Questions and Answers on Wages

How do you manage to determine wages for all occupations at the local level?

Producing local, granular, and timely wages is a challenge. Wages are determined for each of the 516 occupations of the National Occupational Classification (2021), at the national, provincial, territorial, and economic region levels.

  • Due to data limitations (e.g., suppression of data for quality and privacy issues), it is not always possible to determine occupational wages for all provinces, territories, and economic regions.
    • In these instances, wages from another region, province, or the country as a whole might be used as an approximate value.
  • Also, some of the sources used to determine the wages are surveys, which have sample designs that are not representative of the entire country:
    • For example, the Labour Force Survey's samples do not account for the three Territories and some remote regions.
    • Additionally, geographies such as First Nations Reserves are not included in the survey.

How does the Job Bank website display wages?

For most occupations, it displays low, median, and high wages.

Hourly wages are the most frequent display for occupations. However, annual wages are displayed for some occupations:

  • for example, occupations with a lot of self-employed workers and business owners (e.g., physicians, lawyers).

The Job Bank website displays median wages as the indicator of the prevailing wage for each occupation.

  • the median wage is the middle value when wages are ranked from lowest to highest in numerical order.

What are the occupations for which an annual wage is displayed?

Here is the list of occupations for which an annual wage is displayed:

00010 Legislators
31100 Specialists in clinical and laboratory medicine
31101 Specialists in surgery
31102 General practitioners and family physicians
31110 Dentists
31111 Optometrists
31201 Chiropractors
31209 Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating
32110 Denturists
32200 Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists
32201 Massage therapists
32209 Other practitioners of natural healing
41100 Judges
51121 Conductors, composers and arrangers
51122 Musicians and singers
63101 Real estate agents and salespersons
65229 Other support occupations in personal services
70011 Home building and renovation managers

What is the meaning of low, median and high wages?

  • The low wage, in most cases, corresponds to the 10th percentile.
    • For example, if the low wage is $20.00/hour, this means that 10% of the workers in the occupation earn $20.00/hour or less.
  • The median wage is the indicator of the prevailing wage for each occupation.
    • the median wage represents the middle point of the wage distribution, when wages are ranked in numerical order.
  • The high wage, in most cases, corresponds to the 90th percentile.
    • For example, if the high wage is $40.00/hour, this means that 90% of the workers in the occupation earn $40.00/hour or less.

Why is median wage preferred over the average wage?

The median wage is preferred over the average wage because it is less sensitive to extreme or anecdotal values and is likely more representative of the typical wages within an occupation.

Who determines the wages on Job Bank?

Wages are determined using a joint Employment and Social Development Canada and Statistics Canada methodology. Other stakeholders, such as provincial and territorial governments, other federal departments and professional organizations, are consulted during the validation process.

How are the wages determined?

Low, median and high wages are determined following a comparative analysis of Statistics Canada data and other data sources, based on a standard methodology.

  • The methodology was developed in consultation with subject matter experts from Statistics Canada and uses a decision-tree approach to determine the wages.
  • Using this methodology, wages are determined using the best source of data available for an occupation within a given region, while taking the historical trends into consideration.

The wages published are intended to be representative of the earnings of a typical worker in a specific occupation, regardless of their industries.

Wages do not account for years of experience. However, published low wage estimates might offer some insight into salaries for some entry-level positions.

What sources of data are used to determine the wages?

  • The primary source is Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey.
    • This survey is conducted using a sample of respondents and data may be suppressed for reasons of confidentiality or data quality, but it is the most inclusive, timely and unbiased source of wage data by occupational group.
  • When the Labour Force Survey data is not available, other sources are considered, including:
    • Employment and Social Development Canada program data such as Employment Insurance program survey data
    • The Census
    • Provincial and territorial surveys and administrative data
    • Other organizations' administrative data, such as the Canadian Institute for Health Information and the Canadian Medical Association
    • Other sources when applicable
  • First published in November 2022, Small Area Estimations developed by Statistics Canada were added as a new data source.

What are Small Area Estimations?

Small Area Estimation (SAE) model developed by Statistics Canada involves the integration of estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the 2021 Census of Population and enables the production of wage estimates for domains (geographic regions or occupation groups) where the LFS sample size is not sufficient to produce reliable direct estimates. For more information on this statistical method, contact Statistics Canada at

How are weekly, bi-weekly or annual salaries provided by respondents converted to hourly wages in the Labour Force Survey?

Statistics Canada uses a two-staged process to convert salaries in hourly wages:

  • Firstly, all reported earnings are converted to an annual earnings estimate;
  • Secondly, this annual earnings estimate is divided by an estimate of the annual usual hours.
    • For example, people who report they are paid bi-weekly see their bi-weekly gross earnings multiplied by 26 (total number of pay in a year) and then that annual earnings estimate is divided by the estimate of annual usual hours worked (52 weeks x usual weekly hours)

Data from which years are used to determine wages?

