Highest-paying jobs in Canada
Highest-paying jobs in Canada
The Canadian workforce got off to a strong start in 2020, with unemployment dipping to a near-record 5.5% with the addition of nearly 35,000 jobs in January. Wages also saw a boost, as the average hourly wage spiked nearly 4.4% over January 2019. Taking a closer look at the robust job market, Stacker compiled a list of the highest-paying jobs in Canada using data from Statistics Canada. Jobs are ranked by average hourly wage as of January 2020 and include the number of people employed in each occupational category.
A majority of the top-paying jobs require the minimum of a college degree, although many tradespeople earn about 10% more than Canada’s average hourly wage of $28.52 by forgoing college and undertaking an apprenticeship. Administrative and financial supervisors is the lone category on the list to eclipse the 1 million employee mark while Canada’s top-paying gig, with an average hourly salary above $61, employs the least at just 54,500.
Alberta offers the top minimum wage at $15 hourly while Saskatchewan pays the least at $11.32 per hour. Ontario, which is home to nearly 40% of Canada’s total population, has a minimum wage of $14 per hour.
Speaking of location, the best opportunity for dozens of Canadian professionals is around major cities including Vancouver, British Columbia; Montreal; Toronto; and Calgary, Alberta. Protests over an oil pipeline that began in December 2019 shut down railways and factories, and are still having a major impact on a number of industries throughout the country.
Included with each slide is information about what jobs fall under the category, what skills or education may be required to obtain work, and what the future of some of the jobs may hold. Continue reading to find the highest-paying jobs in Canada.
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#40. Sales support occupations
- Average hourly wage: $14.94 (47.6% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 653,700
- Occupations in this category include: cashiers, service station attendants, and store shelf stockers
Working in sales support occupations, which include cashiers, telemarketers, and service station attendants, often requires little more than a high school education. Those working as cashiers in the casino industry may need a gaming license while on-the-job training and experience are required to advance to supervisory positions. The job outlook for these professions varies by province, with Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island leading the way for growth among cashiers.
#39. Service support and other service occupations (not elsewhere classified)
- Average hourly wage: $16.61 (41.8% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 904,300
- Occupations in this category include: food counter attendants, janitors, and laundry operators
More than 900,000 people make their living in a service support field, which includes fast-food workers, ticket attendants, and specialized cleaners among other positions. On-the-job training is usually all that’s needed to find employment, although a projected surplus of available workers in the next decade in fields such as fast-food attendants could drive up educational requirements. Tim Hortons, Canada’s largest fast-food chain, employs nearly 100,000 people and recently announced plans to “reclaim its Canadian identity.”
#38. Service supervisors and specialized service occupations
- Average hourly wage: $18.30 (35.8% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 650,000
- Occupations in this category include: food service supervisors, chefs, and barbers
Keeping an eye on workers in the service industry falls to supervisors in fields like food service, hospitality, and customer service. A high school education and experience are usually all that’s required to break into the field, although specialized professions like barbers, chefs, butchers, and bakers may need additional certifications or training. Additionally, hairstylists and cooks were among the top 10 professions to seek Red Seal Certification, which allows skills to be recognized when moving between provinces.
#37. Laborers in processing, manufacturing and utilities
- Average hourly wage: $18.88 (33.8% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 114,800
- Occupations in this category include: laborers in mineral and metal processing, metal fabrication, and textile processing
While automation and tariffs have pushed down the demand for these laborers, increased construction activities have helped the job market remain steady. Those in mineral and metal processing can see upward mobility to machine or process operator with additional experience. Canada’s textile processing has been around for more than 150 years, and is focused primarily in Ontario and Quebec.
#36. Service representatives and other customer and personal services occupations
- Average hourly wage: $19.17 (32.8% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 828,000
- Occupations in this category include: bartenders, travel counselors, and outdoor sport and recreational guides
Waiters, waitresses, bartenders, and hosts and hostesses make up a large percentage of Canada’s 828,000 service representatives. Workers in this field scored a victory in 2019, with British Columbia passing legislation preventing employers from keeping a portion of tips, pushing the average hourly wage up. As a result, the job prospects for wait staff are looking up in British Columbia, along with Ontario, Nova Scotia, and the territory of Nunavut.
