Ranking first in the U.S. News Best Countries 2021 report, Canada is known for its high quality of life, environmental well-being, job security, and political stability. Being a resident of Canada also grants access to world-class education, affordable housing, and high-standards health care.
But what truly makes Canada a mecca for the top global talents and professionals is its high salaries, fair wages, and employee benefits and bonuses. However, while salaries have been steadily growing over the past 10 years, wages vary depending on location, age, and profession.
So, what is the average salary in Canada? How does your current salary compare to the national average? Should you be asking for more? Here is all you need to know about the average annual salary and household income in Canada.
Essential Income Statistics for Canada: Editor’s Picks
- With an average monthly salary of $4,206 (USD), Canada ranks 12th on the list of countries with the highest salaries.
- Since the early 1990s, the average hourly wage in Canada has steadily grown, reaching a record-breaking $28.68 per hour in April 2022.
- In 2020, the average yearly income in Canada for experienced professionals aged between 45 and 54 was $67,400.
- The mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector pays the highest weekly wages – $2,242.
- Thanks to the government’s COVID-19 support measures, the youngest households registered a 9.8% increase in net worth in Q1-Q3 2020.
Canada Income Stats for 2023: Let’s Cover the Basics
With an average monthly salary of $4,206 (USD), Canada ranks 12th on the list of countries with the highest salaries.
(Paylab, Jobillico.com, ICTSD)
While the average income in Canada in 2021 was $65,773 (based on the September 2021 data), the latest data shows that the country currently offers the 12th-highest average monthly salary globally, at $4,206 (USD).
By comparison, Switzerland is top-ranked, with $7,454 (USD), ahead of Denmark, which comes in second with $6,043 (USD), and the United States, third with $5,908 (USD).
Since the early 1990s, the average hourly wage has steadily grown, reaching a record-breaking $28.68 per hour in April 2022.
The average Canadian annual salary has been consistently growing since the early 1990s. Compared with $13.73 paid per hour in January of 1991, the average hourly pay hit an all-time high in April 2022 and is set to rise further, with projections putting it at around $30.11 in 2023.
In 2019, the median household income in Canada was $90,390.
In 2019, Canadian households received a median income higher than $90,000. However, this varied significantly across the provinces.
For example, households in the Northwest Territories had a median household income of $124,510, while families in Nunavut reported $77,650 per year.
In Q1 2022, the average consumer debt in Canada was $20,744 per capita.
According to data from Equifax, the average consumer debt (excluding mortgages) in Canada climbed to $20,744 on an individual basis in Q1 2022, with the total consumer debt swelling to $2.3 trillion.
The bad news is that nonmortgage delinquency rates have started to rise, with younger people showing the most visible early signs of financial stress. Canadians aged 46-55 report the highest average debt of all age groups, $31,442 in Q1 2022.
In 2021, the tax wedge for the average single worker in Canada was 31.5%.
The tax wedge (tax paid by both the employer and employee on labour income) for an average single unmarried person makes Canada an advantageous location for businesses and individuals alike.
However, the average Canadian family receiving a median income of $91,535 pays nearly $40,000 in taxes each year. It is important to notice that tax rates change according to the province and region.
Average Income in Canada by Age Group
Professionals belonging to Gen Z (aged between 16 and 24) reported an average income of $21,000 in 2020.
Canada’s average income by age varies significantly. For example, younger demographics and professionals belonging to Generation Z receive an average income of $21,000, which is more than $30,000 less than the average income if the total workforce is considered.
Millennial workers between 25 and 34 earned an average salary of $50,200 in 2020.
In Canada, Millennials have a median household income of $44,093 after taxes, which is more than what their parents were bringing home at their age. Indeed, when Gen Xers and boomers were aged between 25 and 35, they made $33,276 and $33,350, respectively.
However, studies have shown that Millennials’ debt is also much greater than that of the previous generations.
In 2020, the average yearly income in Canada for experienced professionals between 45 and 54 was $67,400.
Workers aged between 45 and 54 make up the majority of the Canadian workforce, and thanks to their experience, they make the highest salary out of all demographics. These individuals had an average annual income of $67,400 in 2020.
Over 2 million seniors receive a Guaranteed Income Supplement and live on $17,000 a year – around $1,000 less than needed to cover basic expenses.
(Canada Without Poverty)
The average income of retirees in Canada is lower than what other demographics perceive. But even more importantly, there are over two million retirees and seniors in the country who benefit from the Guaranteed Income Supplement scheme, which allows them to receive around $17,000 a year.
Nonetheless, the minimum standard of living in Canada is $18,000.
Of the total workforce, those earning the highest salary, $69,418, were professionals with a bachelor’s degree or above.
