Who earns what

Maclean’s compares how big, or small, your paycheque really is


In a world where people share every little detail of their lives, it’s the last, dirty secret: How big (or small) is your paycheque? In Maclean’s first-ever national guide to what Canadians earn, we take a figurative peek inside people’s wallets to answer that question.

Our researchers delved into public documents, scoured industry databases and sifted through reams of union agreements for the wages and salaries of everyone from arborists to bankers to comedians.

We asked such high-profile figures as athletes and celebrities what they earned, and when they didn’t tell us, we talked to agents and analysts to find out.

The end result is both entertaining and informative.

The question is: How do you measure up?

Find out by clicking the links below.

New posts will be published daily. The full print-edition Who Earns What issue is available on newsstands.

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Who earns what

  1. Teachers’ pay
    I was puzzled when I read the numbers in this week’s magazine regarding the top earning primary school teachers…
    As a high school teacher myself in Montreal, I know that our salary is based on tables and the top salary a primary or high school teacher can make is around 72k. Where does the number of 89,117$ come from?
    Can someone tell me?

    • This is an evident case of careless and shoddy reporting and research. As a teacher in Vancouver, our salary grid is public knowledge. I personally know that I do not earn $98,000 even after the 10-year cap. In light of ongoing uneasy negotiations between the teachers’ union and the provincial government regarding public education system funding, publishing erroneous data is highly misleading and does not accurately highlight the problems BC teachers are currently facing. In future, I implore your journalists to go back and check their facts before publication.

      ( http://www.bcpsea.bc.ca/documents/39-SalaryGrid2010.pdf )

        • My condolences.

          To help you in future, I’ll point out that anything written under the byline “macleans.ca” is done that way because nobody with any sort of ethics or research abilities would ever want to take the blame for it. I personally suspect it’s what Ken Whyte writes under.

          Stick to Wells, Geddes, and Weinman if you want stuff that’s thoroughly researched and with good insights and connections, Gordon, Cosh, Moffat, or Teitel if you want Faux news style coverage of partial data supporting a pre-drawn conclusion, Feschuk for a laugh, most of the rest of the blogging crew for decent coverage and fact-checking (not to slight you guys, but there’s just too many to list), but “macleans.ca” should generally be avoided for half-truths, poor research, poor statistics interpretation, and flat-out lies.

    • Perhaps they are looking at total compensation, not just salary. If you are a teacher that makes $72,000 and your employer provides benefits and contributes to your pension, that makes you better off than, say, a professional making $72,000 at a company which doesn’t provide benefits or a pension.

      In Ontario, the government matches teachers’ contributions to their pension plan which are between 11.15% to 12.75% of their annual salary. (In comparison, among the few private sector employers that provide a pension, most only match up to a maximum of 3% of salary, and the pension is not guaranteed.)

      Here’s a link to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan website:

      The OTPP use the example of “Margaret” who is a teacher that makes $75,000 per year. She will contribute $8,744.90 to her pension (obviously, reducing her take-home pay and perception of her income). However, the government will MATCH this contribution, meaning that, her compensation is $75,000.00 salary + $8,744.90 employer contribution to pension = $83,744.90.

      Or, Maclean’s could have simply been looking at this salary grid from the OCETF which shows an elementary school teacher with all the extra courses and 10 years of experience has a salary of $92,821:

      (Now factor in the employer pension contribution and total compensation is in the six figures.)

      @disqus_HakCkJPBp0:disqus Either way, I wouldn’t say this is “an evident case of careless and shoddy reporting and research” followed by the statement “I personally know that I do not…”. Since you’re a teacher, I’m assuming you understand that careful and accurate reporting isn’t based on a sample size of 1.

      • Getting back to my point about pensions, teachers may feel less affluent throughout their careers while they’re starting out at the bottom of the grid or making those big pension contributions (and the government or school board is, quite incredibly, matching them), but they should realize that they’re a part of Canada’s elite when they retire and notice that they’re about 18 years younger than the average Walmart greeter.

