The Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act publishes the salary of Ontario public sector workers who make over $100,000 a year. This includes Algonquin faculty.
Nadim Abboud, a professor in the marketing and management studies program, understands why this list may make some people uncomfortable.
“It’s like walking up to somebody and asking what they’re getting paid this year,” said Abboud. “Obviously the immediate answer you’re going to get is ‘It’s none of your business.’”
Cheryl Jensen, Algonquin’s president, echoes this feeling of potential discomfort.
“I can understand it,” said Jensen. “It’s something that private sector companies don’t have to do. Sometimes when things like that are published there might be a feeling in the community that they may have to field questions that they don’t feel comfortable fielding. But it’s a part of our responsibility as a public institution.”
The Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act, often nicknamed “the sunshine list,” is only applicable to institutions that receive public funding. It was enacted in 1996 as a way to make these types of institutions more open and accountable to taxpayers.
This is something that Shawn McBride, co-ordinator for the computer systems technician and technology program, understands. “In general I think it’s a good thing,” said McBride, whose salary is on the list. “In the bigger sense people who are paid entirely by taxpayer’s dollars; you’re effectively the employer, really.”
Algonquin’s teachers are not paid entirely by public funding. Salaries are negotiated by a union and are based on certain criteria, from the educational background of the individual to how long they’ve been at the college.
“Our pay scale is fairly controlled and predictive,” said McBride. “So if you tell me how old someone is I can tell you where they are on the pay scale, pretty much.”
Because of this system, the salaries don’t differ greatly from the different colleges across Ontario.
“Our salaries are provincial salaries,” said Jensen. “It doesn’t matter what college you go to, you receive the same salaries. That fact that it’s a provincial system should give the public some confidence that there are good controls and good guidelines in place for our salary grids.”
Overall, Jensen saw the list as a good thing.
“I’m so proud of everyone here,” said Jensen. “I don’t think we have anything to be ashamed of with our salaries. Everyone here works so hard and is so valued that I don’t think we need to be worried about that at all.”