The Highest Paying Trades in Canada in 2023

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Last updated January 27, 2023

Earning a living working with your hands, solving problems on the fly, and being the only person on-site who can fix things are some of the most rewarding jobs you can have. Now, as more people opt for a career behind a desk, the demand for skilled tradespeople has skyrocketed, as have their salaries and potential for growth. The trades have rebounded from the initial pandemic fallout, with two per cent more people currently employed than were prior to March 2020.

Using current salary data from Indeed.com, CourseCompare has compiled a list of the top 20 highest paying skilled trades in Canada (last updated in January 2023).

You can also consult Statistics Canada and Canada Job Bank for historical salary figures and salary growth rates.

Skilled TradeAverage Base Salary
Senior Electrician$91,258
Senior Plumber$90,700
Plumber / Steamfitter$90,109
Industrial Electrician$85,115
Refrigeration Technician$84,530
Industrial Mechanic (Millwright)$84,489
HVAC Installer$83,766
Fabricator / Welder$81,867
Senior Welder$80,802
Mechanic$80,329
Service Technician$80,041
Carpenter Foreman$79,195
Senior HVAC Technician$78,863
Truck Driver$77,064
Plumber / Pipefitter$75,160
Electrician$74,067
Carpenter$73,762
Automotive Technician$73,730
Heavy Equipment Operator$72,228
Plumber$68,847

If you want to pursue any of the lucrative careers outlined below, make sure to check out CourseCompare’s ranking of the best trade schools in Canada.

Senior Electrician – $91,258

Senior Electricians are responsible for overseeing and directing electrical work in large industrial, commercial, or residential settings. They typically have a good understanding of electrical principles and the capacity to plan, design, and install complex electrical systems. They also have an in-depth knowledge of relevant codes and regulations related to electrical work.

Senior Electricians are expected to have a high level of technical skills, and must be able to analyze and troubleshoot complex electrical systems. Additionally, they must be able to read and interpret blueprints and schematics, and be able to communicate effectively with other members of the team. As Senior Electricians are responsible for the safety of their team, they must have a good understanding of safety procedures and be able to identify and mitigate potential risks. As leaders, Senior Electricians must be able to guide and motivate their teams and ensure that all work is completed on time and to the highest standards.

In Canada, Electricians generally require trade certification and completion of a four- to five-year apprenticeship program. Canada Job Bank has an overview and directory of Electrician licensing requirements by province.

Explore electrician courses and apprenticeships.

Senior Plumber – $90,700

Senior Plumbers are responsible for supervising, training, and leading teams of Plumbers in large industrial, commercial, or residential settings. They must have a deep understanding of plumbing systems and the capacity to design, install, and repair complex systems. Additionally, they must be proficient in reading and interpreting blueprints and schematics, and be able to identify and troubleshoot problems in plumbing systems. Senior Plumbers should be familiar with relevant codes and regulations related to plumbing work, and be able to ensure that all work is done in compliance. They should have a good understanding of safety procedures, be able to identify and mitigate potential risks, and be able to communicate effectively with other members of the team. Finally, Senior Plumbers need to be able to motivate and guide their teams, and ensure that all work is completed on time and to the highest standards. Plumbers are in high demand due to the regular construction of new buildings and homes.

In Canada, Plumbers sometimes require trade certification and completion of a four- to five-year apprenticeship program, or a combination of over five years of work experience in the trade and some high school, college or industry courses. Canada Job Bank has an overview and directory of Plumber licensing requirements by province.

Explore plumbing courses and apprenticeships.

Plumber / Steamfitter – $90,109

Plumber Steamfitters are tradespeople who specialize in the installation and repair of piping systems that transport hot and cold water, steam, and other liquids. They are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing piping systems in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. Plumber Steamfitters must have an in-depth understanding of plumbing principles, as well as an understanding of relevant codes and regulations related to plumbing work. They must also be able to read and interpret blueprints and schematics, and be able to identify and troubleshoot problems in plumbing systems. In addition, Plumber Steamfitters should be familiar with safety procedures and be able to identify and mitigate potential risks.

Being a Plumber Steamfitter in Canada is a rewarding career that offers job security, competitive salaries, and the potential for high earnings.

Explore plumbing courses and apprenticeships.