      • Thanks for your input. Maybe, as you mentioned, the numbers come from salary + benefits, but then, if so, it should have been clearly mentioned. Regarding the retirement age… I do not know where you take your numbers but, teachers who want to access the top salary quicker must go to school… and therefore can not start teaching at 18 or so. Maybe teachers who retired in the 80s could do it 18 years earlier than the average Walmart greeter- not sure the comparison is appropriate though- and after only 16 years of studies which led them to retire early. Today’s reality has changed quite a lot. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see teachers with 20-23- even 23 years of studies which leads them to start working at around 26-27-28 years old, those people can certainly not retire as early as you mentioned, but a lot decide to retire earlier simply because they are exhausted. High school and primary school teaching are fantastic careers but not many can do it after 58-60.
        One last point; when we talk about salary, teachers might complaint- as many others do- but please do not underestimate us! We know the difference between “perception” and actual wage. :-)

        • Alberta teacher’s make about $15 000 to $20 000 more then BC teachers. So if pensions and benefits were being included, their average for Alberta should be $110 000 or higher. Nope, just massively wrong numbers being used by Maclean’s

    • $72,000 + $17,117 = $89,117
      You’re welcome

      • Thans for the link. It is really too simple to multiply the hourly salary by let’s say 40 and then get the annual income. Teachers do not teach 40 hours per week but still work full time (even more!) because of course preparation, correction etc. The best way to have the exact and accurate numbers would have been to go to the links we shared here, individual provincial teachers union grids, so you would have had the numbers. Even if the numbers you took come from a Canadian governmental site, the way you interpreted them is obviously wrong. We certainly do not earn, in Montreal, even with the top education and experience, something like 89k yearly.

    • Ontario teachers push up the average. Ontario is the most populous province after all.

    • This is the kind of gossip that gets all the not knows going and they believe it lol

  2. Wow, honest mistake or careless? How was the data for teacher’s salaries collected? Not from the easily accessible teacher’s collective agreements. The Toronto number is close but all the rest are wrong. How was the top 10 percent calculated and why specify elementary teachers? In every school district all elementary and secondary school teachers are paid the same.

  3. banks leaching the country to death :(

  4. Although Maclean’s claims to have “delved into public documents, scoured industry databases and sifted through reams of union agreements” in fact all they did was go to a website called working in Canada, whose numbers are out to lunch. I know all they had to do for BC was google “teacher salary grids” and one of the first links they get is the Employers association (BCPSEA) site with PDFs of every salary grid in the province. This would have shown them their source was off by about 20%. Not enough effort Maclean’s

  5. Wow! What a completely misleading and useless article!
    How many of Canada’s working population are doctors,lawyers,big-city mayors,movie stars,top athletes or Justin Biebers?
    If this article was at all relevant to any average Canadian,it would compare wages made by office workers,tradespersons,salespersons,factory workers and so on,
    As it is written it only offers a view(and a hotly contested one) of some very exclusive positions.

  6. How can I know how I measure up when you only include exceptional kinds of work, and remove as hopelessly inaccurate the only position (school teacher) that most citizens could compare themselves with? What about bus driver and truck driver, plumber and pastor, secretary and shop floor manager?

  7. Why the focus on teacher salary? Bottom left hand corner, mostly covered by the address label is listed bank CEO salary $12,600,000.
    Are you kidding me! This is the guy outsourseing Canadian jobs to India and replacing Canadian bank tellers with the foreign worker program.
    Doesn’t anyone have a problem with this guys compensation?

  8. It would be a more creditable article if the salaries were after tax and professional
    expenses. Remember Alberta does not have sales tax but Alberta income tax is considerable higher. So the article is not apples to apples.

  9. There was a time when the Public Service was a calling. We now know what that calling is. Martini’s for lunch and white stuff for dessert. Mad as h*ll. But we must “draw a red-line” at Oklahoma city. Because between the anarchy of Capitalism and the fascism of Socialism doesn’t leave much room for anything else

  10. Salaries should be based on performance. You can’t tell me in this day and age that we can’t measure the productivity of a politician versus salary earned . We seem to have all sorts of number and percentages associated with stock markets, goods, statistics why the mystery ? maybe we might or the powers that be , be afraid of what it would show. o_0

  11. It would be good to know starting salaries and/or how long one must work to attain the various salaries, and if there are any benefits …

  12. No list for draftsmen?

  13. I wanted to be an Air Canada pilot, but now that I know their top salary is only $187,000, I think I can make more driving a taxi in Toronto, and it won’t cost me $100,000 for school.

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