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Number of ICBC workers making $150K has doubled since 2016: documents
VANCOUVER – The provincial government has blamed personal injury lawyers for much of the "financial dumpster fire" at ICBC, but new documents show staff salary increases aren't exactly helping.
The remuneration documents show that 93 workers at the public insurer made more than $150,000 in the company's 2018-19 fiscal year, which ended on March 31.
In 2017-18, when the government transitioned to the NDP, the number spiked to a whopping 148 ICBC employees. Attorney General David Eby, the minister responsible for ICBC, noted the NDP wasn't sworn into office until three months into the fiscal year.
He said the province has since made a "very concerted effort" to address those ballooning salary costs.
"Our government, since we formed power, has reduced every category of people earning more than $100,000 by a minimum of 10 per cent, and for those above $150,000 by a minimum of 30 per cent," Eby told reporters Tuesday. "We've actually been very successful in driving down compensation at ICBC."
It's unclear what prompted the massive increase in ICBC employees making more than $150,000 in 2017-18. ICBC directed questions from CTV News to Eby's ministry.
"British Columbians should have steam coming out of their ears right about now," said BC Liberal MLA Jas Johal. "There's absolutely no way, no way you can justify that kind of increase."
Even though the number has since decreased to 93 employees, the documents show ICBC's spending on salaries still increased from $407,869,644 in 2017-18 to $422,691,574 2018-19.
The Canadian Taxpayers' Federation recently released a cheeky video showing a literal fire in a dumpster, arguing the high salaries at ICBC are just adding more fuel to the flames.
"I would argue… that most B.C. drivers wouldn't describe ICBC as a bang-up organization," Kris Sims told CTV News.
Asked about the increase in employees making more than $150,000 on Monday, ICBC directed questions to Attorney General David Eby. His office said it was preparing a response, but did not provide one by Monday evening.
Financial statements show ICBC lost $1.1 billion in the last fiscal year, which amounts to about $2.8 million in losses every single day.
In light of the salary documents, Johal said the government's claims that it's doing all it can to keep premiums reined in amid the company's financial woes should be met with skepticism.
"How can Mr. Eby say he's doing everything to keep rates low, yet we have a huge increase in people making $100-plus, $200-plus and yes, even $300,000-plus?" Johal said.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's St. John Alexander