Income statistics are a useful way to measure economic trends in a country. They allow you to compare your income to that of other people in your area and across Canada. But more importantly, policymakers use income data to determine where they need to distribute economic air or identify areas where legislation needs improving. Income data can also be useful for investors, entrepreneurs, and business owners.
In this article, we have collated information on income in Canada, including median household income, average salaries, and hourly wages.
Income Statistics for Canadians
- Alberta has the highest median household income among the provinces. However, statistics show that Nunavut has the highest median income in the country.
- Average salaries are the highest in the three territories.
- The average yearly salaries were down by just under 1% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2021.
- 15% of elderly Canadians live in poverty.
- Nunavut has the highest hourly minimum wage at $16.00.
- Women earn 11% less than men.
- Workers from First Nations earn less than non-indigenous workers.
Median Household Income
The median after-tax income has increased year on year in Canada from 2016 until 2020. In 2016, the average income was $60,400 compared to $66,800 in 2020. However, the changes differed between provinces.
Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland and Labrador
As we see from the table, residents in British Columbia saw the biggest increase in household income since 2016, followed by residents in Ontario, while the median income decreased in Newfoundland and Labrador. The median income is the highest in Alberta and lowest in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories, which are home to less than 3% of Canada’s population, were not included in this survey by Statistics Canada. However, Statistics Canada data from 2018 shows an after-tax income of $93,500 for the Northwest Territories, $89,300 for Nunavut, and $73,200 for Yukon.
Individual Median Incomes in Canada
As well as looking at the household income in Canadian provinces and territories, we can also compare the median after-tax incomes for individuals across Canada.
Median Annual Income in 2021
Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland and Labrador
Unsurprisingly, the picture is similar to the median household incomes. However, there are some interesting points to note, one of them being Nunavut. While Nunavut has the second highest median household income, it is only eighth when comparing individual incomes.
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador represent the lowest incomes in both categories, albeit in a slightly different order, and the Northwest Territories top both income tables.
The incomes within provinces and territories can vary greatly, too. For example, if we look at the Northwest Territories, the median household income in Yellowknife is $141,700, while it is only $75,584 in Dehcho. In general, people in bigger cities have higher median incomes than those living in smaller towns or rural areas.
Salaries in Canada
In the tables above, we shared the data on median income after tax. The table below focuses on the median salaries across Canada, and it shows the average earnings before any tax or other expenses are deducted. The figures for 2022 are only from January to April, so the final average for the year could be slightly different.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Prince Edward Island
According to the data from Insurdinary, average salaries went up in three provinces and down in seven. In the territories, salaries in Yukon were higher in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2021 and lower in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Manitoba saw the biggest increase in salaries, while salaries decreased the most in Saskatchewan.
The differences in the average salaries and average incomes reflect the amount of taxes paid in different provinces and territories. You will find information on taxes a little later in the article.
Changes in Average Salaries
In 2020, the average annual salary for full-time employment in Canada was $54,630. In 2021, it was $56,935, an increase of just over 4%. In the first quarter of 2022, the average salary in Canada was lower than in 2021 at $56,416, a decrease of just under 1%.
If translated into weekly earnings, Canadians earned $1,050.59 in 2020, $1084.90 in 2021, and $1084.92 in the first quarter of 2022.
Income in Canada by Age
How does the average income change throughout a person’s working life in Canada? As expected, people just entering the workforce have the lowest yearly incomes. Interestingly, as people get older, the increases in salaries slow down. Here is what the averages look like for the different age groups in Canada.
The average salary for people aged 16-24 is $1,400 per month or $17,300 per year. This age group includes people just entering the workforce. People in this group will often work part-time while they are in school. However, some will be full-time workers.
This group includes people who have completed their education and already have work experience. They are becoming more established in their careers, especially the older people in this group. The average monthly salary is $3,908, and yearly $46,900.
Many adults in this age group are well-established in their careers, and many are moving into more specialised or senior roles. The average monthly salary in this age group is $5,308, and yearly is $63,700.
