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Middle-Class Income In Canada by Province

Written by Stephen Hoenig
When it comes to classes in Canada, many Canadians don’t realize that being middle-class is based on income.
Table of Contents

    In Canada, a majority of Canadians make an average yearly income that’s considered to be middle-class income. That said, though, what exactly is middle-class income? Well, yearly annual incomes between $53,359 and $137,000 are considered to be middle class. In fact, many middle-class Canadians realize they’re middle-class. They don’t realize that they’re at the higher end of the class, even the upper middle class. 

    Different Income Classes in Canada

    It’s often associated with things like:

    • Purchasing a home
    • Having a vehicle
    • Saving for retirement

    The fact is, though, you can be considered middle-class without having any of those things. Middle-class isn’t a lifestyle; it’s an income amount. Let’s take a look at what incomes are considered middle class and which are considered upper middle class, as well as the other income classes.

    ClassIncome Amounts
    Lower Class$0 - $53,359
    Middle Class$53,359 - $106,717
    Upper Middle Class$106,717 - $235,675
    Upper Class$235,675 and up

    Only some of those who are in the lower class income bracket and have a lower income are under the poverty line. Many of these people are on social assistance programs to help find work and raise their incomes. These programs are still considered to be taxable income. 

    It’s also important to remember that where you fall in these classes will also affect your tax rate. Keep in mind that the income reflected below is before-tax income, not after-tax income. 

    Tax RateIncome
    15%On the portion of income that’s $0 - $53,359
    20.5%On the portion of income that’s $53,359 - $106,717
    26%On the portion of income that’s $106,717 - $165,430
    29%On the portion of income that’s $165,430 - $235,675
    33%On the portion of income that’s $235,675 plus

    Average Income in Canada

    In Canada, over 15% of people have an annual salary of over 15%. That said, the average income is around $70,000 pre-tax, and the median after-tax income is $66,800. This is the national average, though, and it includes everyone in Canada. If you break down the average income by province for 2022 and 2023, then you get different results. 

    ProvinceAverage Income for a Single Person in 2022Average Income  for a Single Person in 2023Median Income (Household) 2023 (After Tax)
    British Columbia$50,749$66,232$67,500
    Prince Edward Island$47,515$46,160$59,400
    Nova Scotia$45,900$56,550$57,500
    New Brunswick$43,400$57,336$56,900
    Newfoundland and Labrador$57,900$52,562$59,300
    Northwest Territories$64,056$77,900$127,000

    As you can see, all of these annual incomes fit into the middle-class category. You can also notice that some provinces have way higher average annual incomes than others. Nunavut has the highest average annual income, and the Northwest Territories has the highest median household income compared to other provinces. 

    Employment Based on Provinces

    While the cost of living is a major factor in the average salary in each province, another major factor is the types of employment available and what the average wages are for those types of employment. Plus, different provinces have different minimum wages, which will also affect the overall average incomes. 

    Another important factor to consider is that some towns in each province have considerably higher average salaries than others. This is for a lot of reasons, but it could be because they’re mining towns or they offer a certain specialty that other places don’t. 

    One territory that you see this in is Nunavut. Many of these communities consist of indigenous people and have incomes that average around the upper middle class. They’re sitting around $170,000 for a yearly average employment income. 

    Canadian Income Percentiles

    In Canada, there are different income percentiles that make up the working population. This is referred to as income distribution. The percentage you fall into is based on what you earn. For example, if you fall into the 50th percentile, then that means that 50% of people earn more than that amount and 50% earn less.

    According to Statistics Canada, the income levels that make up these percentiles are:

    • Those who have 1% household income earn $315,911
    • Those who have 5% household income earn $162,210
    • Those who have 10% household income earn $125,942
    • Those who have 25% household income earn $81,184
    • Those who have 50% household income earn $46,151
    • Those who have 75% household income earn $22,465

    It’s important to keep in mind that these are the current numbers. These numbers will fluctuate yearly depending on what the average annual salary is and how much it varies. 

