Construction Union Wage Rate Index (as of November 2022)

Detailed information for June 2023 to November 2023




2 times per year

Record number:


The Construction Union Wage Rate Index measures monthly changes over time in the collective agreement hourly rates, where they exist, for 17 trades engaged in building construction in 25 census metropolitan areas.

Data release - December 15, 2023


The Construction Union Wage Rate Index measures monthly changes over time in the collective agreement hourly rates, where they exist, for 17 trades engaged in building construction in 25 census metropolitan areas. These series can be employed in several ways, including keeping users informed about pay scale changes within the unionized construction work force, identifying differences between trades and between regions, incorporating them into the escalation clauses of construction contracts and time series analysis.

Reference period: The time period for which the Construction Union Wage Rate Index equals 100; currently this is the year 2015.

Collection period: Monthly, during the month following the reference month.


  • Construction
  • Construction price indexes
  • Labour
  • Prices and price indexes
  • Unionization and industrial relations
  • Wages, salaries and other earnings

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for the Construction Union Wage Rate Index (CUWRI) consists of the hourly wage rate of a unionized journeyman for all construction unions for all trades engaged in industrial construction projects across Canada.

The observed population consists of a subset of 25 census metropolitan areas (CMA) and 17 trades.

Instrument design

This methodology does not apply.


This survey is a census with a longitudinal design.

While there exists many construction trade categories, only 17 trades are tracked over time. These 17 trades are chosen based on their level of importance to the construction industry. A census is taken for each trade, as one trade in a province is usually represented by one union.

Sampling Unit
The CUWRI adopts a multistage approach when choosing the sample unit. Within each CMA, a collective agreement for each specific trade is selected. Within this collective agreement, the industrial sector is chosen, followed by the type of worker. This is usually the journeyman, which is the fully trained (e.g., non-apprentice) tradesperson. The basic wage rates and the supplements are then collected for the journeyman.

Data sources

There is no questionnaire for the Construction Union Wage Rate Index. The data are obtained from the wage rates and supplements information contained in the collective agreements that have been signed and are in place in the various jurisdictions.

Data collected for this survey are obtained either from Excel files or copies of the collective agreements received by emails from the respondents, or from collective agreements that are found on the websites of various construction or labour relations associations of each province.

Error detection

The microdata are verified by the data production officer and the survey analyst. During data processing, subject matter specialists review the collected data to identify and resolve errors.


During periods where agreements are under negotiation and current contracts have expired, the last prevailing rates are carried forward until a new agreement is in place.


Weights are calculated for each trade and census metropolitan area (CMA) combination. These are used to calculate indexes at the provincial, regional and Canada levels for each trade. Each weight is based on the product of the number of workers employed in given trade and CMA; and an annual average hourly construction wage rate from the CUWRI for the same trade and CMA combination.

Census data provides the number of workers data used in the CUWRI weight calculations. These counts include workers 15 years and over in each CMA and trade based on the National Occupational Classification for statistics.

The annual average hourly rate data is calculated based on an arithmetic mean for the 12 months of hourly basic construction union wage rates from the CUWRI for each trade and CMA.

For each trade and CMA, the 2016 Census provides the number of workers employed while the annual average hourly construction wage rates are calculated based on monthly wage rate data from the CUWRI for the 12 months of 2015.

Weights are typically updated every 5 years.

A fixed-basket Laspeyres index formula is used in the calculation of the indexes at the provincial, regional and Canada levels.

With the introduction of a new basket, historical estimates are linked to the new basket by maintaining the same historical monthly changes. This is done by calculating a link factor for each index series as the ratio of the new index series (2015=100) in the overlap period to the old index series (2007=100). This link factor is applied to the old index series to bring it up or down to the level of the new index.

The overlap period for the CUWRI is currently December 2014.

Quality evaluation

Prior to their release, the CUWRI are validated by comparing the month-to-month and 12-month index movements observed for the most current period with historical changes.

The indexes are also validated for coherence by confronting index movements with other sources of information on the construction industry and its wage negotiations.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which 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.

Collected data are converted to price indexes and data are released as such, so that it is not possible to identify the suppliers of raw prices.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

The wage rates and indexes are not seasonally adjusted. Given the length of time that can transpire between the expiration of a contract and the ratification of a new agreement, the revision period for the wage rates and indexes is 36 months.

Data accuracy

The statistical accuracy of the CUWRI depends on the reliability of the data that are used to calculate the indexes. The index weights are based on Statistics Canada's 2016 Census information, while the hourly wage rates are obtained from administrative data.

Each data source is subject to its own errors. Since the wage rate data requires very limited editing or imputation, the CUWRI is considered to be statistically reliable at all levels of aggregation.

Response rate
The typical overall response rate is 80%.

Non-sampling error
The most common non-sampling errors in this survey are processing errors.

Processing errors can sometimes be the result of human error, given that the processing system is manual. Data are double-checked to minimize the risk of error.

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