Industrial Electrician – $85,115

Industrial Electricians are responsible for designing layouts, repairing and maintaining, inspecting, and installing electrical systems. They often have to squeeze themselves into tight spots to fit wiring together, as well as carry several tools with them such as pliers, screw drivers, wire strippers and pipe reamers.

These tradespeople also work with motors, generators, and power-distribution systems, which send electricity to different parts of a building. With an increase in green energy, even industrial batteries are maintained by Industrial Electricians. Some electric car manufacturers offer large batteries for home use that can charge cars and power other aspects of a home, if needed, but professional Electricians are required to get them installed in a garage.

Explore electrician courses and apprenticeships.

Refrigeration Technician (HVAC) – $84,530

A Refrigeration Technician is responsible for the installation, maintenance, and repair of commercial and residential refrigeration systems. This includes inspecting, testing, and calibrating the systems to ensure they are functioning correctly. With the proper training and certification, Refrigeration Technicians can work in a variety of settings, from food and beverage processing plants to industrial manufacturing facilities.

HVAC Technicians must possess a wide range of technical skills, such as knowledge of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, as well as the ability to install, maintain, and repair these systems. Additionally, HVAC Technicians must possess strong problem-solving and troubleshooting skills, and must be familiar with local codes and regulations. They must also be able to use a variety of tools, such as wrenches, saws, and pipe cutters, and must be able to work independently and as part of a team.

In Canada, Refrigeration and HVAC Technicians sometimes require trade certification and completion of a three- to five-year apprenticeship program, or a combination of over five years of work experience in the trade and some high school, college or industry courses. Canada Job Bank has an overview and directory of Refrigeration and HVAC Technician licensing requirements by province.

Explore HVAC courses and apprenticeships.

Industrial Mechanic (Millwright) – $84,489

Working on machine components such as cooling, hydraulics, fuelling, and lubrication, Millwrights essentially keep equipment moving. They’re experts in the use of lathes, milling machines, fabricating with punches, welding gear, and power threaders. They also assist engineers and construction managers to decide the best spot to put the machines required for a job.

Installation of compressed air, water and exhaust ducts, and all manners of pumps, turbines, presses, and gearboxes are just some of their additional responsibilities, which really does keep things in motion. From the name, you might wonder what the difference between a Millwright and a standard Industrial Mechanic is. Simply, Millwrights typically assemble and set up the machinery, while Industrial Mechanics take care of maintenance and repairs on those machines.

In Canada, Millwright trade certification is only required in Quebec. Canada Job Bank has an overview and directory of Millwright licensing requirements by province.

HVAC Installer – $83,766

An HVAC Installer in Canada is responsible for the installation, maintenance and repair of residential and commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Working as an HVAC Installer requires knowledge of a range of topics, including ductwork, electrical wiring, cooling and heating systems and energy efficiency. Installers must be able to understand blueprints, diagrams and technical documents, and be able to troubleshoot and repair any issues that arise with the systems they install. They must also be able to work with customers and other professionals, such as architects and engineers, to ensure that all HVAC needs are met. Working as an HVAC Installer in Canada provides job security and the potential for high earnings.

Explore HVAC courses and apprenticeships.

Fabricator / Welder – $81,867

A Fabricator Welder in Canada is responsible for fabricating, welding, and fitting metal components and structures. They must be able to read and understand blueprints, technical drawings, and specifications to determine the specific welding requirements for each job. Fabricator Welders should be knowledgeable in a variety of welding techniques and materials, including arc welding, MIG welding, TIG welding, and oxy-acetylene welding. Additionally, they must be able to use various tools and equipment, such as welders, cutters, and grinders. Fabricator Welders must be able to work safely and efficiently, and have the ability to work on their own or as part of a team. With the right training and experience, Fabricator Welders can work in a variety of settings, from construction sites to shipyards.

In Canada, Welder trade certification is only required in Alberta. Canada Job Bank has an overview and directory of Welder licensing requirements by province.

Explore welding courses and apprenticeships.

