CBC did not disclose exec bonuses, says they are ‘contractual obligations’

‘While the term ‘bonuses’ has been used to describe performance pay, it is in fact a contractual obligation owing to eligible employees,’ reads an emailed statement from the state broadcaster.

CBC did not disclose exec bonuses, says they are ‘contractual obligations’
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The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is launching a legal challenge against the CBC for not disclosing senior executive bonuses. The network replied “no comment” to an inquiry by Rebel News.

On May 10, the network detailed that seven senior executives took home $3,793,000 in total compensation. It did not reveal how much bonus pay each executive received.

According to the CTF, the CBC are refusing to release the requested bonus information.

The state broadcaster provided Rebel with a link for senior management compensation posted on its website that did not disclose the value of senior executive bonuses.

“As a matter of principle, the CBC owes transparency to the taxpayers who pay their salaries,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. 

Last year, the network handed out $15 million in bonuses to 1,143 staff despite announcing hundreds of layoffs and requesting even more money from taxpayers. 

To add insult to injury, the CBC has cut 346 jobs since forecasting a financial shortfall in December, yet could not explain why it still distributed bonus pay.

“The CBC is also required to follow access to information law, but in this case, they’re blatantly breaking it,” Terrazzano said.

When asked why the network had not disclosed senior executive bonuses, a Corporate spokesperson told Rebel that “Senior executive compensation was disclosed to the requester in accordance with Access to Information and Privacy Act requirements.”

“CBC/Radio-Canada takes its commitment to Access to Information very seriously and its performance is among the best in the country,” said Leon Mar, Director of Media Relations and Issues Management for the broadcaster.

Lawyers representing the CTF filed the legal challenge Monday with the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) to compel greater transparency from the CBC on its finances.

“Respectfully, we have no comment on the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and we have received no legal action from this organization,” replied Mar.

The OIC is the body responsible for investigating complaints and resolving disputes related to the federal access-to-information system.

On March 11, the CTF filed an access-to-information request seeking details on the compensation paid out to the CBC’s seven senior executives in 2023, including bonuses. 

On April 9, the CBC issued a 30-day extension notice. Network President Catherine Tait testified at a parliamentary committee on May 7, but did not know if bonuses had been issued at the time.

She has not ruled out executive bonuses for this year — a decision that is expected after next month’s board meeting.

Other crown corporations, like the Bank of Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, have provided bonus information for their executives in response to access-to-information requests from the CTF.

“Should the CBC cut bonuses and other performance-based pay out of respect for taxpayers?” asked Rebel. “Government departments, Crown corporations, and most private companies use performance pay (or “at-risk pay”) as a portion of employee compensation to help ensure delivery on specific targets approved by the Board of Directors,” replied Mar. 

“While the term ‘bonuses’ has been used to describe performance pay, it is in fact a contractual obligation owing to eligible employees,” he said.

An inquiry of ministry earlier tabled in the Commons confirmed the corporation has an “at-risk incentive pay system” and “does not pay bonuses.”

All 46 network executives received bonuses worth $3,020,021, it reads. Another 1,140 managers or 99% on the payroll also received bonuses worth $11,883,734 last fiscal year.

Figures were disclosed at the request of Opposition House Leader Andrew Scheer, reported Blacklock’s Reporter. He asked, “With regard to bonuses paid out at Crown corporations in the 2023-24 fiscal year, how many and what percentage of officials at or above the executive level received bonuses?”

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