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Annual wages, salaries and commissions of T1 tax filers, 2018

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Released: 2020-02-18

Tax filers across most of Canada saw their median income from wages, salaries and commissions rise in 2018.

In Canada, 18.1 million individuals aged 15 and over filed a T1 Income Tax and Benefit Return and reported income from wages, salaries and commissions in 2018, an increase of 2.6% over 2017. The number of earners was evenly split between younger men and women, while women aged 65 to 74 (42.1%) and 75 and older (35.3%) accounted for a smaller share.

Tax filers reported a median annual income from wages, salaries and commissions of $38,350 in 2018, up 1.4% over the previous year.

Median income is up in most provinces

From 2017 to 2018, median wages, salaries and commissions rose in all provinces and territories except for Saskatchewan (-1.1%) and Manitoba (-0.8%). The largest increase was in Yukon (+2.0 %).

Tax filers in the Northwest Territories ($53,590), Yukon ($48,220) and Alberta ($45,580) had the highest median wages, salaries and commissions in 2018. Many tax filers in the two territories worked in the public administration sector (40.0% in the Northwest Territories and 39.2% in Yukon in 2018) which had one of the highest median incomes from wages, salaries and commissions. Based on 2018 data from the Labour Force Survey, Alberta was the province with the highest share of individuals usually working 40 hours or more per week (61.2%). Employees in Alberta also had the highest median hourly wages ($26.67) in the country.

In Prince Edward Island, tax filers reported the lowest median income from wages, salaries and commissions ($29,890) in 2018. This province also had the lowest median hourly wages ($19.49) in Canada according to the Labour Force Survey.

Growth of median income is highest in St. Catharines–Niagara

In 2018, tax filers in almost all census metropolitan areas (CMAs) had higher median incomes from wages, salaries and commissions compared to 2017. St. Catharines–Niagara reported the strongest growth (+4.0%), although it had the lowest median income in both 2017 ($31,720) and 2018 ($32,990). Median incomes for Saskatoon (-1.3%), Winnipeg (-0.8%), Regina (-0.3%) and Calgary (-0.1%) showed the sole decreases.

Industry sectors with the lowest median income show the highest percentage growth

According to their main industry of work, tax filers with the highest annual median wages, salaries and commissions were employed in utilities ($99,320) and mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction ($96,450) in 2018. The medians in these sectors were largely unchanged from 2017.

In most cases, individuals working in sectors with the lowest median wages also saw the largest percentage increases in wages, salaries and commissions from 2017 to 2018. The median income reported by tax filers in accommodation and food services ($16,190) and arts, entertainment and recreation ($17,180) rose 5.5% and 2.7% respectively in 2018.

The management of companies and enterprises sector, which represents the second-smallest sector in terms of number of employees, saw a high year-over-year median income increase (+15.3%) in 2018. Movement in the wage earnings of this industry is partly attributable to changes in the classification of businesses in this sector, as well as employer entries and exits which can affect median incomes more in smaller sectors.

Median income grows faster for women than men

While men had higher median income from wages, salaries and commissions than women in all age groups, women (+1.9%) saw higher growth in their median than men (+1.0%) in 2018. Differences in median income between men and women were most pronounced among tax filers in the age ranges of 35 to 44 (difference of $19,220) and 45 to 54 (difference of $19,530). Recent Statistics Canada research (e.g., Women and Paid Work and The gender wage gap: 1998 to 2018) has shown that women are more likely to work part time; to work in occupations and sectors with lower wages; to have more frequent and longer career interruptions; and to be underrepresented in leadership positions in the private sector. According to the Labour Force Survey, fewer women than men usually worked 40 hours or more (37.8% vs. 66.9%) in 2018. In part, these factors help explain observed differences in median incomes reported by men and women.

  Note to readers

This release provides data on the wages, salaries and commissions from all sources received throughout the year for paid employment as reported on T1 Income Tax and Benefit returns. Data for this release are produced using the preliminary version of the T1 Family File which is based on an early version of the T1 file received by Statistics Canada from Canada Revenue Agency. This file typically covers over 98% of the tax filers included in the final version of the T1FF.

These estimates cover all tax filers over the age of 15 (as of December 31 of the tax year) that reported wages, salaries or commissions. This group includes workers employed full- and part-time, as well as full- and part-year. It excludes tax filers that reported income from self-employment only during the tax year.

Wages, salaries and commissions reported by tax filers on their T1 are based on the employment income recorded on their T4 Statement of Remuneration Paid. In addition to wages, salaries and commissions, this income includes training allowances, tips, gratuities and royalties received from employers during the tax year. Tax exempt employment income earned by registered Indians is also included. Self-employment income is excluded.

Main industry refers to the two-digit sector assigned to a tax filer using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). An industry is assigned to each tax filer based on the industry which accounted for the highest share of the individuals' total employment income during the tax year over all of his T4 slips. The category "not available" in the main industry table includes tax filers for which an industry code could not be assigned.

The median is the value in the middle of a group of values (i.e., 50% of people have wages, salaries and commissions above this value and 50% of people have wages, salaries and commissions below this value).

All figures for previous years are in constant dollars and have been adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, table 18-10-0005.

All data in this release have been tabulated according to the 2016 Standard Geographical Classification used for the 2016 Census.

A census metropolitan area (CMA) is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a population centre (also known as the core). A CMA must have a total population of at least 100,000, of which 50,000 or more must live in the core.


The document Technical Reference Guide for the Preliminary Estimates from the T1 Family File (T1FF) (Catalogue number11260001) presents information about the methodology, concepts and data quality for the data available in this release.

Data on Wages, salaries and commissions (Catalogue number11230001), various prices) and Canadian Tax filers (Catalogue number17C0010, various prices) are now available for Canada, provinces and territories, economic regions, census divisions, census metropolitan areas, census agglomerations, census tracts, and postal-based geographies. These custom services are available upon request. Tables for this release are available for free on the Statistics Canada website for Canada, province and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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