Ontario Workers’ Wages Declining

Canadian wages fail to keep with inflation, with Ontario workers wallets being hit the hardest 

Empty pocket

Via stuart pilbrow,flickr

By Khristopher Reardon, Staff Writer 

The residents of Ontario have a little less cash to spend on Christmas shopping this year because they are earning less than they did a year ago, according to Statistics Canada.


Ontario workers seem to have taken a hit in the pocket book because wages are down by 1.3 per cent since September 2010, going from an average of $901.16 to $889.13 per week. The province has seen the biggest losses to average earnings this year out of the entire country which grew overall but failed to keep up with the cost of living. 

“Now we’re looking at falling real wages, we’re looking at increasing unemployment, increasing poverty,” NDP’s Peter Julian said to reporters. “It all adds up to a very toxic mix for Canadian families and what surprises me is that the government just seems to continue to look at it with rose-coloured glasses rather than taking action when Canadian families are struggling.” 

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty rebuffed the insinuation, defending the Conservative government’s track record of creating 600,000 more jobs since 2009, according to Toronto Star. But Julian contends that new jobs added since the recession are paying about $10,000 less than those which were lost back in 2008-2009. 

The majority of Canadians saw an increase in their weekly earnings, but at a paltry 1.1 percent, the smallest year-to-year increase since November 2009, it fails to keep with the cost of living, which has risen by 2.9 per cent. 


…the trend is cyclical and wages will probably bounce back once the job market bounces back. 


Mark Carney, Bank of Canada Governor, has said however that inflation will see a dip down to as low as 1 per cent by the middle of 2012 as prices for food and energy drop. 

“Wages are actually going down in real terms,” said CIBC World Markets deputy chief Benjamin Tal to The Gazette. “It’s a reflection of softer hiring in the public sector, a slower construction industry and even in the manufacturing sector, we’re seeing a shift from high-quality to low-quality jobs.”

“Add to that the fact that employment is slowing,” he said. 

The Statistics Canada release states that these losses are spread across several different service industries like finance, public administration, insurance and health care. 

However, Tal told The Gazette that the trend is cyclical and wages will probably bounce back once the job market bounces back. 

Economists have taken notice of this startling trend too. 

“The nominal wage gains, being as soft as they are, (have) created a condition where the average Canadian isn’t keeping up with the cost of filling their grocery carts, filling their cars and heating their homes,” said Derek Holt, senior economist for Scotia Bank, to Herald News. 

Growth for average earnings in the Statistics Canada release was seen mostly in Saskatchewan, rising 6.9 per cent from a year earlier, taking average weekly earnings to about $906.22. 

The largest gains in average weekly earnings were seen in construction, administrative and support services, and professional, scientific and technical services. 

Also, the average Canadian is still working about 33 hours per week, which is the same number as last year; it is up only 0.3 per cent from August to September.

ARB Team
Arbitrage Magazine
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