Places with the highest income in Canada

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July 1, 2020
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Places with the highest income in Canada

Canada has one of the wealthiest middle classes in the world, according to The New York Times. Wealthier, even, than America’s middle class, and according to the journalists David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy, this shift happened sometime around 2010.

And Canada seems to be getting wealthier. A 2019 study from Statistics Canada revealed that the average income of tax-paying Canadians rose by 2.5% to $48,400 in 2017 compared to 2016. The study also found that the wealthiest taxpayers saw a more significant rise in income compared to the poorest taxpayers. Those in the top 1% saw their income grow by 8.5% to $477,700 compared to taxpayers in the bottom half who saw just a 2.4% average income growth to $17,200 in 2017.

To find the wealthiest places in Canada, Stacker focused on the middle class by looking at the median incomes and the average hourly wage of the 69 economic regions in Canada. “Middle class” is hardly a precise economic term, so what exactly does this mean? One way to quantify it is by median income, which half a country’s workforce earns above and half earns below.

Canada is an enormous country covering some 3.855 million square miles, so the middle class hardly looks the same all over. After all, income depends on a wide variety of things, from educational level to race, gender, and location. What’s considered middle class in a rural region like Edmundston-Woodstock, New Brunswick, might look different from what’s considered middle class in Montréal, Quebec.

Using data from Statistics Canada, Stacker ranked the 69 economic regions in Canada by income. These economic regions, as defined by the census, are ranked by average hourly wage as of Q3 2019 (this data was released on March 30, 2020) from lowest to highest. Ties are broken by the growth in wages since Q3 2015.

Taking a closer look at the major industries, job market, and average hourly wage in each of these regions will help to give a better understanding of what the middle class looks like all over the country. For reference, the national average hourly wage in Canada is $21.25.

Read on to find out the poorest and wealthiest economic regions in Canada and which 13 have average hourly wages above the national average.

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Darryl Brooks // Shutterstock

#69. Prince Edward Island

- Average hourly wage: $15.20 (28.5% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +8.6%
- Population: 156,947

Perhaps best known for “Anne of Green Gables,” Prince Edward Island is also home to three major industries: agriculture, fisheries, and tourism. Outside of these traditional sectors, aerospace and bioscience are two of the eastern Canadian island’s fastest-growing job markets. Overall, employment in the region grew by 2.6% in 2019.

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Stephanie O'Donnell // Shutterstock

#68. Campbellton-Miramichi, New Brunswick

- Average hourly wage: $16.00 (24.7% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +10.3%
- Population: 155,307

The unemployment rate in Campbellton-Miramichi is the highest in all of New Brunswick, standing at 12.2% as of October 2019. While mining, lumber, and pulp mills were once the biggest industries in the area, their mass closures in 1996 drove much of the working-age population out of the region. As a result, the average age in Campbellton-Miramichi (according to the latest census data released in 2016) is 49.4, and housing and care for the elderly supply a notable amount of jobs in the region.

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#67. Southern, Nova Scotia

- Average hourly wage: $16.25 (23.5% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +9.4%
- Population: 114,739

According to a Labour Market report, Southern, Nova Scotia, saw the strongest employment gains in the province during the first quarter of 2019, adding 5,300 new full-time jobs. The vast majority of these jobs were in the manufacturing industry. That being said, the region will suffer economically along with the rest of the province if they can’t create desirable employment opportunities for their youth—keeping them in the area to replenish the workforce rather than driving them to other provinces in search of better opportunities.

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Albert Pego // Shutterstock

#66. Saint John-St. Stephen, New Brunswick

- Average hourly wage: $16.40 (22.8% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +1.5%
- Population: 174,172

In October 2019, the unemployment rate in Saint John-St. Stephen, New Brunswick, was 7.6%, a little over 2% over the national average, which was at 5.5%. Still, the government reported that the region had added more jobs than any other region in the province, employing some 10,700 more than it had during the first quarter in 2018. Major employers in the area include Air Canada, Horizon Health, IMB Canada, and Osco Construction Group.

