Richest People

Canada’s Top 100 highest-paid CEOs 2017

Canada’s top paid CEOs now take home 193 times what an average Canadian worker does. That’s not the only wage gap visible in this ranking.

UPDATED for 2018!: Canada’s Richest People — The Top 25 Canada’s Richest People
Magna International CEO Donald Walker at the company’s 2016 AGM

Donald Walker of Magna International tops the list of Canada’s highest paid working CEOs—second only to former Valeant Pharmaceuticals CEO Michael Pearson. (Chris Young/CP)

Updated for 2018! Previous Top 100 Rankings: 2017 2016 2015 2014

During its brief stint at the top of the Canadian corporate hierarchy—before a series of scandals crashed its share price and gutted its C-suite—Valeant Pharmaceuticals International got used to breaking records. Add another one to the list: for one year, it smashed all records for the highest executive compensation in Canada, awarding its former CEO Michael Pearson $179 million in company stock, for a total take-home of $182 million, more than double paid to the previous year’s highest paid CEO, BlackBerry’s John Chen.

Pearson is an outlier; the second-highest paid leader (who is still employed as CEO) is Magna International’s Donald Walker, whose take-home came to $26 million.

This ranking is compiled each year by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, using publicly available data. (Companies take varying amounts of time to disclose executive compensation, which is why this ranking covers the year 2015.) The left-leaning think tank uses the figures to highlight the gap between what the average Canadian makes compared to C-suite executives. This year’s average CEO salary among the top 100 highest-paid executives topped $9.5 million, which is 193 times the annual wage of an average Canadian.

“I’ve been tracking CEO pay in Canada for 10 years and nothing has changed,” said CCPA economist Hugh Mackenzie in a news release. “CEO pay keeps soaring, luxe stock option, pension and bonus packages remain the gold standard for CEOs, and despite public outrage, neither corporate boards nor shareholders are stepping in to put a lid on things.”

Regardless of what you think about how much CEOs deserve to be paid—it’s a more complicated issue than you might think—the list highlights another stark gap in the boardrooms of the nation: just two of the top 100 highest paid CEOs in Canada are women. For complete details of the ranking, as well as much more about the forces at work in CEO compensation, check out the CCPA’s website.


Canada’s Top 100 Highest-Paid CEOs

* “Other Compensation” includes bonuses, shares, options, pension and any other payments. Full details at CCPA.

