It pays to be a Canadian miner: a Costmine analysis shows big salary gains for electricians
The mining industry in Canada continues to be an integral part of the country’s economy, which according to the Mining Association of Canada, generated over $109 billion in revenue in 2019, and employed over 700,000 people.
For this article, Costmine compared wages and benefits for Canadian mines that responded to our surveys from 2011-2020. Below is the average hourly base wage for selected titles. These job classifications are common at surface mines and show the general upward trend.
Electricians at surface mines showed the biggest overall average increase for base wages from $33.39 per hour in 2011 to $42.82 per hour last year. Statistics Canada reported a nation average wage of $29.18 in 2020, clearly making mining a well-paid industry. Mechanics and haul truck operators also showed steady gains. When compared to the minimum wages across Canada, even the lowest paid mine labourers received 58% to 87% more in base wages.
But these average base wages aren’t the whole picture. Benefit packages also add up. Mines in Canada are required to pay for unemployment and workers’ compensation insurance and all of the mines in our recent surveys offered vacation, sick leave, life insurance, disability insurance, and most offered supplemental retirement plans in addition to the mandated Canada Pension Plan.
Bonus plans are also an important part of the compensation packages for most successful North American mines, and Canadian mines are no exception. In 2020, 45 of the 69 Canadian mines responding to our survey reported including bonus plans in their compensation packages. When Costmine began tracking this information in 1990, considerably less than half the surveyed mines offered some type of bonus plan. These plans can easily increase a miner’s pay by 10 to 15% and in some cases, considerably more. Some of these plans are very sophisticated, offering bonuses for meeting or achieving individual, group or corporate goals in safety, productivity, cost savings, environmental protection, profit, and other matters of importance to the success of the operation, such as commodity prices. The more innovative plans contain mechanisms to encourage continued improvement, beyond meeting previously established goals.
Despite the temporary shutdown of several mines during the Covid-19 pandemic, the initial response from our 2021 survey indicates that, once again, Canadian miners will benefit from a better than cost-of-living increase of 2-3%.
Since 1990, Costmine has been surveying operating Canadian mines for the latest in mining wages and benefits. For more information or to purchase these studies, please contact Costmine +1 (509) 328-8023 or