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Friday, May 14, 2010

GOSH: Ontario to link wine CEOs pay to quality and service of products,

REAL NEWS HEADLINE: Ontario to link hospital CEOs' pay to quality of patient care.


TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – The Grate McGinty is expected to make an announcement later today concerning compensation for Ontario CEOs who work and play in this Have-Not Province.

Top investigative wine reporter Brett Grimsby has been following this story for days now, and he files his report based on several interviews with Miffed Mole, the collective name for our sources who are familiar with the situation, and who spoke to him on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge details while they were very close to the centre of discussions and while the matter under consideration had not yet been finalized nor announced to the public. While the decisions may or may not have been finalized internally, and while an announcement on the matter may or may not be imminent, possibly within the next week or two, that specific timeline is not really known.

The compensation of Ontario chief executive officers would be tied to how effectively they improve the quality of their product and services. There is a proposal in Cabinet right now for pay-for-performance rules.

The proposed legislation is part of the McGinty government's plan to get a bigger bang for the investments it is making in health care, postsecondary education, and wine programs. McGinty has said that he would consider expanding the concept of pay-for-performance to the top executive of every Clown, er, Crown Corporation, agency, board and commission in Ontario.

The government of Ontario, A Have-Not Province, is now changing the rules. "We admit," said a spokesman for the Cabinet, "that we're a Have-Not Province. And we've got to do better with what we have, to maximize our minimal resources. We've got to emphasize Ontario products above the rest. To do less would undermine our heritage."

The new rules will begin to be implemented some time next week, and they will apply to the industry that has been hit the hardest in Ontario, the wine, alcohol and grape sector. The proposal is to target CEOs in this sector, many of whom made over $50,000 last year. While the Excellent Wine for All Bill is not expressly designed to lower salaries and bonuses for top executives of the province's sales outlets (Winery Stores, the Liberal Control of Beverages in Ontario, the multiple wine stores under one ownership, the CellaredinCanada™ progam, the Freggie™ program, etc.), compensation could go up or down depending on performance.

Said the Minister, "I am concerned about compensation generally in the agri-wine sector, but this bill does not address those concerns. Their mandate, in this sector, will be to increase sales of Ontario grapes and wines (especially wines made from non-grape fruit).

The new rules would make executives accountable not just for the fiscal health of their wine stores and outlets but also how effectively they put wine consumers' needs first. The government apparently has no plans to play a more hands-on role in the sale and consumption of Ontario wine. The wage freeze will not be discussed, but boards must oversee the development of a quality improvement plan, and an unspecified portion of the CEO's compensation would be tied to achieving its objectives.

When asked for some examples, the Ministry spokesperson said that the Liberal Control of Beverages in Ontario, A Clown, er, Crown Corporation of a Have-Not Province, should bring forth more Ontario wines into its Vintages portfolio, and especially into its Classics Catalogue. "We'd expect to see more Fruit Wines of Ontario products available in all of the stores" said the government flack. "Also, the CellaredinCanada™ program needs re-working so that it is more acceptable to the Good Citizens of Ontario, A Have-Not Province. I mean, really, do we even know where the stretch water component comes from? Does the government's Quality Assurance Lab even test this water? Stuff like that…" If successful, then winery CEO salaries could rise to as high as $60,000 a year.

It will take some time and effort to get the Wine and Grape Growers' Allianz on board, as well as the VQA, the LCBO, DrinksOntario, and all of the other players.

But Brett Grimsby said today, "I don't think it's going to happen. This is an entrenched industry. But if it does happen, I predict that CEO salaries will plummet. Watch for it…"


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