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Gareth Janzen // Shutterstock

#65. North Shore, Nova Scotia

- Average hourly wage: $16.50 (22.4% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +5.8%
- Population: 153,287

Over the past year, the North Shore of Nova Scotia has seen a decline in the number of people actively looking for work. As their labor force has gone down, so has their unemployment rate, dropping from 10.2% in 2018 to 7.4% in 2019. The industries seeing the biggest growth in this corner of Nova Scotia are services-producing and wholesale and retail.

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#64. Fredericton-Oromocto, New Brunswick

- Average hourly wage: $16.60 (21.9% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: -0.9%
- Population: 146,236

In March 2019, the Canadian government reported that the Fredericton-Oromocto region of the New Brunswick province had shed some 1,800 jobs. Still, according to the most recent census, Fredericton had the highest median household income in the province of $66,877. Popular employers in the area include New Brunswick Community College, Opportunities New Brunswick, and the University of New Brunswick.

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#63. Mauricie, Quebec

- Average hourly wage: $16.80 (20.9% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +14.7%
- Population: 270,889

As of February 2020, the labor force in Mauricie, Quebec, was 139,400, with an unemployment rate of just 4.8%. Many of these laborers are working in industries like lumber, pulp and paper, energy, and the service sector.

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Aconcagua // Wikimedia Commons

#62. Moncton-Richibucto, New Brunswick

- Average hourly wage: $16.80 (20.9% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +19.6%
- Population: 222,694

A fast-growing and bilingual region of New Brunswick, Moncton-Richibucto has welcomed many French-speaking citizens over the last decade. One result of this is that the region has become a hot spot for call center and public sector jobs. According to the most recent census, the median household income in the region was $62,871.

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Irina Perekhvatova // Shutterstock

#61. Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec

- Average hourly wage: $17.15 (19.3% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: -9.0%
- Population: 90,334

Nestled in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine is known for its jaw-dropping natural scenery and abundance of natural resources. As a result, the south-eastern region’s economy is largely dominated by tourism, fishing, forestry, and renewable energy. The service sector makes up 79% of all jobs in the area.

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#60. Edmundston-Woodstock, New Brunswick

- Average hourly wage: $17.15 (19.3% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +21.2%
- Population: 78,418

An aptly named region, the biggest industries in Edmundston-Woodstock all have ties to lumber. This part of the province is home to several softwood lumber exporters who send their product to the United States, as well as the Twin Rivers Paper Company’s pulp mill.

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#59. Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec

- Average hourly wage: $17.85 (16.0% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +7.2%
- Population: 277,796

Home to the only navigable fjord in North America, the Saguenay fjord, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec, attracts thousands of visitors and outdoor enthusiasts each year, making tourism a vital industry in the region. The area also boasts the Arvida bridge, the first bridge in the world to be built entirely from aluminum, which alludes to the place’s primary economic driver: the production of aluminum. The four primary smelters in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean employ more than 7,000 people combined.

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Needpix

#58. Southeast, Manitoba

- Average hourly wage: $17.90 (15.8% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +4.7%
- Population: 126,585

In 2020, 1.27 million people lived in the entire province of Manitoba, with around 60% living in or around Winnipeg. The province’s other seven regions, including the Southeast region, are fairly rural, and their primary industries are those typically seen outside of major city centers. For example, in the Southeast, construction, health care, and education dominate the job market accounting for over 15,000 total jobs.

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#57. South Central and North Central, Manitoba

- Average hourly wage: $17.90 (15.8% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +9.1%
- Population: 122,996

Manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and agricultural inputs and services dominate the economies in South Central and North Central, Manitoba. Health care and social assistance jobs are on the rise in the region, and the sector is poised to become one of the leading economic drivers over the next few years.

