BC Ferries under fire for hiking executive bonuses
Published Monday, August 19, 2013 10:11PM PDT
The cash-strapped BC Ferries corporation is under fire for hiking executive bonuses even as fares increase and service cuts loom.
In the fiscal year that ended in March, the company’s chief financial officer Robert Clarke received $133,711 in incentive pay, more than double the $60,352 he was given the year before.
Human resources vice-president Glen Schwartz received $127,008, up from $62,710 the previous year, and company president Michael Corrigan was given $64,421, an increase of roughly $2,000.
The ferry corporation’s Statement of Executive Compensation states that the incentive pay increased because financials targets were exceeded for the fiscal year.
Clarke, Schwartz and Corrigan all received less overall pay than they did in the previous year because their long-term bonus plans were cancelled, but each still took home roughly half a million dollars.
The news came as an embarrassment for the BC liberals, who have promised to rein in executive salaries. Transportation Minister Todd Stone issued a statement promising to share the public’s concerns with BC Ferries’ board of directors.
“At a time when the corporation is trying to reduce its expenses, this sends the wrong message,” Stone said. “Government is tightening its belt, along with many British Columbians, and I believe that BC Ferries should take the same approach.”
The province’s influence is limited, however, because the Liberals relinquished control of the ferry company in 2003 and transformed it from a Crown corporation into an independent commercial organization.
BC Ferries still receives more than $150 million in government subsidies annually, and is receiving an extra $80 million between 2011 and 2016.
Stone noted that BC Ferries has reduced its executive by almost half since 2008, and reduced overall salaries by more than 50 per cent.
“However, more needs to be done,” Stone said.
The ferry corporation raised fares by 4.1 per cent in April, and has hiked prices a total of $6 each way on the main routes over the last three years.
It has announced plans to cut services on some routes next year.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Ed Watson