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Attorney Average Salary in Canada 2020

How much money does an Attorney make in Canada?

Average Yearly Salary
244,000 CAD
( 20,400 CAD monthly)


A person working as an Attorney in Canada typically earns around 244,000 CAD per year. Salaries range from 112,000 CAD (lowest) to 388,000 CAD (highest).

This is the average yearly salary including housing, transport, and other benefits. Attorney salaries vary drastically based on experience, skills, gender, or location. Below you will find a detailed breakdown based on many different criteria.

Attorney Salary Distribution in Canada

Median and salary distribution yearly Canada Attorney
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The median, the maximum, the minimum, and the range

  • Salary Range

    Attorney salaries in Canada range from 112,000 CAD per year (minimum salary) to 388,000 CAD per year (maximum salary).

  • Median Salary

    The median salary is 264,000 CAD per year, which means that half (50%) of people working as Attorney(s) are earning less than 264,000 CAD while the other half are earning more than 264,000 CAD. The median represents the middle salary value. Generally speaking, you would want to be on the right side of the graph with the group earning more than the median salary.

  • Percentiles

    Closely related to the median are two values: the 25th and the 75th percentiles. Reading from the salary distribution diagram, 25% of Attorney(s) are earning less than 169,000 CAD while 75% of them are earning more than 169,000 CAD. Also from the diagram, 75% of Attorney(s) are earning less than 352,000 CAD while 25% are earning more than 352,000 CAD.

What is the difference between the median and the average salary?

Both are indicators. If your salary is higher than both of the average and the median then you are doing very well. If your salary is lower than both, then many people are earning more than you and there is plenty of room for improvement. If your wage is between the average and the median, then things can be a bit complicated. We wrote a guide to explain all about the different scenarios. How to compare your salary

Attorney Salary Comparison by Years of Experience

How does experience and age affect your pay?

Salary comparison by years of experience yearly Canada Attorney
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The experience level is the most important factor in determining the salary. Naturally the more years of experience the higher your wage. We broke down Attorney salaries by experience level and this is what we found.

An Attorney with less than two years of experience makes approximately 128,000 CAD per year.

While someone with an experience level between two and five years is expected to earn 170,000 CAD per year, 34% more than someone with less than two year's experience.

Moving forward, an experience level between five and ten years lands a salary of 252,000 CAD per year, 48% more than someone with two to five years of experience.

On average, a person's salary doubles their starting salary by the time they cross the 10 years* experience mark.
* Based on the average change in salary over time. Salary variations differ from person to person.

Additionally, Attorney(s) whose expertise span anywhere between ten and fifteen years get a salary equivalent to 307,000 CAD per year, 22% more than someone with five to ten years of experience.

If the experience level is between fifteen and twenty years, then the expected wage is 335,000 CAD per year, 9% more than someone with ten to fifteen years of experience.

Lastly, employees with more than twenty years of professional experience get a salary of 362,000 CAD per year, 8% more than people with fifteen to twenty years of experience.

Attorney average salary change by experience in Canada

0 - 2 Years
128,000 CAD
2 - 5 Years+34%
170,000 CAD
5 - 10 Years+48%
252,000 CAD
10 - 15 Years+22%
307,000 CAD
15 - 20 Years+9%
335,000 CAD
20+ Years+8%
362,000 CAD
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Typical Salary Progress for Most Careers

Salary Comparison By Experience Level
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Attorney Salary Comparison By Education

How do education levels affect salaries?

Displayed below is the average salary difference between different Attorney(s) who have the same experience but different education levels.

Salary comparison by education level yearly Canada Attorney
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We all know that higher education equals a bigger salary, but how much more money can a degree add to your income? We broke down Attorney salaries by education level in order to make a comparison.

When the education level is Bachelor's Degree, the average salary of an Attorney is 146,000 CAD per year.

While someone with a Master's Degree gets a salary of 228,000 CAD per year, 57% more than someone having a Bachelor's Degree degree.

A PhD gets its holder an average salary of 383,000 CAD per year, 68% more than someone with a Master's Degree.

Attorney average salary difference by education level in Canada

Bachelor's Degree
146,000 CAD
Master's Degree+57%
228,000 CAD
383,000 CAD
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Is a Master's degree or an MBA worth it? Should you pursue higher education?

A Master's degree program or any post-graduate program in Canada costs anywhere from 49,800 Canadian Dollar(s) to 149,000 Canadian Dollar(s) and lasts approximately two years. That is quite an investment.

You can't really expect any salary increases during the study period, assuming you already have a job. In most cases, a salary review is conducted once education is completed and the degree has been attained.