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#56. Halifax, Nova Scotia

- Average hourly wage: $18.00 (15.3% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: -2.7%
- Population: 440,332

Halifax, Nova Scotia, has seen significant population growth, about 2%, over the past two years. Many of the new arrivals are those considered “working age” (25–39), and as they’ve stepped into new roles, the labor force has expanded and the local economy is booming. The average 2018 household income in the region was $45,809, and Halifax’s biggest industries are manufacturing and construction.

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#55. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

- Average hourly wage: $18.00 (15.3% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +9.1%
- Population: 134,850

The most popular industries in Cape Breton are educational services and professional, scientific, and technical services. Unlike other regions in the province, Cape Breton hasn’t seen much growth in either its job market or labor force in recent years. In fact, unemployment only fell by 0.2% from 2018 to 2019.

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#54. Centre-du-Québec, Quebec

- Average hourly wage: $18.05 (15.1% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +7.4%
- Population: 249,396

Drummondville is one of the largest cities in Centre-du-Québec. Most of the area’s jobs are in manufacturing, but culture (i.e., arts and entertainment) and tourism also provide work for a large percentage of residents. The median household income in the city is $46,330.

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abdallah // Wikimedia Commons

#53. Chaudière-Appalaches, Quebec

- Average hourly wage: $18.15 (14.6% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +15.2%
- Population: 428,618

The economy in Chaudière-Appalaches is an incredibly diverse one, with major industries stretching from agriculture to wood processing to specialized research. The region’s access to the St. Lawrence River, as well as its proximity to the United States, allows for expanded trade opportunities and a wider variety of jobs than other regions in the province.

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#52. Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia

- Average hourly wage: $18.15 (14.6% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +33.5%
- Population: 128,187

In the Annapolis Valley region of Nova Scotia, the majority of the workforce is employed in the service sector, namely health care and social assistance, wholesale and retail trade, and construction and manufacturing. Major companies in the area include those like Acadia University, Michelin North America, Eassons Transport, and Nova Scotia Community College. Additionally, Annapolis Valley provides more agriculture jobs (8% of its total workforce) than anywhere else in the province.

 

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#51. South Coast-Burin Peninsula and Notre Dame-Central Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador

- Average hourly wage: $18.25 (14.1% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +6.4%
- Population: 140,917

The province of Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest number of seasonal workers in all of Canada. This is due, in large part, to the fact that construction and tourism/service industries (like accommodation, food services, arts, and recreation) make up a notable percentage of jobs in the area. That being said, the average number of weeks an individual works per year has been steadily increasing over the last several years.

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#50. Montérégie, Quebec

- Average hourly wage: $18.30 (13.9% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +14.4%
- Population: 1,582,067

In February 2020, the unemployment rate in Montérégie, Quebec, was 3.2%—a sharp decline from the 4.8% unemployment rate in February 2019. The drop can be attributed to the fact that the region has been adding jobs quickly in areas like manufacturing, bio-food, research, tourism, and transportation.

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#49. Outaouais, Quebec

- Average hourly wage: $18.40 (13.4% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +10.5%
- Population: 397,193

Gatineau, the largest city in Quebec’s Outaouais region, lies just across the river from Ottawa. While many of the government jobs are centralized in the capital city, Gatineau is a major hub for service jobs. In 2013, 85% of the city’s workforce was employed in a service-related position, particularly in professional, scientific, and technical services.

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Russ Heinl // Shutterstock

#48. Stratford-Bruce Peninsula, Ontario

- Average hourly wage: $18.40 (13.4% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +12.2%
- Population: 318,173

As opposed to Outaouais, Quebec, the Stratford-Bruce Peninsula in Ontario has a small service sector. Instead, most of the jobs in this region are in fields like agriculture, utilities, and manufacturing. The region offers a high quality of life for an affordable price, which attracts immigrants from other parts of the country and continues to grow the workforce.

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#47. Laurentides, Quebec

- Average hourly wage: $18.50 (12.9% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +9.1%
- Population: 620,264

Just north of Montreal lies Laurentides, Quebec, home to the Laurentides mountain range. The region’s appeal as an outdoor playground and easy access by a major highway makes it a major tourist destination. In fact, Laurentides sees over 2.5 million visitors each year, making tourism one of the region’s largest industries.

