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HomeBusinessB.C.’s number two doc paid higher than health authority CEOs 

B.C.’s number two doc paid higher than health authority CEOs 


Bob Mackin 

B.C.’s deputy provincial health officer was the highest-paid executive at Provincial Health Services Authority last year.

Reka Gustafson (BC Gov)

According to executive compensation reports released Aug. 30, Dr. Reka Gustafson received a total $463,870 in salary, benefits and expenses for the year-ended March 31, 2022. Her base pay was $299,784, but she received another $111,895, including three annual retroactive physician rate changes, an administrative stipend and extraordinary event compensation. The latter was worth almost $79,000. 

Gustafson, who joins Island Health as its chief medical health officer in September, was paid higher than PHSA CEO David Byres, who was seconded from the Ministry of Health for the first half of the year and paid $221,011 for the remainder. 

Interior Health’s Susan Brown was the highest-paid CEO of the province’s five geographic subsidiaries of the Ministry of Health at $441,445, followed by Fraser Health’s Victoria Lee

($410,012) and Northern Health’s Cathy Urich ($406,906). 

Vancouver Coastal Health’s Vivian Eliopoulos was the only one below $400,000 ($391,031).

Outgoing University of B.C. president Santa Ono remained the top-paid education official at $612,824. He is also provided the Norman Mackenzie House at the Point Grey campus, but the mansion is considered a taxable benefit. Ono is set to become the president of the University of Michigan in October, where his base annual pay is worth almost $1.28 million in Canadian funds.

At Simon Fraser University, its former president, Andrew Petter, received $443,850 for the year. 

BC Hydro CEO Chris O’Riley’s total compensation was $599,378, up from $590,114, while B.C. Securities Commission chair and CEO Brenda Leong totalled $532,100. ICBC’s Nicolas Jimenez fell just shy of a half-million-dollar pay packet, at $499,335.

Despite extended closures to B.C. Place Stadium and the Vancouver Convention Centre due to the pandemic, B.C. Pavilion Corp. CEO Ken Cretney’s total pay rose $10,000 year-over-year to $379,523. That was higher than Lynda Cavanaugh of B.C. Lottery Corp. ($305,180) and Blain Lawson of the Liquor Distribution Branch ($259,264).

One of B.C.’s lowest-profile CEOs is Gordon Westlake of BC Rail. The Crown corporation still exists, to hold the ownership of tracks used by CN Rail and certain terminal land holdings. He was paid $233,146 for the fiscal year.

Premier John Horgan with chief of staff Geoff Meggs on a February 2019 trip to Washington State (BC Gov)

A scuttled proposal for a new Royal B.C. Museum wasn’t the only action across the street from the Parliament Buildings. The acting vice-president of museum operations, Erika Stenson, received $178,245 in severance after her March 14 termination. Her total pay package shows up as $338,301. New CEO Alicia Dubois was hired Feb. 15 at a $250,000 annual salary. Her contract also calls for a $50,000 annual stipend for each of the first three years. 

“CEO earned compensation from serving on the board of Green Impact Partners, Inc. and for work completed prior to joining the museum as a cofounder of the Indigenous Leadership Circle,” the report says. 

Dubois’ contract includes a clause to pay her travel expenses to and from Alberta through the end of July to facilitate relocation. 

Shayne Ramsay, the BC Housing CEO retiring next month, reported $366,013, just under the $369,885 for Lori Wanamaker, the head of the Public Service Agency and Premier John Horgan’s top deputy minister. 

Wanamaker’s pay package was $30,000 higher than the previous year. 

Horgan’s chief of staff, Geoff Meggs, counted among the government’s highest-paid public servants at $235,827. He enjoyed a nearly $5,000 increase in base pay between November 2020 and July 2021. 

“The position is not a member of the corporate executive and (as such) did not meet the criteria for inclusion in the executive compensation freeze,” said a note about Meggs in the Public Service Agency’s compensation report. 

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