More than 2,369 people working for the province have six-figure salaries

James McLeod
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There are at least 2,369 people making more than $100,000 working for the provincial government, and the numbers are growing fast.

Salaries in government.

The names of those people were supposed to be made public on a so-called “Sunshine List” by the end of the month, according to an action plan drafted by the previous Tory government.

But since the Liberals won the November provincial election — campaigning on rhetoric about openness and transparency — it’s not clear whether the provincial government will reveal the names and salaries of the government’s top earners at all.

Related coverage:

Blog: If the NL government won't make a Sunshine List, I'll do it myself

Editorial: Top stamps

The idea of a sunshine list is already in practice in Ontario and Alberta. In Ontario, for example, since 1996 the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act has required the government to publish a list of the names, positions, salaries and total taxable benefits for anyone paid more than $100,000 in public funds.

During the provincial government’s open-government kick over the past couple of years, it was an idea that garnered plenty of discussion, and in the draft Open Government Action Plan published in September, then-minister Steve Kent committed to setting up a sunshine list by the beginning of April 2016.

To get a sense of how many people would appear on the sunshine list, The Telegram filed access to information requests to large public bodies and asked for information about how many people earn more than $100,000.

As of Friday, the newspaper received responses from the core civil service, the four regional health authorities, the English School District, the College of the North Atlantic, Nalcor Energy and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

A request for information from Memorial University was delayed, and is due later this month.

Based on the data supplied to The Telegram, there’s been huge growth in those top earners over the past decade.

In 2005, at least 397 people made six-figures working for the government departments and agencies; there’s been a sixfold increase over the past 10 years.

Today, at least 2,369 people are above the $100,000 mark.

Whereas in 2005, only one employee in all of the core civil service made more than $200,000, today there are 22 people making that much money in the Department of Justice and Public Safety alone.

At Nalcor Energy, more than one-third of all employees are paid more than $100,000. At the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary the ratio is even higher; 36 per cent of all employees took home more than $100,000 in 2015.

In 2013, the most recent year available from Statistics Canada, if you earn more than $100,000, that puts you in the top 7.6 per cent of income earners.

The base salary for a member of the House of Assembly is $95,357.

Siobhan Coady, minister responsible for public engagement, said the new Liberal administration is absolutely, unequivocally committed to the principle of transparent government.

When it comes to the sunshine list, though, it’s murky.

“You want me to give you a date as to when we can give you a sunshine list — I can't do that today,” Coady said.

“We haven’t had a chance to ensure that that is the proper and right thing to do. We are looking at, and we are completely supportive of, open government.”

She said the government is still ruminating over the draft Open Government Action Plan and considering public feedback received through consultation, and through the Government Renewal Initiative budget process.

But Tory MHA Steve Kent, who was the minister responsible for this area before the election, said  the government is ducking and dodging.

“As minister, I signed off on a proposed Open Government Action Plan that included a sunshine list,” Kent said. “It was in final form ready for cabinet review when I left the office. I had signed off on a final version of the Open Government Action Plan, and minister Coady would know that.”

Kent said it looks like the Liberals talk a good game on transparency, but they’re not actually doing much.

“We have an Open Government Action Plan that should be brought to life in the weeks and months ahead, but everything related to open government and all other Office of Public Engagement initiatives are at a standstill because of this 15-month roadshow that minister (Cathy) Bennett and minister Coady are engaged in,” he said.

“It doesn’t require a lot of resources. From the perspective of the overall Open Government Initiative, it’s relatively low-hanging fruit, and I’m disappointed that the new government is backing away from some of those initiatives that are really simple steps towards making government more open.”

Coady acknowledged open government hasn’t been her top priority; she’s been mostly focused on the budget.

But she said it’s something she’s going to work on soon.

“I haven’t placed a timeline on when we’re going to see something finalized, to be frank, because we’re focused today, quite frankly, on the Government Renewal Initiative and the budget,” Coady said.

“It won’t languish for months or years. I can absolutely guarantee you that.”

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: College of the North Atlantic, Tory, Department of Justice and Public Safety Statistics Canada Office of Public Engagement

Geographic location: Ontario, Alberta

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Recent comments

  • K. Hicks
    April 08, 2016 - 18:41

    James your 7.6% of all earners in the infographic is wrong. You forgot to add in those making $150,000 or more. If you had used the correct numbers the percentage or earners, i.e., taxfilers with employment income, making more than $100,000 is 10.97%.

