Estimates of Labour Income (ELI)

Detailed information for first quarter 2021





Record number:


The estimates are derived in order to supply the System of National Accounts with the "compensation of employees" component of the gross domestic product.

Data release - June 1, 2021


The estimates are derived in order to supply the System of National Accounts with the "compensation of employees" component of the gross domestic product.

Compensation of employees comprises wages and salaries as well as employers' social contributions. It is defined as all compensation paid to employees. Earnings received by self-employed persons or working owners of unincorporated businesses are not included in compensation of employees. Wages and salaries are an aggregate of many types of payments made to employees. In addition to regular remuneration, they include directors' fees, bonuses, commissions, gratuities, income in kind, taxable allowances, retroactive wage payments and stock options. Wages and salaries are estimated on a "gross" basis, that is, prior to deductions for employees' contributions to income tax, employment insurance, pension funds, etc. Employers' social contributions, which are defined as payments made by employers for the future benefit of their employees, comprise employers' contributions to employee welfare, pensions, workers compensation and employment insurance.

Monthly estimates of wages and salaries are published for 16 industry groups. The industrial coverage is based on the North American Industry Classification System. Data for wages and salaries and employers' social contributions are available at the total industry level. All three series are released for each of the provinces and territories.

The data are used in macroeconomic analysis and forecasting, for policy analysis and for econometric modeling and hypothesis testing by federal and provincial government officials, business people, academics, economists and international organizations.

Statistical activity

The Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts provides a conceptually integrated statistical framework for studying the state and behaviour of the Canadian economy. The accounts are centered on the measurement of activities associated with the production of goods and services, the sales of goods and services in final markets, the supporting financial transactions and the resulting wealth positions.

Collection period: Two to three months after the reference quarter


  • Economic accounts
  • Income and expenditure accounts
  • Labour
  • Wages, salaries and other earnings

Data sources and methodology

Target population

Canadian population of working age.

Instrument design

This methodology does not apply.


This methodology does not apply.

Data sources

Data are extracted from administrative files and derived from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

On an annual basis, the Canada Revenue Agency T4 Supplementary file provides both the Canada and the provincial estimates of wages and salaries at the total industry level. Information from various survey divisions within the bureau, along with data from external sources (for example the various provincial Workers Compensation Boards) are compiled, integrated and analysed as part of the process of deriving the estimates of employers' social contributions and in deriving the industrial dimension of wages and salaries.

Major suppliers of data within Statistics Canada include Income Statistics Division, Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade Division, Labour Statistics Division, Public Sector Statistics Division and Administrative Data Division. There are also a host of external and administrative sources of data used.

Error detection

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


This methodology does not apply.


Monthly wages and salaries estimates are prepared for each province and industry. The wages and salaries data are tied to the Canada Revenue Agency T4 information on an annual basis. The T4 data, however, are only available with a year and a half lag. The estimates are projected from established annual benchmarks by means of current employment and earnings indicators or historic trends if data are not available. The most important inputs are payroll estimates from the monthly Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (record number 2612). The latest monthly figures are preliminary estimates.

Quality evaluation

All the components of compensation of employees are analysed for time series consistency, links to current economic events, issues arising from the source data, and finally with respect to coherence.

Certain components of compensation of employees can be obtained in survey divisions, but typically the data are not directly comparable. For example, the variable "payrolls" is available from the monthly Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours release, but it differs from the Income and Expenditure Accounts wages and salaries measure by certain conceptual adjustments.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Revisions - Estimates for each quarter are revised when those for subsequent quarters of the same year are published and when those for the first quarter of each of the next three years are published. They are not normally revised again except when historical revisions are carried out. Statistical revisions are carried out in order to incorporate the most recent information from monthly and annual surveys, taxation statistics, public accounts, etc., as well as from the annual benchmarking process with the input-output accounts.

Seasonal adjustment - Seasonal adjustment is generally made at the lowest level of aggregation, and seasonally adjusted aggregates are obtained by summation. Statistics Canada's X-12-ARIMA method is used to seasonally adjust series.

Data accuracy

No direct measures of the margin of error in the estimates can be calculated. However, the annual benchmarking of wages and salaries to the Canada Revenue Agency T4 Supplementary file provides very accurate annual totals for Canada and the provinces or territories totals. Similarly, annual levels for employers' social contributions derived from administrative sources and annual surveys are very accurate. The accuracy of the projected monthly estimates of wages and salaries by industry and employers' social contributions can be inferred from analysis of revisions (as compared with the annual benchmarks) and from a subjective assessment of the data sources and methodology used in the preparation of these estimates.


  • User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts
    This guide provides a detailed explanation of the structure, concepts and history of the Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts.

    Last review: June 22, 2018
  • Latest Developments in the Canadian Economic Accounts
    For further information please refer to "Latest developments in the Canadian economic accounts", Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 13-605-X.

    The side bar menu of this electronic publication includes: chronology of events, conceptual changes, classification changes, and data revisions.
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