Number of Wealthy ‘One Per Centers’ Rises In Canada Fueled By Corporate Dividends

New data released by Statistics Canada shows that the highest-paid Canadians captured a larger share of the country's total income in 2015 due to a boost in corporate dividends.

The top 1% of Canadian earners saw their share of the income pie increase to 11.2% in 2015 from 10.8% in 2014, according to Statistics Canada's survey on “high-income trends.” That marked the first time in nearly a decade that the “one per centers” as the ultra-wealthy are known saw their proportion expand. Their share peaked in 2006 at 12.1%, though it remained higher than three decades ago, when it was 7.1%.

The number of Canadians who made it into the top 1% of income earners rose by 2,420 to 270,925 in 2015, with the biggest gains made in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The areas with the most growth included Vancouver, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Hamilton and Toronto.

Meanwhile, the number of one per centers dropped in Alberta, as the oil industry in that province declined and led to thousands of job losses. The northern area of Alberta that includes the Fort McMurray oil sands saw the biggest declines in Alberta.

The minimum required to be among the super exclusive 0.01% of all earners in Canada was $3.6 million in 2015 compared with $2.7 million in 2014 – an increase of 33%. Meanwhile, the cut off required to be among the 0.1% of earners was $826,800 versus $725,900 – a gain of 14%. The threshold for the one per centers was $234,700 compared with $227,100 in 2014.

The survey showed that, on average, high-income earners had a bigger tax burden. Those in the 0.01% cohort paid, on average, $2.6-million in federal and provincial or territorial taxes in 2015. The 0.1% paid, on average, $736,800 in taxes. The one per centers paid, on average, $183,000 in taxes.