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Keith Levit // Shutterstock

#46. Interlake, Manitoba

- Average hourly wage: $18.70 (12.0% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +12.0%
- Population: 96,201

Nestled between Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba, the Interlake region in Manitoba has traditionally had a strong agriculture inputs and services sector. However, its unique location has made it a focal point for the province’s increased focus on tourism, and jobs in the industry have been on the rise over recent years. The tourism industry provides a wealth of entry-level jobs, which may help to lower the area’s 6.3% unemployment rate in 2018 to 3.8% in 2019.

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Kiev.Victor // Shutterstock

#45. Bas-Saint-Laurent, Quebec

- Average hourly wage: $18.75 (11.8% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +8.1%
- Population: 197,322

One of Quebec’s more rural regions, the primary industries in Bas-Saint-Laurent are those more typically associated with wide-open spaces. These industries include agri-food and forestry. Other major employers in the area include Télus Québec, a telecommunications company, and the tourism industry.

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Pictureguy // Shutterstock

#44. Muskoka-Kawarthas, Ontario

- Average hourly wage: $18.85 (11.3% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +18.9%
- Population: 404,158

Muskoka-Kawarthas is a mostly rural region of Ontario. The citizens in this area find work primarily in the manufacturing and agriculture industries, although water and wastewater treatment are growing sectors providing new jobs. The region’s biggest employers include businesses like Kawartha Dairy Ltd., Canada Builds, and Central East Correctional Center.

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#43. Lanaudière, Quebec

- Average hourly wage: $19.00 (10.6% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +8.9%
- Population: 515,448

The region of Lanaudière is home to commuter neighborhoods for both Montreal and Laval, which has led to a massive increase in population over the last 20 years and makes it an attractive place for new businesses to land. For example, in 2016, Bridgestone Canada spent $54 million to revamp its Joliette plant, which both increased the company’s presence in the area and created lots of new jobs for locals. Previously, agriculture and lumber had been the area’s biggest industries (thanks to the abundance of natural resources).

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Pierre Leclerc // Shutterstock

#42. Estrie, Quebec

- Average hourly wage: $19.05 (10.4% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +19.8%
- Population: 328,998

Estrie is the top exporting region in Quebec, sending things like dairy products, mined magnesium, precision tools, textiles, and transportation equipment around the country and world. Home to two universities and four colleges, higher education is another major employer in the area. This unique combination of industries gives Estrie one of the lowest unemployment rates (4.1% in February 2020) in all of Quebec.

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jpax // Shutterstock

#41. Laval, Quebec

- Average hourly wage: $19.10 (10.1% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +9.8%
- Population: 438,973

Laval is Quebec’s second-largest city behind Montreal, with the fastest-growing population in the entire province; 30% of the region is dedicated to agriculture, but the population boom means that other industries are finding their footing and growing rapidly. These include things like biotechnology, information sciences, business management, and health care.

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R.M. Nunes // Shutterstock

#40. Capitale-Nationale, Quebec

- Average hourly wage: $19.35 (8.9% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +4.0%
- Population: 750,645

In February 2020, Quebec City, the largest city in the Capitale-Nationale region, had the lowest unemployment rate of all of Canada’s census metropolitan areas at 4.1%. Since 2000, more than 66,000 jobs have been created, primarily in sectors like technology, insurance and financial services, ICT and electronics, and food processing.

 

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#39. Thompson-Okanagan, British Columbia

- Average hourly wage: $19.35 (8.9% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +34.4%
- Population: 599,073

While the gold rush and fur trade are no longer the major employment sectors for Thompson-Okanagan they once were when the region was founded, the area still takes advantage of natural resources; and industries like agriculture, logging, and the service sector thrive here. Still, unemployment in Thompson-Okanagan is among the highest in British Columbia at about 6.3%.

