TORONTO, March 23, 2012 /CNW/ - Hospital CEOs have defied a strict edict from Ontario Minister of Health & Long-Term Care Deb Matthews, and helped themselves to massive six-figure raises despite orders to freeze their compensation.
"Where is the accountability? How can hospital CEOs continue to fill their boots from public coffers in open defiance of the Health Minister?" asked Sharleen Stewart, head of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents more than 50,000 frontline hospital staff in Ontario.
Healthcare executives thumbed their noses at the minister and pocketed double-digit increases in compensation in the face of repeated calls for restraint and a high-profile scandal over executive largesse at Ornge, the disgraced air ambulance service.
"These CEOs need to be brought down to earth. They are out of control. The 1% can no longer expect their lavish lifestyles to be supported by the rest of us, the other 99% of society," said the head of SEIU. Catherine Zahn, CEO of the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, received a jaw-dropping six-figure raise, increasing her compensation from the previous year by $102,000 to a total of $752,499, according to public sector salary disclosures.
The 16 per cent raise for the CEO is a flagrant violation of the Health Minister's unequivocal calls for executives to limit compensation increases to zero.
Not to be outdone, William Reichman of Baycrest pushed his compensation up to $755,000, thanks to an 8 per cent raise.
Clifford Nordal, former president and CEO of St Joseph's Healthcare London and London Health Sciences, made off with a $1.4-million cash payment as a "golden parachute" after he quit, the disclosures show.
Even Barry McLellan, the CEO of Sunnybrook who was brought in as chair of Ornge to clean up, could not keep his hand out of the cookie jar, and breached the minister's edict by increasing his own compensation to just over $700,000, thanks to an extra $1200-a-month top up.
Hospital vice-presidents also got in on the act, with the two VPs at the Ottawa Hospital making out like bandits, socking away nearly $2-million between them over two years, according to the disclosures.
Hospital CEOs also enjoyed a range of lavish perks, including: luxury car allowances worth up to $70,000 a year; memberships in "private gentleman's clubs"; personal weight loss trainers and financial planners; and taxpayer-funded beauty treatments and cosmetic surgery coverage - all the while calling on frontline staff to tighten their belts.
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