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Cannon tops U of C sunshine list for 2018

By Gayathri Peringod, July 23 2019 —

Former president Elizabeth Cannon was last year’s highest-paid employee at the University of Calgary, making her the institution’s top earner for the past three years, according to a newly-released public sector salary disclosure.

Cannon earned $647,516 and change in 2018 in her final year as university president, having earned close to $600,000 in 2017 and 2016. Ed McCauley, the newly-installed president, was U of C’s third-highest earner for the past three years, bringing in  $419,057 in 2018. 

The university’s top earners are mandated to publicly release their salaries due to the 2015 Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act. Nicknamed the ‘Sunshine List’, the act mandates that Albertan public sector employees earning over an annual threshold must disclose their earnings in a public database available on the provincial government’s website.

Cannon placed fifth overall in the Albertan public sector in 2018, behind the University of Alberta and Mount Royal University’s presidents.

While the Sunshine List does not mandate U of C’s executives to disclose their non-cash benefits, they are disclosed in the year’s consolidated financial statements. Other frequent top five earners are Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president academic, professor Samuel Weiss in the Faculty of Medicine, and professor Steven Bryant in the Faculty of Engineering. These three earners, along with Cannon and McCauley, consistently made up the top five earners in the past three years at the university.

The high figures may be coming to an end in 2019, as salaries and bonuses for Albertan universities’ presidents were slashed in a compensation plan released in April 2018 by the former provincial NDP government.

Within the year, many of the highest-paid public sector earners of 2018 left their positions, a move that CBC speculated was prompted by the release of the lowered compensation plan. Cannon followed suit, resigning from her position as president at the end of 2018 with no official reason provided for her exit.

The new compensation plan will see the U of C president’s salary fall within the range of $349,800–$447,000. This salary range is in effect for McCauley’s salary earnings.

The university’s Sunshine List can be viewed online here.

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