Losses mount, ridership drops. But the pay increases keep on coming

  • Jul. 13, 2012 5:00 a.m.

In a year when BC Ferries passenger traffic fell to a 21-year low and the corporation lost $16.5-million, top executives continued to take home hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries and bonuses. According to BC Ferries’ statement of executive compensation, released in late June, former president and chief executive David Hahn received total compensation of $1,137,007 for the year ended March 31, 2012. Mr. Hahn retired on Dec. 31, so the compensation was for working only three-quarters of the year. Mr. Hahn’s salary was lower for the most recent year, at $383,221, compared to the $500,000 he received in each of the previous two years. But he received an additional $474,365 in annual and long-term incentive plans, plus $279,421 in pension value. The statement of executive compensation notes that the company did not meet its targeted financial performance for the year ended March 31, 2012, so the annual incentive payments to executives were not as high as they might have been. Michael Corrigan, who took over as president and chief executive on Jan. 1 and served as executive vice-president and chief operating officer before that, took home total compensation of $915,615 for the year ended March 31, 2012, compared to $540,615 the previous year. Glen Schwartz, executive vice president of human resources and corporate development, also received a big raise. His total compensation was $755,618, compared to $501,965 the year before. Robert P. Clarke, the executive vice-president and chief financial officer received $743,653 in the most recent year, up from $538,844 the previous year. News of the increasing salaries and bonuses prompted one volunteer member of the ferry advisory committee from Denman Island to quit, saying it doesn’t seem fair at a time when BC Ferries is losing money and passengers. But Sandspit’s Evan Putterill, chair of the North Coast ferry advisory committee, said while the big bonuses are upsetting, there are much bigger problems to focus on when it comes to BC Ferries. BC Ferries has been ordered to find $30 million in savings through ferry service levels, he said, and these looming cuts will have a huge effect here. “Basically, it’s another piece of the puzzle in gutting service levels to coastal communities,” he said. The corporation is hiring a consultant this month who will be travelling to ferry-dependent communities in the late summer and fall to discuss service levels and cuts. Mr. Putterill said it’s a smart move for the Liberal government, because it looks good to non-ferry using voters, while the coastal communities won’t feel the effect of the cuts until after next year’s provincial election. Mr. Putterill said he believes that the provincial government should not be considering service cuts until fares are restored to a more reasonable level.