Only two Canadian cities compete with US peers for employment income

Canada's urban cities lagging US counterparts for employment income

Only two Canadian cities compete with US peers for employment income
Steve Randall

Canada’s wage growth reaccelerated to 5% in the latest official stats, but how do workers’ earnings match up to those south of the border?

A new study from the non-partisan think tank the Fraser Institute looked at median employment income in Canadian cities against comparable cities in the United States and found that only two of Canada’s large urban areas make the top half of the 141 included.

The analysis of the largest metros in Canada and the US ranked San Jose, California as the top city for median earnings from wages, salaries, and commissions from employment and self-employment before tax and government transfers at $73,896.

The best-placed Canadian city is Ottawa-Gatineau at number 52 with a median $45,500, just ahead of 53rd placed Edmonton at $45,470.

There are 12 other Canadian metros included but they all fall in the bottom half of the rankings.

Canada's largest cities, including Montreal (134), Toronto (127), and Vancouver (131), are among the lowest employment incomes in all 141 cities in the analysis, but St. Catharines-Niagara (138) at $31,540, London (135) at $36,180, and Montreal (134) at $36,660 are the lowest-ranking Canadian CMAs.

“Canadians in our largest urban centres are generally earning less employment income than people living in comparable American cities,” said Ben Eisen, Fraser Institute senior fellow and co-author of Comparing Median Employment Income in Large Canadian and American Metropolitan Areas.