Justin Bieber $55 MILLION

For Bieber, life as a 19-year-old superstar has been one scandal after another—from throwing up onstage to spritzing Bill Clinton’s photo with bleach and peeing in a mop bucket on YouTube. But while his image has taken a beating, the Bieber road show just keeps rolling along, and it doesn’t look like the former child busker from Stratford, Ont., will need to pass the hat anytime soon. Bieber’s annual haul, calculated by Forbes from concert tours, record royalties and endorsements, puts him just behind American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. The Biebs may play the rebel without a cause on the road, but under the management of Schoolboy Records mogul Scooter Braun, Bieber Inc. is maturing into a multi-platform industry, complete with a line of branded Bieber fragrances, which include Girlfriend, Someday and Key. And the Bieb’s inflationary ego is more than keeping pace with his income. That sweet Canadian kid, now suddenly a spoiled brat, cried sour grapes when he was shut out of the Grammys. And when his behavioural implosion was compared to that of an infamously damaged young actress, he lashed out with an especially mean-spirited display of schadenfreude (look it up, Justin)—“to those comparing me to Lindsay Lohan, look at her 2012 tax statements.” Modesty, it seems, is one asset that no amount of rock-star success can buy.

Brian D. Johnson

Carly Rae Jepsen $2 million

Michael Bublé $37 million


Toronto native Coco Rocha, 24, got her first big break when she landed the cover of Italian Vogue in 2006. She’s since walked the runway for Marc Jacobs and Jean Paul Gaultier, among many other top designers, and has starred in campaigns for Versace, Yves Saint Laurent and Dolce & Gabbana. Currently, the Canadian supermodel is a judge on Oxygen network’s modelling reality show The Face.

More typical pay for models


One of Sutherland Models’ 16-year-old clients recently planned to spend time on the beach near Collingwood, Ont.—until she got a call to do a Christian Dior show in Monaco. The rising star earned $13,000 and snagged an invite to a party at Prince Albert II’s palace. “As a model, you can earn nothing or you can make a lot of money,” says Carole Reynolds, director of the agency. Sutherland, which launched the career of supermodel Shalom Harlow, signs girls who work locally in Toronto, in department-store catalogues and commercials, as well as runway models on the New York-Paris-Milan circuit. Domestic models can make $30,000 to $90,000, while a high-fashion model might make $25,000 in one day. The big money is in cosmetic contracts; a Cover Girl or Chanel campaign can fetch $100,000.


Stratford festival

Stage manager: $1,556/week

Actor in a production: $1,127.67/week

Director: $20,700

Choreographers: $10,581

Note: Figures are minimums

Cirque du Soleil acrobat, contortionist or trapeze artist

$40,000 to $70,000

Cirque du Soleil CEO Guy Laliberté

$1.5 million

Rental Santa

$3,000 to $10,000/season

When event planner Rozmin Watson struggled to find a Santa Claus a few years ago, she launched Hire A Santa. Watson represents 70 St. Nicks, and is always looking for more talent. If she sees someone suitably jolly, she hands out a card that says: “You’ve been spotted as Santa,” though one man she approached said, “I’m not interested. I hate kids.” Shopping centre rates vary from $15 to $100 per hour; corporate events pay as much as $500 per hour. Some men earn as much in the six-week Christmas season as they do the rest of the year. Calgary Santas earn the most, though Toronto Santas are the highest-maintenance. “They all think they are prima donnas. They want everything ready for them when they get there.”



In Toronto, next door to comedian Russell Peters’s hometown of Brampton, Ont., one in every two people is a visible minority. While most Canadians embrace multiculturalism, Peters mocks it relentlessly. In 2004, his Comedy Now! performance went viral; the line “Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad,” (Peters’s imitation of his dad about to beat him) is now synonymous with his name. Nine years later, Peters has sold out shows at Air Canada Centre, hosted the Junos and performed with comedy legends. Forbes has named him to its list of 10 top-earning comedians at $10 million. In reality, after taxes and production costs he takes home $3 million. “The biggest mistake you can make in this business is to look at your gross income and think it’s all yours to keep. Entertainers [get] in trouble for taxes every day.” His comedy empire has many moving parts—tours, DVDs, movie appearances, merchandise—but his bread and butter, and his passion for that matter, is performing in front of a live audience. “As a comic, you have to perform. It’s a calling.”