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Russ Heinl // Shutterstock

#38. Yorkton-Melville, Saskatchewan

- Average hourly wage: $19.50 (8.2% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +1.3%
- Population: 84,973

While agriculture has always been the Saskatchewan province’s primary industry, other businesses, including Saskatchewan Crop Insurance and BHP Billiton, are putting down roots in the community by adding hundreds of new positions to a pressed job market.

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#37. Swift Current-Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

- Average hourly wage: $19.50 (8.2% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +19.6%
- Population: 104,893

The construction of the TransCanada Highway opened the door for the tourism industry in Swift Current-Moose Jaw to much success. Swift Current’s hotels have a much higher occupancy rate than other Canadian areas. Other successful industries in the area include construction, oil and gas, agriculture, and manufacturing. This variety has led to an unemployment rate of 4.3%, well below the national average of 5.5%.

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#36. Windsor-Sarnia, Ontario

- Average hourly wage: $19.55 (8.0% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +25.3%
- Population: 666,890

For decades, Sarnia, Ontario, has been known as an oil region, with refineries and chemical factories employing the majority of the local workforce. Companies like Shell, Nova Chemicals, and Imperial Oil employ more than 4,500 people combined. However, it seems that the area might be taking a greener turn, as small biochemistry companies, like Origin Materials, emerge and seek to partner with the existing petrochemical and biochemical experts.

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Russ Heinl // Shutterstock

#35. Vancouver Island and Coast, British Columbia

- Average hourly wage: $19.75 (7.1% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +17.6%
- Population: 870,297

On Vancouver Island, the tourism and forestry industries dominate the local economy. While growth in British Columbia as a whole has slowed down over recent years, employment continues to climb on Vancouver Island as they seek to diversify. TV and film, technology, and cannabis industries offer hundreds of local jobs.

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#34. Hamilton-Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

- Average hourly wage: $19.80 (6.8% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +21.1%
- Population: 1,523,062

While it’s certainly not the only industry in Hamilton-Niagara, the manufacturing industry is a major player in the region employing over 17,000 people. The area makes everything from fabricated metal products and transportation equipment to food and beverage, furniture, and machinery. Additionally, Hamilton-Niagara’s proximity to the United States and major trade routes has been a significant factor in its success.

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#33. Northwest, Ontario

- Average hourly wage: $19.90 (6.4% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +9.6%
- Population: 243,044

Forestry and mining play major industrial roles in Northwest, Ontario. Forestry supplies 15,000 jobs alone that pay 40% higher than average industrial wages in the area.

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#32. Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland and Labrador

- Average hourly wage: $19.95 (6.1% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +9.0%
- Population: 276,020

Agriculture plays a minor role in the economy of the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland and Labrador. Instead, the region relies heavily on energy, forestry, and oil for jobs. With 22 million acres of productive forest in the area, logging and lumber processing are massive undertakings that require an abundance of workers to keep up with the demand.

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#31. Côte-Nord and Nord-du-Québec, Quebec

- Average hourly wage: $20 (5.9% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: -4.1%
- Population: 90,704

Alcoa and Alouette, two of North America’s largest aluminum smelters, are headquartered in Côte-Nord and Nord-du-Québec, supplying thousands of jobs that require certain technical skills. In this area, these technically skilled jobs experience the highest growth.

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#30. Kingston-Pembroke, Ontario

- Average hourly wage: $20.10 (5.4% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +11.0%
- Population: 486,133

The job market in Kingston-Pembroke, Ontario, is centered around several service-heavy sectors. Unemployment has fluctuated in recent years but predicted significant population growth would potentially improve the local economy with more businesses and job opportunities, especially in fields like construction.

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Russ Heinl // Shutterstock

#29. Regina-Moose Mountain, Saskatchewan

- Average hourly wage: $20.15 (5.2% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +2.0%
- Population: 344,318

Regina-Moose Mountain between May 2018 and May 2019 added 5,600 new jobs. More than 2,000 of these were in the agriculture industry. Locally based Protein Industries Canada in 2019 pledged $40 million in regional projects, projected to create 4,500 new jobs in the next decade.

