Average Income

Following are two tables showing 2015 tax filer data for the St. Catharines – Niagara Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), which does not include Grimsby and West Lincoln. The Median after-tax income for 2005 was $27,437 and for 2015 it was $28,521.  

Source: Statistics Canada – 2016 Census. Catalogue Number 98-400-X2016111.

The first table shows the per cent of 2015 taxfilers in various after-tax income groups.

Per Cent of 2015 Taxfilers in Income Groups

The second table shows the number of 2015 taxfilers in various after-tax income groups.

Number of 2015 Taxfilers in Income Groups

Cost of Living and Living Wage in Niagara

In 2016 and 2017, the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network gathered data to calculate Niagara Living Wage and Cost of Living levels. Both were calculated using nationally-validated methodologies.  In 2017 the Living Wage for Niagara region is $17.57/hour, up slightly from $17.47 for 2016. The conservatively-estimated Cost of Living for a family of four with two children in 2017 is $71,294, a $5,858.49 (9%) increase over the 2016 amount.  

Year Cost of Living level for family of four in Niagara with two children Niagara Living Wage (hourly rate)
2016 $65,435.51 $17.47
2017 $71,294.00 $17.57

Source:  Niagara Poverty Reduction Network
Retrieved from: Cost of Living reports: http://www.niagaraknowledgeexchange.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2017/07/Calculating-the-Cost-of-Living-in-Niagara-Region-2017-Brief-FINAL.pdf and http://www.niagaraknowledgeexchange.com/resources-publications/calculating-the-cost-of-living-in-niagara-region-2016/

Living Wage reports: http://www.niagaraknowledgeexchange.com/resources-publications/calculating-the-living-wage-for-niagara-region-2017/ and http://www.niagaraknowledgeexchange.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/04/8ea78d_b1d964379aec4b5abfb899884c7b268a.pdf

Employment and Unemployment Rate

The 2016 unemployment rate for the St. Catharines – Niagara Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) was 7.1%, down 0.6% from the rate for 2014. These figures are down significantly from a recession-period peak of 11% in January, 2009.

St. Catharines Niagara Census

Niagara’s unemployment rate in July, 2017 was slightly higher than for Ontario (6.3%) and Canada (6.5%), lower than the rate for Toronto (6.9%), and higher than the rates for Guelph (4.5%), Hamilton (5.4%), and Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge (4.8%).

Geographic Region Unemployment Rate – July, 2017
St. Catharines – Niagara CMA 6.6%
Guelph CMA 4.5%
Hamilton CMA 5.4%
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo CMA 4.8%
Toronto CMA 6.9%
Ontario 6.3%
Canada 6.5%

Source: Statistics Canada
Retrieved From: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/71-607-x/71-607-x2017001-eng.htm

Ontario Works (OW) Caseloads in Niagara

An April, 2017 Niagara Region report showed that numbers of people in Niagara on Ontario Works (OW) support are showing early signs of stabilizing, compared to post-2008 recession levels. The 2016 year-end OW caseload average was 10,826 people. The May 2017 number was 10,650.

Source: Niagara Region Social Assistance and Employment Opportunities (SAEO) report to April 18, 2017 Niagara Region Public Health and Social Services Committee
Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/embed/-1IdCr7hlEE?rel=0&autoplay=1

Precarious Employment

In 2017, research is underway to describe precarious employment, and its impacts on workers, in Niagara context. The year-long study will determine how many Niagara residents are working precariously, and delve into social and emotional impacts. The research is being conducted by Brock University’s Social Justice Research Institute and the United Way of Niagara Falls and Greater Fort Erie, with funding support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Follow research developments at www.pepniagara.ca

This study is modeled after 2012 research summarized in the 2013 report, It’s More than Poverty: Employment Precarity and Household Wellbeing, conducted through a partnership between United Way Toronto, McMaster University, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council/Community-University Research Alliances project on Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario.  The 2015 report, The Precarity Penalty summarizes follow-up research, and offers recommendations for building sustainable employment relationships that will reduce the depth and prevalence of precarious employment, and minimize its negative effects on households and communities.  

Source: Getting Hard Data in Niagara on the Hard Truth of Employment Uncertainty, Niagara Community Blog, Niagara Knowledge Exchange
Retrieved from:  http://www.niagaraknowledgeexchange.com/community-blog/getting-hard-data-in-niagara-on-the-hard-truth-of-employment-uncertainty/

Source:  Poverty & Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario, McMaster University Social Sciences and United Way Toronto, The Precarity Penalty
Retrieved from:  http://www.niagaraknowledgeexchange.com/resources-publications/the-precarity-penalty-the-impact-of-employment-precarity-on-individuals-households-and-communities/

Employment Sectors in Niagara

In 2015, 20.8% of Niagara’s jobs were found in the goods-producing sector (agriculture, utilities, resource extraction, manufacturing, construction). Niagara’s 3 largest industries were wholesale and retail trade; accommodation and foodservice; and health care and social assistance. Combined, these 3 represent 40.9% of all jobs in Niagara.

