Service crew

Amid service issues, new filing reveals double-digit raises for some BC Ferries executives

BC Ferries’ top three executives have received salary increases of up to 18.3% for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, according to the company’s latest executive compensation information.

During that period, then-CEO Mark Collins’ base salary was $534,589, an increase of 9.4% from $488,544 in 2019-21. Collins was laid off in July amid layoffs, with chief financial officer Jill Sharland taking over as interim president.

Sharland’s base salary increased from $363,750 to $430,432, an 18.3% increase, while COO Corrine Storey’s base salary increased from $388,227 to 451,817 $, an increase of 16.4%.

Collins received the maximum possible compensation of $635,095 in total, while Sharland received $503,019 and Storey got $528,127 out of a possible $537,388 each.

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The figures were released in the same month that BC Ferries dealt with a number of mechanical issues and crew shortages that led to some sailings being canceled and delayed on several routes.

They also come months after a report commissioned by the BC Ferry Authority compared the pay of top BC Ferries executives with a number of public sector organizations.

“The new officers will receive compensation consistent with the recommendations of this review,” Joy MacPhail, chair of BC Ferries’ board of directors, wrote in a statement released Tuesday.

“For example, the new CEO will earn a maximum total of $499,000, according to the report commissioned by the BC Ferry Authority.”

The authority approved a new executive compensation plan for September 2019, but adjustments to comply with it have been delayed by the pandemic, she said. In 2022, executives received their pay as outlined in the 2019 plan, with ferry traffic returning to pre-pandemic levels and the business performing “on solid footing”, MacPhail said.

BC Liberal Opposition Leader Kevin Falcon criticized the 2021-22 pay increase as sending “the wrong message to the public”.

“The key is to make sure you tie pay to results,” he told Global News. “The problem we are having right now is that we are seeing very poor results, and missed crossings and ferries breaking down and all the challenges that the public has seen over the past few months, and yet, at the same time, they themselves give exorbitant raises.

Falcon has criticized the NDP government over the two because it subsidizes part of BC Ferries’ operating costs and MacPhail is a former NDP MP and cabinet minister.

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Jim Abram, Strathcona Regional District Manager representing Discovery Islands-Mainland Inlets, said the focus on executive salaries was misplaced.

After 35 years of managing the “ferry file” as an elected official, he insisted that cutting salaries at the top would not solve the fundamental problems plaguing BC Ferries. He cited as an example an aging fleet, ship shortages and the need for more skilled sailors.

“If you’ve saved $500,000 in executive salaries, what’s that going to do to replace a multi-million dollar ship?” Nothing – it’s not even going to pay for the toilet. he said.

“Come on, let’s look at the real issues.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.