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Sunny day for wages

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Any day now, the province will be releasing its public sector salary disclosure for 2014 – or as it’s more commonly known, the Sunshine List. The list gets that moniker because of how it shines a light on the high wages paid out to government workers.

And there is definitely a lot of money going around.

On last year’s list – which details salaries and bonuses paid out in 2013 – the City of Oshawa saw 117 people receive a salary of $100,000 or more. The Regional Municipality of Durham saw a whopping 805 people reach that mark.

That list doesn’t include regional councillors who may otherwise hit that plateau, as they receive paycheques from both the city and the region, both of which are under $100,000.

The list also includes those on school boards, with Durham District School Board netting 357 names and its Catholic counterpart with 118.

On the post-secondary side of things, Durham College’s portion of the list has 168 names, while the University of Ontario Institute of Technology has 149.

And over at Lakeridge Health, that number is 163.

That rustling sound you hear is people collectively shaking their heads, thinking, “I got into the wrong business.”

And the amount of names finding its way on to this list is growing at an alarming rate. Ten years prior, the City of Oshawa’s list was smaller. Much smaller. It had 16 names on it. That means in a decade, the city’s list has gone up by 631.25 per cent. Over at the regional level, the list has gone up by more than 800 per cent.

If you go back to the list released in 1997, the list gets even smaller, with three people for the city and 11 for the region.

To say that wages are starting to get out of control would be an understatement.

Meanwhile, in the private sector, salaries have certainly not grown at such an exponential rate.

For 2013, the average weekly salary for a worker in Ontario was $920.12, according to Statistics Canada. This rounds out to a little over $47,000 per year. In 2009, it rounded out to a little over $44,000. While these wages are not something to sneeze at, they hardly compare to the rapid growth of six-figure salaries in government work.

And keep in mind who it is that’s paying these six-figure salaries – all of us with our tax dollars. Hardly seems fair, does it?