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High-income trends among Canadian taxfilers, 1982 to 2013

Released: 2015-11-03

Canada's top 1% of taxfilers saw their share of the country's total income remain the same in 2013, while their average total income grew 1.2%, the same rate as all taxfilers.

The top 1% of taxfilers received 10.3% of the nation's total income in 2013, the same as in 2012. Their average income increased $5,600 or 1.2% from 2012 to $454,800. This was still below the 2007 peak of $519,500 (all dollar figures are in 2013 constant dollars). The average income of the top 5% rose 1.8%, while that of the top 10% increased 1.9%.

The top 1% of taxfilers paid, on average, $151,900 in income taxes to the federal, provincial or territorial governments in 2013, up $3,000 or 2.0% from a year earlier. Meanwhile, the average tax paid by all taxfilers increased by 1.8%. The top 1% of taxfilers paid 20.3% of federal and provincial/territorial income taxes in 2013, unchanged from 2012.

To be in the top 1% in 2013, a taxfiler needed to have total income of at least $222,000. There were 264,030 taxfilers that had this amount or more in 2013. To be in the top 5% required $115,700, while to be in the top 10% required $89,200.

Top 1% of taxfilers continues to grow in most provinces, but down in Quebec in 2013

Ontario retained the largest share of the top 1% of Canadian taxfilers (41.2%) in 2013, while Alberta accounted for 23.6%. Together with Quebec (15.5%) and British Columbia (11.3%), these four provinces accounted for more than 90% of the country's top 1% taxfilers.

Quebec saw the number of the top 1% of taxfilers fall from 43,360 in 2012 to 40,825 in 2013, the lone decline among the provinces.

Compared with 2000, the proportion of Canadian high-income taxfilers was stable or increased in every province in Western Canada in 2013. Alberta led the way, with the number of taxfilers in the top 1% rising 120.7%, from 28,250 in 2000 to 62,345 in 2013.

In Eastern Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador was the lone province to see a higher proportion of Canadian taxfilers in the top 1%, with the number of taxfilers more than doubling from 1,495 in 2000 to 3,135 in 2013.

Conversely, the number of the top 1% of taxfilers living in Ontario declined from 114,900 to 108,830, while in Nova Scotia the number fell from 4,215 to 3,630.

Women continue to increase their representation among high-income Canadians

Women accounted for 21.9% of the top 1% of taxfilers in 2013, the 20th consecutive annual increase. The proportion of female taxfilers in the top 0.1% (those making over $707,800) increased 1.3 percentage points from 2012 to 15.8%.

Women taxfilers from the top 5% saw their total income share reach a record high of 5.5% in 2013, while those from the top 10% matched the 2009 peak of 9.4%.

Although men still represent a significant majority of high-income Canadians, their representation has declined steadily over the last three decades. In 1983, for example, there were 8.8 men for every woman in the top 1%. By 2013, this had fallen to 3.6 men for every woman in the top 1%.

Male top income taxfilers more prevalent in Alberta

Alberta saw the largest difference between men and women taxfilers in the top 1% in 2013. Among the 62,345 top 1% of Canadian taxfilers living in Alberta, 83.4% were men and 16.6% were women. In contrast, women accounted for 24.0% of high-income taxfilers living in Ontario and Quebec, while men accounted for 76.0%.

Share of wages and salaries falls more for female high-income taxfilers

In 1982, about half of all income earned by the top 1% came from wages and salaries. This proportion increased to two-thirds by 2006. By 2013, it had fallen four percentage points to 62.6% and had declined somewhat more for women than men.

The top 1% of women taxfilers saw their wage and salary share rise from under 30% in the early 1980s to a peak of 52.5% in 2005. It subsequently fell 4.8 percentage points to 47.7% in 2013, with 1.2 percentage points of that drop occurring from 2012 to 2013. In contrast, the wage and salary share among the top 0.1% of women fell from 46.0% in 2012 to 40.8% in 2013.

The share of total income from the wages and salaries for men in the top 1% of taxfilers declined from a peak of 69.4% in 2006 to 66.2% in 2013.

  Note to readers

Data for 2013 have been added to the Longitudinal Administrative Databank (LAD). This databank now spans 32 years, from 1982 to 2013, and contains information about individuals and census families.

The LAD consists of a 20% longitudinal sample of Canadian taxfilers and provides researchers and analysts with a tool for studying the changes in income experienced by individuals and their families. The LAD contains a wide variety of income and demographic variables such as employment income, self-employment income, Registered Retirement Savings Plan contributions, alimony, age, sex and census family composition. Its large sample ensures reliable data for Canada, the provinces, census metropolitan areas, and some sub-provincial regions, based on aggregations of postal codes.

The LAD also contains information from the Longitudinal Immigration Database. It covers immigrants who landed between 1980 and 2012 and provides information on their key characteristics at landing. Information from Tax Free Savings Accounts for 2013 has also been added to the LAD.

Derived from the LAD, data for 1982 to 2013 on Canadian taxfilers with high incomes are now available on CANSIM for various provinces and selected census metropolitan areas.

All dollar figures in this release are expressed in 2013 constant dollars unless otherwise noted.

Total (or before-tax) income consists of income from earnings, investments, pensions, spousal support payments and other taxable income plus government transfers and refundable tax credits.

Since not all individuals file income tax returns and a small share of taxfilers die each year, statistics contained in these tables should be interpreted in the context of living taxfilers, not the whole population.

The growth rates for average income and average tax paid in the Daily text have been calculated using 2013 constant dollars at full precision. Therefore, the numbers may not match certain growth rates when calculated from the attached Daily tables, where constant dollar values are rounded to the nearest 100 dollars.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Brian Murphy (613-617-9481;, Income Statistics Division.

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