Canadian Cities Battle for Winning Wages

From Vancouver to Montreal: PayScale Covers Canadian Cities’ Wage Trends

By Bridget Quigg,

The next time a Vancouver Canuck fan jabs a Montreal Hab supporter, the Hab can come back with, “Well, our pay is growing faster than yours!” Is it? Yes, according to The PayScale Index now includes trends for six Canadian metros and if you look at the ranking, Montreal is ahead of Vancouver by 0.4 percent in the last 12 months. Can you guess which town is number one?

Positive Reults for Canadian Wages

The PayScale Index shows wage trends for full-time, private industry workers in Canada since 2006. When PayScale began publishing data about Canadian’s national pay growth in Q2 of 2011, one thing was clear. Canada’s economy weathered the recession better than the US, according to PayScale’s results, and is now steadily growing.

“The most interesting thing about Canada is how strong their economy is,” says Katie Bardaro, analytics manager at PayScale and lead researcher on the study. “It was a world recession and a lot of countries were heavily impacted. Canada’s wages barely dipped down and are now growing quickly.”

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Certain Canadian towns show that fast growth more than others. The leader is Edmonton. What is special about Edmonton? Oil.

When asked her thoughts on why Canada has fared better than many other countries, Bardaro says, “They [Canadian businesses] don’t have as heavy a presence in the industries that were hit hardest in the recession and they have a fairly large presence in healthier industries, like oil and gas.”

Canadian Metro Rankings

The six metros featured in The PayScale Index finished 2011 with the following year over year wage growth.

Rank Metro Area Q4 2011 Year-Over-Year
Percentage Change in Pay
1 Edmonton 2.2%
2 Ottawa 1.7%
3 Calgary 1.5%
4 Montreal 1.2%
5 Vancouver 0.8%
6 Toronto 0.6%

Highlights – The PayScale Index Q4 2011

Calgary and Edmonton came out ahead, due to the strong prevalence of oil, mining and gas exploration and energy industries. Both of these industries have had rapidly growing wages over the last few years, according to the US results for The PayScale Index.

Toronto wages never grew quite as much as the rest of the country pre-recession, fell further during the recession, and have been slower, than most, to climb back.

– 2011 started with a slight drop in wages for Montreal’s residents, but was then followed by steady growth for the remainder of the year.

Ottawa enjoyed some strong wage growth in 2011, pushing it up into second place, behind Edmonton and ahead of Calgary.

– A quarterly bump of 0.5 percent in Q4 allowed wages in Vancouver to match their highest levels from four years ago, showing promise headed into 2012.


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