October 02, 2017

More jobs & higher incomes: Canada’s advantage is in resources

More jobs & higher incomes: Canada’s advantage is in resources

Statistics Canada’s recent release of key census data included an important query: “How much money do Canadian families make?” The answer in 2015 as compared with 2005 turned out to be: a lot more.

The statistics agency used drier language but the positive trend – how household incomes rose over the past decade – was clear: The 2015 figure for median Canadian household income was $70,336. That was up almost $6,900 from $63,457 in 2005 or nearly 11%.

The provincial breakdowns are even more revealing than the national figure. Median income went up by $20,161 in Saskatchewan (37%), $18,151 in Alberta (20%) and $15,068 in Newfoundland and Labrador (29%).

What explains Canada’s recent good fortune? One word: resources. “An important factor in the economic story of Canada over the decade was high resource prices,” noted Statistics Canada, which further observed how “that drew investment and people to Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, boosted the construction sector, and more generally filtered through the economy as a whole.”

In contrast to these booming provinces, manufacturing in central Canada took a hit. Incomes there barely rose: Quebec saw a modest $4,901 rise (8.9 %) and Ontario was a national laggard with incomes increasing by a paltry $2,753 between 2005 and 2015 (only 3.8 % higher).