Alberta’s sunshine list may lead to higher salaries

York University Professor Richard Leblanc says salaries in Ontario climbed significantly after the province introduced its sunshine list. Employees use the information to negotiate for more pay, he said in CBC News Feb. 3. “Directors and executives have said to me, the single greatest driver of executive compensation has been sunshine laws and the availability of this data,” he said. LeBlanc said he used the list himself to bump his pay. “You’d be crazy not to use it,” he said. “It’s available. It’s out there and I benefited from it and my experience is no different from any other executive in the private or public sector.” Read full story.

Super Bowl ads: Horses and British villains win out over comedy
While it was a lopsided contest on the field, the commercials airing in between the football fought a pitched battle for audience favour at the Super Bowl. . . . The big winner for Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University, was Jaguar’s commercial, reported the Toronto Star Jan. 31. In its first Super Bowl ad ever, the car company featured a trio of high-profile British actors. Sir Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong played accented super-villians driving fast cars in the spot, which was directed by Oscar-winner Tom Hooper. Middleton said it was a “gutsy” approach for the company to associate itself with the bad guys – and a clever way to emphasize the style and cachet of its cars. Read full story.

Janet Yellen’s first piece of policy: A title change
Janet Yellen reignited a decades-old conversation about gender-neutral language Monday when she revealed she wants to be called “chair” of the Federal Reserve Board rather than “chairwoman” or “chairman”. . . . York University law Professor Richard Leblanc, who specializes in issues of board governance, said he is seeing more boards adopting “board chair” as the official title after abandoning past experiments with the awkward term “chairperson”. “Language does matter for younger people, role models and subconsciously,” he said in The Globe and Mail Feb. 3. “It is a broader governance trend as I see it, and it signals a maturity. . . . Gender within the name, or of the person, is not really relevant to the position or ability to carry it out.” Read full story.

Dave Dryden and humanitarians honoured for youth initiatives at Rotary dinner
The Rotary Club of Toronto West held its annual Youth Impact Awards Gala at the historic Old Mill Inn on Friday evening. . . . Weiting Xu received the Under-25 award and was humbled by the honour. “To be standing here for Rotary’s motto, ‘service above self,’ it’s fantastic,” she said in the Etobicoke Guardian Feb. 3. The president of York University’s Rotaract Club, her Course Hero Knowledge Drive – which has sent 200 books to Gambia so far – is an extension of her interest in child literacy, women’s empowerment and microfinance. Read full story.

Movers & shakers
Management of the Majestic Theatre in Corvallis has announced the addition of three new members to its board of directors, including York University dance Professor Barbara Sellers-Young, reported the Corvallis Gazette-Times Feb. 3. Sellers-Young taught movement, acting and Asian theatre at the University of California, Davis, for several years, was executive director of the Robert and Margit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts and was dean of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts. Read full story.