More CBC exec ‘bonuses’ likely, pending review

The Board of Directors of CBC/Radio-Canada quietly filed a document June 25 that ‘confirms it will respect its commitment to the 1,194 employees eligible for the current Short-Term Incentive Compensation Plan’ regarding authorized ‘premiums.’

More CBC exec ‘bonuses’ likely, pending review
The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld
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Nearly 1,200 employees with the state broadcaster may receive “bonuses” this year despite outcry from MPs and taxpayer groups.

A comprehensive review of CBC’s performance-based remuneration plan, including performance pay, is currently underway.

The Board of Directors of CBC/Radio-Canada quietly filed a document June 25 that “confirms it will respect its commitment to the 1,194 employees eligible for the current Short-Term Incentive Compensation Plan (SRRICT)” regarding authorized “premiums.”

The Board met on June 13 to discuss the authorization of “premiums,” reported La Presse. Catherine Tait, the broadcaster's CEO and president, did not rule out executive bonuses this year in prior testimony to MPs at parliamentary committee.

“Have you been assigned a bonus for 2023?” asked Conservative MP Rachael Thomas May 7. “No, I have not,” replied Tait. The executive repeated herself several times during parliamentary inquiry.

Broadcaster spokesperson Emma Iannetta confirmed Tait “has not yet received a bonus and has no idea of the amount” for the past two fiscal years. 

The broadcaster previously told Rebel News the term “bonuses” has been used to describe performance pay. “It is in fact a contractual obligation owing to eligible employees,” said a spokesperson.

“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 the spokesperson. 

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

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

Despite an unfavourable financial situation last year, the broadcaster is believed to have made progress in achieving its performance indicators.

For the Syndicat des travailleurs de Radio-Canada (STTRC), announcing “generous” bonuses to executives after months of significant cuts would be “ironic.” 

“There are 1,194 people who, because of their excellent performance, will be rewarded. I hope it is not for their management,” said Lise Millette, Secretary General and Treasurer of the STTRC.

“There are projects that have been put on the ice, initiatives that have been postponed because efforts had to be made, trips that have been cancelled,” she said.

“The performance compensation of the President and CEO is determined by the Government of Canada following a performance evaluation and a recommendation from the Board of Directors of CBC/Radio-Canada,” Iannetta said. “Ms. Tait is not part of CBC/Radio-Canada's incentive compensation program.”

Tait’s total compensation ranges from $472,900 to $623,900, while vice-presidents earn between $282,000 and $686,500, according to CBC/Radio-Canada disclosures. The share of “premiums” is not disclosed by the state broadcaster.

“It is sure that it will nourish a feeling, for some of bitterness, for others questioning the governance of the Crown corporation,” said Millette.

All 46 network executives received bonuses worth $3,020,021, while another 1,140 managers on the payroll received bonuses worth $11,883,734 last fiscal year. Figures were disclosed at the request of Opposition House Leader Andrew Scheer.

As for senior management, “for reasons of confidentiality regarding the remuneration of all our employees, we do not have more details,” Iannetta notes.

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.

The CBC refused disclosure of their bonus details, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF). “As a matter of principle, the CBC owes transparency to the taxpayers who pay their salaries,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. 

Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge has not commented on the appropriateness of possible bonuses. “It's up to them to answer questions about internal compensation,” she said last December. 

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