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#35. Sales representatives and salespeople—wholesale and retail trade
- Average hourly wage: $19.95 (30% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 826,100
- Occupations in this category include: wholesale sales and account representatives, retail salespeople
Retail salespeople’s jobs in typical work settings have suffered a decline, but have been offset somewhat by the legalization of marijuana, which created more than 6,000 jobs in 2019. A high school diploma is usually all that’s needed to break into retail sales; working as an account representative, which can include wholesale sales of food, tobacco, or petroleum, may require a college degree. In February, Home Depot announced a plan to hire 5,500 seasonal and full-time workers across Canada.
#34. Workers in natural resources, agriculture, and related production
- Average hourly wage: $20.23 (29.1% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 111,900
- Occupations in this category include: underground mine service and support workers, logging chain saw and skidder operators, and nursery and greenhouse workers
Working as a hunter/trapper or as a deckhand on a fishing vessel has no educational requirements, while careers in logging or agriculture can take a college degree and on-the-job training. Canada’s mining industry is one of the largest in the world, with the country ranked in the top five for production of 14 metals and minerals. The country is also the fourth-largest producer and exporter of oil in the world, with a large majority of extracting activity occurring on the oil sands of Alberta.
#33. Other installers, repairers and servicers, and material handlers
- Average hourly wage: $21.10 (26% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 269,800
- Occupations in this category include: residential and commercial installers and servicers, pest controllers, and material handlers
Repairing bikes and musical instruments, installing the nation’s sprinklers and swimming pools, and maintaining gas and water lines falls to these 269,800 individuals. Canada is the world’s 12th-largest export economy, and 50,000 dockworker jobs are projected to be added over the next decade. Pest control workers are also in demand in early 2020, after 31 office buildings in Ontario were found to have bed bugs.
#32. Assisting occupations in support of health services
- Average hourly wage: $21.59 (24.3% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 364,000
- Occupations in this category include: dental assistants, nurse aides
Canada’s health care industry is the fastest-growing job market in Canada, accounting for nearly 20% of new hires from 2014–2019. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced plans for a pharmacare program in 2019 that would further the need for these professionals. Some dental assistants and hygienists have strayed from the typical dentist’s office, setting up their own practices for cleanings, X-rays, and fluoride treatments.
#31. Processing and manufacturing machine operators and related production workers
- Average hourly wage: $21.99 (22.9% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 296,900
- Occupations in this category include: foundry workers, machining tool operators, and sawmill machine operators
Machine operators and laborers in the mining, chemical, textile, and paper fields are among the nearly 300,000 workers in this profession. A college degree and years of experience may be required to obtain a position as a machine operator. While manufacturing was declining in the final months of 2019, railway blockades in protest of an oil pipeline in February have forced factory shutdowns and layoffs across the industry.
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#30. Harvesting, landscaping and natural resources laborers
- Average hourly wage: $22.17 (22.3% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 61,600
- Occupations in this category include: harvesting laborers, grounds maintenance laborers, and mine laborers
Harvesting crops and maintaining the grounds at Canada’s homes, golf courses, cemeteries, and businesses are a few of the occupations in this category. These laborers carry out a variety of general tasks at a given job site and often require little more than some high school education to obtain. Many jobs are available in agriculture, where job vacancies were the highest of any sector in the Canadian economy in June 2019.
#29. Office support occupations
- Average hourly wage: $22.27 (21.9% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 618,100
- Occupations in this category include: receptionists, court clerks, and data entry clerks
Receptionists are projected to be among Canada’s most sought-after workers in 2020, due partially to the retirement of Canadian baby boomers. General office workers, library clerks, and survey interviewers also fall under this category, which supports more than 600,000 Canadians annually.
#28. Assemblers in manufacturing
- Average hourly wage: $22.48 (21.2% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 191,800
- Occupations in this category include: aircraft assemblers, motor vehicle assemblers, and metal finishing process operators
Putting together everything from cell phones to automobiles and aircraft falls to assemblers, which typically requires a minimum of a high school education. For more skilled positions, on-the-job training or a college education may be necessary. Bombardier, one of Canada’s largest aircraft manufacturers, was bought out of the commercial industry by Airbus in early 2020.
#27. Distribution, tracking, and scheduling coordination occupations
- Average hourly wage: $22.73 (20.3% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 307,700
- Occupations in this category include: postal workers, door-to-door distributors, and shippers and receivers
Delivering mail and packages via Canada Post Corporation, United Parcel Service, FedEx, and Amazon falls under the guise of these distribution and coordination professionals. Jobs in this field usually require a high school diploma, along with specialized training, but can entail long hours, standing, and lifting heavy packages. Dispatchers, logistics coordinators, and storekeepers also fall under this category, which employs more than 300,000 people across Canada.
