CBC tries to hide senior executive bonuses, Taxpayers Federation files complaint

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation have accused Catherine Tait, the president and CEO of the CBC, of concealing senior executive bonuses to avoid discussing them Tuesday before a parliamentary committee.

CBC tries to hide senior executive bonuses, Taxpayers Federation files complaint
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The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) filed a complaint with the Office of the Information Commissioner after the CBC refused immediate disclosure of bonuses for senior executives. 

Catherine Tait, president and CEO of the state broadcaster, is scheduled to testify on its finances at a parliamentary committee Tuesday evening.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the Commons heritage committee invited Tait to answer questions concerning $14.9 million in executive performance bonuses after announcing the corporate downsizing.

“[Bonus] pay… is a key part of the total compensation of our non-union staff, about 1,140 employees,” Tait earlier told the committee. Since 2015, the state broadcaster has issued $114 million in bonuses.

“Tait must do the right thing and confirm to the parliamentary committee that she will cancel CBC bonuses,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF federal director.

The CTF filed the complaint Friday, after the state broadcaster failed to disclose bonuses paid last year to senior executives.

Access to information records disclosed March 12 by the CTF said the state broadcaster paid at least $14,902,755 million in bonuses last year to 1,143 CBC staffers. That number could rise further.

However, bonuses paid out to CBC’s eight senior executives are not known.

On March 11, 2024, the CTF filed an access to information request seeking details on the compensation paid out to CBC’s eight senior executives in 2023, including bonuses. 

On April 9, 2024, the CBC issued a 30-day extension notice

The new deadline to release details on senior executive bonuses is May 10, 2024, just days after Tait is scheduled to appear at committee on May 7, 2024. 

The state broadcaster did not issue an extension notice on the request outlining total bonuses, the CTF said.

Terrazzano accused the head of CBC of attempting to conceal senior executive bonuses to avoid discussing them Tuesday.

“Tait is wrong to hide the cost of bonuses for eight senior executives from the Canadians who pay their cheques,” said Terrazzano. “If Tait and her executives think they deserve their bonuses, they should be open and honest about it with taxpayers.”

According to the CTF, other Crown corporations have provided the organization with records detailing senior executive bonuses. 

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, who paid $831,000 in bonuses to its 10 senior executives in 2023. Whereas the Bank of Canada paid out $3.5 million in executive bonuses in 2022.

“The CBC is legally obligated to release the bonus documents days after the parliamentary committee hearing so obviously Tait has the details readily at hand,” said Terrazzano. “If MPs ask for those details, she needs to answer.”

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh earlier claimed that Tait “lied” to members of Parliament about the network’s finances, leading to her parliamentary invite. “She has misled Canadians, saying, ‘I need to drop 10 percent of the CBC staff,’ over 800 jobs,” he said.

On January 30, Tait told MPs the network “faces chronic underfunding” and had to “stretch limited resources to meet our mandate.” The broadcaster would receive $96.1 million in additional funding this year — a record $1.38 billion, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

It received an additional $42 million lump-sum in the recent federal budget.

Tait called the new funding “welcomed news.” 

Committee MPs earlier warned executives to forgo annual bonuses to save on costs. “Given the job cuts announced at CBC for 2024 it would be inappropriate for the CBC to grant bonuses to executive members,” reads a parliamentary report.

“This investment, together with the steps we have taken since December, means we will be able to stabilize our operations, preserve jobs and continue to invest in programs and services,” said Tait at the time.

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