Statistics Canada has released the figures for median household income in Canada from the 2016 census providing comparisons for the period 2005 to 2015. The median total income of Canadian households rose from $63,457 in 2005 to reach $70,336 in 2015 - an increase of 10.8 percent. This growth was led by the resource intensive provinces and Ontario appears to have done particularly poorly- it had the lowest growth rate at 3.8 percent. Even Quebec did better at 8.9 percent - the second lowest growth rate. Almost every metropolitan area in Ontario saw growth below the Canadian average - with an interesting set of exceptions.
What is interesting in these numbers given Ontario's poor performance is the performance of the major northern Ontario cities, what I like to term the N-5: Thunder Bay, Timmins, Greater Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay. Incomes in three of these five cities all grew above the Canadian average - a much better batting average than the rest of the province. Moreover, all five of these cities grew above the Ontario average.
Of course, median household incomes in these northern Ontario cities are still below the Ontario median (See Figure 1) but over the course of a decade they appear to have closed the gap substantially despite the forest sector crisis and other assorted slings and arrows. Indeed, as Figure 2 shows that median household incomes in Timmins, Sudbury and North Bay all grew above the Canadian and Ontario average. Thunder Bay and the Sault did not top the national performance but they still topped the provincial performance.
If you are wondering about income growth in some other Ontario cities, for the record: Toronto (4%), Hamilton (5.3%), Ottawa (4.4%), London (-2.1%), Windsor (-6.4%). The urban north of the province appears to have done surprisingly well in the median household income sweepstakes and this probably represents another factor in why house prices to date have been as robust as they have been in places like Thunder Bay and Sudbury.