RankNameCompanyBase SalaryOther Compensation*Total
1Michael PearsonValeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.-$182,902,189$182,902,189
2Donald WalkerMagna International Inc.$415,462$26,124,238$26,539,700
3Hunter HarrisonCanadian Pacific Railway Ltd.$2,803,522$17,098,931$19,902,453
4Steven HudsonElement Financial Corp.$1,200,000$18,077,385$19,277,385
5Mark BarrenecheaOpen Text Corp.$981,787$16,988,255$17,970,042
6Donald GuloienManulife Financial Corp.$1,723,671$13,889,848$15,613,519
7Brian HannaschAlimentation Couche-Tard$1,356,260$13,458,456$14,814,716
8Linda HasenfratzLinamar Corp.$605,839$13,608,995$14,214,834
9James SmithThomson Reuters Corp.$1,981,433$11,730,709$13,712,142
10Bradley ShawShaw Communications Inc.$2,500,000$10,641,235$13,141,235
11Robert Card (Former CEO)SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.$931,041$12,116,407$13,047,448
12Darren EntwistleTelus Corp.$1,375,000$11,157,296$12,532,296
13Steven WilliamsSuncor Energy Inc.$1,375,000$11,596,795$12,200,495
14Jeffrey OrrPower Financial Corp.$4,341,000$7,333,302$11,674,302
15David McKayRoyal Bank of Canada$1,300,000$10,355,893$11,655,893
16George CopeBCE Inc.$1,400,000$10,144,999$11,544,999
17Doug SuttlesEncana Corp.$1,088,886$10,137,104$11,225,990
18Guy LaurenceRogers Communications Inc.$1,267,308$9,931,427$11,198,735
19Brian PorterBank of Nova Scotia$1,000,000$9,907,196$10,907,196
20Bharat MasraniToronto-Dominion Bank$1,000,000$9,698,222$10,698,222
21Charles MagroAgrium Inc.$1,400,846$9,034,673$10,435,519
22Robert A Gannitcott (former CEO)Dominion Diamond Corp.$397,338$9,865,983$10,263,321
23Donald LindsayTeck Resources Ltd.$1,493,500$8,749,250$10,242,750
24William DowneBank of Montreal$1,882,050$8,289,575$10,171,625
25Claude MongeauCanadian Natl Railway Co$1,374,603$8,702,501$10,077,104
26Rejean RobitailleLaurentian Bank of Canada$598,361$9,139,718$9,738,079
27Charles JeannesGoldcorp Inc.$1,499,498$7,958,839$9,458,337
28Gerald SchwartzOnex Corp.$1,661,847$7,670,064$9,331,911
29Glenn ChamandyGildan Activewear Inc.$1,277,692$7,994,483$9,272,175
30Daniel SchwartzRestaurant Brands Intern$1,052,176$8,109,157$9,161,333
31Michael RoachCGI Group Inc.$1,333,000$7,700,713$9,033,713
32Rich KrugerImperial Oil Ltd.$1,062,600$8,302,163$9,010,906
33Patrick CarlsonSeven Generations Energy$500,000$8,438,596$8,938,596
34Mark Thompson (Chairman & CEO)Concordia International Corp.$691,000$8,236,963$8,927,963
35Al MonacoEnbridge Inc.$1,246,750$7,652,452$8,899,202
36Scott SaxbergCrescent Point Energy Corp.$1,122,378$7,687,917$8,810,295
37Russell GirlingTransCanada Corp.$1,300,008$7,499,000$8,799,008
38Sean BoydAgnico Eagle Mines Ltd.$1,500,000$7,132,420$8,632,420
39Marc PoulinEmpire Co. Ltd.$1,000,000$7,575,955$8,575,955
40Victor DodigCanadian Imperial Bank of Commerce$1,000,000$7,538,900$8,538,900
41Galen WestonLoblaw Companies Ltd.$1,100,000$7,385,197$8,485,197
42Brian FergusonCenovus Energy Inc.$1,350,000$6,604,525$7,954,525
43Dean ConnorSun Life Financial Inc.$1,000,000$6,884,879$7,884,879
44Alain Bedard (President & CEO)Transforce Inc.$1,315,000$6,505,602$7,820,602
45Paul Desmarais, Jr.Power Corp. of Canada$1,150,000$6,547,144$7,697,144
46Bruce FlattBrookfield Asset Management$767,006$6,864,089$7,631,095
47André DesmaraisPower Corp. of Canada$1,150,000$6,761,380$7,601,380
48Calin RovinescuAir Canada$1,400,000$5,787,864$7,187,864
49Paul MahonGreat-West Lifeco Inc.$1,064,231$6,088,818$7,153,049