Source: Niagara Workforce Planning Board
Retrieved from:  http://www.niagaraknowledgeexchange.com/resources-publications/local-labour-market-planning-report-2016/

Niagara Region Economic Development provides the following “Niagara Facts”:

Total employer businesses (2016):  12,448

Top 5 sectors by employment (2016): 

  • Retail trade (27,035 jobs)
  • Accommodation and food services (23,350 jobs)
  • Health care and social services (23,080 jobs) 
  • Manufacturing (17,170 jobs) 
  • Construction (14,850 jobs)  

Top 5 sectors by employment growth rate (2011 to 2016):

  • Professional, scientific and technical services (22.0%)
  • Real estate, rental and leasing (16.1%)
  • Accommodation and food services (7%)
  • Transportation and Warehousing (6.9%)
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation (5.3%)

Source:  Niagara Region Economic Development
Retrieved From: http://www.niagaracanada.com/Ecdev/Niagara

Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Awards organizers state that over 93% of businesses in Niagara are Small to Medium-Size Enterprises (SME’s), with fewer than 50 employees.  Globally, SME’s are known to be an important driver of job creation.   

Source:  Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Awards
Retrieved From: http://niagaraentrepreneur.com/about/niagara/

Time Spent Working and Commuting to Work

The 2016 Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) National Report show that between 1994 and 2014, the average daily commute time for Canadians with paid employment increased from 42.6 minutes to almost 1 hour. This upward trend continues, leaving employees with less time for balancing time for family, friends and quality sleep.

The percentage of Canadians in the labour force who are working more than 50 hours per week has dropped steadily in the past 20 years, measuring 8.7% in 2014.  The percentage of Canadians working for pay with flexible hours continues to increase, rising from 35.8% in 1994 to 43.2% in 2010, providing employees with a greater sense of control over how they use their time.

The 2016 CIW report shows that between 1994 and 2014, there was an 8% reduction in the number of people in Canada’s labour force that had regular, daytime, Monday to Friday work hours; the number went from 74.5% to 66.5%, with rotating schedules affecting synchronization of daily routines, access to services, and time for family and community-based activities. Both men and women have been equally affected by these changes.  Working Canadians in households with the lowest annual incomes are much less likely to have regular weekday work hours (60.4%).

Since the 2008 recession, more Canadians – especially women – are working part-time because more secure, full-time employment is not available.  The CIW report shows that numbers of Canadians in the labour force working less than 30 hours a week – not by choice – has increased significantly since 2008.  Before the recession, the number of such workers had been falling steadily since 1997; since 2008 they have risen steeply (13.1%) and have remained there.

Source: How Are Canadians Really Doing? The 2016 CIW Report (Canadian Index of Wellbeing)
Retrieved From:  https://uwaterloo.ca/canadian-index-wellbeing/reports/2016-canadian-index-wellbeing-national-report

Youth Employment and Unemployment Rates

St. Catharines Niagara Census Age 15 to 24

Indigenous Employment in Niagara

The Niagara Regional Native Centre (NRNC) published “Hanyoh: Community Snapshot Employment & Education” in March 2016. This report contains information and local survey results about urban Indigenous employment in Niagara, educational attainment, demographic information (including age, sex, marital status, housing type, heritage/lineage, and municipality), and access to transportation. It also contains advice for both employers seeking to hire and retain Indigenous employees, and Indigenous job-seekers.

Regarding access to transportation, 51.1% of respondents have a valid driver’s license while 48.9% do not. 42.9% have a personal vehicle, while 57.1% do not. 64.7% have reliable transportation to get to work, while 35.3% do not.

Regarding levels of education and access to training, 75.3% of respondents have completed high school, 40% have completed college, 14.3% have completed university, 7.1% have accomplished general education diploma, 4.7% have completed trades training, and 7.1% identify other. 55.2% of respondents are currently seeking training to further their education.

Based upon the sampling from the survey conducted by NRNC, the urban Indigenous employment demographic in the Niagara region is as follows:

Employment Status Urban Aboriginal Niagara

Source: Hanyoh: Community Snapshot Employment & Education. Niagara Regional Native Centre. March 2016.
Retrieved from: http://www.niagaraknowledgeexchange.com/resources-publications/hanyoh-community-snapshot/

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