Key Takeaways from the 2020 Canadian Mining Labor Market: Salaries, Wages and Benefits

Did you know that the Canadian mining industry currently employs over 626,000 people (1 in every 30 jobs in Canada) — and it’ll need another 79,000 in the next decade to cover impending retirement and demand growth? 

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The Canadian mining industry is booming. The country is a global leader in the mineral extraction industry and will continue to grow over the coming years, despite any potential Covid-19 setbacks. Further, many of the metals and minerals it produces are becoming vital resources for creating cleaner, greener energy equipment, such as solar panels and EV batteries. 

Brunel recently embarked on a quest to “dig up” more information about the benefits of working in the Canadian mining industry. Our conclusion: it's an ideal time to enter the industry.


2020 Salaries, Wages and Benefits for the Canadian Mining Industry: Exclusive insights into a booming industry

For decades, Brunel's matched talented specialists with mining industry leaders in Canada and worldwide. We partnered with CostMine and InfoMine USA to create the 2020 Canadian Mining Salary Guide to provide valuable information to our partners about the latest and most important developments in the industry. (Want a copy for your team? Download a free summary to the left, or fill out the form below to learn more about the full guide.)

This year, 69 mines in 10 provinces and territories representing over 25,000 mine employees responded to the survey about wages, salaries, benefits, and incentive bonus plans in the mining industry. The survey provides:

  • Current information for estimating labour costs for new projects
  • Comparative information for establishing wages and benefit plans for new and existing operations

Summary of Annual Base Salaries for Selected Job Titles: Canadian $ per year

Range: 81,500 - 170,300 / Average: 119,700

Range: 66,800 - 157,000 / Average: 96,700

Range: 157,000 - 290,000 / Average: 224,990

Range: 85,400 - 131,100 / Average: 99,200

Range: 88,000 - 144,800 / Average: 125,600

Range: 120,000 - 177,800 / Average: 155,600

In the salaries above, 25 underground operations and 22 surface mines are represented, ranging in size from less than 1,000,000 to over 5,000,000 tons ore or product mined annually. The survey includes 30 metal mines, 11 industrial mineral mines, and 7 fossil fuel mines.

For a summary of benchmark hourly wages for selected surface and underground mines, download a free summary of the report, or fill out the form below to learn more about the full guide.

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Takeaway 1: Covid-19’s impact won’t last long

The impact of Covid-19 led some mining firms to decrease operations, leading to lower growth forecasts, but the impacts will be temporary in Canada as the gold sector forecasts substantial growth, supported by increased gold prices and a strong project pipeline.

Although mines and mineral production were considered an essential service in most parts of Canada, many were put on care and maintenance due to social pressures and local outbreaks of the virus. Fly-in-fly-out operations seemed to be especially hard hit and had to suspend operations. Indigenous populations were concerned with the spread of the virus by workers who were considered essential and therefore exempt from travel restrictions. Most mines that temporarily closed at the end of March, when the outbreak began, were reopened by late April. 


Takeaway 2: Canada-US partnerships will bring new opportunities

Canada is well positioned for future growth with the support of deals like the Canada-US Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration. This will help secure supply chains for critical minerals, promote joint initiatives on research and development and lead to increased exploration for critical minerals, aiming to decrease reliance on supply from China. Canada is also a favorable investment environment, attracting a significant amount of exploration projects.


Takeaway 3: Most salaries increased, none decreased

Of the 69 mines responding, 48 increased wages by an average of 2.1%, ranging from 1.0% to 4.0%, in the 12 months preceding the survey.

Nineteen mines showed no change in wages, and no mines in this survey decreased wages. Forty-five mines reported using some form of incentive bonus plan, and 30 had a plan for employee retention. Safety, profit, production, and cost savings are the most commonly cited criteria.


Takeaway 4: Bonuses for good safety records, attendance, productivity   

Many mines pay cash bonuses for good safety performance, most commonly through a fixed bonus for achieving an accident-free record for a fixed amount of time. Some mines, however, penalize workers by reducing other bonuses when lost-time accidents occur — imposed on either the individual at fault, a department, or on the entire mine. Other mines pay bonuses based on improvement over historical averages, while others tie the bonus to production as a fixed award per ton of ore produced if no lost-time accidents occur. Some mines also pay an attendance bonus. 

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