Senior Welder – $80,802

A Senior Welder is an experienced professional who specializes in welding and metal fabrication. They are responsible for ensuring accuracy and precision in the welding process, and for creating high-quality welds that meet safety and industry standards. Senior Welders oversee the entire welding process from start to finish, including cutting materials, prepping surfaces, operating welding equipment, and inspecting finished welds. They need to be very knowledgeable in all aspects of welding, including welding techniques, safety precautions, and the properties of different metals and alloys. Senior Welders must be able to work independently and efficiently, and must be able to maintain the highest levels of accuracy and quality.

Explore welding courses and apprenticeships.

Mechanic – $80,329, Automotive Technician – $73,730

An Automotive Mechanic is a skilled professional who repairs and maintains cars and other motor vehicles. They can diagnose and troubleshoot mechanical and electrical problems, perform routine servicing and maintenance, and replace and repair damaged parts. Automotive Mechanics must possess a thorough knowledge of vehicle components, systems, and procedures, and must be proficient in the use of diagnostic tools and equipment. They must also be able to read and understand service manuals and other technical documents, and be able to communicate effectively with customers and colleagues.

Commercial trucks, emergency vehicles and coach busses are all repaired and maintained by Truck and Transport Mechanics. That includes everything from the transmission, clutches, drive shaft, suspension, and steering to the electrical workings on the on-board computer and communication systems as well as standard wheel maintenance. Essentially, a truck and transport mechanic is required to understand how a big rig works and  how to fix it. These mechanics are also responsible for keeping the vehicle’s cabin in working and comfortable order for the driver.

A Heavy Equipment Mechanic is responsible for maintaining, troubleshooting, and repairing heavy machinery and equipment. These technicians work on some of the largest machinery on job sites, ensuring it’s safe for other operators. Wheels, tires, undercarriages of large vehicles, drive-shaft axles, structural elements, and more require their seal of approval before being used. They work in industries such as mining, construction, forestry, transportation, and material handling. The Mechanic must be able to identify and diagnose mechanical and electrical problems with the equipment, and perform repairs as necessary. The Mechanic must also be knowledgeable in safety procedures, and must be able to use hand tools, power tools, and diagnostic tools.

Canada Job Bank has an overview and directory of the varying Mechanic licensing requirements by province.

Explore auto mechanic and heavy equipment repair courses and apprenticeships.

Service Technician – $80,041

A Service Technician is responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining a variety of equipment and appliances. The technician must be able to diagnose and troubleshoot problems with the equipment, and must possess a working knowledge of industry standards and safety regulations. The technician must be able to use hand tools, power tools, and diagnostic tools, in addition to having excellent communication and customer service skills. Service Technicians must be able to accurately document maintenance activities and any repairs performed, as well as keep detailed records of all service and maintenance activities.

In Canada, appliance Service Technician trade certification is only required in Alberta. Canada Job Bank has an overview and directory of Service Technician licensing requirements by province.

Carpenter Foreman – $79,195

A Carpenter Foreman is responsible for leading and supervising a team of carpenters in the construction of a variety of projects. The Foreman must be able to read and interpret blueprints and plans, as well as plan and assign tasks to the team. They must also be able to identify and address any issues that may arise during the construction process. The must be knowledgeable in the proper use of power tools, hand tools, and other construction tools, in addition to having a strong understanding of safety protocols. The Foreman will have to maintain accurate records of project progress, materials used, and construction costs. The Foreman must also have excellent communication and organizational skills in order to effectively manage the team and ensure that projects are completed in a timely and efficient manner.

In Canada, Carpenter trade certification is only required in Quebec. Canada Job Bank has an overview and directory of Carpenter licensing requirements by province.

Explore carpentry courses and apprenticeships.

Senior HVAC Technician – $78,863

HVAC Technicians work on the machines that make the summer months bearable, in both commercial and residential settings. The work includes everything from the planning and layout stages to pipefitting and full on installation and repairs. In addition, they must maintain these systems to ensure they continue to operate properly. Commercial refrigeration and deep freezers, such as the ones in meat-packing plants and grocery stores are some of the more large-scale examples of refrigeration that this trade is involved with. Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics are required to work in various settings from industrial plants to install cooling systems, to standard homes with outdoor air-conditioning units.

Explore HVAC courses and apprenticeships.

