How B.C.’s teachers measure up against others in Canada

While provinces keep their numbers differently, making comparisons difficult, a look at Alberta and Ontario – provinces that also have dicey relationships with their educators – sheds some light on teachers’ compensation and working conditions elsewhere in Canada.

For example: While new teachers in B.C. make salaries that are comparable to their counterparts in other provinces, those with more experience or expertise lag behind. In Alberta and Ontario, top-ranked teachers can earn up to $20,000 more a year.


British Columbia has a complex system of pay grids for teachers, with factors including level of educational achievement and years of service. Those with a bachelor’s degree and a bachelor of education are considered Category 5 – the average minimum salary for which is $47,539 and the maximum salary is $74,353. Teachers with two bachelor’s degrees and at least one master’s degree are considered Category 6 – the average minimum salary for which is $52,362 and the maximum is $81,561. Those in remote regions make more; a Category 6 teacher in the Northwest Territories could max out at $118,419, for example. The average teacher salary in B.C. is about $72,000.

Wages have been a major point of contention in the dispute. The teachers’ union is asking for an 8-per-cent increase over five years – down from the 13.5 per cent over three years it was asking for earlier this year – while the government is offering 7 per cent over six years. This is the closest the two sides have been to date on wages, but a number of factors – including the BCTF’s call for a $5,000 signing bonus the government says would cost $150-million, and a $225-million annual workload fund to address class size and composition – keep them far apart. (The government’s earlier offer of a $1,200 signing bonus has expired.)

In Alberta, an average, full-time teacher with four years of university (bachelor’s degree) earns about $58,500 ($6,000 more than average minimum of a BC teacher with two bachelor’s degrees and at least one master’s degree); five years of university $61,800; and six years of university $65,400. After 10 years, those figures grow to $92,300, $95,600 and $99,300 respectively, according to Alberta Education. Alberta teachers are the highest paid in Canada, according to Statistics Canada.

Read the complete article in The Globe and Mail which also compares class size, composition, pensions and benefits for Alberta, Ontario, and B.C. teachers.

Source: The Globe and Mail.