CEO of Health P.E.I. makes more money than the premier

The salary listing for Keith Dewar is listed as $199,600. This is higher than Premier Robert Ghiz’s $136,438 annual salary.

Teresa Wright
Published on May 2, 2012
Health Minister Doug Curries speaks at a news conference Wednesday. Currie has outlined changes to the provincial health care system. At right is Keith Dewar, CEO of Health P.E.I.
Guardian photo by Brian Mcinnis

The chief executive officer of Health P.E.I. makes more money than the premier of the province.

Keith Dewar is just one of hundreds of provincial employees whose salaries were made public in the legislature Wednesday when Health Minister Doug Currie tabled a list of every salary at Health P.E.I. except those of the agency’s board members.

Currie released these figures as part of the examination of Health P.E.I.’s budget estimates for the year.

But no one asked for them specifically – not even the Opposition. Currie appeared surprised when reporters questioned him on why he chose to table the figures.

He said he was just trying to be up front with Islanders about how their tax dollars are being spent.

“These are paid employees of the province of Prince Edward Island and I see no reason why there would be an issue with tabling any salary that comes from the public purse,” he said.

The list does not name employees, doctors, nurses or other staff but does include position titles and breaks them down by department and even by health centre. Certain key figures, however, are easily identifiable.

The salary listing for Health P.E.I. CEO (Dewar) is listed as $199,600. This is higher than Premier Robert Ghiz’s $136,438 annual salary.

But that’s nothing compared to the executive director for medical affairs, Dr. Richard Wedge, who makes a whopping $275,500 a year.

Base salaries for P.E.I. doctors are also notable. Most family physicians make between $141,300 and $152,500. Specialists such as pediatricians, OBGYNs and anaesthetists make $195,900 to $226,500. And pathologists, the highest paid physicians, make $291,900 a year. These are the doctors’ basic salary ranges however, and do not include other forms of remuneration negotiated under the Master Agreement.

Also notable is the difference in pay between registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs), who are now working more collaboratively since the province’s new model of care was introduced.

An RN in the emergency department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, for example, makes between $56,500 and $68,900 while LPNs in that same location and department make $41,800 to $45,500.

Currie dismissed any notion he was trying to point out how much money health professionals earn every year by tabling these salaries.

“I’m tabling them because that is a demonstration of transparency, that is a demonstration of accountability,” Currie said.

“They’re paid by the government of Prince Edward Island and it’s certainly no reflection on the health care professionals in the province, we certainly have great respect and we negotiate contracts and we’re very proud that our contracts are competitive and comparable to other jurisdictions. But if you’re a government employee I feel very comfortable having them tabled.”

He added he would also be tabling the salaries of all employees of health and wellness when that department’s estimates are being examined in the legislature.


Health salaries

Here are a few Health P.E.I. employee salaries and salary ranges The Guardian could identify based on position titles/departments:

Keith Dewar, CEO Health P.E.I.: $199, 600

Dr. Richard Wedge, executive director for medical affairs: $275, 500

Rick Adams, executive director QEH: $137,800

Arlene Gallant-Bernard, executive director PCH: $83,300-$104,100

Pamela Trainor, executive director corporate development & innovation: $87,600-$109,600

Jamie MacDonald, executive director provincial clinical services: $83,300-$104,100

Denise Lewis-Flemming, executive director financial services: $92,200-$115,300

Liam Whitty, executive director health information management: $$75,200-$94,000

Deborah Bradley – executive director community hospitals & primary care: $92,200-$115,300

Cecil Villard, executive director home based and long term care: $83,300-$104,100