Truck Driver – $77,064

A Truck Driver is responsible for safely operating a commercial vehicle to transport goods and materials from one location to another. The driver must be able to inspect and maintain their truck and ensure that all safety and maintenance measures are taken. The driver must also be able to read maps and use GPS navigation systems, in addition to possessing excellent communication, organizational, and customer service skills. The driver will need to accurately document their deliveries and any issues that arise during the course of their duties.

In Canada, truck drivers must possess a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a commercial vehicle. Depending on the type and size of the vehicle, drivers may need to possess additional endorsements or qualifications. For example, drivers of large trucks may need to possess a Class 1, 2, or 3 license, while drivers of smaller vehicles may need to possess a Class 4 or 5 license. Drivers who wish to transport hazardous materials must also possess an appropriate endorsement. Additionally, truck drivers must also possess a valid medical certificate, which must be renewed every 2-3 years. Lastly, truck drivers must also have valid motor vehicle insurance which meets the requirements of their province.

An AZ Truck License in Ontario is a special type of CDL that is required to operate a commercial vehicle in the province of Ontario. To obtain an AZ Truck License, applicants must pass a written and skills test, and must have a valid medical certificate. And for help, you can check out Canada’s best truck driving schools.

Canada Job Bank has an overview and directory of the varying Truck Driver licensing requirements by province.

Explore the AZ License (Ontario) or Class 1 License (outside of Ontario). 

Plumber / Pipefitter – $75,260

Pipefitters are responsible for the design, assembly, maintenance, and repair of pipes that carry water, steam, and other liquids or gasses. That means Pipefitters must be well versed in safety protocols, design systems, pipe assembly, heating and cooling systems as well as some elements of welding, rigging, and hoisting.

These systems could be implemented in furnaces thanks to the use of natural gas or propane. More specifically, at-home examples include fireplaces and barbecues that have gas lines connected to the house.

Safety is perhaps the most important aspect of being a steamfitter; it’s a dangerous trade because of the pressurized systems they work with.

Explore plumbing courses and apprenticeships.

Electrician – $74,067

An electrician is a tradesperson who specializes in installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical systems and equipment. They are responsible for wiring the electrical systems of buildings, setting up lighting and power outlets, and troubleshooting any electrical issues that may arise. Electricians are also responsible for testing electrical systems for safety and compliance with local codes and regulations. They may also install and repair electrical appliances, such as air conditioning units, refrigerators, and washing machines. Electricians often work as part of a team and may collaborate with other professionals, such as engineers and architects, to ensure that the project is completed safely and efficiently.

Explore electrician courses and apprenticeships.

Carpenter – $73,762

A carpenter is a tradesperson who specializes in constructing, erecting, and repairing structures made of wood and other materials. They are responsible for cutting, shaping, and joining wood and other materials to create structures such as houses, furniture, and other wooden products. Carpenters also install and repair windows, doors, and other fixtures, as well as lay flooring, install cabinets, and build stairs. In addition to working with wood, carpenters may also work with metal, plaster, and other materials. Carpenters may work independently or as part of a team, depending on the job.

Explore carpentry courses and apprenticeships.

Heavy Equipment Operator – $72,228

A Heavy Equipment Operator is a skilled tradesperson who specializes in operating and maintaining large construction equipment, such as bulldozers, cranes, and excavators. They are responsible for operating these machines to construct roads, buildings, and other large structures, as well as performing maintenance and repair work on the equipment. Heavy Equipment Operators must possess strong physical stamina and manual dexterity, as well as good problem-solving skills. They must be able to work independently and as part of a team, and must be able to follow safety regulations and standard operating procedures. Heavy Equipment Operators must have a strong knowledge of the construction industry, as well as local laws and regulations. They need to also be able to read and interpret blueprints and other technical documents.

In Canada, Heavy Equipment Operator trade certification is only required in Quebec. Canada Job Bank has an overview and directory of Heavy Equipment Operator licensing requirements by province.

Explore heavy equipment operator courses and apprenticeships.

Plumber – $68,847

Plumbers install, maintain, design, and repair pipes in commercial and residential buildings. They decide on efficient layouts for piping, where drains run, whether the drainage system will need work down the line and much more. Essentially, if a job deals with water and pipes, a Plumber is required to do it.

Even for operations where a Plumber is not designing the system, it’s imperative that they can understand the manufacturer’s instructions so that pre-designed systems are safe to use.

