OTTAWA: Canadian incomes grew at a real rate of 10.8 per cent between 2005 and 2015, modest gains that economists say were held back by the financial crisis, recession and more recent collapse in oil prices.
According to a Statistics Canada release based on census data, the Canadian median household income increased from the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $63,457 in 2005 to $70,336 in 2015. That’s real wage growth of a little more than one per cent per year. “That’s not a booming pace of income growth,” said Craig Alexander, senior vice president and chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada. The 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession were mostly to blame, Alexander said. “If we hadn’t had the recession, family income would be up significantly more.” Then, in 2014, the price of oil dropped dramatically, causing serious damage to the Canadian economy overall and Alberta in particular. Statistics Canada points out these income figures only capture the beginning of that economic shock. The devastation of the country’s manufacturing sector over the decade — during which employment in the sector dropped 22 per cent — also appears to have weighed significantly on wages.