Many people pursue higher education as a tactic to switch into a higher paying job. The numbers seem to support the thoery. The average increase in compensation while changing jobs is approximately 10% more than the customary salary increment.

If you can afford the costs of higher education, the return on investment is definitely worth it. You should be able to recover the costs in roughly a year or so.

Typical Salary Difference by Education for Most Careers

Salary Comparison By Education Level
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Attorney Salary Comparison By Gender

Salary comparison by gender yearly Canada Attorney
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Though gender should not have an effect on pay, in reality, it does. So who gets paid more: men or women? Male Attorney employees in Canada earn 5% more than their female counterparts on average.

251,000 CAD
238,000 CAD
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Salary Comparison By Gender in Canada for all Careers

Salary comparison by gender yearly Canada
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Attorney Average Annual Salary Increment Percentage in Canada

How much are annual salary increments in Canada for Attorney(s)? How often do employees get salary raises?


Attorney(s) in Canada are likely to observe a salary increase of approximately 13% every 15 months. The national average annual increment for all professions combined is 9% granted to employees every 15 months.

Annual Salary Increment Rate Canada Attorney
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The figures provided here are averages of numbers. Those figures should be taken as general guidelines. Salary increments will vary from person to person and depend on many factors, but your performance and contribution to the success of the organization remain the most important factors in determining how much and how often you will be granted a raise.

Canada / All Professions

The term 'Annual Salary Increase' usually refers to the increase in 12 calendar month period, but because it is rarely that people get their salaries reviewed exactly on the one year mark, it is more meaningful to know the frequency and the rate at the time of the increase.

How to calculate the salary increment percentage?

The annual salary Increase in a calendar year (12 months) can be easily calculated as follows: Annual Salary Increase = Increase Rate x 12 ÷ Increase Frequency

The average salary increase in one year (12 months) in Canada is 7%.

Annual Increment Rate By Industry 2019

Information Technology

Listed above are the average annual increase rates for each industry in Canada for the year 2019. Companies within thriving industries tend to provide higher and more frequent raises. Exceptions do exist, but generally speaking, the situation of any company is closely related to the economic situation in the country or region. These figures tend to change frequently.

Worldwide Salary Raises: All Countries and All Jobs

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Attorney Bonus and Incentive Rates in Canada

How much and how often are bonuses being awarded?Annual Salary Bonus Rate Canada Attorney
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An Attorney is considered to be a high bonus-based job due to the generally limited involvement in direct revenue generation, with exceptions of course. The people who get the highest bonuses are usually somehow involved in the revenue generation cycle.

11% of surveyed staff reported that they haven't received any bonuses or incentives in the previous year while 89% said that they received at least one form of monetary bonus.

Those who got bonuses reported rates ranging from 5% to 9% of their annual salary.

Received Bonus
No Bonus

Types of Bonuses Considered

Individual Performance-Based Bonuses

The most standard form of bonus where the employee is awarded based on their exceptional performance.

Company Performance Bonuses

Occasionally, some companies like to celebrate excess earnings and profits with their staff collectively in the form of bonuses that are granted to everyone. The amount of the bonus will probably be different from person to person depending on their role within the organization.

Goal-Based Bonuses

Granted upon achieving an important goal or milestone.

Holiday / End of Year Bonuses

These types of bonuses are given without a reason and usually resemble an appreciation token.

Bonuses Are Not Commissions!

People tend to confuse bonuses with commissions. A commission is a prefixed rate at which someone gets paid for items sold or deals completed while a bonus is in most cases arbitrary and unplanned.

What makes a position worthy of good bonuses and a high salary?

The main two types of jobs

Revenue GeneratorsSupporting Cast

Employees that are directly involved in generating revenue or profit for the organization. Their field of expertise usually matches the type of business.

Employees that support and facilitate the work of revenue generators. Their expertise is usually different from that of the core business operations.

A graphics designer working for a graphics designing company.

A graphic designer in the marketing department of a hospital.

Revenue generators usually get more and higher bonuses, higher salaries, and more frequent salary increments. The reason is quite simple: it is easier to quantify your value to the company in monetary terms when you participate in revenue generation.

Try to work for companies where your skills can generate revenue. We can't all generate revenue and that's perfectly fine.

Bonus Comparison by Seniority Level

Top management personnel and senior employees naturally exhibit higher bonus rates and frequencies than juniors. This is very predictable due to the inherent responsibilities of being higher in the hierarchy. People in top positions can easily get double or triple bonus rates than employees down the pyramid.

Attorney Average Hourly Wage in Canada

120 CAD per hour

The average hourly wage (pay per hour) in Canada is 120 CAD. This means that the average Attorney in Canada earns approximately 120 CAD for every worked hour.