Explore plumbing courses and apprenticeships.

Trades are among the most important jobs in our society, as they help to keep us all moving, safe, housed, and comfortable. Those who undertake these tasks can make competitive wages and find fulfilling careers working with their hands.

Anyone starting a career, or looking for change, should consider a trade due to the high demand and potential for wage growth. As construction is booming, demand continues to grow.

Chris Arnold

Chris Arnold is a journalist whose diverse portfolio includes stories for websites and newspapers ranging from the nitty gritty of Toronto real estate to profiles of Canada’s Olympic athletes. He has written for the Postmedia chain, and regularly produces stories for special GTA sections of the Globe and Mail. As CourseCompare’s Community Manager, Chris is constantly engaging learners through social media to help them make informed decisions about their education, and move forward in their careers with confidence.

22 thoughts on “The Highest Paying Trades in Canada in 2023”

  1. I am a Ghanaian, living in Ghana (West Africa). An excavator and forklift operator and interested in traveling to live and work in Canada as soon as possible. Thanks for your help.

  2. I am slowly going crazy 1,2,3,4,5,6… switch! Thanks to CourseCompare I’m studying right now instead of playing video games and it’s driving me craaaaazy : )

    1. Deville – The occasional video game never hurt anyone, just saying. Also, you’ll thank us when you’re older : )

  3. YESSIR! Love that CourseCompare is advocating for skilled trades! Folks, there are lots of high-paying jobs out there for you. Please weigh your options before choosing another BA degree.

  4. We are currently looking to hire a Journeyman plumber for our company in British Columbia and are paying 80,000 to start so I’m not sure the rate above for plumbers is accurate (at least in BC)

    1. Thanks, Jenna. Yes, salaries for newly certified plumbers have definitely climbed since the federal government last released good comparative data on this. And average salaries for experienced plumbers will be even higher — $75,000 or more for tradespeople with just a few years’ work experience under their belt. Good luck with your hiring. We hope you find someone exceptional.

  5. Hey there! I’ve been reading your site for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the great job!

  6. This is incorrect elevator mechanics from the elevator TRADE aren’t on the list and they would be at the top of it…… research…

  7. This is cute… I am a Partsperson, working in an industrial warehouse. And I make more than all of the trades listed above.
    I think you need to do more research!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Colin. These salaries are based on what tradespeople earn in the year they are certified — they are not average salaries, which will be much higher.

  8. Thank you for your help, CourseCompare. The government should be investing in this website. This helped me a lot more than my high school guidance counsellor. I’m transferring out of uni into a skilled trade and am really excited to work with my hands.

  9. Thanks for your comment on trades as a viable option for career change. I will look into it.

  10. These salaries are much lower than reality. I’m a refrigeration mechanic in Ottawa. I made 125000$ . $15000 was overtime however. Going rate for commercial mechanic is $52-55$ per hour. This article won’t help recruite young talent

  11. Hi, I’m a Brick and Stone Mason from Ontario, earning $46.70 per hour.
    You can earn between $55 000 – $70 000+ on residential housing, $95 000 – $120 000 on commercial buildings, along with other perks ie; travel, tools, rrsp’s & the like.

    Not to forget the tenders (labourers) can also earn $50 000 – $75 000 looking after
    the Masons. Plus earn a substantial amount more, with added tickets or certificate’s ie; heavy machine operator, welding cert., scaffolding certs ..supplied by your local union.

    1. Thanks for your comment. The demand for skilled tradespeople has skyrocketed, as have their salaries and potential for growth.

  12. What I want to know Is how you came up with these numbers. I want to s3 the references. I am.a journeyman scaffolder and I can ever remember having a year that I made less then 80k on the past 20 years. So please provide me.wirh the references and the methods you used to generate these numbers.

    1. Hi Dan,

      Thanks for your comment. We’re glad to hear you’ve been doing so well for so long in the skilled trades! The salary data you’re referring to is Statistics Canada’s average for each trade IN THE YEAR OF CERTIFICATION. Average salaries for each trade will therefore be much higher after factoring in workers who’ve been on the job for more than just a few years. But you raise a good point: we should include both sets of data. Stay tuned for that in the coming days.

      CourseCompare

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