#26. Paraprofessional occupations in legal, social, community and education services
- Average hourly wage: $22.92 (19.6% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 472,800
- Occupations in this category include: paralegal, instructors of persons with disabilities, and early childhood educators
Many of the professions in this category require at least some college education while teaching Canada’s children and preteens mandates a degree, certification, and in-class training. Though requirements differ between provinces, paralegals in Ontario must pass a licensing exam following four years of study. The job prospects for paralegals received a boost in 2019 when the Law Society of Ontario announced it will allow them to work in criminal courts on cases with penalties up to two years minus one day, instead of the federal guideline of six months.
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#25. Care providers, and educational, legal and public protection support occupations
- Average hourly wage: $22.92 (19.6% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 270,500
- Occupations in this category include: home child care providers, sheriffs and bailiffs, and correctional service officers
Middle and high school teachers, home support care workers, and by-law enforcement officers also fall under this category, which employs 270,500 people. While working as a nanny or babysitter may not require so much as a high school diploma, bailiffs and sheriffs need a college degree, training, and in Quebec, membership in a regulatory body.
#24. Transport and heavy equipment operation and related maintenance occupations
- Average hourly wage: $23.75 (16.7% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 692,600
- Occupations in this category include: transport truck drivers, bus drivers, and railway yard and track maintenance workers
This category has been hit hard by protests in early 2020, where indigenous people protesting an oil pipeline had virtually shut down the rail industry. A tentative deal reached March 1 could clear the way for workers to resume activities. In February, Canada established minimum training requirements for truck drivers, which are higher in the west following a fatal crash between a truck and bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.
#23. Technical occupations in art, culture, recreation, and sport
- Average hourly wage: $24.28 (14.9% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 353,300
- Occupations in this category include: photographers, graphic designers, and sports coaches
Professional referees, coaches, and athletes fall under this category, where the average salary for a Canadian Football League player will be $65,000 in 2020. The film and TV sector has continued to grow, particularly in British Columbia, benefiting the camera operators, broadcast, and recording technicians that fall into this category. Creative designers, announcers, along with actors and singers, are among the many other jobs encompassed in this category.
#22. Retail sales supervisors and specialized sales occupations
- Average hourly wage: $24.51 (14.1% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 674,400
- Occupations in this category include: retail and wholesale buyers, insurance agents and brokers, and real estate agents
Retail sales supervisors oversee salespeople, cashiers, and clerks across Canada’s wholesale and retail businesses. Toronto, where the average home price has increased, is home to nearly 29,000 real estate agents, more than double the nearest Canadian city. The field also encompasses retail and wholesale buyers, as well as technical sales specialists, who sell a wide variety of products to governments and private industries.
#21. Trades helpers, construction laborers and related occupations
- Average hourly wage: $24.80 (13% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 126,900
- Occupations in this category include: construction trades helpers and laborers, public works and maintenance laborers
Construction companies, local municipalities, and railways are among the principal employers of these professionals, which earn an average of $24.80 per hour. Certifications may be required to obtain certain positions, like flagperson, who direct traffic in and around construction zones. Obtaining a job as a trades helper is relatively easy in British Columbia, where it was reported in February that the number of applicants had fallen well short of demand.
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#20. Finance, insurance and related business administrative occupations
- Average hourly wage: $27.31 (4.2% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 271,100
- Occupations in this category include: bookkeepers, insurance underwriters, and appraisers
A quarter-million people make their living in this job category, which can require a college degree, specialized certification, or extensive job experience. Careers range from bookkeeping and insurance-related occupations to customs and ship brokers, who buy and sell cargo space on ships, or the actual ships themselves. Insurance experts have warned that the industry could be in danger of collapse in the event of a megadisaster in Canada, which is the only G7 nation without federal backing.
#19. Administrative and financial supervisors and administrative occupations
- Average hourly wage: $27.40 (3.9% lower than national average)
- Number employed: 1 million
- Occupations in this category include: purchasing agents, conference and event planners, and court officers
The only occupation on the list to eclipse the 1 million employee mark, these workers can oversee office staff, serve as administrative assistants, or have one of many jobs in Canada’s courts. A college degree, extensive work experience, or specialized training are necessary to break into most supervisory roles. The number of jobs for administrative assistants has declined over the past 30 years, but retirements will help demand surpass supply during the next decade.