Hourly Wage = Annual Salary ÷ ( 52 x 5 x 8 )

The hourly wage is the salary paid in one worked hour. Usually jobs are classified into two categories: salaried jobs and hourly jobs. Salaried jobs pay a fix amount regardless of the hours worked. Hourly jobs pay per worked hour. To convert salary into hourly wage the above formula is used (assuming 5 working days in a week and 8 working hours per day which is the standard for most jobs). The hourly wage calculation may differ slightly depending on the worked hours per week and the annual vacation allowance. The figures mentioned above are good approximations and are considered to be the standard. One major difference between salaried employees and hourly paid employees is overtime eligibility. Salaried employees are usually exempt from overtime as opposed to hourly paid staff.

Attorney VS Other Jobs

Salary Comparison Between Attorney and Legal yearly Canada
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The average salary for Attorney is 69% more than that of Legal. Also, Legal salaries are 21% more than those of All Jobs.

Salary comparison with similar jobs

Job TitleAverage Salary
Administrative Law Judge322,000 CAD+32%
Arbitrator154,000 CAD-37%
Associate Attorney159,000 CAD-35%
Attorney244,000 CAD-0%
Bailiff72,800 CAD-70%
Barrister60,400 CAD-75%
Candidate Attorney130,000 CAD-47%
Conciliator117,000 CAD-52%
Contracts Manager129,000 CAD-47%
Contracts Negotiator113,000 CAD-54%
Conveyancing Secretary60,500 CAD-75%
Corporate Counsel174,000 CAD-29%
Counsel176,000 CAD-28%
Court Clerk55,900 CAD-77%
Court Judicial Assistant87,700 CAD-64%
Court Liaison Specialist106,000 CAD-57%
Court Reporter86,800 CAD-64%
Court Representative68,400 CAD-72%
Crown Prosecution Service Lawyer337,000 CAD+38%
Immigration Executive168,000 CAD-31%
In House Counsel176,000 CAD-28%
Intellectual Property Specialist120,000 CAD-51%
Judge Advocate245,000 CAD+0%
Law Clerk52,800 CAD-78%
Lawyer238,000 CAD-3%
Legal Administrative Assistant60,400 CAD-75%
Legal Advisor140,000 CAD-43%
Legal Assistant61,900 CAD-75%
Legal Associate114,000 CAD-53%
Legal Consultant145,000 CAD-41%
Legal Counsel177,000 CAD-28%
Legal Editor111,000 CAD-55%
Legal Executive206,000 CAD-16%
Legal Executive Secretary63,000 CAD-74%
Legal IP Officer57,300 CAD-77%
Legal Officer73,600 CAD-70%
Legal Services Director275,000 CAD+13%
Legal Services Manager279,000 CAD+14%
Legal Support Worker43,000 CAD-82%
Legislative Liaison114,000 CAD-53%
Litigation Attorney294,000 CAD+20%
Litigation Paralegal151,000 CAD-38%
Magistrate Judge361,000 CAD+48%
Paralegal91,800 CAD-62%
Patent Attorney168,000 CAD-31%
Staff Attorney177,000 CAD-28%

Salary Comparison By City

CityAverage Salary
Brampton224,000 CAD
Calgary241,000 CAD
Edmonton242,000 CAD
Gatineau217,000 CAD
Halifax220,000 CAD
Hamilton247,000 CAD
Kitchener234,000 CAD
Markham223,000 CAD
Mississauga251,000 CAD
Montreal245,000 CAD
Ottawa250,000 CAD
Quebec232,000 CAD
Regina214,000 CAD
Richmond217,000 CAD
Saskatoon213,000 CAD
Surrey233,000 CAD
Toronto258,000 CAD
Vancouver251,000 CAD
Vaughan221,000 CAD
Windsor222,000 CAD
Winnipeg235,000 CAD

Salary Comparison By State

StateAverage Salary
Alberta251,000 CAD
British Columbia252,000 CAD
Manitoba235,000 CAD
New Brunswick216,000 CAD
Newfoundland-Labrador215,000 CAD
Northwest Territories241,000 CAD
Nova Scotia230,000 CAD
Nunavut257,000 CAD
Ontario280,000 CAD
Prince Edward Island198,000 CAD
Quebec256,000 CAD
Saskatchewan227,000 CAD
Yukon211,000 CAD

Government vs Private Sector Salary Comparison

Where can you get paid more, working for a private company or for the government? Public sector employees in Canada earn 4% more than their private sector counterparts on average across all sectors.

Private Sector
117,000 CAD
Public Sector+4%
122,000 CAD
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

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