Salaries will barely keep up with inflation

By Andrew Rickard | October 27 2016 01:30PM

Base pay for non-unionized Canadian workers is only expected to increase by about 2% next year.

Earlier this week the Government of Canada and the Bank of Canada announced that they had agreed to renew the inflation target at 2%, the mid-point in a 1% to 3% control range. Yesterday, the Conference Board of Canada released its annual Compensation Planning Outlook, and it projects average base pay increases of 2.2% for non-unionized employees in 2017. Wages will be frozen for about half (48%) of those in the oil and gas sector, and people in this line of work who do get a raise will only receive a modest increase of 1.1%.

"The economic growth we saw in the first quarter of 2016 quickly tapered off and the energy sector has been hit particularly hard. While conditions are expected to improve, Canadian organizations are being cautious and opting for another year of modest wage increases," says Allison Cowan, Director of the Compensation Research Centre at The Conference Board of Canada.

Largest pay increase for the high tech industries

People who work in the high tech industries will see the largest pay increase of 2.8%, followed closely by workers in the food, beverage, and tobacco industry and the finance, insurance, and real estate industry, both at 2.7%.

"Regionally, workers in Manitoba are expected to have the highest pay raises with an average projected increase of 2.7%," reads the report. "In Quebec and British Columbia, workers can expect salary gains at 2.5%, and those in Ontario and Saskatchewan at 2.4%. In the Atlantic provinces, the projected increases are low at just 1.9%."