3 Wages, salaries and supplementary labour income

Printable version (PDF) of Chapter 3 (June 30, 2008)


3.1 Labour income represents the income generated in the products of goods and services accruing to the labour factor of production. Labour income, often referred to as labour compensation, is comprised of two components— wages and salaries, and supplementary labour income.

3.2 Defined as an economic return to the employee for the provision of labour services in the production of goods and services, wages and salaries include all types of regular earnings, special payments, stock options and bonus payments. Supplementary labour income comprises employers' contributions or payments to a variety of employee benefit plans for the health and financial well-being of employees and their families. These payments can be required by law, negotiated by unions, or organized by formal or informal agreements between employers and employees; or employers may wholly sponsor employee benefit plans.

3.3 Monthly, quarterly and annual estimates of labour income are available in current dollars by province and territory, by industry, and by sector back to 1961. Select series are available back to 1926. Monthly and annual labour income estimates are published quarterly in Estimates of Labour Income. Quarterly estimates of labour income are published in the National Income and Expenditure Accounts1 and annual estimates in the Provincial Economic Accounts.2

Table 3.1 Wages and salaries, supplementary labour income and labour income, by industry, 2000. Opens in a new browser window.

Table 3.1
Wages and salaries, supplementary labour income and labour income, by industry, 2000

3.4 Labour income represents roughly 50% of gross domestic product (GDP), and comprises almost two thirds of personal income. Over 70% of labour income is paid by businesses operating in Canada, while approximately 20% is paid by various levels of government. The remainder is paid by personal sector organizations.3

3.5 Not included in labour income are incomes of self-employed individuals, such as sub-contractors, management consultants, lawyers, doctors, dentists, working owners of unincorporated businesses, sole proprietors involved in joint ventures or partnerships, and unincorporated farmers, all of whose incomes are included in the farm and non-farm unincorporated net income components of income-based gross domestic product.


Back to


1. Catalogue no. 13-001, tables 1, 5, 34 and 36.

2. Catalogue no. 13-213, tables 1 and 17.

3. Business, government and personal sector wages and salaries are each shown in the persons and unincorporated businesses sector account of the Income and Expenditure Accounts. The criteria used to select the organizations falling within each sector are identical to that used throughout the Canadian System of National Accounts to identify the corporations and government business enterprises sector and the government sector. The personal sector consists of organizations which are not operating for a profit, and are serving households.

You need to use the free Adobe Reader to view PDF documents. To view (open) these files, simply click on the link. To download (save) them, right-click on the link. Note that if you are using Internet Explorer or AOL, PDF documents sometimes do not open properly. See Troubleshooting PDFs. PDF documents may not be accessible by some devices. For more information, visit the Adobe website or contact us for assistance.