Average wage in Canada

First published on Friday, Sep 01, 2023

Last updated on Monday, Feb 05, 2024

Canada has one of the highest average wages in the world. But not all workers in Canada have the same average earnings. The number varies across provinces, industries, job positions and employee qualifications.

It's not uncommon for business owners to wonder why such information is important or if there's any reason to pay attention to salary trends. As an employer, knowing what the average person earns in Canada is important for many reasons. It helps you determine the best pay to offer and make sure your employees are getting a living wage.

Failing to pay your employees the average wage can lead to reduced motivation, high employee turnover and employee dissatisfaction. If your employees are worried about how to afford their basic expenses, they'll be unable to perform their job duties well, which is bad for your business. That's why it's important for you to pay attention to trends and changes in things that affect your employees, like the minimum and average wage in Canada.

Find out the average wage in Canada & influencing factors

If you're looking to find the average wage and what the factors that influence it are, you're in luck. In this article, we're breaking down everything you need to know about the average annual income of Canadian workers, differences in the median and average wages, and what other factors influence a person's salary in Canada.

A person holding some Canadian dollars after receiving the average wage

What is the average salary in Canada?

The average salary in Canada is determined by many factors, as mentioned earlier. As of May 2023, the average hourly wage across the country was $33.25. This means the average person working in Canada makes a little over $30 per hour, regardless of their industry. This figure is different from the minimum wage in Canada.

According to various reports, including information from statistics Canada, the average annual salary in Canada was between $54,000 to $59,000 in 2021 and 2022. These are the most recent figures and the number is projected to go up in the following years due to minimum wage and job-specific pay raises.

What is the difference between the average salary and median salary in Canada

The median salary in Canada is estimated to be around $68,000 net income. The difference between both salary calculations is that the median salary is the middle level of salaries. This means half the number of workers in the job market earn less than this number, and the other half of workers earn more.

The average salary, on the other hand, means all the salaries of workers in the job market are added up and divided by the total number of salaries collected.

So if, for example, you have two employees who earn $40,000 a year, one who earns $60,000 annually and two others who make $95,000 per year. The median salary would be $60,000, while the annual average salary would be $66,000.

What is the minimum hourly wage in Canada?

The minimum wage is the absolute lowest an employer can pay their staff. This figure varies by province, job position, and industry. It's also a different figure for federally regulated industries like federal crown corporations, interprovincial transportation, banks or postal services. Workers in such industries have a minimum average pay of $16.65 for an hour of work.

Workers who are employed in industries like food services, social assistance, retail and hospitality are usually paid the provincial minimum wage. Let's take a look at the minimum wage for each province. It's important also to note that some of these figures will go up by around $1 by the end of the year due to inflation.

  • Alberta - $15

  • British Columbia - $16.75

  • Manitoba - $15.30

  • New Brunswick - $14.75

  • Newfoundland and Labrador - $14.50

  • Northwest Territories - $16.05

  • Nova Scotia - $15.00

  • Nunavut - $16.00

  • Ontario - $16.55

  • Prince Edward Island - $14.50

  • Quebec - $15.25

  • Saskatchewan - $14.00

  • Yukon Territory - $16.77

A person counting the Canadian minimum wage they've just earnt

The average salary in Canada for each province

Having looked at the minimum wages for each province, let's also examine the average salary workers in each Canadian province takes home. We'll be ranking these from the province with the highest average salary to the industries with the lowest numbers in 2022.

Nunavut - $82,875

Yukon - $67,207

Northwest Territories - $64,056

Alberta - $60,000

Newfoundland and Labrador - $57,900

Manitoba - $59,426

Saskatchewan - $51,300

Ontario -$52,600

British Columbia - $50,749

Quebec - $53,300

Nova Scotia - $45,900

Prince Edward island - $47,515

New Brunswick - $43,400

Fastest growing industries in Canada

Some industries are growing at a fast pace, with more employment opportunities coming up than in the previous year. If you're an employer in such industries, it's important to pay attention to this as more people may be chasing a career in this field because they are more likely to have high-paying jobs.