    How Many Canadians Make Over $100,000 Annually?

    In Canada, it’s estimated that only 11% of Canadians bring in $100,000 annually as a single income. Surprisingly, only 19.1% of Canadian households bring in $100,000 annually. In fact, more people in the United States earn incomes above $100,000 than Canadians. The percentage of Americans that fit into this category is 15.73%.

    What’s Considered a High Salary in Canada?

    Those who are in the top 5 percentile or higher are considered to have a high salary. This amount is $162,610. To be considered rich in Canada, there isn’t really a set amount. That said, those who have an income that’s higher than the minimum threshold for the upper class can be considered rich. Once you hit the status of a millionaire, then you’re definitely considered to be rich, but this category only includes 4% of Canadians. 

    Retirement Income and the Upper Middle Class

    Most Canadians who retire are considered to be middle class, not upper middle class. That’s because the average Canadian income for those who are retired is $65,300 per year per household. While this is a good salary, in order to achieve this amount, you would need to have $800,000 saved individually and $1.6 million combined in order to have this income amount sustain you for 25 years. 

    In order to have a retirement income that’s considered to be upper middle class in Canada, you would need to have around $1.7 million saved. This would give you an average income of around $100,000 annually for a total of 25 years. 

    If you have a pension through your employer, then you’ll be able to calculate what you’re retirement income would be based on when you choose to retire. Keep in mind, though, that you can have more than one source of retirement income. Even if you have an employment pension, you can still have an RRSP or other forms of retirement income. 

    Minimum Wage Throughout Canada

    Depending on where you live in Canada, the rate for minimum wage can fluctuate. That said, the federal minimum wage rate was just increased from $15.55 to $16.56 on April 1, 2023.

    Province Minimum Wage Rate (as of Oct 1, 2023)
    British Columbia$16.75
    Prince Edward Island$14.50
    Nova Scotia$15.00 
    New Brunswick$14.75
    Newfoundland and Labrador$15.00
    Northwest Territories$16.05

    While the minimum wage in Canada varies depending on location, they’re based on the cost of living. The places that are more expensive have a higher minimum wage, and those that are a bit lower have a lower minimum wage. 

    Living Wages for Canadian Families

    For many people, having a living wage varies depending on their situation and how many people they’re supporting. That said, those who are above the poverty line and making living wages are typically considered to be middle class (working class) and have some disposable income.

    For a single person, the average living wage is around $45,000 per year. For a couple, the living wage sits around $50,000, and the average living wage for families is around $60,000 - $70,000. Honestly, though, based on your circumstances, it could be more or less. 

    What exactly is a living wage, though? While this means you can live comfortably, pay your bills and still have some funds left over.

    Jobs That Make Up Middle-Class Wages in Canada

    Most jobs in Canada are considered to provide middle-class income. However, there are some that pay more than others. Depending on your position and experience, you could also make much more than the average person. 

    Here is a list of some of the higher-paying jobs that provide a Middle-Class to Upper-middle-class income.

    • Pharmacist
    • Software Developer
    • Welder
    • Surgeon
    • Construction Forman
    • Engineer
    • Electrician
    • Construction Manager
    • Marketing Manager
    • Lawyer
    • Banker
    • Geoscientist
    • IT Manager
    • Pilot
    • Architect
    • Facilities Manager
    • Research Scientist
    • Human Resources Manager

    Final Thoughts

    Since the majority of Canadians are considered to be middle-class, it makes sense that many people would consider it to be based on lifestyle rather than income. It’s also possible to make a single income that isn’t considered to be middle-class but has a total income from the household that’s middle-class income or even upper-middle-class income. 

    No matter where you fall on the class scale, though, you want to ensure that you’re making at least a living wage. Depending on where you live, the living wage is going to change, but ideally, $45,000 is the minimum for unattached individuals. The more people that are in your household, the higher the income will be needed to make a living wage. 

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