Top pay revelations fail to shake Canadian students

April 26, 1996

Ontario is the most recent province to make public its highest university salaries.

Public institutions were given until March 31 to disclose the salaries and taxable benefits of employees earning more than Can$100,000 (Pounds 50,000).

Premier Mike Harris said the revelation would have the effect of being a "leveller" on excessive salaries.

Some of the country's highest academic salaries, like that of University of Toronto fund-raiser John Dellandrea, who last year earned just over Can$250,000, or of McGill principal Bernard Shapiro, cause resentment among many suffering under fiscal belt-tightening.

But the Canadian Federation of Students says outrage against the top-earning faculty and administration does not help solve education's economic woes.

"It is easy to scapegoat the staff," said Karin Jordan, communications coordinator for the union lobby and advocacy group, which represents 400,000 undergraduate and graduate students across Canada.

Referring to the odd call she had heard for top salaries to be rolled back, she added that "it is the declining funding that makes salaries an issue".

Ms Jordan cited the tendency for many in the university community to condemn these salaries. It was an easy trap to fall into.

"It is all part of this race to the bottom. People seem to think 'If I can't have anything, no one else should'," she said.

"We are moving more toward an American education system but it is not professors' salaries that are pushing us toward that," added Ms Jordan.

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