Seneca Executive Compensation Feedback

| 24/01/2017

As you may know, the Province has introduced a new framework for determining executive pay at Ontario’s Colleges. In response, the Seneca College Board of Governors has developed compensation guidelines for Seneca Senior adminstrators, located at: http://www.senecacollege.ca/about/consultation-program/index.html.

This proposal would give the Seneca College President a maximum salary of $494,000, and Vice-Presidents a maximum salary of $328,000. Those figures would represent a salary increase of over 19% for the President’s current salary, and an increase of over 25% from the Vice-President Academic’s 2015 salary.

By way of comparison, faculty salaries have increased on average less than 0.75% since 2011.

The Board of Governors has asked you to provide feedback (at the above webpage) on their proposed Executive Compensation guidelines, by 4:00 P.M., on Sunday, January 29. Your elected Local 560 officers urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to communicate your opinion about the most appropriate way to measure and compensate the performance of Senior administrators at Seneca College.

To summarize the Board of Governors’ guidelines (further summaries can be found in the newspaper articles linked below), they propose to base the salaries of Seneca’s President and Vice-Presidents on the median salaries of proposed comparator groups throughout the broader public sector. However, in the proposed Executive Compensation guidelines, the vast majority of comparators appear to earn significantly more than the Seneca senior managers currently earn. For example, the President of Humber College (who earned $36,000 more than Seneca’s President in 2015) is listed as a comparator, while the President of George Brown College (who earned $38,000 less than Seneca’s President) is not.

Other comparators include the senior administrators for such institutions as major hospitals (e.g., the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, with a 2016 President’s Salary of $738,565), the LCBO (2016 President’s salary: $459,178) , and MaRS (2015 CEO Salary: $507,269). A complete list of the proposed comparators can be found on the Executive Compensation Program document, linked to the page above.

According to the proposed guidelines, 20% of the President’s salary, and 15% of the Vice-Presidents’ salary would be “at risk based on annual performance”. The guidelines, however, fail to identify any standards by which these executives’ performance might be measured. We encourage you to communicate to the Board of Governors what you consider to be appropriate metrics to measure the performance of Senior Executives. By way of example, Darryl Bedford of OPSEU Local 110 at Fanshawe College has proposed the following list:

  • Percentage of funding that is spent on student learning
  • Improvement in the student to teacher ratio
  • Improvement in the Non-FT to Full-Time faculty ratio
  • Verified implementation of collegial governance processes and comprehensive academic freedom

Should you want to offer your feedback on Seneca’s Executive Compensation Program, in addition to the articles linked below, you might wish to consider any of the following points:

  • Since 2014, hundreds of contracts for teaching faculty that would previously have been Partial-Load were made Part-Time, depriving those faculty members of work hours and extended health benefits. At the time, Seneca’s President wrote a letter to faculty justifying that decision, citing among other reasons “eroding government support”, “the issue of resources”, and “fiscal restraint at Queen’s Park”.
  • According to Provincial KPI measurements, since 2012, Seneca’s student satisfaction rate has dropped by 3.9%, our graduates are now the least satisfied of any GTA College’s, and the satisfaction rate of their employers has similarly dropped by 2.6%.
  • Following recent cuts to classroom hours, research conducted by Local 560 concluded that Seneca College programs consistently offer fewer classroom hours than the minimums published in the Ministry’s Ontario Qualifications Framework.

The Board of Governors notes that “it is important that an executive compensation program is appropriate, accountable and effective”. We agree, and encourage you to share your thoughts at the above webpage, on the issue of how to determine appropriate compensation, and how to ensure the accountability and measure the performance of Seneca’s Senior Executives.

We further further invite you to e-mail a copy of your comments from a non-Seneca e-mail address to union@opseu560.org. We welcome the opportunity to publish some of your comments anonymously, to foster a genuine conversation among the 1,100 members of Local 560, about the value that Seneca College places upon its different employees.

Yours in Solidarity,

Jonathan Singer
President, Local 560

Article Links:

Simona Chiose, “Ontario Colleges Could Increase Executive Pay by More than 50%” (Globe and Mail, Jan 17)

Kristin Rushowy, “College Presidents Could Get Massive Pay Hikes to Match Other Public Sectors” (Toronto Star, Jan. 18)

Mark Regg Cohn, “College Presidents Make a Play to Overpay Themselves” (Toronto Star, Jan. 20)

Category: Colleges, David Agnew

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