Sunshine list: number of people making over $100,000 increased by 16%. - from 393 names to 457

By James Portside

March 28th, 2024



The province of Ontario released the 2023 Sunshine list; the document that sets all those who earned more than $100,000 in the year 2023.

In 2023 Burlington’s operating budget was $314.3 million dollars and the capital budget was $72.6 million dollars.  Salaries come out of the Operating budget

The number of people working for the city and making over $100,000 per year increased by 16%. The 2022 list contained 393 names, the 2023 list contains 457 names.

Of the roughly 850 full time employees 458 people now earn over $100,000 per year. I’m wondering what the politically correct version of “too many chiefs and not enough Indians” is.

The 2023 list includes nine people with the job title “Transit Operator”, four people with the job title “Mechanic” and one person with the title “Officer, Animal Control”.

Of the people we elect to manage our tax dollars the one person with the job title “Mayor” earned $202,712.10 after a 5.79% raise and the six people with the job title “Councillor” each had an average income of $119,802.70 after a 6.28% increase.

A total of 84 people, outside of the fire department, received raises of more than 10%. Only 16 of these people had changes in their job titles.

Our city manager, who has resigned, received a 9.67% increase.

In first place is Emilie Cote as our “Director, Recreation, Community and Culture”. Emilie received a 37.34% salary increase in 2023.

In second place is Kevin Schustyk. Kevin is our “Senior Traffic Signal Technician” and received a 31.77% increase. Someone should tell Kevin that the traffic lights have yet to be  synchronized.

Rounding out the trifecta is Brynn Nheiley with a 28.58% increase bringing Brynn’s salary to $215,826.  (More than the Mayor) As reported in the Burlington Gazette, Brynn recently left the city and, assuming there is a severance package, the package will be based on the $215,826 salary. Brynn left the City of Hamilton and started working for Burlington in March of 2019. Brynn first appears on the sunshine list in 2020 meaning her salary moved from less than $100,000 in 2019 to $215,826 in 2023.

Meanwhile the number of taxpayers unable to pay their property taxes increase to 2.9% in 2023. The highest level in the past six years.

Obviously, all is well at city hall. After pushing through a 15.5% increase to property tax revenue in 2023, with almost no population growth staff have been richly rewarded.  Our mayor likes to call the 15.5% increase a 7.5% impact on our total tax bill but the reality is the city receives 15.5% more revenue from taxpayers in 2023 and, based on the sunshine list, they know how to spend the money.

Jim has lived in Burlington for much of his life and has watched the city change and grow over the years. With over 1,000 people working for the city there is a lot going on. As a now retired, successful business owner, Jim is interested in exploring and sharing some of what our local government is working on. You can reach Jim by emailing







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5 comments to Sunshine list: number of people making over $100,000 increased by 16%. – from 393 names to 457

  • Valerie Williams

    I wonder if this reporter has investigated and WHY some of these employees had such large raises. Did you compare the number of hours they worked year to year? How many people were in the dept last year vs. the past? Or what changed to require or earn these increases? I’m also wondering if the reporter took a close look at the job descriptions. For example, Senior Traffic Signal Technicians are responsible for the electrical circuits/maintenance of the traffic signal hardware, yet this article implies that they should be working on the timing of the lights (not their responsibility). Perhaps some more investigation is required before slandering these employees.

  • Stephen White

    The salary numbers only tell part of the story. What I would be interested in knowing is the following:

    1) what proportion of the salaries for police, fire and unionized personnel was the result of overtime? Overtime is often a controllable cost. Why did this occur?
    2) what proportion of those increases that accrued to staff was due to “classification creep” or salary adjustments arising from salary compression?
    3) what proportion of new hires in the past year were hired at or near the midpoint in the salary range?

    The City has perpetuated this narrative for several years that their staff are paid under market. They’ve told us they keep losing personnel to other municipalities because their compensation levels aren’t competitive. Personally, I’m dubious.

    Maybe in the next budget we should tell the City to cap homeowner tax increases at 2%, and perhaps that directive should apply for municipal employee salaries too.

  • Joe Gaetan

    Look no further than the federal government who set the example starting in 2015. Without benefit of increasing the standard of living for all Canadians. On April Fools Day 1 the feds will give themselves a raise while hitting us with a 23% Carbon Tax increase.
    Not to say that these hires do not have merit, but the real damage is such hires are competing and wining the hiring game against the private sector while inhibiting the national economy in the process. Canada’s GDP is ranked 18th and compared to the U.S.A is now 72%. Ireland is ranked #1.

  • Sharon Dickerson

    How the devil do raises of this magnitude even happen. How can people live with themselves! How is it justified when you have no change in your job description. Im retired but worked in Social Services for 30 years. We were always given 1 or 2 % . Teachers have to fight all the time and never get these amounts. ????

  • Ted Gamble

    Canada needs to urgently down size government at all levels including reducing programs. At least 25% to begin.

    When I read recently in the Gazette that the City is earmarking hundreds of millions of dollars for cycling (I cycle 15 km most days) it makes my stomach turn and then they have the audacity to fake news label it as “mobility”

    The revolution is near!

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