  • holly
    April 07, 2016 - 11:30

    I don't understand why the names need to be listed. Positions are fine and really most people can figure out who those positions are filled by easily in our society. I make no where near $100,000 LOL but if I did, and even now that I don't, I wouldn't want my salary and name printed somewhere. Some people deserve the money they make, they worked hard for it. If they spent tons of money and years in university why not give them a higher wage ? No I'm not saying a degree (or being book smart) makes someone the best person for the job but is publishing the salaries and names going to help all the people who work their a**es off and still struggle?? If $100,000 a year supports a family of more than 2 than that's not a lot this day and age. think about it..

  • Johnny P
    March 11, 2016 - 07:37

    More than likely, the plan he approved was a poison pill that he knew could never be carried out in the current economic situation, and now they're going to be pushing it to be done.

  • Tony Strong
    March 07, 2016 - 05:09

    I can understand listing the positions, but why the names..?? I know of a situation where someone who was working for a Minister, at the time, and was a relative of that Minister, knew that she would be gone when he was gone.. but..him and a few other ministers implemented a plan whereby the position she held would become permanent, no matter who the minister was.. and on and on.. Her salary went from, around 40$ to 79$ and she has, of course gotten raises since then...and I am sure this case is not alone.. I agree that in order to get good people you sometimes have to pay good pay..but...

  • Kevin
    March 06, 2016 - 20:00

    If Steve Kents mouth was as big back then as it is right now, then he should of had it all out in the open. Instead he and his other monkeys are using the Liberal government has THEIR SCAPE GOAT for a problem that they created in their time. He is a pure idiot and has been nothing to this province but a pure pain in the ass and public moron !!!!

  • Charles Murphy
    March 06, 2016 - 11:26

    To the Provincial Liberals. Don't you know there a better way to approach this problem? without too much suffering and pain to people? but according to your latest article they ye already got the decision made. I guess it's now a good time to sing out abandon ship.

  • John Smith
    March 06, 2016 - 11:25

    ...what exactly have the Liberals been doing over the past 3 months? The only time I hear from them is when they are enacting a policy put forward by the PCs, or opening up one of the many facilities brought about during the previous government's term. Other than the latest round of excursions around the bay to ruminate about our plight these guys have done....nothing. I guess we will have to wait for the budget, or the house to open before we get a true glimpse into what this Dwight Ball government is all about. So far it's been blame everything on the tories....then go back and hide for a few weeks. Hidin' time is over.....

  • Jack
    March 06, 2016 - 09:04

    we will only get that list if we demand it and fight for it. if Mr. Kent has information and he is willing to share then good for him. we're going to need all the help we can get on this one. most government jobs are given to family and friends first even though qualified people are available locally. Imagine hiring a person from st. John's to work in Marystown and paying that person a huge salary and living allowances plus travel even though a qualified person is available in Clarenville. now apply that same senerio to a job in any community in the province. Nalcor anyone?

  • C Service
    March 06, 2016 - 08:27

    Put out the list. Let's face it, based on the information in this article, the core civil service - the area most people associate with 'lazy' bureaucrats - is not the issue, but rather Nalcor, the police and the lawyers in the Department of Justice. So, the next time you get pulled over, or the next time you hear about a case that isn't being prosecuted and/or prosecuted incompetently, or the cost of Muskrat Falls and/or power in NL, remember, there is a better than 1 in 3 chance those people are making more than 100k and probably an even better chance they are making close to it.

  • TER
    March 05, 2016 - 19:47

    Nurses, teachers, Police Officers, Principals with masters degrees , public service employees with MBA'a are also close to this salary zone and yet everyone gets their backs up at $100.000. Oil industry workers ie truck drivers Nalcor, Muskrat falls employees make as good or over this too, yet we have been paying their salaries at the pumps and no one stirs! This article is misleading... the benchmark should have been $150,000...there are not many in govt making above that..... people need to be paid a good wage for their education and experience. $100,000 is not a huge amount when you look at the the price of raising a family, house at $375,000 cost of food etc. What do you expect to pay these people ...$50,000 after spending 8 years at University........ not going to fly!!!

  • Robert
    March 05, 2016 - 17:59

    AND!! What's the problem here? If you have 3 kids with two in University and one at home playing hockey all over the Island every other weekend and a mortgage and a car payment, Insurance, food, heat and light etc. nothing to extravagant it's tough to live on a salary of less then100K a year. I don't think that's excessive at all.

