Yesterday, the BC Official Opposition released a report on executive compensation at certain post-secondary institutions including Vancouver Island University. Unfortunately, some of the information contained in this report is inaccurate and misleading.
We feel it is necessary to set the record straight, and to highlight VIU’s outstanding record in accountability and transparency with respect to reporting on executive compensation.
VIU takes great effort to ensure that we perform our government-mandated responsibilities with the utmost care and attention. Each year, we meet and often exceed disclosure requirements on executive compensation as required by the provincial government. Our annual executive compensation reports may be found at the following link and give a breakdown of salary and benefits: www2.viu.ca/financialplanning/executivecompensation.asp<http://www2.viu.ca/financialplanning/executivecompensation.asp>
Yesterday’s Opposition report contains a number of inaccuracies, as well as a misunderstanding of what the executive salary caps entail. University presidents have a total compensation cap which includes base salary and benefits. Vice-Presidents and other executives are covered by compensation plans which include a base salary approved by the Minister of Finance in accordance with the Public Sector Employers Act.
The figures used in the Opposition Report include both salary and benefits (the largest of which are the health benefits and pension contributions), but often reference a cap that does not include benefits.
A number of other points of clarification:
* Our current president’s total compensation is above the cap as it was negotiated in 2006, before the compensation cap was announced in 2007. The President’s base salary has not increased since his date of hire.
* Labour market adjustments of $10,000 annually for the two VPs were approved by the provincial government in 2009 as it was determined that VIU’s compensation was not competitive with other BC and Canadian post-secondary institutions.
* The compensation for the outgoing University Secretary included an early retirement incentive that may be given to long-standing VIU employees. This employee had been part of the institution for more than 25 years.
* The report indicates that there are salary caps for the University Secretary and the Executive Director, University Relations, which is inaccurate. In fact, there are approved compensation plans and the maximum base salary in VIU’s approved compensation plan for these positions is $133,954 (excluding benefits).
We hope this helps to correct some of the inaccuracies and misinformation included in the Opposition report. We must reiterate that VIU prides itself on our transparent approach and consistently strives to comply as thoroughly as possible with the spirit and intent of the compensation approval and disclosure process.
We at VIU work hard to support our Board of Governors to achieve best practices in governance. This requires a dedication to accuracy, accountability and transparency. We are truly disappointed that those same standards were not used in the report released by the Official Opposition.
Manager, Communications & Public Engagement Vancouver Island University Nanaimo, BC