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Sunshine list shows signs of restraint among public-sector legal earners

|Written By Glenn Kauth

Who earned the most among lawyers working in Ontario’s public sector? Once again, you can find out from the sunshine list detailing the names, salaries, and positions of thousands of public sector employees who earn more than $100,000 per year.

The most recent list released earlier this month covers salaries for 2012.

The latest list follows a year of political turmoil inOntario during which the government made major efforts to rein in public sector salaries. Did it succeed on the legal front?

According to the list, Ontario Court Chief Justice Annemarie Bonkalo’s salary for 2012 was $297,474.74, up from $289,657.94 the year before. As for provincial court judges, the majority of them earned $264,832.58 compared to $258,236.69 in 2011. Case management masters typically took home $194,684.67 (up from $189,811.18 in 2011), while many justices of the peace earned $120,738.50 (up from $118,867.64).

As for other legal professionals in the public sector, there were a few increases and decreases but also lots of examples of salaries staying the same. One of the top earners, Ontario Power Generation’s David Brennan, saw his salary decline to almost $447,000 in 2012 from nearly $549,000 the yearbefore. But his Hydro One counterpart Joseph Agostino earned slightly more in 2012 at almost $297,000, a roughly $4,000 increase. Others, such as Metrolinx general counsel and corporate secretary Mary Martin, got more significant boosts. Her salary at the organization currently looking at the future of transit taxes and fees in Ontario increased to about $275,000 from $251,000 the year before. At another organization in the hot seat right now, the OntarioLottery & Gaming Corp., senior vice president Walter Fioravanti got a significant boost to almost $330,000 from $278,00 in 2011.

At the Ministry of the Attorney General, there were signs of restraint. While some people earned slightly more, many others saw their salaries frozen. Assistant deputy attorney general Malliha Wilson’s salary was $212,676 in both 2012 and 2011. The same applies to many of the top-earningassistant Crown attorneys, such as James Cavanagh, who made $210,282 both years. Some even saw tiny decreases. Crown attorney Natalino Bernardon, forexample, earned $203,560.89 in 2012 after taking home $203,561.25 in 2011.

On this chart, Law Times lists, in descending order by salary, the top earnersfrom the Ministry of the Attorney General plus other legal professionals working as counsel, general counsel, and solicitors among various municipal and provincial bodies. The list also covers the broader public sector, including universities and hospitals. 

The rest of the Finance Ministry’s salary disclosure list is available online at

To compare with last year's Law Times list, see "Who are the top public-sector legal earners?"

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