CTV News Vancouver
Published Monday, October 28, 2019 6:51PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, October 28, 2019 7:18PM PDT
VANCOUVER – The provincial government has blamed personal injury lawyers for much of the “financial dumpster fire” at ICBC, but new documents show staff salary increases aren’t exactly helping.
The remuneration documents show that 93 workers at the public insurer made more than $150,000 in the company’s 2018-19 fiscal year, which ended on March 31.
That’s nearly twice as many as the 47 workers who were making more than $150,000 in the 2016-17 fiscal year, when the BC Liberals were still in power.
In 2017-18, the first year the NDP was in government, that number jumped to a whopping 148 employees. Questions about what prompted the hike were not returned on Monday.
“British Columbians should have steam coming out of their ears right about now,” said BC Liberal MLA Jas Johal. “There’s absolutely no way, no way you can justify that kind of increase.”
Even though the number has since decreased to 93, the documents show ICBC’s spending on salaries has still increased. The public insurer paid $407,869,644 in 2017-18, and $422,691,574 in 2018-19.
The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation recently released a cheeky video showing a literal fire in a dumpster, arguing the high salaries at ICBC are just adding more fuel to the flames.
“I would argue… that most B.C. drivers wouldn’t describe ICBC as a bang-up organization,” Kris Sims told CTV News.
Asked about the increase in employees making more than $150,000 on Monday, ICBC directed questions to Attorney General David Eby. His office said it was preparing a response, but did not provide one by Monday evening.
Financial statements show ICBC lost $1.1 billion in the last fiscal year, which amounts to about $2.8 million in losses every single day.
In light of the salary documents, Johal said the government’s claims that it’s doing all it can to keep premiums reined in amid the company’s financial woes should be met with skepticism.
“How can Mr. Eby say he’s doing everything to keep rates low, yet we have a huge increase in people making $100-plus, $200-plus and yes, even $300,000-plus?” Johal said.
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s St. John Alexander