The Sunshine List

March 26, 2023 at 4:57 pm (Uncategorized)

Sounds innocuous, doesn’t it? The recently published Sunshine list is actually an annual list published by the Ontario government containing the names and salaries of everyone employed by the Ontario government who earns over $100,000. As such, the list includes people like nurses and teachers as well as official government services.

The list was first published in 1996 by Mike Harris’ Progressive Conservative government. In the course of the so-called “Common Sense Revolution,” Harris sought to trim the fat from Ontario’s public sector and to let the public know how bloated the civil service had become.

As with many Conservative actions, it was accomplished with sleight of hand. Many members of the civil services were laid off, but in many cases immediately rehired as contract employees; thus, the government could proclaim it had shrunk the civil service as the payment for these newly contracted employees came from a different funding pool (a friend of mine was let go on a Friday, only to be immediately re-hired and came to work on Monday at his old desk.)

While this sort of public shaming is the stock response of conservatives standing up for the “little guy” it should be noted that the figure of $100, 000 from 1996 has been adjusted for inflation (the Liberal governments which ran Ontario from 2003 to 2018 also refused to adjust for inflation)


  • $60, 000 (1996) = $100, 000 (2023)
  • $100.000 (1996) = $160,000 (2023)

Without adjusting for inflation, eventually everyone who works for the Ontario government will be making $100, 000 and on the list.

It hardly seems a coincidence that the Sunshine list is published just as the Ontario government tabled its latest budget – a budget that despite its boast to have invested a record amount in education has actually trimmed that amount. The seeming increase includes money for daycare which it got…from the Federal government.

More sleight of hand.

Why it is so many fiscal conservatives can’t do math?


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