Government salary secrecy shields WCB

Joe MacGillivray, CEO of Whitehorse hospital, is paid $163,000 annually. "He hasn't been there long enough to get into bonuses," said Craig Tuton, chair of the hospital board. Tuton has "absolutely no problem" releasing such...

Joe MacGillivray, CEO of Whitehorse hospital, is paid $163,000 annually.

“He hasn’t been there long enough to get into bonuses,” said Craig Tuton, chair of the hospital board.

Tuton has “absolutely no problem” releasing such information. The hospital, after all, is run with public money.

But when Tuton dons his hat as chair of Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board, he cannot provide similar information.

All he can say is that Valerie Royle, the president, is paid in line with Yukon’s deputy ministers.

That means she received a salary in the range of $138,897 to $180,403 in 2008. She may also have received a performance bonus of up to eight per cent of her salary.

But, as is the case with Yukon’s deputies, their actual salaries and bonuses are kept secret.

When Tuton inquired about releasing Royle’s salary, he says he was told it would be prohibited by the Public Service Act, which puts the CEO in the same category as deputy ministers.

“I’m bound by the same rules they are,” said Tuton. “It’s confusing at best.”

Yukon’s Public Service Commission argues that disclosing the actual salaries or bonuses paid to deputy ministers would be an “unreasonable violation of privacy” under the territory’s Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The News is appealing the decision with Yukon’s access to information commissioner.

Such secrecy is unusual. Deputy salaries are disclosed by every province other than PEI and New Brunswick. The other territories also only disclose salary ranges.

Yukon News asked deputy ministers to voluntarily disclose their salaries and bonuses. None replied.

Other Yukon public bodies, kept at further distance from government, also disclose the actual salaries they pay their bosses.

Terry Weninger, president of Yukon College, received $185,000 last year.

David Morrison, president and CEO of Yukon Energy, received $223,490 in 2008.

New hospital residence

gets green light

After securing a $16-million bank loan, Yukon Hospital Corp. is preparing to build a new residence for nurses and doctors visiting Whitehorse.

Construction is expected to move swiftly, with ground to be broken by May of this year, and doors opening by January of 2011, said Craig Tuton, chair of the hospital board.

The job of managing the project is to be put out for tender today, said Tuton. It should close in three weeks.

All work will be competitively tendered, said Tuton.

The new building would have 32 residential units and replace an existing facility, referred to by medical staff as “the gulag” due to its age and dilapidated state.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.

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