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Carolyn Carleton // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Prince Albert and Northern, Saskatchewan

- Average hourly wage: $20.15 (5.2% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +12.3%
- Population: 254,265

Known as the “gateway to the North,” Prince Albert is an urban area just adjacent to the natural resource-heavy northern region of Saskatchewan. The region features a wide range of industry from retail and mining to logging and health care, with tourism representing one of the largest economic drivers in the region.

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#27. Parklands and North, Manitoba

- Average hourly wage: $20.15 (5.2% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +18.2%
- Population: 136,364

Indigenous people in Northern Manitoba represent 73% of the entire population. Indigenous spending in 2019 comprised 18% of the region’s GDP. Still, the fact that the median income for the group was $12,000 less than the collective whole keeps the region from thriving economically. A focus on economic equality will be necessary for the region to become more competitive with surrounding provinces.

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#26. London, Ontario

- Average hourly wage: $20.15 (5.2% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +18.2%
- Population: 721,409

For decades, London’s economy has been heavily reliant on its ability to manufacture auto parts and assemble vehicles. However, as the automotive industry has seen a resurgence in the United States, the region has had to shift gears into other industries, namely food processing, information technology, and advanced manufacturing.

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#25. Winnipeg, Manitoba

- Average hourly wage: $20.20 (4.9% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +10.7%
- Population: 768,185

Manitoba’s capital city, Winnipeg, is the seventh-largest city in Canada. The region has an incredibly diverse economy that features strong manufacturing, aerospace (thanks to Boeing Canada), transportation, insurance, and agri-business sectors. The government is still the region’s largest industry, employing about 14% of the local workforce.

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#24. Yukon

- Average hourly wage: $20.40 (4.0% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +6.0%
- Population: 40,854

The Klondike Gold Rush in 1898 alerted the world to the wealth of natural resources in the Yukon. Today, mining remains a major economic sector in the region—but instead of digging for gold, miners today focus on lead, zinc, iron ore, coal, nickel, silver, and other materials.

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#23. Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie, Ontario

- Average hourly wage: $20.50 (3.5% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +17.5%
- Population: 1,432,654

In Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie, the technology, data, security, and cloud services industries are booming. Four major data centers owned by players like TD Financial Services and IBM are based in the region. While growth in other job markets is slowing in the area, growth in these sectors was expected to jump by 2.4% between 2019 and 2020.

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#22. Red Deer, Alberta

- Average hourly wage: $20.70 (2.6% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +15.3%
- Population: 221,855

Red Deer, Alberta, doesn’t take business taxes, capital taxes, or payroll taxes. Still, the local workforce has suffered in recent years as the region has been stuck in an economic dip, and jobs in the traditional industries of oil, gas, and agriculture have all but dried up.

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#21. Southwest, Manitoba

- Average hourly wage: $20.70 (2.6% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +29.0%
- Population: 119,134

The primary business in Southwest, Manitoba, is oil. The region draws oil from the Williston Basin, which it shares with Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. With 15 active oil fields, the region produced more than 14 million barrels in 2017 alone.

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#20. Banff-Jasper-Rocky Mountain House and Athabasca-Grande Prairie-Peace River, Alberta

- Average hourly wage: $20.80 (2.1% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +13.0%
- Population: 369,614

This economic region comprises the vast majority of western Alberta, making it among the largest in all of Canada. Because it covers such a wide area, the industries contained within the economic region vary widely from agriculture and forestry to health care and education. Grand Prairie is the most prosperous in the region, with a household income 10% higher than that in the rest of the region.

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WinterE229 // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Camrose-Drumheller, Alberta

- Average hourly wage: $20.80 (2.1% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +24.6%
- Population: 208,282

Agriculture, oil, and natural gas dominate the economy in the Camrose-Drumheller region. The unemployment rate in the area is among the lowest in Alberta.