Travis Dudfield, Vancouver stand-up comic

Earnings to date: $50

Dudfield, a 32-year-old from Vancouver, has been performing stand-up for slightly more than a year, doing three to four shows a week at local clubs including Yuk Yuk’s, the Comedy Mix and Laff Lines. “I always buy drinks or food, so it ends up costing me money to be a comedian,” he says. To pay the bills, Dudfield also holds down a job as a digital-media consultant.

Reality-TV director


To Shannon Nering, the idea reality TV is staged or fake is outrageous. The trick is to cast people who naturally stir up drama, says the producer and director, who has worked on the Real Housewives of Vancouver, The Bachelor Canada and Dr. Phil, among other shows. “There’s got to be one person in your life who surprises you. They’re larger than life, they speak their mind, they’re confident in what they have to say—that’s the personality type that makes really good TV.” Born in Medicine Hat, Alta., Nering was as a TV journalist before hosting a lifestyles series in Los Angeles. Now in Vancouver, she’s written Reality Jane, a fictional account set behind the scenes of reality TV, and is working on a handful of other projects. Although she hears critics gripe she works in a “superficial” field, Nering sees reality TV as a mirror for society. “It has revealed to me human nature in such a raw form—what people do when they’re pushed.”


U.K. poet laureate

$9,000 + a cask of sherry

U.S. poet laureate


Canada’s poet laureate


These art gallery heads won’t starve

Ontario Art Gallery director and CEO Matthew Teitelbaum: $281,008

Vancouver Art Gallery director Kathleen Bartels: $250,000-$299,999

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts director Nathalie Bondil: $200,000-$249,999

National Gallery of Canada director Marc Mayer: $169,900-$199,900

What stars earn

The salary of an actor, unlike that of a ballplayer, is a bit of a mirage. Casting agents can tell you an actor’s “quote,” or asking price based on recent films, but it varies depending on the role and picture. Also, stars often take a salary cut in exchange for a piece of the film’s profit, or “back-end.” (In 1978, Donald Sutherland famously turned down 2.5 per cent of the profits from Animal House and instead opted for a slightly higher upfront fee of $50,000—the movie earned $140 million.) Canadian actors make a lot more on Hollywood movies than Canadian films. While Bruce Greenwood did well for his small but crucial role in Star Trek: Into Darkness, for a Canadian film, his fee might be one-tenth that. Gordon Pinsent keeps it simple with a flat day rate. Dan Aykroyd, who has an estimated net worth of $135 million, doesn’t offer a lower rate for small indie (i.e., Canadian) movies because he simply refuses to do them. “I will walk out the door for the paycheque I deserve and working with the superstars,” he told a reporter several years ago. “Why shouldn’t I get what is commensurate with what my market will bear today?” A movie star’s salary can be as voluble as the stock market. Jim Carrey once commanded $25 million a picture—not these days. Salaries also change when an actor steps behind the camera. As a child star and then adult actress, Sarah Polley earned millions. She has since semi-retired from acting to become an Oscar-nominated filmmaker. Top Canadian directors such as David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan and Denis Villeneuve earn up to $1 million per movie and Polley is in that league. But some movies can end up costing the filmmaker. Production of Polley’s acclaimed 2012 documentary memoir, Stories We Tell, stretched over five years, with a threadbare $1-million budget. Last year, she was busy raising a baby and finishing the documentary, so it’s likely her salary was not much higher than the $100,000 she received as winner of the 2012 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award for Stories We Tell.