Documents reveal that BC university executive salaries exceed caps

Questions have recently arisen concerning salary pay for executives at post-secondary institutions in BC, after documents were released showing that executives at three institutions were paid beyond their salary caps for the 2013/2014 year.

In March, David Eby, edu-ca-tion critic for the NDP asked Amrik Virk, min-is-ter of advanced edu-ca-tion in BC to release the salary caps for post-secondary insti-tu-tions in the province at the Bud-get 2014 Esti-mates Debate for the Min-istry of Advanced Edu-ca-tion. At first, Virk denied that there was any over-pay-ment, but after releas-ing the doc-u-ments it was evi-dent that this was not the case.

Although Virk agreed to release the doc-u-ments for 22 schools, he has only released salary cap infor-ma-tion on four — Capi-lano Uni-ver-sity, Kwantlen Poly-tech-nic Uni-ver-sity, Uni-ver-sity of the Fraser Val-ley, and Van-cou-ver Island Uni-ver-sity. The documents that have been made public only report the salaries, not the caps, and make statements such as “the executive compensation paid out in the fiscal year 2013/2014 [. . .] is in compliance with the compensation plans approved by PSEC (Pub-lic Sec-tor Employ-ers’ Coun-cil).”

However, accord-ing to the doc-u-ments that were col-lected by the PSEC, exec-u-tives at these four universities were notably over-paid. For example, vice pres-i-dents at CapU were over-paid by between $31,794 and $162,910, over the past three years.

Total overpayment over the past three years between CapU, UFV and VIU was $1,083,830.97.

Similar information has yet to be released concerning SFU, UBC, and other schools in British Columbia.

SFU executive compensation is posted publicly on the board of governors website. The disclosure includes total base salary, plus employer-paid pension contributions, benefits, severance, vacation payouts, and all other compensation, including administrative leaves paid out in the fiscal year.

Andrew Petter, SFU president, earned $442,783, while the remaining four members of the SFU executive earned between $263,000 and $300,000.

According to Melissa Fiorucci, from the office of the vice-president, finance and administration, SFU has not exceeded any of its caps, although specific salary cap information was unavailable.

Considering this, The Peak asked Kathy Corrigan, NDP oppostition spokesperson for advanced education, why Virk might still be holding back on releasing the information.

“My guess would be — [considering] the information that we already gathered where we did get the caps for three institutions, in each case they were being paid more than the cap — maybe they’re trying to hold that information back because we would find out that they were going to be getting paid more than the cap,” Corrigan predicted.

Corrigan pointed out why this situation is confusing, asking, “How can you say whether or not an institution has gone over the cap when you don’t know what the cap is?

“I think [. . .] particularly at a time when tuition fees are pretty punishing, student debt is punishing, and funding to the universities is going down, that there should be accountability,” she concluded.