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Is your income enough to cover the cost of living in Canada’s most expensive cities? Does it pay for the necessities in life while leaving enough left over for discretionary spending? How does your income compare to the average income in Canada? 

It seems that Canadians’ hard-earned dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to given soaring inflation and cost of living. Plus, income taxes can shrink incomes even more. 

Let’s take a look at what the average Canadian earns, and how variables like location, age, and sex affect incomes across the country.

What Is The Average Income In Canada?

According to Statistics Canada, the average income for Canadians aged 16 and over (both sexes) is $54,000. This figure is from 2021, the most recent year this data was collected. Women earn an average income of $46,100, while men earn an average of $62,000.

What Is The Average Income In Canada By Province?

The average income for Canadians varies slightly from province to province. The following chart details the average income for Canadians ages 16 and over (both sexes) as of 2021:

ProvinceAverage IncomeAverage Income For FemalesAverage Income For Males
Britsh Columbia$54,700$46,700$63,000
Newfoundland & Labrador$49,300$41,900$57,000
Nova Scotia$48,100$41,600$55,000
New Brunswick$47,400$40,700$54,300

Interestingly, Alberta’s average income is the highest in the country, despite being one of the more affordable provinces to live in. As of November 2023, the average home price in Alberta is $446,919, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). That’s less than half of what the average home in BC or Ontario costs, at $964,371 and $833,525, respectively.

Yet Alberta’s average income is higher than both of these provinces, at $59,000. BC’s average income is $54,700, while Ontario’s is $55,500. From a home-buying standpoint, the average income for residents in BC and Ontario only goes half as far as it does in Alberta, as well as other provinces. 

This may be the prime reason why an increasing number of young adults in BC and Ontario are leaving their respective provinces to seek out more affordable areas. Over the past year alone, approximately 50,000 people left Ontario for Alberta or the Atlantic provinces. 

It will be interesting to see how this trend will play out over the next few years.

What Is The Average Income In Canada By Age?

In addition to location, a person’s age also affects their average income in Canada:

AgeAverage Income in CanadaAverage Income in OntarioAverage Income in QuebecAverage Income in British ColumbiaAverage Income in Alberta
16 and over$54,000$55,500$51,200$54,700$59,000
16 – 24 years$20,000$20,300$19,500$20,500$19,200
25 – 34$53,500$54,100$53,700$54,700$52,800
35 – 44$68,000$68,400$66,900$71,000$70,000
45 – 54$73,200$75,600$66,400$72,900$87,300
55 – 64$61,400$64,100$58,200$59,700$69,400
65 and over$44,300$47,400$39,400$59,700$47,300

Understandably, Canadians under the age of 24 years earn the least among all age groups. Within this age group, Canadians are likely still in school or are just starting their careers, which has a direct impact on their incomes. 

Meanwhile, those between the ages of 45 to 54 earn the most, except in Quebec. At this point in life, working Canadians have had decades to progress in their careers. Incomes start to dwindle past the age of 65 when most Canadians start retiring

Does The Average Income In Canada Vary By Gender?

Women tend to earn less than men in Canada, a trend that has long characterized the workforce:

AgeMaleFemaleHow Much More Men Make Than Women 
16 and over$62,000$46,10034.49%
16 – 24 years$20,800$19,2008.33%
25 – 34$58,500$48,30021.12%
35 – 44$77,900$58,10034.08%
45 – 54$84,600$62,10036.23%
55 – 64$74,500$48,40053.93%
65 and over$51,600$37,90036.15%

Across all of Canada, men earn an average of over 29% more than women, based on the above data. While the wage gap in Canada has been gradually shrinking over the years, the disparity continues. 

Where Can I Find A High-Paying Job In Canada?

Salaries for jobs in Canada range a great deal depending on education and credentials. The following are the top five highest-paying jobs in Canada, along with their average salaries and education required:

1. Psychiatrist 

  • Average income: $165,000 – $461,000  
  • Required education: Medical school, specialization in a specific field, and applicable licensing

2. Cardiologist

  • Average income: $177,853 – $348,949 
  • Required education: Medical school and six to seven years of residency 

3. Orthodontist

  • Average income: $177,853 – $348,949
  • Required education: Dental school and a Master’s degree in orthodontics 

4. General Dentist

  • Average income: $119,250 – $275,000
  • Required education: Doctor of Dental Medicine in dental school

5. Corporate Controller

  • Average income: $64,000 – $204,000 
  • Required education: Bachelor’s degree in finance or related field and professional certification

Can I Get A High-Paying Job Without A Degree?

While education does impact income, it doesn’t mean you can’t get a high-paying job without a degree. Many jobs in construction, labour and administrative positions offer incomes well above the average income in Canada of $54,000. However, these jobs may require you to have other skills, training or certifications.

For example, a firefighter has an average income of $61,000 in Canada, but you generally need certification in first aid and undergo a criminal background check. You’ll also need to meet certain physical requirements.

How Much Does The Average Canadian Pay In Taxes?

As of 2021, the average amount of taxes that Canadians pay is $13,113, according to Statista.

Income tax rates refer to the percentage of your income paid to federal and provincial/territorial governments every year. In the Canadian tax system, the tax rate increases as income increases. 

Tax rates are divided into tax brackets. The tax bracket that you fall under will determine the tax rate you pay on your income. 

Income tax brackets and rates typically change year after year in Canada. In 2023, the federal tax brackets and tax rates are as follows:

Federal Tax RateFederal Income Tax Brackets
15%Applicable to taxable income up to $55,867
20.5%Applicable to taxable income over $55,867 up to $111,733
26%Applicable to taxable income over $111,733 up to $173,205
29%Applicable to taxable income over $173,205 up to $246,752
33%Applicable to taxable income over $246,752

Provinces and territories also have their own tax rates that apply to incomes, in addition to federal tax rates. For instance, the income tax rates in Ontario range from 5.05% to 13.16% for 2023. When combined with the federal tax rates for this year, the total tax rate ranges from 20.05% to 53.53%. 

Final Thoughts

Several factors play a role in how much Canadians earn, including age, sex, location, and education. Right now, Canada’s average income of $54,000 may be enough to live on in certain areas of the country, but it would be much too low in the more expensive centres in Canada, like Toronto and Vancouver. In terms of location, Alberta seems to be taking the lead with the highest average income with a relatively low cost of living

Average Income In Canada FAQs

What are the lowest-paying industries in Canada?

Retail and service-based industries tend to have the lowest-paying jobs. 

What is the minimum wage in Canada?

The federal minimum wage in Canada is $16.65 per hour. However, the regular minimum wage in Canada varies by province. 

How much of my income should I be saving?

According to the commonly-used 50/30/20 rule of thumb, you should be saving at least 20% of your income. Another 30% can go toward leisurely items, and no more than 50% should be required for necessities.
Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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