PUBLIC SECTOR SALARY DISCLOSURE: Ontario's Public Sector Salary Disclosure

Each year since the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act (PSSDA) was passed in 1996, the Ontario Government has published a compendium on public sector employees who were paid a salary of $100,000 or more. Organizations that receive public funding from the Province of Ontario are required to disclose the names, positions, salaries and taxable benefits of these employees.

PURPOSE OF THE ACT

The purpose of this law is to provide a more open and accountable system of government. It lets taxpayers compare the performance of an organization with the compensation given to the people running it. It also provides taxpayers with more details on how their tax dollars are spent.

PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS COVERED

The act covers the Government of Ontario, crown agencies, municipalities, hospitals, boards of public health, school boards, universities, colleges, Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation, and other public sector employers who receive a significant level of funding from the Province.  To determine if an organization is covered by the act, contact the organization or the ministry that funds it.

THE FUNDING CONDITION

Some non-profit organizations are required to disclose if they received significant funding from the Government of Ontario in that year. Generally, "funding" means transfer payments. It does not mean payments for goods and services used by the government, or loans that will be repaid.

Non-profit organizations receiving $1 million in funding or more are covered.

Organizations receiving between $120,000 and $1 million are included if the funding they receive is 10 per cent or more of their gross revenues.

Organizations receiving less than $120,000 are not required to disclose, unless they are one of the types explicitly covered by the act. This funding level is the same as the reporting level for transfer payments in Volume 3 of the Public Accounts of Ontario - Detailed Schedules of Payments.

REGULATION 85/96

Regulation 85/96 of the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act requires:

  • all employers subject to the PSSDA to submit their disclosure records to their funding ministries by the fifth business day of March each year;
  • employers subject to the PSSDA, other than the Crown, with an employee seconded to a ministry to provide by the fifth business day of March each year, the disclosure record in respect of that employee to the ministry where the employee is seconded;
  • the ministry the employee is seconded to, to disclose the employee’s name, position title at the ministry, name of the employer, and the salary and taxable benefits the employer is reporting.

Employers will continue to report these employees on their own disclosure records.

THE PUBLIC SECTOR SALARY DISCLOSURE AMENDMENT ACT, 2004

The Public Sector Salary Disclosure Amendment Act, 2004 received Royal Assent on April 15, 2004.

SALARY DISCLOSURE IN ANNUAL REPORTS

Employers that normally issue an annual report are required to include the salary disclosure with their annual report unless that disclosure is made available on a public website (a corporate website or on the Ministry of Finance website as part of the PSSD Compendium).

HYDRO ONE AND ONTARIO POWER GENERATION SALARY DISCLOSURE

This legislation specifies that Hydro One Inc., Ontario Power Generation Inc. and each of their subsidiaries are part of the public sector and designates them as public sector "employers" for the purposes of the act.

Hydro One Inc., Ontario Power Generation Inc. and each of their subsidiaries are required to provide salary disclosure to the Ministry of Energy. This applies for 2004 and future years.

WHY CAN'T I FIND SPECIFIC ORGANIZATIONS?

Many reasons can explain why you cannot find an organization. After ensuring that the organization is not in any of the categories, verify if the organization is included in the "No Employee Salaries to Disclose."

Some organizations do not disclose because the funding received is under the threshold set by the funding condition explained above.

Ultimately, the employer is responsible for making the disclosure or the statement of No Employee Salaries to Disclose available to the public.

WHAT'S INCLUDED IN $100,000 SALARY?

The $100,000 figure means salary before taxes, and does not include taxable benefits. However, for those who are paid $100,000 or more, the total value of these taxable benefits must be disclosed. Beginning with 2012 salaries, the definition of salary now also includes per diems and/or retainers paid to employees, in addition to amounts reported as employment income on the Canada Revenue Agency T4 slip.  The act does not authorize employers to disclose what the specific benefits are.

I HAVE FOUND MISTAKES, HOW CAN THEY BE CORRECTED?

If the information included in the Compendium has been reported incorrectly, it can be corrected in the Addendum. If you think some information has been reported incorrectly, contact the organization. This will allow the organization to verify the information and provide their ministry's Public Sector Salary Disclosure contact with accurate information for the Addendum.

COMPLIANCE

All organizations that are covered by this act must prepare a list each year of the employees who were paid $100,000 or more the year before, with their names, positions, salaries and the value of their taxable benefits. Each organization must make the list available for inspection without charge between March 31 and December 31 of the year it is disclosed.

NON-COMPLIANCE

The Government of Ontario can withhold part or all of the transfer payment to an employer who did not disclose.  The funds would be paid, however, once the employer complies. Employers who do not comply within one year are no longer entitled to the payment that was withheld.

The act allows a minister of the Crown to appoint a public accountant to audit the records of an employer for the purpose of determining the salary and benefits paid to its employees required under the act.  The minister will disclose either the salary disclosure records or a statement confirming that no employee was paid at least $100,000 within 30 days of receiving the audit results.

LIMITS ON LIABILITY

An employer cannot be held liable for making a disclosure in accordance with the act, or if the employer reasonably believed it was required to make the disclosure. A non-disclosure clause in an employment contract can't be used to avoid disclosure. The act authorizes the employer to release only specific information.

GETTING COPIES OF THE LIST

The organization must provide a copy, even after the period discussed above. There may be a charge of 20 cents per page. A compendium of the lists of all organizations disclosing salaries, as well as organizations stating they have no employee salaries at $100,000 or more, is also available on the Ministry of Finance web site. The complete report, or sections thereof, can be easily printed from the web site. The address is:

English - http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/publications/salarydisclosure
French - http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/fr/publications/salarydisclosure