Does it feel like 2020 was a financially successful year for you? It was for many Canadians. It turns out that despite the pandemic and ensuing economic turmoil, wages increased for some occupations, and the Canadian average income was up a fair amount.
Statistics Canada has just released the latest Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH), which provides information on payroll employment, earnings and hours worked in Canada, the provinces and the territories.
The average Canadian wage at the outset of 2021 is $1,111.54 a week, or $57,800 annually. That’s an increase of 6.4 percent over the average one year earlier.
Ordinarily, this would indicate that the typical Canadian worker was making roughly that much more money. Good news story. However, Stats Can points out that 2020 saw numerous job losses and reductions in employment and hours worked particularly in the hourly wage sectors: hospitality, accommodation, and food services. These tend to be the lower-paid jobs, so having fewer people working in them artificially drives the overall average wages up.
Wages were up in all ten provinces over the past year, with Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, and New Brunswick seeing the greatest increase.
Here’s a look at the average income by province with year-over year change
NFLD – $56,467.84 (+1.8%)
PEI – $48,475.96 (6.9%)
NB – $52,243.36 (+4.7%)
NS – $49,332.92 (+3.1%)
Quebec – $54,912.52 (+6.9%)
Ontario – $59,471.88 (7.4%)
Manitoba – $52,591.24 (+6.0%)
Saskatchewan – $57,000.32 (+4.7%)
Alberta – $62,396.36 (+2.4%)
BC – $57,823.48 (+9.6%)
Here is what each sector is paying – on average – right now with the year-over-year change
Forestry, logging and support – $64,265.24 (+4.2%)
Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction – $107,660.281 (-0.8%)
Utilities – $94,368.56 (-7.7%)
Construction – $69,027.40 (+0.7%)
Manufacturing – $61,404.2 (+1.6%)
Wholesale trade – $69,346.16 (+7.5%)
Retail trade – $32,838.52 (+1.1%)
Transportation and warehousing – $61,248.2 (+5.7%)
Information and cultural industries – $76,200.28 (+5.7%)
Finance and insurance – $78,238.68 (+5.1%)
Real estate and rental and leasing – $57,860.4 (+10.7%)
Professional, scientific and technical services – $77,785.76 (+3.6%)
Management of companies and enterprises – $79,230.32 (-5.1%)
Administrative and support – $46,931.04 (+4.7%)
Educational services – $61,376.12 (+7.5%)
Health care and social assistance – $53,487.2 (+7.1%)
Arts, entertainment and recreation – $36,996.44 (+17.2%)
Accommodation and food services – $23,018.32(+3.6%)
Public administration – $75,463.96 (+7.0%)
Again this year, the top-paying sectors continue to be in the Mining, Oil and Gas industry, Utilities, as well as the Management of Companies and Enterprises. Although, notably, all three of those fields saw their average wages decline over the course of 2020.
The lowest paying jobs tend to be in the Accommodation and Food Services sector, the Retail Trades, as well as in the Arts. While still among the country’s lowest-paid workers, those in the arts saw the greatest average increase in income last year, at +17.2 percent.
These are the average wages for the broad industry categories. Within each sector, there are many, many roles that pay much higher and lower than the average. Regional differences also apply. Statistics Canada has compiled the data allowing you to see the latest wages and the latest changes for your particular job by location across the country. You can consult that here.