform. In the meantime, if you're not able to see comments after logging in to our site, please try refreshing the page.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us