Top 10 Highest-Paying Jobs in Canada

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There are many reasons to consider moving to Canada: low crime rates, a highly stable banking system and one of the world’s best education systems. It also happens to be the birthplace of Céline Dion who, as we all know, is God – but I digress.

If you do decide to start over in the Great White North, whether it’s a decision influenced by the ‘My Heart Will Go On’ singer or not, one of the first things you’ll need to arrange is a job – preferably, a well-paid job. Luckily for you, we’ve put together the 10 highest paying jobs in Canada to give you a few ideas of the various options available to you.

10. Senior managers (financial, communications and other business services)

What they do: Senior managers who work in the financial, communications and other business services are usually appointed to the role by a board of directors. They’re tasked with developing and establishing company objectives, as well as developing or approving policies and programmes.

What they earn: The average annual salary for senior managers in this area is $102,003 (£58,616). However, with experience – and often depending on the company they work for – there’s more money to be made. In fact, well-paid managers rake in as much as $159,993 (£91,940) annually.

How to become one: A university degree in business administration, commerce, computer science or a related field is a must. You also need previous experience in a middle management role.

9. Computer and information systems managers

What they do: Computer and information systems managers determine the technological needs of their company and work to meet those needs by implementing computer hardware, software and programs. These professionals are in high demand with 30,300 jobs expected to open between 2015 and 2024.

What they earn: The IT industry is one of the most lucrative in Canada (and the world, in general), with computer and information systems managers raking in the highest salaries. On average, they earn about $103,001 (£59,190) a year and, with experience, $128,003 (£73,549)

How to become one: Generally speaking, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in a subject like computer science, business administration, commerce or engineering. Previous experience in systems analysis, data administration, software engineering, network design or computer programming is a huge plus.

8. University professors and lecturers

What they do: University professors and lecturers teach one or more university subjects to undergraduate and graduate students. They also carry out research in their related fields and often publish their findings in scholarly journals or books.

What they earn: Canada offers the best faculty pay among 28 countries, according to a 2012 analysis. On average, university professors and lecturers earn about $104,000 (£59,757) a year but can fetch up to as much as $138,673 (£79,680).

How to become one: For university professors, a bachelor’s degree in their chosen field is enough to enter the profession. Lecturers, however, also need to complete a relevant master’s course. Meanwhile, depending on your chosen field, you may also be required to become licensed or certified.

7. Pharmacists

What they do: Pharmacists dispense and distribute medicine according to legal and ethical guidelines. They review and interpret physicians’ orders, detect therapeutic incompatibilities, advise interventions and monitor drug therapies. They are generally employed in pharmaceutical companies or government departments and agencies.

What they earn: Pharmacists in the Great White North earn about $105,562 (£60,655) yearly. Even starting salaries can be generous at $56,231 (£32,308). However, the best paying salaries average $146,011 (£83,891).

How to become one: Your first step toward becoming a pharmacist is gaining a BSc degree in pharmacy. You then need to undergo practical training and also become licensed in order to practice the profession.

6. Senior managers (construction, transportation, production and utilities)

What they do: Senior managers in construction, transportation, production and utilities are responsible for the overall operations of construction, transportation, goods production and utility companies. They may specialise in areas such as finance, marketing or HR.

What they earn: The highest paying senior management roles are found in construction, transportation, production and utility companies who pay an average $109,990 (£63,195) a year. With experience, the salary can increase to $174,990 (£100,542).

How to become one: You’ll firstly need a university degree or college diploma in engineering, business administration, commerce or another related field, plus several years’ experience as a middle manager in order to be considered for a senior management role.

5. Public administration managers (other)

What they do: Managers in public administration are tasked with planning, organising, implementing and evaluating the development of policies and programmes which govern the daily operations of legislatures and governmental functions.

What they earn: Even the starting salary for public administration managers is generous, at $74,672 (£42,901). The median wage is $116,812 (£67,111) while high earners can make $148,574 (£85,359).

