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Earnings and Incomes of Canadians Over the Past Quarter Century, 2006 Census: Earnings

Occupations: Substantial increase in earnings in oil and gas and resource areas since 2000

Between 2000 and 2005, individual earnings increased substantially in some occupations, such as those in oil and gas and other resources in the wake of the natural resource boom in western Canada. In contrast, blue-collar workers in manufacturing and clerical workers experienced slower growth.

As the price of oil, gas and other resources soared, Canadians employed on a full-time full-year basis as managers in primary production (except agriculture) had median earnings of $97,227 in 2005, up 33.3% from 2000. This was the fastest increase in median earnings of all occupations.1

Median earnings for supervisors in mining, oil and gas increased 17.5% while those of mine service workers and operators in oil and gas drilling grew 15.8%.

The median earnings of pharmacists, dietitians and nutritionists increased 26.7%. Judges, lawyers and Quebec notaries had a gain of 17.6%.

Table 4
Median earnings, in 2005 constant dollars, and employment in selected occupations of full-time full-year earners, Canada, 2000 and 2005

Gains were less pronounced and sometimes negative among blue-collar workers. This was especially true in the manufacturing sector, which suffered a substantial decline in employment after 2004 in the wake of the rapidly rising Canadian dollar and shifts in production from Canada to other countries.

For example, median earnings of mechanical, electrical and electronics assemblers employed on a full-time full-year basis rose 5.2%, to $43,048 between 2000 and 2005. Machine operators and related workers in pulp and paper production and wood processing had a gain of 3.1%.

In contrast, median earnings for the 134,020 full-time full-year labourers in processing, manufacturing and utilities fell 4.0%, to $31,538, while those of machine operators and related workers in fabric, fur and leather products manufacturing dropped by 7.3%, to $20,318.

Even though some of their jobs might have faced downward wage pressures due to recent growth in the foreign outsourcing of services, clerical workers employed full time full year did not experience substantial declines in earnings between 2000 and 2005. Earnings for finance and insurance clerks rose 3.1%, to $34,688. On the other hand, people who worked as office equipment operators (that is, data entry clerks, telephone operators and desktop publishing operators and related occupations) saw their median earnings fall by 2.7%, to $31,698.

Table 5
Median earnings, in 2005 constant dollars, and employment in selected blue-collar occupations and clerical occupations of full-time full-year earners, Canada, 2000 and 2005

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