#18. Technical occupations in health
- Average hourly wage: $29.49 (3.4% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 412,100
- Occupations in this category include: medical laboratory technologists, veterinary technicians, and opticians
Licensed practical nurses, paramedics, and a variety of laboratory workers fall under this category, which is the first to post an average wage higher than the national average. Helping the job outlook, there has been a push in Alberta to reduce costs by replacing registered nurses, who require more schooling, with LPNs; while in Ontario, budget constraints have forced staff to critically low levels. The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019—COVID-19— has prompted immigration officers to call for more nurses at airports.
#17. Professional occupations in art and culture
- Average hourly wage: $29.57 (3.7% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 175,100
- Occupations in this category include: librarians, journalists, and musicians
Actors, painters, sculptors, and dancers also make their living in this sector, which earns an hourly wage just under $30 per hour. Museums employ curators, conservators, and archivists to protect, procure, and preserve some of Canada’s most expensive works of art. Protests in early 2020 by indigenous people over an oil pipeline led to a number of journalists being arrested in what the Canadian Association of Journalists called a Royal Canadian Mounted Police effort to stifle freedom of the press.
#16. Industrial, electrical and construction trades
- Average hourly wage: $31.16 (9.3% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 898,500
- Occupations in this category include: carpenters, machinists, and electricians
High retirement rates have created a high demand for skilled tradespeople, which are seeking 167,000 apprentices in the next five years. In Windsor, Ontario, officials announced funding in February 2020 to educate female high school students about careers in the trades. Plumbers, pipefitters, masons, and ironworkers also are part of the nearly 900,000 trades workers in Canada.
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#15. Maintenance and equipment operation trades
- Average hourly wage: $31.48 (10.4% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 642,100
- Occupations in this category include: automotive service technicians, railway and yard locomotive engineers, and crane operators
Supervising construction sites, ensuring railways are running properly, and repairing Canada’s cars are among the many professions in this category. One of Canada’s hottest jobs in 2019, locomotive engineers can earn roughly $80,000 per year with little more than a high school diploma and experience conducting a train. Protests over an oil pipeline in early 2020 may have done irreparable damage to the railway industry.
#14. Processing, manufacturing, and utilities supervisors and central control operators
- Average hourly wage: $33.43 (17.2% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 185,000
- Occupations in this category include: supervisors of mineral and metal processing, power engineers and power systems operators, and waste treatment plant operators
Processing, manufacturing, and utility supervisors are laborers in several industries including metal fabrication, paper processing, and plastic products manufacturing. Central control operators specialize in process and manufacturing, mineral and metal processing, or petroleum, gas, and chemical processing. The job outlook for waste treatment plant operators in the next three years is considered limited, fair, and good, depending on the province.
#13. Technical occupations related to natural and applied sciences
- Average hourly wage: $33.56 (17.7% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 568,800
- Occupations in this category include: geological and mineral technicians, agricultural and fish product inspectors, and construction estimators
While geological and mineral technicians fall under physical sciences, agricultural and fish product inspectors are part of life sciences, and construction estimators are considered civil, mechanical, and engineering sciences. Depending on the specific job, a college degree, respective certification, regulatory body memberships, corporate training, and extensive work history are necessary for all technical occupations associated with natural and applied sciences.
#12. Supervisors and technical occupations in natural resources, agriculture and related production
- Average hourly wage: $33.70 (18.2% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 137,500
- Occupations in this category include: oil and gas well drillers, logging machinery operators, and fishermen
At the end of 2019, the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors predicted the loss of 13,731 jobs due to less drilling activity. Demand for lodging machinery operators at an average salary of $50,2200 in Canada is considered “medium,” according to the government of Alberta, which demands professionals have strength, good hand-eye coordination, and quick decision-making and communication skills. Logging machinery operators are required to have either on-the-job coaching, one- to three-year forestry technician training, or long-term deforestation experience.
#11. Middle management occupations in retail and wholesale trade and customer services
- Average hourly wage: $36.60 (28.3% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 554,100
- Occupations in this category include: corporate sales managers, wholesale trade managers, and food service managers
Being a manager in national accounts, regional sales, and trade expansion are some examples of career titles in this category. Duties include organizing vast scale operations, leading sales groups, and recruiting new employees. All positions require a college degree in business, or extensive sales knowledge and work history in the specific industry.
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#10. Professional occupations in business and finance
- Average hourly wage: $37.13 (30.2% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 857,400
- Occupations in this category include: accountants, investment analysts, and human resources professionals
Along with financial auditors, accountants, and analysts, occupations in this field include securities agents, investment dealers, and brokers. Human resources professionals such as a union representative, classification specialist, and labor organizations business agent also fall under the job category. While all positions require a college degree, some human resources professionals may be required to be certified.
