• By: Dan Donovan

Bank of Canada and CMHC Bonuses Total $145 Million for Just 3 Years

The CMHC joins the Bank of Canada by awarding bonus pay for underperformance.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is Canada’s federal crown corporation responsible for administering the National Housing Act, with the mandate to improve housing living conditions in the country. The CMHC is “driven by one goal: housing affordability for all,” according to its website.

Polling from Ipsos and Global News shows 63 per cent of Canadians who don’t own a home have “given up” on ever owning one. Seventy per cent of respondents said home ownership in Canada is “only for the rich.”

Last fall, the Royal Bank of Canada reported that “buying a home (in Canada) has never been so unaffordable.”

The average home price increased by 2.4 percent in 2022, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. This followed a 21 percent increase in 2021 and a 13 percent increase in 2020.

Despite these dire conditions that have seen Canadians living on the street and have left Canada with the worst housing crisis in modern history, the CMHC saw fit to hand out over $27 million in bonuses last year. This despite Canada being submerged in the worst housing affordability crisis in its history.

Reports from documents uncovered by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) show the average compensation paid to CMHC executives is now $697,667.

“If the CMHC’s number one goal is housing affordability, then it doesn’t make sense to shower employees with bonuses and balloon its C-suite compensation while Canadians can’t afford to buy a home,” Franco Terrazzano, CTF’s Federal Director, said. “This is another example of the government rewarding failure with taxpayer-funded bonuses.”

In total, the CMHC handed out $75 million in bonuses since the beginning of 2020 as the country battled a housing affordability crisis and first-time home buyers struggled to break into the marketplace.  The average bonus paid to CMHC employees in 2022 was $11,700. CTF Internal CMHC records obtained by the CTF reveal more than 90 per cent of the federal Crown corporation’s staff have taken home an annual bonus in recent years.

The average compensation for the CMHC’s nine executive committee members in 2022 was $697,667, according to its 2022 annual report – a $23,556 increase over 2021.

The total annual compensation paid to the CMHC’s executives increased to $721,000 in the last five years, according to data provided in its annual reports.

There are now 931 CMHC staffers that receive more than $100,000 in annual salary, according to documents obtained by the CTF through a separate access-to-information request. In the past five years, the number of CMHC staffers taking six-figure annual salaries has grown by 199 employees or 27 percent.

“In the real world, when you fail at your job, you might get the boot, not a big bonus,” Terrazzano said. “Canadians need more homes, not more highly paid government executives and bureaucrats taking big bonuses.”

Reports of the excessive bonuses at the CMHC come on the heels of similar reports last week that Bank of Canada (BOC) Governor Tiff Macklem and the Board of the Bank of Canada doled out $20 million in bonuses last year to BOC staff and executives, bringing the total in bonuses to the Bank of Canada staff to almost $72 million since 2020.

The BOC and CMHC executives have rewarded themselves and their staff with over $145 million in bonuses in the past three years.

In Budget 2023, the federal government said it plans to work with Crown corporations to “ensure they achieve comparable spending reductions, which would account for an estimated $1.3 billion over four years starting in 2024-25 and $450 million ongoing.”