broader public sector executive compensation

Submission by Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE)

October 2018

The directors and supervisory officers in Ontario’s 72 publicly funded district school boards are committed to working with their employer boards and the Ontario government to achieve the ambitious goals set by the government and subsequently incorporated into each board’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan. We recognize that the government’s current fiscal priorities will drive many decisions in the public sector at this time and we are prepared to help. Directors and supervisory officers are skilled and dedicated leaders who are comfortable working in complex environments to deliver on high levels of student achievement and well-being and to prepare students to be responsible, prosperous and contributing citizens while meeting our fiscal responsibilities to find efficiencies.

We wish to emphasize that the K-12 sector was the only large public sector to develop and implement an approved executive compensation framework within timelines set by the government that reflected key pillars such as complexity, accountability, transparency, and fairness. CODE believes that by continuing to work together with employer boards and the government, our sector can once again lead the public sector to develop an executive compensation program that meets the fiscal priorities of the government, appropriately values the leadership and quality of our education leaders, and is fair and proportionate, while maintaining Ontario’s status as one of the best educational jurisdictions in the world.

We recognize that a driving principle in the government’s review of executive compensation is the consideration of a performance-based compensation program. CODE is concerned given that there is little precedent to be found that confirms the positive impact of performance-based compensation for district leaders on student achievement and well-being or leadership quality. We are nonetheless open to exploring the concept collaboratively with the Trustees’ Associations and the government with the understanding that any potential program is properly grounded in the realities of leading in the K-12 sector.

We propose that to start an exploratory conversation about performance-based compensation, the following considerations need to be included:

1. That directors, supervisory officers, Trustees’ Associations, the Ministry of Education and the Treasury Board Secretariat form a Working Group to explore the collaborative establishment of a fully-funded, transparent and accountable performance-based approach to executive compensation, with a possible implementation date of September 1, 2019.

2. That the current and approved executive compensation framework for the K-12 sector be maintained and serve as the base upon which a performance-based compensation program is added.

3. That any established executive compensation program be a “hybrid” model that would include a base percentage annual increase in salary for all executives in recognition of their individual and collective impact on student achievement and well-being and the board’s fiscal responsibility, and a percentage increase which is dependent on performance relative to agreed-upon goals/measures of student achievement and well-being and fiscal responsibility.

4. That there be a research review to explore findings with respect to successful performance-based compensation programs for leaders in the K-12 sector or other public sectors in Ontario or Canada, including the OPS, to help guide and inform the discussions at the Working Group table.

5. That the Working Group review issues of inequity related to executive compensation and make recommendations to address these issues.

6. That there be no reduction in current executive salaries and that during the exploration and/or revision of the executive compensation program, executives receive the same percentage compensation increases as all other employee groups in the K-12 sector.