Median hourly wages

Alberta's booming labour market associated with the highest median wage

  • In 2007, the minimum hourly wage was above $8 in every province of Canada except Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. About 2.4% of employees in the ten provinces earned wages lower than the provincial legal minimum because of the type of job they had and existing legislation.

  • The proportion of employees paid less than $8 an hour in 2007 constant dollars has been shrinking since 1997. Despite a jump of 4 percentage points in the early 2000s, particularly in Quebec and Ontario, the proportion fell by 1.6 percentage points from 1997 to 2007.

  • In contrast, proportionally fewer employees earned from $20 to $29.99 an hour in 2007 than in 1997, while the proportion of employees earning $30 or more climbed 4.7 percentage points to 17.8%. The increase, which was larger than for any other wage group, was mainly due to more employees earning from $30 to $39.99.

  • The median wage in Canada has been on an upward trend since 2003. In 2007, one out of two employees was earning less than $18.00 an hour. Alberta and British Columbia had the highest median hourly wages, at $19.67 and $19.00, respectively.

  • Alberta enjoyed a much larger increase in the median wage in 2007 constant dollars than any other Canadian province from 1997 to 2007. As a result, Alberta caught up to British Columbia, the only province whose median hourly wage declined from 1997 to 2007 (from $19.73 to $19.00). While British Columbia's median hourly wage increased by $0.60 from 2006 to 2007, it is too early to say that it is a trend reversal. In Quebec, the median hourly wage remained fairly steady during the period, hovering between $16.72 and $17.00.

Chart J.2
Median hourly wages of employees, by province of residence, 1997, 2002 and 2007

Chart J.2  Median hourly wages of employees, by province of residence, 1997, 2002 and 2007

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey.

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