50Paul WrightEldorado Gold Corp.$1,144,548$5,441,639$6,586,187
51Francois OlivierTranscontinental Inc.$1,012,948$5,565,681$6,578,629
52Louis VachonNational Bank of Canada$1,125,015$6,703,138$6,555,153
53Alain Bellemare (President & CEO)Bombardier Inc.$864,300$5,561,700$6,426,000
54Ravi SaligramRitchie Bros. Auctioneers$1,278,344$5,096,964$6,375,308
55Michael McCainMaple Leaf Foods Inc.$1,050,125$5,042,971$6,093,096
56Charles BrindamourIntact Financial Corp.$934,250$5,120,697$6,054,947
57Barry PerryFortis Inc.$1,025,000$4,997,319$6,022,319
58J. Paul RollinsonKinross Gold Corp.$939,250$5,012,884$5,952,134
59Tim GitzelCameco Corp.$1,035,282$4,882,065$5,917,347
60Edward SonshineRiocan REIT$1,300,000$4,420,000$5,720,000
61John FlorenMethanex Corp.$932,000$4,766,022$5,698,022
62John M. Cassaday (Former President & CEO)Corus Entertainment Inc.$579,861$4,757,378$5,337,239
63Gerald StorchHudson's Bay Co$1,555,080$3,776,700$5,331,780
64Scott ThomsonFinning International Inc.$909,833$4,370,985$5,280,818
65Gregory LangNovagold Resources Inc.$714,363$4,492,896$5,207,259
66Larry RossyDollarama Inc.$813,540$4,372,997$5,186,537
67Geoffrey MartinCCL Industries Inc.$1,201,978$3,948,890$5,150,868
68Steve LautCanadian Natural Resources$660,961$4,486,546$5,147,507
69Asim GhoshHusky Energy Inc.$1,721,000$3,399,716$5,120,716
70Gregg SaretskyWestjet Airlines Ltd.$698,632$4,231,967$4,930,599
71Richard D. McBeeMitel Networks Corp.$762,019$4,065,875$4,827,894
72Marc ParentCAE Inc.$860,000$3,852,854$4,712,854
73Randy SmallwoodSilver Wheaton Corp.$872,806$3,704,958$4,577,764
76Ellis JacobCineplex Inc.$1,000,000$3,496,806$4,496,806
74Dawn L. FarrellTransalta Corp.$950,000$3,567,160$4,517,160
75Stephen MacPhailCI Financial Corp.$750,000$3,750,000$4,500,000
77Jose BoisjoliBRP Inc.$981,309$3,449,859$4,431,168
78Mark DavisChemtrade Logistics$756,417$3,649,430$4,405,847
79Murray TaylorIGM Financial Inc.$953,333$3,431,810$4,385,143
80Kevin A. NeveuPrecision Drilling Corp.$752,885$3,563,386$4,316,271
81Christopher HuskilsonEmera Inc.$875,000$3,439,895$4,314,895
82Jerry FowdenCott Corp.$837,500$3,371,688$4,209,188
83Rod N. BakerGreat Canadian Gaming Corp.$525,000$3,615,015$4,140,015
84Alexander FernandesAvigilon Corp.$469,227$3,597,346$4,066,573
85Michael MedlineCanadian Tire Corp.$950,000$3,038,241$3,988,241
86Pierre ShoiryWSP Global Inc.$973,750$3,001,580$3,975,330
87Myron StadnykArc Resources Ltd.$570,000$3,401,428$3,971,428
88John ThorntonBarrick Gold Corp.$3,195,860$740,276$3,936,136
89Thomas Heslip (Former CEO)Granite REIT$409,231$3,500,000$3,909,231
90Phillip PascallFirst Quantum Minerals Ltd.$1,329,478$2,557,423$3,886,901
91John ChenBlackberry Ltd.$1,125,400$2,724,236$3,849,636
92Pierre Beaudoin (Executive Chairman, President & CEO)Bombardier Inc.$820,700$3,100,100$3,846,900
93Michael DilgerPembina Pipeline Corp.$657,500$3,172,448$3,829,948
94Rupert DuchesneAimia Inc.$938,077$2,888,759$3,826,836
95Jeffrey CarneyIgm Financial Inc.$916,667$2,892,006$3,808,673
96Thomas SchwartzCanadian Apartment Properties REIT$787,590$2,942,668$3,730,258
97Jochen TilkPotash Corp. of Saskatchewan$1,050,933$2,666,950$3,717,883
98Anthony CaputoATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc.$809,100$2,907,900$3,717,000
99Geoffrey A. BurnsPan American Silver Corp.$735,000$2,965,605$3,700,605
100Eric La FlècheMetro Inc.$849,993$2,841,449$3,691,442

* “Other Compensation” includes bonuses, shares, options, pension and any other payments. Full details at CCPA.