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Canada - Salaries

The average salaries in Canada are higher than they are in the UK, US and European countries. This is mainly due to the strength of the Canadian dollar in recent years. In 2011 the average hourly wage for a male worker was $24.81. For a female worker the average hourly wage was slightly lower at $21.33. Part-time employees earned an average of $16.24 per hour while the average hourly rate for a full-time worker is the same as that of a male worker.

Overall, salaries do depend a great deal on the area that you are living in and the type of work that you are doing. By 2010 the average weekly wage for a worker in the forestry industry was $971. Those who worked in mining enjoyed a wage of almost double that amount at $1801 per week. Those working in construction could expect to see an average weekly wage of $1071. Workers in manufacturing earned a similar wage to those in the forestry industry but those in the retail industry earned almost half that amount at $501 per week. Hotel and restaurant staff earned even less again at $361 per week while those in administration could expect to earn $727 per week. Those in management positions earned on average $1105 per week and public servants earned an average of $1085 per week.

Each province operates a minimum wage system and this applies to adult workers. The rates do vary across the country. At the current time, the province of Alberta has set the minimum wage at $8.80 per hour while in British Columbia it is $8.75. Manitoba has a rate of $9.50 and this is the same in New Brunswick. Newfoundland and the Northwest Territories are set at $10 per hour. In Nova Scotia and Quebec the rate is $9.65 per hour and Nunavut has the highest rate at $11 per hour. Yukon and Prince Edward Island both have rates at $9 per hour and Saskatchewan has a rate of $9.25 per hour. Finally, Ontario has a minimum wage of $10.25 per hour.

Each of these areas has differing opportunities for workers. The territories which are in the very north of the country have much less in the way of population and industry, although mining workers will find that there opportunities in this field. Provinces such as British Columbia and Ontario have work opportunities in many fields and this should be taken into consideration.

The minimum wage system is subject to review on an annual basis and the latest rates should be checked with the provincial government. There are penalties for companies that try to employ staff at lower rates. However, in some states there is an ‘entry level’ minimum wage which is usually much lower. This will apply to the first 500 hours of your working life so is usually applied to those who are starting their first job. This equates to around 3 months and is on average 75% of the usual minimum wage. This is something that is set by the individual provinces so this can be checked with the government before you move to the country to see if this might affect you.

Most employers will choose to pay a rate which is higher than the minimum wage. In 2008 60% of workers who were on a minimum wage were women. If you have not completed high school level of education then you are five times more likely to earn only the minimum wage rate.

When the rates of pay of men and women in Canada are compared it can be clearly seen that men generally earn higher rates of pay than their female counterparts. A 2010 study showed that 43% of men earn a salary of more than $50,000 but only 25% of women are able to say the same. Pay rates of more than $100,000 apply to 4% of men but only 2% of women. It is also reported that 44% of female workers earn less than $35,000 each year but this salary level applies to only 25% of men. This is mainly due to the glass ceiling culture. While some companies are breaking this down it is still in existence in others and the majority of female workers in many companies are employed in administrative or support roles.

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