By the Numbers: A decade of CEO compensation

A decade of CEO compensationToronto – January 9, 2017 – A new report reveals that despite economic downturns, the pay of corporate Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) has consistently pushed to new heights throughout the last decade. In its latest annual report on the compensation of Canada's 100 highest paid CEOs, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) points out that the top 100 CEOs in Canada had earned by January 3rd, what the average Canadian will make in total in 2017.

9.5 million

The compensation of Canada's highest-paid CEOs reached a record high average of $9.5 million or 193 times the average industrial wage in Canada.


On average, members of this elite group were paid the equivalent to the annual average Canadian salary by 11:47 a.m. on January 3, 2017.


According to the CCPA study, the average earnings of Canada's corporate elite have increased by 178 per cent between 1998 and 2015.


Out of the top 100 highest paid CEOs in Canada, only two are female.

$1.1 million

Nearly half of the top 100 CEOs had a defined benefit pension plan, with an average annual pension payable at age 65 of just under $1.1 million.


The top 100 average was 193 times more than the average wage in Canada. This is the second highest pay gap ratio in 10 years, second to 194 times more in 2013.


When adjusted for inflation, the average income of the top 100 CEOs has increased by 99 per cent since 1998, while the average Canadian income grew by only 9 per cent.

$8.1 billion

Wealth comes in many forms for Canada's corporate elite. As a group, the top 100 CEOs reported owning shares in their companies amounting to $8.1 billion, or an average of $81 million each in their respective companies.


Quebec-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals CEO Michael Pearson was the highest compensated CEO in 2015 (reported in 2016).

Source: "Throwing money at the problem," Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2017.