How to become one: You’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a social science discipline, law or business administration to enter this profession. Moreover, several years’ experience in a social science, law or business administration role is expected, though experience in government policy development, research or programme administration is typically preferred.

4. Lawyers and Quebec notaries

What they do: Lawyers and Quebec notaries are legal professionals who advise clients on legal matters. Unlike lawyers, notaries cannot represent their clients in court on contested cases, and they often act as mediators. Lawyers, on the other hand, also plead cases, represent clients before tribunals and conduct prosecutions in courts of law.

What they earn: The median wage for lawyers and Quebec notaries averages $118,642 (£68,161) a year. With experience, they can start earning about $216,796 (£124,553) or more.

How to become one: For lawyers, a relevant bachelor’s degree from a recognised law school is essential. You then need to pass the bar exams, complete a period of articling and become licensed. For Quebec notaries, a master’s degree in notarial law is usually required along with registration with the Corporation of Notaries.

3. General practitioners and family physicians

What they do: General practitioners and family physicians are doctors who treat acute and chronic illnesses and provide preventive care and health education to their patients. They usually work in private practices, hospitals and clinics.

What they earn: GPs are paid an average $125,955 (£72,363) annually, though this figure can rise to $263,045 (£151,132) or, in Saskatchewan, $335,266 (£192,626).

How to become one: Entering this profession requires a relevant bachelor’s degree – or, in Quebec, the completion of a college programme and one year of pre-medicine university studies. This is followed by medical school and then two to three years of family medicine residency training. Finally, you need to pass the qualifying exams of the Medical Council of Canada, as well as become licensed by the relevant provincial or territorial authority.

2. Specialist physicians

What they do: Specialist physicians are doctors who are trained and certified in a specific area like anaesthesiology, cardiology, neurosurgery, plastic surgery and psychiatry. They diagnose and treat diseases and psychological or psychiatric disorders in their areas, and act as consultants to other physicians.

What they earn: Physicians in Canada are the highest paid in the world. On average, they earn $141,307 (£81,187) a year, but can rake in as much $305,357 (£175,442) a year. Meanwhile, physicians in Newfoundland and Labrador are the highest paid in the country, earning a staggering $598,690 (£343,975) annually.

How to become one: You’ll first need a relevant bachelor’s degree or previous secondary education in order to be accepted into medical school, though entry requirements vary from institution to institution. Once completing medical school (programmes typically last four years), you will need to complete your residency training which, depending on your chosen specialty, can last anywhere between two and six years.

1. Judges

What they do: Judges preside over court proceedings. They interpret and enforce the law, assess the evidence presented and act as a referee between the litigating parties. Most important of all, they act as impartial decision-makers in legal disputes.

What they earn: Judges’ annual salary averages $244,316 (£140,371), making them the highest paid professionals in Canada. The highest reported salary for this profession is $297,273 (£170,797), while judges in Manitoba can command as much as $303,430 (£174,333) a year.

How to become one: Extensive previous experience as a lawyer or as a professor of law is essential, as is a minimum of 10 years’ membership with a provincial or territorial law society or bar association before you even think about applying. Once you meet the initial criteria, you then need to submit 14 (yes, fourteen) copies of your Judicial Candidate Application Form to the Judges Appointment Advisory Committee, and undergo a series of reference checks, confidential enquiries and interviews.

It probably didn’t quite shock you that physicians and lawyers are among the highest paid professionals in Canada, but did any of the other eight jobs on the list surprise you?

A better question, meanwhile, would be: is your dream job on the list and is the salary it offers enough to sway your decision to moving to Canada? Join the conversation below and let us know!


Salary information is based on official data compiled and published by the Government of Canada. Hourly wages were multiplied by 2,080 (the number of hours in 52 workweeks of 40 hours) to calculate annual salaries. The figures and information shown are applicable for Ottawa, Ontario only, unless otherwise specified. Canadian dollar – Pound sterling conversions are based on rates provided by XE on 25 May 2017.

This article was originally published in February 2015.