The wage data are updated annually and use the most recent data available. There is always a lag between the collection and dissemination of data to allow time for processing and publishing.

The reference period for each data source refers to the period when the data was collected and varies:

Source of data Reference period
Labour Force Survey 2021-2022
Employment Insurance survey data 2021-2022
Census 2021
Alberta Wage and Salary Survey 2021
Canadian Institute for Health Information and Canadian Medical Association - custom tabulation 2021-2022
Yukon Government administrative data 2021-2022
Administrative data for Judges 2022
  • For example, when the data source is the Labour Force Survey, wages are based on the 2021 and 2022 calendar years.
    • Two years of data are essential to guarantee data quality.

Where can I find information on the data source used for an occupation and the corresponding reference period?

Information on the data source used for an occupation and the corresponding reference period is accessible through the Government of Canada open data portal. The 2023 wage file includes information on the data source and reference period and can be downloaded as .CSV file.

When are wages updated?

  • Wages are reviewed and updated on the Job Bank website on an annual basis, usually in the Fall. Wages are also adjusted periodically to reflect the current minimum wage in a province or a territory.
  • The year in the page title is the year that the wages were updated.

What happens when the minimum wage increases in the middle of the year?

  • Minimum wages are the minimum hourly wage rates set by the provinces and territories in Canada for adult workers. The provincial and territorial governments revise these wages regularly following a calendar available to the public in advance.
  • Following this calendar, wages are updated on Job Bank periodically to reflect the minimum wage increases.

Can one compare wages over time?

The joint Employment and Social Development Canada-Statistics Canada methodology was designed to provide wages at a point in time to provide a snapshot.

This methodology has not been built to support trend analysis and as such it is not recommended to do so.

However, within this caveat, historical data can be downloaded as .CSV files from the Government of Canada open data portal.

What is the definition of wages?

Employment and Social Development Canada publishes on the Job Bank website the prevailing wages paid to employees and not the wages offered to employees.

  • A wage paid is a remuneration paid by an employer to an employee in exchange for work done.
  • A wage offered could be a wage posted by employers.
  • Such wages could be for entry-level positions and not representative of the typical wages paid to workers.
  • Additionally, most job postings usually display wage ranges, which create difficulties in determining median wages.

What is included in the wages?

  • Wages do not currently include non-wage benefits.
  • Wages from the Labour Force Survey include tips and commissions, before taxes and other deductions.
  • Wages from the 2021 Census include all income received as wages, salaries and commissions from paid employment and net self-employment income from farm or non-farm unincorporated business and/or professional practice during the reference period.
  • Wages from Employment Insurance survey data include tips and commissions.

How are wages determined for medical occupations such as family and specialist physicians?

Physicians are part of a group with special characteristics that make it difficult to accurately ascertain their wage information, as they are predominantly paid at a rate negotiated between provinces and their medical associations. In addition, many are self-employed individuals with an incorporated business, which makes it harder to obtain reliable and consistent source of information from surveys or the Census.

  • Employment and Social Development Canada worked with the Canadian Institute for Health Information to determine wages for doctors using administrative data from the provincial and territorial governments.
  • The wages published on Job Bank for physicians were calculated by the Canadian Institute for Health Information and reflect clinical payments made to physicians by provincial and territorial medical care plans, adjusted to remove the overhead expenses as calculated by the Canadian Medical Association.

How are wages determined for judges?

The wages for judges were determined using publicly available data from each of the provincial and federal court website.

They reflect legislated wages and annual increases. For some jurisdictions, this information might be partial or not up to date.

Do the wages reflect the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • 2023 wages reflect effect of the COVID as 2021 and 2022 data were used in calculations. The period covers the year of pandemic complete lockdown and the year of restart.
  • During the pandemic, some occupations saw their wages fluctuate upwards or downwards on a temporary basis. An analysis of the data available has shown that in general these fluctuations were not significant. Continued analysis will be conducted as more data becomes available in order to thoroughly assess the trends.

How are the wage data used by the Temporary Foreign Worker Program?

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program assists employers in filling their genuine skill and labour requirements, on a temporary basis, when qualified Canadians and permanent residents are not available.

  • The wages are used for the administration of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
  • Employers looking to hire foreign nationals through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program may refer to the following website to learn how Job Bank wage data is used in the assessment of Labour Market Impact Assessment applications.
  • Employers applying for staff positions located in Quebec should review the section:

For further information, please contact the LMI team.

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