    • Chebucto
      March 08, 2016 - 09:03

      Boo hoo ... A lot of people have to do with much less than that. Learn to manage your finances.

    • Insider
      April 10, 2016 - 08:35

      The problem is..... and what is excessive is..... the fact that nearly 1/2 of (Nalcor's List for example) had their salary double in 5 years. One I know for sure has nearly tripled and this position is not in Management . Most of these employees are still working in the same job classification, performing the same duties as they did 4 years ago. RED FLAG. Over half the promotions (appointments)and new hirers do not even meet the job qualifications. Excessive: Earning double your salary in overtime EVERY YEAR. Not just one person but about 50 or more people. This is going on for years, and the employees are paid double time, wouldn't it be more cost effective to hire another person at regular pay to work regular hours to reduce the work load. NO, because these people want the double overtime dollars and they'll make sure they get it and their supervisor will make sure they get it because he gets it too. Thanks for posting the list. We now have concrete evidence.

  • Mark Evans
    March 05, 2016 - 16:38

    I'm a provincial employee and am willing to bet the vast majority of those making over $100,000 are in management. We are top heavy with managers, directors, AMDs, and DMs.

  • Darnright
    March 05, 2016 - 16:21

    I worked with nalcor and moved to nl power, way better pay. Of course nalcor trained me but couldn't/wouldn't match what they would pay me at nl power. Most people leave because the pay is lower and they waste a lot of money training new staff. I would of stayed if they would matched it.

    • Calvin
      April 09, 2016 - 14:03

      No they wouldn't match it, not couldn't match it, for you and many others. WHY? Because they needed that money to increase their salaries and the salaries of their buddies. If they saved money on your salary and many other salaries.....they got it on theirs. It's as simple as that.

  • tommyjohn
    March 05, 2016 - 15:12

    Justice, RNC, Courts, there is the biggest fiscal waste for this province. At least health and education produce something useful to the general populace. Justice is the most massive circular perpetual motion machine in the history of NL. They make us think we need to give them a blank cheque for any cost they want to incur, no matter how ridiculous, all under the guise of "public safety". The "executive" run the place like there own small kingdom and ensure that the minister is brought "to heel". Time to do what the tories wanted to do, clean house and start over. Reduce staff by 30% or more and focus on the important stuff, drugs, exploring children and violence. Too many resources make for a wasteful operation looking for ways to spend more. If we don't act now, in 5 years every department but Justice and Health will have a $0 budget as these two monsters will eat everything unfunded pensions and interest payments doesn't.

    • Jimmy Fisher
      March 08, 2016 - 09:57

      Well said. The DOJ is a money making machine with so many hands to handle you along your way to court if charged with an offence. Instead of having a speedy small crime court system that could get it done in 2 appearances no no we have to have hearing after hearing and over a two year period.

  • Sunshine, in the people's paper
    March 05, 2016 - 14:53

    I prefer the fog of distraction. Tell us about Trump? We hardly hear about him here. If we pay employees of gov & crown less, but tax them less, same take home pay. Does this make sense? It does, but it does not make the government powerful, so someone will have to fight for it. Yes, some of the people getting scads of OT are being farmed for taxation purposes, not necessity to service. It is not their fault. It is ours. I'd rather not know. 100,000 is not what it was. 50 grand a year does not buy a lot of beer like that 80's song brags about. An envy list will not make a brighter future. May as well have shade, if journalists cannot serve us analysis?

  • Randy
    March 05, 2016 - 14:23

    Welcome to the legacy of the PC government. Bloated salaries that the province cannot afford. Most of the RNC crowd don't even have university degrees but they were pals of the PC party so cash was borrowed and shovelled their way. If Steve Kent had any shame he would just keep quiet

  • Jim
    March 05, 2016 - 14:22

    Don't forget one important thing, those people who are earning the wages are also taxpayers and give back 40%. I'm not siding with them because I find the higher ranks in government are where the idiots reside. Contractors typically get 180 dollars per hour!!! The higher-ups also have expense accounts! THAT'S where the cuts need to be.

  • da bishop
    March 05, 2016 - 14:18

    The Queens Printer was mandated to publish an annual "sunshine list" of all governmental positions and the salaries paid, not just $100k plus every year. That was until the tories stopped it in 2012. It was required as part of the budget documents every year. It was the most popular publication around with the media, they were always looking for it. Why did the media stop asking for it? Why did the Auditor General also stop asking for it, oh wait, was he the Deputy Minister of Finance that killed it in 2012? not sure....