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Raphael Rivest // Shutterstock

#18. Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Quebec

- Average hourly wage: $20.95 (1.4% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +17.7%
- Population: 147,542

Flush with natural resources, Abitibi-Témiscamingue contains around 20,000 lakes and thousands of acres of forest. So it’s no surprise that the region’s primary industries are centered around processing and distributing those resources: Agriculture, forestry, and mining make up the base of the economy. Education is another major employer in the region, as there are several satellite campuses of the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue scattered throughout the area.

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Brenda Carson // Shutterstock

#17. Lethbridge-Medicine Hat, Alberta

- Average hourly wage: $20.95 (1.4% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +28.1%
- Population: 306,878

Employment in the Lethbridge-Medicine Hat area has evolved in the last five years, with sectors like insurance and education growing faster than agriculture and energy. The shift is largely due to challenges in the oil and gas industry.

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Alberto Loyo // Shutterstock

#16. Kootenay, British Columbia

- Average hourly wage: $21.05 (0.9% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +29.5%
- Population: 161,438

Home to four of British Columbia’s seven national parks, Kootenay is a popular tourist destination for outdoor enthusiasts and world travelers. Available jobs in the area are expected to grow 0.7% annually through 2022.

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RAphoto77 // Shutterstock

#15. Saskatoon-Biggar, Saskatchewan

- Average hourly wage: $21.20 (0.2% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +18.8%
- Population: 386,013

Saskatoon-Biggar is a hub for mining companies, with big names like AREVA Resources Canada, Cameco, and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan headquartered locally. The world’s leading producer of potash and the second-largest producer of uranium, Saskatoon-Biggar’s mining industry supports the growth of other fields like manufacturing and transportation.

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Justin Russ // Shutterstock

#14. Northeast, Ontario

- Average hourly wage: $21.25 (0.0% below national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +29.6%
- Population: 568,361

Sudbury, Ontario, is the largest city in the economic region of Northeast, Ontario. It is also home to the largest mining complex in the world, with more than 3,000 miles of mining tunnels. It’s no surprise that mining is the region’s largest industry.

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mffoto // Shutterstock

#13. Lower Mainland-Southwest, British Columbia

- Average hourly wage: $21.65 (1.9% above national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +16.1%
- Population: 3,101,043

The economic region of Lower Mainland-Southwest is the smallest region in British Columbia by landmass, but the largest by population size. Most jobs in the area are in finance, real estate, and professional, scientific, and technical services. Almost 80% of the workforce hold full-time positions.

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Murray Rudd // Shutterstock

#12. West Coast-Northern Peninsula-Labrador, Newfoundland and Labrador

- Average hourly wage: $22.40 (5.4% above national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +28.0%
- Population: 104,605

Oil production began in Newfoundland and Labrador in 1997, skyrocketing the economic region’s per capita household income well above the national average. The unemployment rate today hovers around 14.8% with higher rates (up to 20%) in more rural areas like the West Coast.

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Paul McKinnon // Shutterstock

#11. Ottawa, Ontario

- Average hourly wage: $22.45 (5.6% above national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +9.0%
- Population: 1,419,183

Ottawa is the capital city of Canada, and its primary industry has long been government. In fact, one in every three government employees in 2011 worked in the region; the number of federal jobs has increased since. Other major industries in the area include construction, health care, and technology.

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davidrh // Shutterstock

#10. Cariboo, British Columbia

- Average hourly wage: $22.60 (6.4% above national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +21.5%
- Population: 168,848

Another region that was once the center of a long-ago gold rush, Cariboo, British Columbia, has pivoted slightly, centering its modern economy around mineral mining and forestry. The construction sector has grown as more people move to the region for jobs created by the area’s natural resources. Economists predict that by 2022, there will be 30,300 new job openings in Cariboo.

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SchnepfDesign // Shutterstock

#9. Edmonton, Alberta

- Average hourly wage: $22.65 (6.6% above national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +14.7%
- Population: 1,491,074

In 2019, Alberta faced an economic slowdown that hit the region of Edmonton particularly hard. Overall, the area lost about 11,000 jobs and has seen a sluggish recovery in 2020. One factor that may help the region bounce back more quickly is the fact that they rely far less heavily on the energy sector than the rest of the province because of a more diversified economy.