Many people in the 45-54 age group have progressed into managerial or leadership positions. Even those who have not will have seen their wages rise with their experience, especially if they have stayed with the same organisation. Interestingly, the difference to the previous age group is minimal, with a $5,558 monthly and $66,700 yearly salary. This suggests that people make bigger leaps earlier in their careers.
55 to Retirement
The average salary drops in this age group, and this may be because many will work fewer hours as they get closer to their retirement. People retiring early will also impact the averages in this age group, where the monthly average is $4,550 and yearly $54,600.
Yearly Income For Canadians Aged 65 or Over
The average monthly income for Canadians over 65 years of age is $1,883, which is $22,600 per year. This figure is so low because around 2 million seniors in Canada are living on the Guaranteed Income Supplement from the government. According to Canada Without Poverty, 15% of elderly individuals are living in poverty in Canada.
Minimum Hourly Wages in Canada
The minimum hourly wage differs between provinces and territories. The highest minimum wage is in Nunavut, where it is $16.00 per hour. The second and third highest hourly rates are in Yukon and British Columbia at $15.70 and $15.65, respectively.
Many provinces with lower minimum hourly rates are in the process of increasing them. Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Labrador are increasing their current rates to $15.00 in April 2024. Saskatchewan, which at the moment has the lowest hourly rate at $13.00, will raise it to $14.00 in October 2023 and $15.00 in October 2024.
Quebec, Manitoba, and Prince Edward Island are also raising their minimum hourly rates from $14.25 to $15.25 in May 2023, $13.50 to $14.15 in April 2023, and $14.50 to $15.00 in October 2023, respectively.
Women Earn Less Than Men in Canada
Despite improvements in equal pay, women in Canada still earn 11% less than men. Women earn 89 cents for each dollar their male counterparts earn in the same job. The wage gap has decreased significantly since the 1990s, but there is still a lot more room for improvement.
Workers From First Nations Earn Less
Statistics show that non-indigenous workers are paid 34% more than Indigenous workers in urban settings. They earn 66 cents for every dollar a non-indigenous worker earns in the same job. This figure demonstrates that there is still a long way to go toward job equality between non-indigenous and First Nation workers.
Taxes in Canada
How much Canadians pay in taxes depends on their income level and where they live. Anyone earning a salary in Canada will pay both federal and provincial taxes. To determine how much you need to pay, you should first calculate the federal taxes, then the provincial taxes and finally, add them together.
According to the Fraser Institute, on average Canadian families pay nearly $39,000 in taxes on a yearly income of $91,535. This represents 42.6% of the total income.
There are different tax brackets for people with different incomes. For example, people will pay 15% on the first $50,197 they earn and 33% of earnings in excess of $214,368.
The provincial tax rates work in the same way, with taxpayers paying the applicable tax rate for every portion of their income. For example, a person in British Columbia earning $60,000 per year will not pay 7.7% on the total income. Instead, they will pay 5.06% for the first $43,070. They will then pay 7.7% on the remaining $16,930 of their income.
Provincial Tax Rates
There are big differences in provincial taxes across Canada, but they all follow the same principle as exemplified above. At 4%, Nunavut has the lowest tax rates for the lowest-income earners, while at 25.75%, Quebec has the highest rate for the top-income earners.
There is a lot of variation in average incomes and salaries across Canada. While the three territories top the table for average salaries in Canada, not all of them are on top when comparing average household or individual incomes after tax.
The average salary in Canada increased from 2020 to 2021, but it was down by a small margin in the first quarter of 2022. However, when the data from the entire year is available, the picture could change.
While there have been improvements in pay equality in Canada, there is still work to do as women earn less than men and Indigenous workers earn less than their non-indigenous counterparts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are the highest wages in Canada?
The territories have the highest average salaries in Canada. However, while it is important to know what your salary would be in each area, it is more important to look at income after taxes as they vary between provinces and territories.
What is the minimum wage in Canada?
Minimum wages are different in each territory and province. At the moment, Nunavut has the highest hourly minimum at $16.00.
What was the average salary in Canada in 2022?
Based on the first quarter of the year, the average salary was $56,416.