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Report criticizes salaries for B.C. Ferries executives

Salaries higher than allowed by Coastal Ferry Act, report says
B.C. Ferries' Mayne Queen at Swartz Bay Terminal in June 2019. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

The salaries earned by B.C. Ferries’ key executives continued to soar following a report commissioned by the B.C. Ferry Authority that stated the team was overpaid.

In March 2022 an authority report said the compensation packages earned by then B.C. Ferries CEO Mark Collins and his eight vice-presidents exceeded standards and were out of compliance with the Coastal Ferry Act — stating effectively that the management group was overpaid. This was based on their 2021 salaries.

This claim was backed by a document released three months earlier and commissioned by the authority to see how B.C. Ferries executive compensation compared to six large B.C. public sector organizations. It came as the provincial government — through the Coastal Ferry Amendment Act — sought to bolster the authority’s control over B.C. Ferries operations.

The report said Collins earned a base salary of $535,000 and his vice-presidents earned between $355,000 and $452,000 a year.

The report recommended Collins earn a base pay of $406,000 and have a total salary and benefits package of less than $500,000. It recommended the two highest paid vice-presidents have their base salaries reduced to $347,000 a year.

Since the ferry authority’s March announcement, Collins has been fired and the B.C. Ferries board has been gutted and is now led by B.C. NDP stalwart Joy MacPhail.

However, according to a recently released Statement of Executive Compensation from B.C. Ferries, Collins compensation jumped by 10 per cent between 2021 and 2022 to $581,952, while chief operating officer Corrine Storey’s pay jumped 16 per cent to $491,796 and chief financial officer Jill Sharland earned an extra 18 per cent to $470,371.

Sharland is acting CEO of B.C. Ferries while the search to replace Collins continues.

On Sunday, MacPhail told Postmedia News that the new CEO will earn a total of $499,000 — as per for the authority commissioned report. Other executive positions will also see a reduction in pay, but not until current contracts have expired.