When looking at the total Canadian workforce, which includes all employees aged between 15 and 64, the highest salary is received by those with a university degree. When all workers with a bachelor’s degree or above are considered, the average salary is $69,418.
However, this average is even higher ($89,175) for more experienced professionals in the 45-49 age group.
Average Salary in Canada by Geographical Region
With $1,546 in weekly earnings, the Northwest Territories is the highest-paying region in Canada.
The average income in Canada varies significantly from region to region. Today, the highest weekly earnings are reported in the Northwest Territories, $1,546, making towns and cities in this region arguably the best places to live in Canada.
The next on the list of regions with the highest weekly earnings in Canada is Nunavut ($1,486), followed by Yukon ($1,328).
Prince Edward Island holds the infamous lowest spot by weekly earnings with $956.
While the economy is in full boom in some regions of Canada, wages are frozen or declining in others. Prince Edward Island is the lowest-paying province, with average weekly earnings of $956.
Nova Scotia is not far ahead with $980, leaving New Brunswick slightly behind with $1,020.
The steepest year-on-year growth in weekly earnings, 4.6%, was reported by the Northwest Territories in 2021.
Not all is frozen in the north, as evidenced by the Northwest Territories, which led the way in raises last year, reporting a 4.6% yearly increase in weekly earnings in 2021.
Yukon and British Columbia also populate the top-three list, with 4.1% and 4%, respectively.
The city that offered the highest average income in Canada in 2021 was Calgary.
If you are a city dweller, look no further than Calgary. Offering an average salary of $104,410, Calgary topped the list of the highest-paying Canadian cities in 2021.
Honourable mentions also go to Regina, with $97,940; Oshawa, $92,080; and Victoria, $89,640.
Average Canadian Salary by Profession
Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction is the highest-paying sector in Canada, with average weekly earnings of $2,242.
While Canada offers its residents some of the highest salaries in the world, wages vary significantly across different sectors in the country. So, whether you are looking to move to Canada for work or trying to understand how your salary compares to the average, it is important to understand what to expect.
The mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector is the highest-paying industry, offering average weekly earnings (including overtime) of $2,242, which corresponds to over $116,584 annually.
Other well-paying sectors include utilities ($1,875 per week) and information and cultural industries ($1,658 per week).
With a 16.1% year-on-year growth in 2021, the management of companies and enterprises was the sector with the highest raises.
Some CEOs in Canada must have had a good 2021, as the year saw the highest year-on-year increase in average weekly earnings, of 16.1%, in the management of companies and enterprises sector.
The mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector was the next on the list, with 10%, followed by information and cultural industries, with 8.5%.
The accommodation and food services sector offers average weekly earnings of $462, positioning itself as the lowest-paying sector.
Today, around 2.19 million employees work in retail and 1.16 million in the hospitality sector in Canada. But while their numbers are strong, they are on the lower end of the average monthly income in Canada.
The accommodation and food services sector offers average weekly earnings of $462, with the same stat for retail trade coming in at $663.
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, health care and social assistance saw the highest year-on-year drop in average weekly earnings, of 2.8%, in 2021.
Not all sectors in Canada offer growing wages and an upward salary trend.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the health care and social assistance sector is the one that reported the most significant decline in average weekly wages in September 2021, by $28.47 or 2.8%, compared to the same month a year earlier.
Canada Income Levels: The Impact of COVID-19
Lowest-income earners were worst hit by the COVID-19 fallout, taking a 3.7% cut in compensation in Q1 2020.
When answering the question “What is the median income in Canada?” it is important to take into consideration the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The worst hit by the events of 2020 were the lowest-income earners, who saw their compensation drop 3.7% in Q1 2020.
The youngest households were also hit hard, reporting a 1.6% reduction in compensation (which statistically includes wages and salaries).
Thanks to the government’s COVID-19 support measures, the youngest households increased their net worth by 9.8% in Q1-Q3 2020.
While the youngest demographics and the lowest-income families reported the biggest decreases in compensation, they saw other metrics improve.
Thanks to transfers to households prompted by the pandemic and the support measures introduced by the government, the youngest households reported a 9.8% increase in net worth in the first three quarters of 2020.
At the same time, the lowest-income households had their disposable income swell by 36.8%.
Canada is one of the best countries in the world for job opportunities, employee compensation, and annual salaries. And undoubtedly, all of this contributes to the high quality of life that the country is offering today. Nonetheless, wages vary significantly from one demographic to another and from one region to another.
So, whether you are looking for the right region in Canada to move to, the industry to join, or the salary to strive towards, it is important to consider niche-specific statistics.