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April 05, 2021

Is $100,000 still the salary it used to be?

What most Canadians know, and what Rebecca Black may no longer understand, is that $100,000 is a good amount of money.

Istockphoto_16140775-canadian-currency-need-some-cash Chances are, you don’t bring in a hundred grand each year, and that’s not a slight against you. That’s just what the numbers show.

So at a time when the average Canadian salary is $42,988, there’s an interesting discussion to be had when a new report shows more than 70,000 Ontario public workers now earn over $100,000 each year: how much is $100,000 nowadays, anyway?

That’s the basis for the argument defending the much-maligned “Sunshine List,” which details how many of Ontario’s public servants get paid more than $100,000 annually.

Supporters of the high public pay – the Sunshine List is up 11 per cent this year; 71,748 Ontario workers are now compensated over the $100,000 mark – are saying, $100,000 isn’t what it used to be. People are suggesting such a benchmark, according to 680 News, shouldn’t carry the big-money cachet it did in years past.

But shouldn’t it still? The year isn’t 1945 anymore, yet it’s not 2045, either. A hundred grand, by the numbers, is still a whopping income for most people.

According to Stats Canada, on an average level across the country, it takes a family with two  earners to bring in $100,000 each year. Only in 2007 did the average Canadian family, one with children and both parents earning income, first make $100,000 annually. In 2008, the latest data available here, such a demographic earns $103,500 each year.

And that’s, again, with two people earning money. The average salary for “unattached individuals,” as classified by Stats Canada, was only $36,800 in 2008. Single-parent families earned $49,000 in Canada in 2008.

So as people like Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair earned $326,000 and Ontario Power Generation CEO Tom Mitchell brought home $1.34 million last year, it’s not that these people don’t work hard and aren’t worth the money – it’s just that it’s a bit tougher to swallow when taxpayers are footing the bill.

“I don’t disagree with those who look at very generous settlements at a time when people are losing their jobs, when other unions in the private sector are taking large concessions,” Ontario finance minister Dwight Duncan said. “It does irritate people.”

Do you think $100,000 is as much as it used to be, and are public workers paid too much, too little or just the right amount?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money

*Follow Jason on Twitter here.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...