When there is growth in an industry, it also means the salaries tend to grow. Industries with the highest growth in the Canadian economy include- real estate, arts, entertainment and recreation, public administration, health care, administrative support, finance and insurance, social assistance, and retail.

Highest paying careers in Canada

It's a well-known fact that some career paths are more financially lucrative than others. Many people working in these fields have a much higher average salary than their counterparts in less favorable careers.

Some of the highest-paying careers in Canada include

  • Surgeons

  • Lawyers

  • Bankers

  • Software engineers

  • Oil and gas extraction

  • Professional technical services

Some of the reasons workers in these careers earn more and have a higher average annual salary than others include having highly developed skills, years of professional training, experience and education. Another reason workers may have higher pay could be because they occupy leadership positions.

A person working as a software engineer which is one of the highest paid careers in Canada

Industries with a falling average yearly income

Just as we've examined the fastest-growing industries and careers with higher-than-average salary earnings in Canada, it's also beneficial for employers to know the industries and sectors where the annual average salary has dropped over the last few years.

The Canadian job market has been favorable for most industries and only two have seen a drop in their average pay since 2021. These industries are forestry and timber harvesting, & management of companies and enterprises industries.

Average salaries per hour based on industry sector

The average salary for every industry sector tends to be different. These differences could be because of the province, the education level of the workers in that industry and other factors. Most industries will see salary growth over the years as the average salaries of Canadian workers tend to go up each year.

Here are some of the average salaries per hour in a few industries

Administrative, waste management and remediation – $47,370

Construction - $68,374

Information and cultural industries - $71,635

Forestry and logging - $58,343

Health care and social assistance - $52,889

Arts entertainment and recreation - $40,242

Retail trade - $34,503

Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction - $113,506

Manufacturing -$59,520

Public administration - $75,800

Professional scientific and technical services - $76,078

A scientist looking through a microscope on a high average wage in canada

How to find the average annual salary for a job

All this information can seem overwhelming to an employer seeking to learn the average annual salary for a job. There are many ways you can learn what this amount is. Following the steps outlined below and performing adequate research to find the correct figure will ensure you're paying your employees a livable wage that'll allow them to have a stable life.

Step 1 - Find the exact title

Some job titles sound similar but may have entirely different responsibilities and average salaries. So, one of the first things you should do is to find the exact title for the position you are seeking to fill or find the salary for. You can do this by looking at other job descriptions with the same title to see if they match your needs or the tasks performed by the employee.

Step 2 - Look at the salaries page on job boards

Once you know the exact title of the job you want to fill or the salary range you are searching for, it's time to hit the job boards. Platforms like Indeed and Glassdoor have pages dedicated to just salary information. Examining these pages helps you see what other businesses and top companies are paying their employees in similar roles.

Some of these job boards tally the average salaries on job posts and provide you with the average. If they don't, you can input these numbers into a spreadsheet to get the average salary.

Step 3 - Compare the numbers

The next step is to compare the numbers you collected from the job boards. This will allow you to see how different or similar they are, so you know how much salary you should be paying new or experienced workers.

It can be helpful to also compare by location, company size, job responsibilities and other factors that may be more specific to your business needs or industry. Don't just copy and paste the salary ranges you see on other job posts if they don't match what your business can afford or is willing to pay.

Managing your payroll with BrightHR

Knowing the average salary in Canada is the first step in managing your payroll compliantly. Employers who don't pay their workers well run the risk of losing them to competition, reduced motivation, frequent absences and lower productivity levels.

BrightHR's suite of people management software, including a payroll navigator, helps business owners manage workers' wages with comprehensive payroll reporting so you meet your legal responsibility to pay staff the right wages at the right time.

Interested in learning more about how BrightHR helps you master people management? Book a demo today!

Jenny Marsden

Associate Director of Service

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