TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond (centre) spoke during conference in New Westminster last year. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond (centre) spoke during conference in New Westminster last year. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Upset arises over TransLink using B.C. restart funds to reinstate pay cut of CEO, executives

‘Why was program money to support struggling Canadians funnelled to gold-plated executive pay?’

A taxpayers federation director of B.C., Kris Sims, is questioning why funds meant to “support struggling Canadians” were funnelled into restoring the “gold-plated” salaries of TransLink’s high-level executives.

Last year, its CEO and executives received their full salaries despite announcing in the early days of the pandemic that they’d all be taking a 10 per cent pay decrease.

In April, TransLink laid off nearly 1,500 workers and cut service as ridership dipped by 83 per cent. As a result, TransLink executives announced they would have to take pay cuts.

RELATED: TransLink to lay off nearly 1,500 workers, cut service as ridership down 83% during pandemic

The Metro Vancouver transportation authority received provincial funding as part of a Provincial Safe Restart agreement in September – $1 billion was shared between TransLink, BC Transit and BC Ferries.

“This package will help cover the substantial net revenue losses we are currently incurring as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and allow us to keep fares affordable for our customers during this time,” Desmond said at the time.

The immediate announcement did not include any indication that executives would be recouping their pay cuts. The funding allowed TransLink to rescind all cuts to service, layoff notices and cuts to non-union pay, according to the documents the federation obtained.

READ MORE: TransLink asks for emergency funds, cites losses of $75 million per month amid pandemic

Black Press Media reached out to TransLink who confirmed that in May it sent subscribed media a news release that indicated the company used a portion of Provincial Safe Restart funds to reinstate executives’ full salaries.

According to documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation through the Freedom of Information Act, TransLink’s outgoing figurehead, CEO Kevin Desmond, received a $448,000 salary in 2020.

“Why is the head of a regional bus board for Metro Vancouver paid more than the prime minister of Canada?” Sims questioned.

Desmond was first hired in 2016. He plans to leave his role as CEO in February and move to the United States.



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BC HealthCoronavirusTransLink

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Visitors relax at the natural hot springs located within Maquinna Marine Provincial Park. (tofinohiking.com photo)
Maquinna Marine Provincial Park boardwalk project on track

“The walk down the two-kilometre boardwalk to the springs itself is by far one of the most incredible experiences.”

WILDLIFE TREE: Tofino Poet Laureate Christine Lowther stands next to a giant cedar tree on District Lot 114, the site of Tofino’s controversial affordable housing project. The tree was pinned with an official Ministry of Forests yellow wildlife tree sign to educate fallers that the tree needs to be left standing for food, shelter and nesting. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Tofino author Christine Lowther calling for poetry about trees

“I’m thrilled to be of service to trees through poetry.”

Tofino will elect a new mayor and two new councillors on March 6. (Westerly file photo)
Tofino’s mayoralty candidates lay out key differences

Tofino will elect a new mayor and two new councillors on March 6.

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Clockwise from top right, chamber executive director Jen Dart moderated a Zoom-based forum last week where Tofino’s mayoralty candidates J.J. Belanger, Andrea McQuade and Dan Law made their pitch to lead their community. (Screenshot)
WATCH: Tofino mayoralty candidates face off at forum

Town to elect new mayor and two new councillors on March 6.

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

1957 photo shows Six Mile House-sponsored #4 1932 Ford stock car with Frank Morris (from left), Ted Mackenzie, Bill Sim and driver Gerry Sylvester. (Bud Glover/Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame)
Memories race as Western Speedway approaches its finish line

‘It was life to us:’ Vancouver Island racers, crew will never forget what the track gave them

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Most Read