Sunshine List Loophole Allows Some Individuals To Avoid Disclosure


Toronto’s public servants are battening down the hatches in preparation for the storm over the annual Public Sector Disclosure list, also known as the Sunshine List, by making their disclosures as cloudy as possible. The list provides taxpayers with basic facts: name, amount earned, and in many cases, a vague job title. Toronto Taxpayers Coalition is urging the province to close a loophole that doesn’t total earnings of people collecting multiple taxpayer-funded salaries.

The group notes that many of the job titles include “Captain Communications,” “Enterprise Technical Support Specialist,” “Field Training Officer Level 2″, “Manager Development Engineering Engineering Construction Services”, and “Administrator.”

“I’m seeking to understand the differences between an ‘Inspector’ and an ‘Inspector Generalist’” said Toronto Taxpayers Coalition Outreach Coordinator Andrea Micieli. “Knowing these employees were paid salaries over $100,000 gives me reason to question administration costs and positions.”

The list indicates there are 15 “Library Service Managers” employed by the city of Toronto who are making over $100,000 a year, but only 6 land surveyors.

“Although the creation of the Sunshine List was to increase transparency in government, it needs to go further,” noted coalition Research Director and Outreach Coordinator Josh Lieblein. “For example, without metrics defining taxpayers’ needs, there’s no way to know which need is being met, or if it is being met at all, for the amount of money city staff are being paid.”

The coalition calls on public-sector employees to define their roles with more clarity for taxpayers in order to justify high salaries, and for governments to mandate more extensive disclosure, such as a distinction between personal and business expenses for each employee, or a specific breakdown of an employee’s duties.

“Torontonians are looking at yet another annual increase and bloat in government salaries at a time we’re seeing a higher unemployment rate,” pointed out coalition President Matthew McGuire. “What taxpayers really want is a clear horizon when it comes to knowing how their tax dollars are spent.”

Finally, the coalition is asking the province to close the Sunshine List Loophole that allows, for example, an individual who is a part time town councillor in one municipality and works a full time job also subsidized by taxpayers to avoid having their true earnings reflected on the Sunshine List. “In fact, this individual may even avoid any disclosure at all, even if their total earnings are greater than $100,000 annually,” McGuire added.