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Firefighter Montreal // Shutterstock

#8. Montréal, Quebec

- Average hourly wage: $22.75 (7.1% above national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +2.9%
- Population: 2,052,910

In the bustling urban metropolis of Montréal, a handful of new industries lie at the forefront of the region’s hot economy. Aerospace, artificial intelligence, health technologies, and video games are sectors adding new jobs every year and luring in new investors flush with the cash needed to keep the region viable. Still, the unemployment rate remains high, hovering around 7% at the start of 2020. Amidst the COVID-9 pandemic, that rate is expected to rise to 10%.

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RUBEN M RAMOS // Shutterstock

#7. North Coast and Nechako, British Columbia

- Average hourly wage: $23.85 (12.2% above national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +23.9%
- Population: 98,801

A combination of two sparsely populated regions, North Coast and Nechako rely heavily on industries based on natural resources like forestry, fishing, and mining. While the economic region only contains 2% of British Columbia’s workforce, it also contains 8% of the region’s forestry, fishing, and mining positions. Finally, while the area’s overall population is shrinking, the region has a relatively young population (in 2008, 1 in 5 residents was under the age of 15). As they rapidly age into the workforce, the economy should continue to grow.

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Diego Grandi // Shutterstock

#6. Toronto, Ontario

- Average hourly wage: $23.95 (12.7% above national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +16.3%
- Population: 6,783,480

As Canada’s business and financial hub, Toronto is home to the second-largest financial services sector in all of North America. The city has a reputation for being safe and secure, which has helped to attract the headquarters of financial giants such as Manulife Financial, the Royal Bank of Canada, and the Banks of Nova Scotia and Montreal.

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ti1993 // Shutterstock

#5. Northwest Territories

- Average hourly wage: $24.60 (15.8% above national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +5.4%
- Population: 44,826

The economy in the Northwest Territories can be volatile, as it relies heavily on resource industries like mining and oil that are subject to wide market fluctuations. More stable and local industries like tourism, fishing, hunting, and trapping contribute to the region’s overall GDP as well.

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TRphotos // Shutterstock

#4. Calgary, Alberta

- Average hourly wage: $24.95 (17.4% above national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +31.3%
- Population: 1,625,078

Home to the third-largest crude oil reserve in the world, Calgary has long been one of the leaders in the global energy industry. The Canadian city has no intention of being left behind in the energy transition, either, as dozens of wind, solar, bioenergy, and geothermal companies have set up headquarters in the region alongside the gas and oil companies that have been there for decades. 

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Dancestrokes // Shutterstock

#3. Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake, Alberta

- Average hourly wage: $27.65 (30.1% above national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +11.5%
- Population: 148,535

The Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake region is known for its oil sands deposits, an unconventional type of petroleum. There are more than 15 oil sands companies in this region (accounting for 80% of the country’s production) that are forecasted to contribute $4 trillion to the Canadian economy over the next 20 years.

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Ivan_Sabo // Shutterstock

#2. Northeast, British Columbia

- Average hourly wage: $28.00 (31.8% above national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +41.4%
- Population: 71,836

Work in the sparsely populated Northeast region of British Columbia tends to be in coal mining, natural gas production, and utilities. As the energy sector grows, so does the demand for workers, which, combined with a low cost of living and generous tax cuts for residents, makes this a choice place to live for those looking for steady employment and a good work-life balance.

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Ed Dods // Shutterstock

#1. Nunavut

- Average hourly wage: $29.05 (36.7% above national average)
- Change in wage since Q3 2015: +0.3%
- Population: 38,780

For years, local and federal governments have been the largest employers in Nunavut. In the last decade, however, mineral and petroleum resources have been tapped, adding billions of dollars to the region’s GDP. One mine in 2011 yielded 270,801 ounces of gold worth $420 million on the open market.

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