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 500 occupations of the National Occupational Classification, at the national, provincial, territorial, and economic region levels.
- Due to data limitations (suppression of data for quality and privacy reasons) 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, must be used as an approximate value.
- Also, some of the sources used to determine the wages are surveys with sample design not covering the entire country:
- for example, the Labour Force Survey does not cover the three Territories and some remote regions, as well as Aboriginal reserves.
How are wages displayed on Job Bank?
- For most occupations, low, median and high wages are displayed.
- Wages are presented as an hourly wage for an occupation. However, the wage may be presented as an annual wage for some occupations:
- for example, occupations with a lot of self-employed workers and business owners.
- The median wage is used as the indicator of the prevailing wage for each occupation.
- the median wage is the middle value when wages are listed from lowest to highest in numerical order.
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 values and more representative of the typical worker's salary.
Who sets 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 external organizations, are consulted during the validation process.
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 are 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
What is the reference period used for each source of data?
- 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 to process it and make the data available.
- The reference period for each data source refers to the period when the data was collected and will vary:
|Source of data||Reference period|
|Labour Force Survey||2017-2018|
|Employment Insurance survey data||2017-2018|
|Alberta Wage and Salary Survey||2017|
|Canadian Institute for Health Information and Canadian Medical Association - custom tabulation||2017-2018|
|Yukon Government administrative data||2017-2018|
- For example, when the data source is the Labour Force Survey, data are based on the 2017 and 2018 calendar years. Two full years of data were used to increase data quality.
Where can I find information on the data source used for an occupation and the corresponding reference period?
This information is accessible through the Government of Canada open data portal. The 2019 wage file includes information on the data source and reference period and can be downloaded as .CSV file using the following link:
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.
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.
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, taking into consideration the historical trend as well. The wages published are intended to be representative of the earnings of a typical worker in a specific occupation, regardless of their industries.
Are wages archived on Job Bank? How can I find historical data?
No, wage files are not archived on Job Bank. Historical data can be downloaded as .CSV files from the Government of Canada open data portal at the following link:
Can I do a year over year comparison of wages?
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.
What is the definition of wages?
Employment and Social Development Canada publishes the prevailing wages paid to employees and not the wages offered.
- 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 for what would typically be an entry-level position, as opposed to the typical wage paid to workers. As such, it may be interpreted as a 'minimum' or 'starting' wage for the occupation, but not reflective of the typical wage of a worker with experience. Wages can be negotiated depending on the worker's experience, so they often vary when compared to the final wage offered.
- On most job postings, wage offered are often included in ranges, which makes them difficult to use to determine the 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 2016 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.
What are the low, median and high wages?
- The low wage, in most cases, corresponds to the 10th percentile.
- For example, if the low wage is $12.00/hour, this means that 10% of the workers in the occupation earn $12.00/hour or less.
- The median wage is the indicator of the prevailing wage for each occupation.
- The median wage is the middle point of the wage distribution, when wages are arranged 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.
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, reflecting wages in the labour market.
- This is why in 2019 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.
What is the year in the title?
The year in the title is the year the wages were updated.
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:Hiring in the province of Quebec
How can I get more information?
For more information on how the wages are determined, please contact the Labour Market Data, Methods and Analysis Division by writing an email at the following generic email address:
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