Construction Union Wage Rate Index
Detailed information for December 2019 to May 2020
2 times per year
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 - June 18, 2020; September 8, 2020 (weights update)
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 abreast of 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 price indexes
- Prices and price indexes
- Unionization and industrial relations
- Wages, salaries and other earnings
Data sources and methodology
The universe 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 population that is observed consists of a subset of 25 census metropolitan areas (CMA) and 17 trades.
This methodology does not apply.
This survey is a census with a longitudinal design.
While there exist many constructions trade categories, only 17 trades are actually tracked over time. These 17 trades are chosen on the basis of their high importance to the construction industry. For each trade, a census is taken, as one trade in a province is usually represented by one union.
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 then chosen. For the chosen sector, the type of worker is then selected, usually the journeyman which is the fully trained tradesperson. The basic wage rates and the supplements are then collected for the type of worker chosen.
Responding to this survey is mandatory.
Data are collected from other 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 we find ourselves on the websites of various construction or labour relations associations of each province.
The microdata are verified by the survey analyst and any inconsistencies are clarified with the respondent.
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.
SOURCE OF WEIGHT DATA
Census data provided 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.
WEIGHT REFERENCE YEAR
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.
WEIGHT UPDATE FREQUENCY
Weights are typically updated every 5 years at the same time as a sample update.
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.
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.
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 30 months.
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.
The overall average response rate for 2019 was 94%.
The most common non-sampling errors in this survey are processing and response 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.
As for response errors, certain verifications are done and responses sometimes need to be validated with respondents.