Oversight, Methodology, and Process for Salary Compensation
A committee of the Board, the CIRA Compensation and Review Committee (“CRC”), is accountable for the direct oversight of the President and CEO’s Annual Compensation package. CRC’s responsibilities include overseeing the compensation philosophy to ensure that the overall remuneration is fair, equitable and at an appropriate level that will attract and retain the necessary executive talent to direct and oversee CIRA’s operations and the achievement of our Strategic Plan.
The CRC also has oversight over compensation of executives below the level of the President and CEO and oversees CIRA’s general compensation philosophy.
CIRA’s Human Resources professionals use various tools to analyze compensation levels in the marketplace within the Ottawa to Waterloo tech corridor. In particular, they rely upon the Ontario TechEdge Survey, which is data that BenchMarket collects and regularly updates within the Ottawa marketplace where most of CIRA’s employees are sourced. Defined CIRA positions are classified against comparable TechEdge Survey data and benchmarked based upon organizational size, an individual’s years of experience within the role and skill set and various different percentile ranges on an ongoing basis. Armed with this sophisticated comparative data, CIRA offers compensation for each position that is both fiscally prudent and competitive in the marketplace of technology talent.
In discussing salary issues, it is important to understand the environment in which CIRA operates. CIRA is unique: a not-for-profit that competes for talent amongst the technology sector; an organization that generates 100% of its funding from commercial-like activities for the purpose of fulfilling its mandate. CIRA gets no government funding, nor does it receive donations from either public or private sources. It is not a government agency nor crown corporation, nor is it a charity or publicly traded company. There is no regulatory requirement for CIRA to disclose salary information, and we are not aware of any comparable Canadian organization that reveals detailed salary information.
The CIRA Board believes that disclosing the salaries of individual employees without their consent would be a breach of their privacy. CIRA’s external legal counsel agrees and has provided an opinion confirming their view. Disclosing salary information would also contradict CIRA’s role as an advocate for privacy.
All that said, CIRA believes that in the spirit of transparency its Members and the public should be given a clear understanding as to how salaries and compensation packages are determined. It is a rigorous process, the methodology developed with the help of independent, expert consultants and balanced by the need to attract top talent in the tech sector, while respecting the fiscal health of the organization.
President and CEO
Over the past six years, the CRC has undertaken two benchmarking studies performed by highly reputable independent executive compensation consultant firms. The challenge is that CIRA’s equivalents are the country code top level domain organizations around the world, but their CEO compensation is set by their respective employment markets. There are no perfect comparators in Canada. There are not many non-profit organizations in the National Capital region who require similar technology sector expertise for their CEO, and the region’s private sector Internet firms often offer equity positions as part of their compensation packages.
Boyden in 2015, and Stratford Management (now Stratford Group) in 2019, measured the total annual compensation of the CIRA President and CEO with CEOs in other comparable industries, markets and organizations. They studied the technology and not-for-profit sectors and looked at entities of a similar size and which operate on a similar geographic footprint. They used a combination of a special survey of regional technology firms, and Mercer, TechEdge and other proprietary survey data bases. They also recognized the crucial role that CIRA plays, as a provider of critical infrastructure services and an operating technology company in a competitive marketplace, and that CIRA is an important voice in public discussions of policy and community social responsibility.
In 2019, Stratford recommended a salary range for the CIRA President and CEO, which was accepted by the CRC, and the specific salary negotiated within this range was approved by the board as competitive and fair.
In addition to the salary, the President and CEO is eligible for an annual “at risk” bonus contingent upon performance in delivering on the board’s priorities for any one year. Each priority is assigned a certain weight, quantitative or qualitative success measures are set and performance tracked and reported. Performance is assessed periodically throughout the fiscal year. The annual performance plan and bonus payout is determined by the Compensation and Review Committee and recommended to the board for approval. The maximum bonus is consistent with private sector bonus target ranges for short term incentives according to Stratford; CIRA does not pay long term incentives nor do we have options to assign.