BC Ferries unveiled long-awaited reforms to its executive bonus system Wednesday

BC Ferries bosses swap bonuses for higher pay

New system of salary holdbacks for executives called 'bait and switch'

It won’t be called a bonus any longer, but BC Ferries executives will take home almost as much money as they do now after a switch to a salary holdback plan.

After months of promises by Transportation Minister Todd Stone to fix the controversial bonuses, the corporation announced Wednesday they’ve been eliminated retroactive to April 1, 2013.

In their place is a new salary holdback system that raises the base salary of executives by the four-year average of their recent bonuses.

Part of the new higher base salary will be held back, starting next April, and be paid out only if performance targets are met.

BC Ferries’ board chair Donald Hayes said the plan is in line with the province’s guidelines for executive compensation at Crown corporations.

But critics aren’t impressed.

“It’s bait and switch,” NDP leader Adrian Dix said. “This is a bonus scheme by another name. I don’t know why the premier thinks people will be fooled by this.”

BC Ferries executive vice-president and chief financial officer Robert Clarke received a $133,000 bonus this year on top of his base salary of $297,300, for total pay before pension contributions of $431,000.

Under the new system, his maximum salary will rise to $403,000, assuming he meets targets and isn’t subject to any holdback.0

CEO Michael Corrigan’s base salary rises from $364,000 to $425,125 and he is forecast to get the identical overall compensation of $563,000 in 2014 after pension contributions and other benefits are added.

Corrigan’s pay is capped at that level, which is 60 per cent below former CEO David Hahn, who had been dubbed the “million dollar man” for the bonuses that took his overall compensation into seven figures.

The corporation said a holdback plan for other managers wasn’t feasible so their base salaries will be raised by the four-year average of bonuses, which will no longer be paid.

Hayes also announced a two-year pay freeze for all executives and managers until 2016.

“A two-year pay freeze is meaningless when you’re overpaying so dramatically,” said Canadian Taxpayers Federation B.C. director Jordan Bateman, who pointed to the much lower salary of $165,943 paid to the CEO of Washington State’s ferry system.

“I’d call this baby steps but that might be insulting to babies.”

He said nothing has been done to address the real problem with bonuses or holdbacks – that they’re meaningless if the targets are too easy to achieve.

The most recent bonuses were paid out for 2012 performance when the corporation recorded a surplus, but critics maintain that shouldn’t have counted because the government injected $21.5 million in extra subsidies.

Bateman said no executive should get a bonus or a holdback repaid in years where BC Ferries raises fares or takes more money in provincial subsidies.

“That should be a deal breaker on bonuses and holdbacks.”

Just Posted

Retired Nanoose Bay teacher ‘Set for Life’ after $675K lottery win

Shannon plans to buy new sails for his sailboat

Country music star Aaron Pritchett back in Qualicum Beach to play benefit concert

Singer to headline Thalassa restaurant fundraiser for Ronald McDonald house

Qualicum school district sees utility costs go down

Capital funding opportunities promote clean energy and drive efficiencies

Order in the chambers: Qualicum Beach votes for council code of conduct

Coun. Robert Filmer’s motion passes unanimously at town meeting

Rainbow crosswalk in Qualicum Beach covered in mysterious black substance

‘It was disappointing to see this act of disrespect take place inside our community’

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Most Read