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What Is a Good Salary in Ottawa?

Ottawa is a lovely city to work in and live in. It has consistently been ranked among the best cities in Canada, boasting a clean, safe, and family-friendly environment.

If you want to work in Ottawa, you must know what to expect regarding salary. So, what does a good salary in Ottawa look like?

A good salary in Ottawa is $40,500 per year. This translates to a monthly income of $3,375, making Ottawa one of the Canadian cities with the highest salaries. You can afford a comfortable life with this income.

Keep reading if you plan to work in Ottawa. I’ll discuss a good salary in the city, average wages, and how much you need to live a comfortable life in Ottawa.

What is a good salary in Ottawa?

A family of four will need $3,375 per month to live a comfortable life in Ottawa, while a single person will need $1,596.

On average, you will need to make between $40,500 and $57,000 per year to live a modest life.

However, this salary is high for a single person. With excellent budgeting, the amount can cater to a family’s basic needs, but you may not save up much.

Upon receiving your salary, here are the expenses you can cater to.

  • Housing – $1,800
  • Food and groceries – $400
  • Utilities – $180
  • Transportation – $150
  • Health insurance – $150
  • Personal expenses – $480

The above budget is for a family of four living in a two-bedroom house. Your expenses may go up if you live in luxurious neighborhoods such as Manotick, the Glebe, or Westboro Village.

What is the average salary in Ottawa?

The average monthly salary in Ottawa is between $24,000 and $28,800 annually. This amount is below the national average salary in Canada by 60 percent.

If you’re experienced, expect to earn $64,315 per year and $23,000 per annum for an entry-level position. Nevertheless, average wages depend on the company you work for and the industry.

JobAverage salary
Project manager$44,765
Administrative assistant$24,531
Senior software engineer$61,100
Bank teller$32,235
Operations manager$41,041

Which factors determine average salaries in Ottawa?

Several factors determine your potential salary in Ottawa. Let’s look at them now.

1. Gender

Although the gender gap in Ottawa is not that big, women still earn less than men by five percent. This means that a company that pays women $37,800 per year will pay men $39,779.

However, this gap is expected to decrease in the years to come since many organizations are campaigning against gender inequality.

2. Experience

Experience greatly determines the average salary a person earns in Ottawa.

If you do a particular job for a long time, you will be more productive, and that’s why most employers are keen on experience. You will earn more than beginners if you have more years of experience.

A person with an experience of more than two years will make more money than those in an entry-level position by 32 percent.

Those boasting over five years of experience will be ahead of their colleagues by 36 percent. Employees with over 15 years of experience are the most highly paid in most companies in Ottawa.

3. Level of education

There is a very complex link between salaries and one’s level of education not only in Ottawa but all over the world.

The more educated you are, the more money you will make in Ottawa. For instance, graduates earn more than certificate holders.

The table below is a guide to how salaries look based on the level of education one has.

Education levelPercentage increase
Certificate and diploma18 % higher than high school graduates
Bachelor’s degree25 % higher than certificate and diploma holders
Master’s degree30 % higher than bachelor degree holders
PHD22.5 % higher than master’s degree holders

4. Industry or employer

Occupational salaries also vary depending on the employer or industry. Different working conditions, training requirements, and clientele are among the factors that cause salary variance from one company or employer to another. For instance, engineering companies pay more than the food-preparation industries.

5. Labour unions

The labor unions in Ottawa and Canada play a huge role in influencing salaries. This is more so through the regulation of labor supply.

Unions advocate for higher pay and allowances through collective bargaining for better terms with employers in Ottawa.

6. Productivity

Productivity is the primary goal of any company. If production is high, employees can enjoy high salaries as long as they can maintain productivity.

One strategy that companies in Ottawa use to boost productivity is offering enticements to their employees.

How are taxes in Ottawa?

Income taxes in Ottawa are high since they provide a good quality of life. The government uses all taxes to offer free education, healthcare, and social protection to all the city’s residents.

Taxes in Ottawa must be paid throughout the year, and they are mostly deducted from a person’s paychecks by employers.

The amount of tax in Ottawa depends on your income and whether you qualify for a tax-free threshold. You can only qualify for tax exemption if your salary is below $10,657.

The federal tax rate in Ottawa ranges from 15 to 33 percent. The latter rate is for wages exceeding $210,000.

If your employer fails to deduct the tax, you must pay it when filing your tax return.

How much money do you need to live a comfortable life in Ottawa?

You will need a salary of at least $7,500 per month to live comfortably in Ottawa. Although Ottawa boasts high wages, living costs are slightly higher than in other Canadian cities.

The average monthly cost of living for a family of four in Ottawa is $2,321 and $648 for a single person. This amount, however, is not enough to cater for rent and childcare.

Here is a breakdown of the expenses that $7,500 can cover so you enjoy a comfortable life in Ottawa.


The cost of food in Ottawa depends on your eating style. If you prefer to cook, you will spend $147 a day for all three meals. This amount is for a family and may rise depending on your taste.

Some of the common items you can buy with such an amount include rice, chicken, fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs, and flour.

