Wage Levels Across Canada

Alberta offers the highest minimum hourly wage among all Canadian provinces and territories (C$15 per hour). This was not always the case. Prior to 2015, Alberta’s minimum wage was among the lowest in Canada (C$10.20 an hour). But starting in October 2015, there have been four minimum wage increases following Alberta general election. Also, this province has the highest median annual wages (C$43.7K) partly due to the fact that more people in this province are occupied in highly paid sectors (mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction).

The lowest hourly wages across Canadian provinces are offered in Saskatchewan (C$11.06), and the lowest median annual wages can be found in Prince Edward Island (C$27.2K).

Wages across Canadian provinces and territories (CAD)

Source: Government of Canada

Minimum hourly wage rates (2019) Median annual wages (2017)
Alberta 15.00 43,700
British Columbia 13.85 33,200
Manitoba 11.35 35,900
New Brunswick 11.50 31,200
Newfoundland and Labrador 11.50 31,900
Northwest Territories 13.46 n/a
Nova Scotia 11.55 31,700
Nunavut 13.00 n/a
Ontario 14.00 37,100
Prince Edward Island 12.25 27,200
Quebec 12.50 33,700
Saskatchewan 11.06 39,000
Yukon 12.71 n/a

British Columbia is planning to raise its minimum hourly wages to C$14.60 in 2020 and to C$15.20 in 2021. And Manitoba is increasing the minimum wage to C$11.65 in October 2019.

However, wages can vary depending on a specific occupation. The highest income jobs in Canada include physicians and dentists earning more than C$100K per year, lawyers (around C$76 per year), and miners (approximately C$70K). But the median wages for the majority of other occupations are much lower. Among the most in-demand jobs in Canada are sales associates, administrative assistants, and drivers — the median wage for these occupations stands at about C$40–45K.

Average annual wages for the top 15 most in-demand jobs in Canada (CAD), before taxes

Sources: Glassdoor, Randstad

  • Sales associate: 40,000
  • Administrative assistant: 44,000
  • Driver: 45,000
  • Web developer: 45,000, software developer: 80,000
  • Receptionist: 37,000
  • Cashier: 22,000
  • General labourer: 41,000
  • Project manager: 84,000
  • Account manager: 83,000
  • Welder: 67,000
  • Accountant: 42,000
  • Registered nurse: 68,000
  • Electrical engineer: 75,000
  • HR manager: 42,000
  • Merchandiser: 25,000

You can use Glassdoor and PayScale websites to find out how much you will earn in Canada.

It is true that Canada offers rather high wages especially compared to Asian and CIS countries. According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s data, Canada belongs to the top 10 OECD countries with the highest real minimum wages at C$17.4K per year — almost 9 times more than in Mexico, 5 times more than in Russia, and roughly $2K above the US real minimum wage.

However, after paying the Canadian income tax, your income would be 20–30% less than you earned. Canadian residents are taxed at the federal and provincial/territorial levels. Different rates apply to different portions of income. On the federal level, 15% is paid on the first C$47,630 of taxable income, plus 20.5% on the next C$47,629.

Federal tax rates for 2019

Source: Government of Canada

  • 15% on the first C$47,630 of taxable income, plus
  • 20.5% on the next C$47,629 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over 47,630 up to C$95,259), plus
  • 26% on the next C$52,408 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over C$95,259 up to $147,667), plus
  • 29% on the next C$62,704 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over 147,667 up to C$210,371), plus
  • 33% of taxable income over C$210,371

Provincial and territorial tax rates can vary depending on a province or a territory. You can find the rates here. Also, you can use tax calculators to find out how much taxes you should pay (e. g., Neuvoo). For instance, if your income is C$40K per year and you live in Ontario, you’ll pay almost 20% as taxes, or C$7,972 in total, including federal and provincial taxes, CPP (Canada Pension Plan) and EI (Employment Insurance) deductions. Your net pay will be C$32,028 (80% of your income), or $2,669 per month. And your employer will pay C$2,736 to tax authorities on top of your income.

Each family member should file their tax income liabilities separately. You can lower your tax burden by applying for child benefits, various deductions, and tax credits.

Keep in mind that Canadian residents pay taxes on worldwide income while non-residents are taxed only on Canadian-sourced income. To be recognized as a non-resident, you need to spend in Canada less than 183 days a year.