#9. Professional occupations in nursing
- Average hourly wage: $38.50 (35.0% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 332,200
- Occupations in this category include: nursing supervisors, registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
There is a demand for Canadian nurses, with up to 60,000 positions needed. Registered nurses, including intensive care, private duty, and occupational health, all require a college degree and additional education for specific fields. A registered psychiatric nurse must be a member of a regulatory body to practice in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.
#8. Professional occupations in education services
- Average hourly wage: $39.02 (36.8% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 814,400
- Occupations in this category include: university professors, elementary and secondary teachers, and educational counsellors
Though considered one of the highest-paying jobs, the Canadian Association of University Teachers conducted a survey, reporting thousands of the country’s professors claim they’re overworked and underpaid for the job, which requires a license, master’s degree, and doctorate. Meanwhile, there is a shortage of elementary and secondary teachers that only need a bachelor’s degree to teach at both public and private schools.
#7. Professional occupations in law and social, community and government services
- Average hourly wage: $39.16 (37.3% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 529,400
- Occupations in this category include: lawyers, psychologists, and social workers
While Canadian judges currently are appointed by federal or provincial cabinets and have long-term law experience, a pending law may mandate magistrates to train in sexual assault law. Meanwhile, educated and certified lawyers, and Quebec notaries, advise clients professionally on legal matters. Psychologists and social workers, clergymen, parole officers, and marriage and employment counselors also fall under the occupation category.
#6. Professional occupations in natural and applied sciences
- Average hourly wage: $42.19 (47.9% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 996,000
- Occupations in this category include: physicists and astronomers, biologists, and architects
Meteorologists, oceanographers, and mathematicians are among the many scientists that fall under this employment category. Nearly 1 million Canadians make their living in the field, which also includes engineers, architects, and IT professionals. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is necessary to break into this field, which is top for immigrants under Canada’s Express Entry program.
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#5. Professional occupations in health (except nursing)
- Average hourly wage: $43.02 (50.8% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 341,800
- Occupations in this category include: specialist physicians, dentists, and veterinarians
The number of doctors per capita reached an all-time high in 2019, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promising all Canadians access to a family doctor. Similarly, the need for veterinarians has risen, as dog ownership in Canada increased by more than half a million from 2016–2018, with owners citing animal health as their primary concern.
#4. Occupations in front-line public protection services
- Average hourly wage: $44.18 (54.9% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 102,500
- Occupations in this category include: police officers, firefighters, and noncommissioned ranks of the Canadian Armed Forces
Maintaining order and providing front-line social services depends on these professionals, which includes privates, and warrant and noncommissioned officers in the armed forces. The number of police officers in Canada hit a 10-year low in 2018, while crime rose for the fourth straight year, prompting a call by representatives for a hiring increase. Though Canada has more than 150,000 firefighters, volunteers account for 83% of those workers.
#3. Middle management occupations in trades, transportation, production, and utilities
- Average hourly wage: $45.71 (60.3% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 560,300
- Occupations in this category include: managers in transportation, agriculture and manufacturing
Keeping the day-to-day activities of Canada’s railways, airports, construction projects, and fisheries is the responsibility of these middle managers. A college degree in business administration or an occupation-related engineering field is required to join the 560,300 workers in the field. Protests disrupted the nation’s railway industry in February, putting a strain on Canada’s farming industry, which includes agricultural managers, with an estimated cost of $63 million per week.
#2. Specialized middle management occupations
- Average hourly wage: $49.43 (73.3% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 586,700
- Occupations in this category include: school principals, museum managers, and engineering managers
Specialized middle managers often oversee the day-to-day operations of businesses or government entities, from school principals, health care and museum managers, to fire and police chiefs, and commissioned officers in the armed forces. A four-year degree, and extensive experience is often required to move into the field, which also includes engineers, and health care and communications managers, while the nearly $50 hourly wage is well above the national average.
#1. Senior management occupations
- Average hourly wage: $61.43 (115.4% higher than national average)
- Number employed: 54,500
- Occupations in this category include: financial services senior managers, health care senior managers, and legislators
Working as a senior manager usually requires at least a four-year university degree, while a number of high-ranking positions, like CEO, CFO, or legislator, come by appointment or election. Coming with an hourly wage that’s more than double the national average, these professionals shape the way businesses and governments operate. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is perhaps the most recognizable Canadian working in senior management, making nearly $350,000 per year.
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