If you opt to eat out, you will spend approximately $15 per person in a high-end restaurant and $7 a head in a fast-food restaurant.


Considering the real estate market of Ottawa, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,200 and $2,200 for a three-bedroom apartment.

The cost of housing in Ottawa is determined by location, size, and age. For instance, houses in Knollsbrook are cheaper than those in the central parts of Ottawa.


Getting around in Ottawa is convenient since public transport is diverse. You have cheap options to pick from trains to buses to taxis.

There are private means of transportation, but your choices depends on your preference. Public transportation is the most affordable and effective.

The monthly public transport cost is $150 for adults, while kids don’t pay anything except when moving out of the city.

Car owners in Ottawa spend more on transportation. You may shell out $880 per month on gas depending on the consumption of your car and the size of your tank. You also need to factor in the insurance costs because they increase the price of transport.

If you want to cut down on transportation fees, you can buy or rent a bicycle. Ottawa is an excellent town for cyclists, boasting extensive cycle pathways.


As mentioned earlier, healthcare in Ottawa is covered by taxes. Health costs are low, ranging between $36 and $150 per month. You can take private insurance coverage to enjoy a more diverse medical service, but it is costly.


If you have small kids and want to work in Ottawa, childcare is inevitable. The average daily cost of childcare is $90 for a four-year-old child. This price may be higher in the CBD or for those with more than one child needing daycare services.

The childcare cost may increase due to various reasons. For instance, the cost of real estate is going up in Ottawa. The increased cost of living will also affect the daycare centers by increasing their daycare costs.

If childcare is an expense you can’t avoid, I recommend you settle your family in the outskirts of Ottawa because the services are cheaper there.


Education in Ottawa is free for public schools from kindergarten to grade 12. However, private schools are a better option if you wish for your child to get more advanced learning facilities or learn a specific curriculum.

The city boasts many private schools, but you will pay a lot of money. The tuition fee in most private schools ranges between $20,000 and $30,000 per year.

Who are the major employers in Ottawa?

The federal government is the largest employer in Ottawa, with over 100,000 employees.

The second largest employer is the banking sector, followed by the healthcare sector. Engineering companies are also ranked among the primary employers thanks to the city’s development projects.

Which are the top best places to live while working in Ottawa?

Although Ottawa has many lovely places to live, your choice of where to stay depends on your budget and interests. Here is an overview of some of the best neighborhoods in Ottawa.

Tunney’s Pasture

With an increased number of modern ondos, Tunney’s Pasture is one of Ottawa’s best places to live.

Initially, this place was reserved for government buildings but transformed into a beautiful residential suburb. The area features lots of restaurants, shops, and grocery stores. It’s also easy to access the CBD by walking from here.


This is one of the hottest places to call home in Ottawa. Westboro is a beachside suburb featuring unique and spacious townhomes. The place is safe and harbors an incredible community.

You’ll find galleries, bakeries, gourmet restaurants, and patios at the heart of this locality. Westboro also has lots of schools if you have school-going children.

Carlsbad Springs

If you like neighborhoods with a countryside touch, I recommend you move to Carlsbad Springs. This is a friendly and serene place to live.

The houses are affordable, but you must be ready to spend time connecting to your workplace or the CBD. The suburb also boasts several recreational areas if you’re an outdoor person.

Is working in Ottawa better than in other parts of Canada?

If you’re still trying to decide if Ottawa is a better place to live and work, this section is for you! Here are some perks you could enjoy.

Plenty of job opportunities

Ottawa is known as the political hub of Canada, so most of the government’s workforce is found here. There are also many non-profit organizations, national institutions, and foreign embassies with operations in this city.

High average salaries

Ottawa is among the cities in Canada with the highest average salaries. Also, the city’s workforce is among the country’s most educated.

Your salary will be enough to afford you a good life.

Cost of living

Although the cost of living in Ottawa is high, the average salaries are also high, and you can manage. Besides, education and healthcare are subsidized for citizens and ex-pats with work visas. It is possible to meet all your basic needs and enjoy life in Ottawa.

Incredible entertainment

Life in Ottawa is about more than just working. There is so much you can do for entertainment, whether you prefer museums, galleries, or parks.

The city hosts many festivals, and its also home to the Canadian National Gallery and Parliament Hill, which boasts beautiful Victorian architecture.

Excellent transport infrastucture

Getting around Ottawa is easy and convenient at any time of the day or night.

Public transportation is efficient and extensive so you can access your office no matter its location in the city.

Besides the public means, taxis and ride-hailing are available for those who want a quick door-to-door service. Cycling is also a good option since there are cycle paths throughout the city.

High quality of life

Ottawa boasts a high quality of life. This small town boasts excellent neighborhoods, restaurants, cuisines, shopping stores, and recreational centers.

The environment is clean, and safety is top-notch. The climate is also favorable most of the year, and you will always have access to healthy food.


A good salary in Ottawa is $40,500 per annum. This amount allows you to afford all the basic needs, provided you spend wisely. This information should help you know what to expect in Ottawa and plan well.