Canadian salaries

So, how much are we earning? The average Canadian salaries by industry and region

Peter Harris|

[Updated Jan 31, 2014.] Wanna know how much money we’re making at the start of 2014? Statistics Canada has just released its latest report on the salaries that Canadians are earning. And it turns out that we’re taking home a little more than we were a year earlier.

The average wage for Canadian employees is currently $928 per week – or just about $48,250 a year. This marks an increase of 2.5% or roughly $1,000 more than we were making at the start of 2013.

Which regions saw gains (and losses)?

The Prairies continue to be the hottest job market for Canadians – and this is reflected in their pay cheques as well. Saskatchewan and Alberta saw the biggest increases in salaries last year.

With a nearly 5% increase over the past 12 months, wages in Saskatchewan went up the most to just over $50,000 a year.

Meanwhile in Alberta, the average weekly earnings went up 3.7% to $1,131 or $58,800 a year. This growth in pay was seen across most sectors, and according to Statistics Canada, the average earnings in this province are at least 17% higher than those of any other region in the country.

The next highest wage increases last year were had by Ontarians. Wages in Ontario increased by 2.9%, bringing the average earnings to roughly $48,900 a year.

Quebec was the only province to see declining wages over the year. The average pay in that province is $831 a week or $43,200 annually.



Average Canadian wage changes by industry sector

    Among the top wage increases were those enjoyed by people working in the wholesale trade industry last year. These workers saw their salaries increase by an average of 4.1% to $1,100 a week or $57,200 a year.

    Spurred on by increased employment in hospitals and social assistance, earnings in health care went up 3.9% to $858 weekly or $44,600 a year.

    Weekly earnings in administrative and support services increased 3.3% to $749 a week or $39,000 annually. The most significant wage increases in this sector were seen by workers in business support services as well as investigation and security roles.

    Compared with 12 months earlier, the average earnings in the construction industry went up by 3.0% to $1,221 or $58,300 a year. Workers in heavy and civil engineering construction saw the biggest raises.

    The average earnings in accommodation and food services went down slightly over the year to $19,000 a year or $367 weekly.


Who’s earning what?

    With average annual salaries of nearly $102,000, the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector is the highest paying field to be in right now.

    At $90,000 a year, the utilities sector comes in second and this field saw the greatest wage increases last year, a jump of 7.7% in pay.

    Information and culture as well as finance and insurance workers earn an average of $60,000 a year.

    People working in educational services earn an average of $51,750 a year.

    Professional, scientific and technical services workers and managers of companies and enterprises bring home an average of $68,000 a year.

    People in the retail trade make $27,660 annually.

    Arts, entertainment and recreation workers earn an average of $30,000 a year.

    The manufacturing sector pays an average of $53,500.


So who’s making well above the average wage?

Well, Specialist Physicians top the list of well compensated professionals at a whopping $350,000 a year. Judges are also high earners, bringing in an average of $260,000 annually.

Other high-earning positions:

  • Senior managers of financial, communications, and other businesses – $220,500/year.
  • Senior managers of goods production, utilities, transportation, and construction – $205,000/year.
  • General practitioners and family physicians – $180,000/year.
  • Dentists – $175,000/year
  • Lawyers – $165,000/year


Looking the qualifications needed to land one of the highest paying gigs, the lesson seems to be: if you want to earn the big bucks, stay in school.

And how about our national leaders? The Prime Minister, Stephen Harper makes $320,400 a year. Members of Parliament make $160,000 a year and the Governor General earns $270,602 annually. Senators make $135,200 – plus y’know… expenses.

Sources: Statistics Canada, Parliament of Canada

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Peter Harris
- Peter Harris on Twitter

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