    • Kev
      March 07, 2016 - 16:27

      More accountability from the Party of Steve Kent.

  • Joe Laugh
    March 05, 2016 - 12:09

    Mr. Kent, you lost credibility when your government was in power. Stop making a noise.

    • Dolf
      March 06, 2016 - 08:14

      So what's your problem with the Liberals acting on their own Open and Accountable government Joe? You're shooting the messenger rather than the message. Not too bright.

  • james
    March 05, 2016 - 11:24

    Newfoundland has the highest paid politicians in the country it been that way for decades

    • Masterwatch
      April 10, 2016 - 14:57

      Does this surprise anyone? All banana republics are like this.

  • Bob
    March 05, 2016 - 10:58

    Curious if quasi govt orgs like NLCHI, RDC etc were included. RDC didn't even exist until created by Dannys PCs.

  • jerome
    March 05, 2016 - 10:02

    That accounts for over 1/4 of a billion dollars a year, not including MUN, another money pit. I can now see one reason why our deficit is so high. It seems like the city of St. John's and the provincial government have a lot in common, no real restraints in either case, after all the taxpayer is good for it.

  • Robert
    March 05, 2016 - 09:20

    A 600 % increase in he number of government employees who make more than $100,000 and more than $236.9 million paid to those employees. No wonder this province is in the hole.

  • tim
    March 05, 2016 - 09:13

    Say what you want kent. the reality of it is that it was your government that tripled the non union management and granted the massive 100k + salaries.

  • JB
    March 05, 2016 - 08:53

    Why is the million dollar bell consultant still working at the OCIO department? Making $150/hr minimum

  • Darlene
    March 05, 2016 - 06:53

    And we wonder where the money is going...good lord the premier of the province shouldn't get more then a hundred thousand...who are these ordinary people who make this much...I almost kill myself to make a living and you keep taxing me to death just to fill your pockets...I'm sick of working half a year for the government coffers....time to give up work and go on welfare...they're doing much better then me...from a former hard working woman....cheers

    • larry
      April 08, 2016 - 15:13

      I absolutely agree. An electrical maintence man makes 150k a year? What an absolute joke. Everyone kills thereself to earn a few dollars and then pay their shirt in taxes. Better off on welfare if you ask me.

  • Joe McDonald
    March 05, 2016 - 06:48

    As a former employee of Nalcor I find it interesting that the salaries of the main competitors, Fortis, Pennecon, Emera etc. are not mentioned in the article. Some of the workers on the list worked enormous amounts of overtime during the time in question and that is why the salaries are high. If you want a true comparison why not publish the hourly rate of a journey person working for each of the above mentioned companies as well as other benefits provided.

    • Tom
      March 05, 2016 - 13:44

      They are not paid by our tax dollars. Private sector always pays more. Public cannot afford that kind of pay.

    • Ken Collis
      March 05, 2016 - 17:13

      No need for so much overtime if the equipment were maintained properly. As well, Nalcor has NO competitors. As for the other companies mentioned, they live off the government teat for the most part and should share in the shame..

    • Kev
      March 07, 2016 - 07:24

      Joe, a) the other companies are private sector. What they pay has no public policy implications. B) the wage bloat has shot upwards dramatically under Danny Williams and he current management. It has nothing to do with overtime.

  • Brian
    March 05, 2016 - 06:20

    Newfoundland has a spending problem. Most of those employees will retire with rich pensions.....and the taxpayers will suffer for decades to come.

  • Retired gov employee.
    March 04, 2016 - 23:29

    You know good for these people who make a good income,if they went to school got a great education well they deserve it,but when you have people who are family of MP,s,politicians,or people who are set up in a high paying job just because they are friends or just because they can do it well that's another thing and unfortunately that's what happens in the government and its not only here in Nl.I worked all my life in a government job and my pension is not even $30.000,and that's after 35 years but that's it I guess I wasn't family or friends so I didn't climb the ladder very

    • meahgan
      March 05, 2016 - 17:05

      This so true, many positions filled with no education or experience. All civil service workers should have copies of their degrees, trades etc... on file. Union should request credentials for positions with the same job duties but different classification to prove that the JES is unethical .