What would you do with a billion dollars?
Would you buy a private island? Start the next major company? Fly the moon?
The possibilities are endless once you reach billionaire status. But make no mistake – earning a billion dollars from the ground up requires intense focus, which is why just 3,311 people in the entire world are billionaire status.
Exactly how many billionaires are there in Canada? Canada is currently home to 60 billionaires, according to the Wealth-X “billionaire census” published in June 2022.
Below, I’ll explain a bit more about Canada’s wealthiest earners, what they’re invested in, and other key details. I’ll also show you Canada’s top billionaires and how much they’re worth.
Canada is home to an ever-growing number of billionaires. In the past couple of decades, Canada’s billionaire population has more than tripled.
In 2005, for instance, Canada was home to 17 billionaires, according to CBC. In 2020, CTV noted that there were 41 billionaires. Today, however, it’s estimated that there are over 60 billionaires in the country.
This means that in just two years, Canada gained 50% more billionaires.
If this trend continues to grow, then Canada could see an even greater number of billionaires in the coming years.
Despite this, though, the number of billionaires in Canada still pales in comparison to the United States, which is estimated to have 975 billionaires, according to the Wealth-X 2021 billionaire census.
Canada’s top billionaires own a stake in or operate large investment banking firms. However, others own grocery and retail chains, are invested in Canada’s energy sector, and are into cryptocurrency and other industries.
The thing about being a billionaire is that you’re not as geographically limited as the majority of the population.
Most billionaires own real estate in cities throughout Canada, and many have expanded their real estate holdings around the globe. Once you’re a billionaire, you can quite literally jet around the world and live anywhere.
Some of the most expensive places in Canada owe their high cost of living to the fact that they’re inhabited by billionaires. From cities like Vancouver and Toronto to remote mountain towns with ultra-exclusive estates, billionaires are spread throughout the country.
Some of the most popular regions frequented by Canadian billionaires include:
- Toronto, Ontario
- Vancouver, British Columbia
- Victoria, British Columbia
- Guelph, Ontario
- Westmount, Quebec
These ultra-wealthy regions are home to plenty of millionaires and are often frequented by billionaires as well.
Many billionaires also own property in some of Canada’s most beautiful (and isolated) mountain regions, which gives them a safe space where they can get away from society and avoid being targeted by the press.
Unlike the US, where billionaires often get away with paying little to no taxes, Canada is a bit more strict on the top 1% of earners. The top earners in Canada currently account for around two-thirds of the entire country’s tax revenue, while the top 1% (billionaires or those close to billionaire status) pay over 20% of the country’s total tax revenue.
Conversely, the bottom 50% of earners account for just under 5% of Canada’s tax revenue.
Although Canada’s wealthiest millionaires and billionaires undoubtedly pay their fair share of taxes, some Canadians would prefer to see them pay even more. Others still are calling for billionaires to be “taxed out of existence.”
However, the income gap between the top earners and everybody else has remained relatively stable over the past quarter-century, according to the central Bank of Canada. Conversely, income inequality in the US has continued to increase over the past 40 years.
The difference between both North American countries is that Canada imposes higher taxes on billionaires, whereas the US views billionaires as major contributors to the economy and rewards them with billionaire tax credits.
Currently, the wealthiest Canadian is Sherry Brydson. Brydson notably owns 23% of Woodbridge – the Thomson family’s (another billionaire family) investment firm. In addition to her ventures, Brydson is also heavily invested in:
- Public media
She also owns several small businesses throughout the Toronto area, which are more passion projects than anything else. These include Bangkok Garden, a high-end Thai restaurant, and the Elmwood Spa.
While billionaires may be few and far between, Canada is home to a far larger percentage of millionaires. The latest data shows that Canada is currently home to 1.68 million millionaires.
Millionaires are all over the place and are mostly made up of small business owners, investors, and celebrities.
When you look at what it takes to become a millionaire versus what it takes to become a billionaire, making it to the millionaire club is a lot easier. A thousand times easier, in fact; a billion dollars consists of one thousand million.
While earning a million dollars a thousand times may sound out of your range, doing it once is definitely an accomplishable goal, given the right work ethic and financial intelligence. It is not easy by any means though, and only a fraction of Canadians accomplish this feat.
One of the most common ways to become a millionaire is to stop leveraging your time for money. Many of the top millionaires earn money acting as “middlemen” by brokering deals. Others become millionaires by investing their money and making their money work for them.
If you want to learn more about investing, be sure to check out my beginner’s guide to investing in Canada.
Although Canada’s list of billionaires continues to grow, here’s the most recent list of billionaires along with their estimated net worth.
|Name||Net Worth (CAD)|
|Sherry Brydson||$17.38 billion|
|Jim Pattison||$15.37 billion|
|David Cheriton||$14.36 billion|
|Changpeng Zhao||$14.22 billion|
|Anthony von Mandl||$11.34 billion|
|Joseph Tsai||$11.34 billion|
|Taylor Thomson||$10.78 billion|
|Peter Thomson||$10.78 billion|
|David Thomson||$10.78 billion|
|Pan Dong||$10.04 billion|
|Tobias Lutke||$8.69 billion|
|Linda Campbell||$8.46 billion|
|Gaye Farncombe||$8.46 billion|
|Chip Wilson||$7.05 billion|
|Alain Bouchard||$6.93 billion|
|Mark Scheinberg||$6.67 billion|
|Huang Chulong||$6.30 billion|
|Emanuele Saputo||$6.04 billion|
|Bruce Flatt||$5.79 billion|
|Daryl Katz||$5.67 billion|
|Carlo Fidani||$5.29 billion|
|James Irving||$5.16 billion|
|Max Lytvyn||$5.04 billion|
|Alex Shevchenko||$5.04 billion|
|Arthur Irving||$4.91 billion|
|Apoorva Mehta||$4.41 billion|
|Peter Gilgan||$4.28 billion|
|Jean Coutu||$4.15 billion|
|Bob Gaglardi||$4.15 billion|
|Barry Zekelman||$4.15 billion|
|Mitchell Goldhar||$3.906 billion|
|Garrett Camp||$3.90 billion|
|Lawrence Stroll||$3.78 billion|
|N. Murray Edwards||$3.78 billion|
|Stephen Smith||$3.65 billion|
|Jacques D’Amours||$3.65 billion|
|Ryan Cohen||$3.65 billion|
|Jack Cockwell||$3.52 billion|
|Mark Leonard||$3.52 billion|
|Charles Bronfman||$3.15 billion|
|Philip Fayer||$3.02 billion|
|Zhang Ning||$2.89 billion|
|Serge Godin||$2.89 billion|
|Yuan Liping||$2.77 billion|
|Clayton Zekelman||$2.64 billion|
|Michael Lee-Chin||$2.39 billion|
|Robert G. Miller||$2.26 billion|
|Bill Malhotra||$2.26 billion|
|Hal Jackman||$2.26 billion|
|Pierre-Karl Péladeau||$2.26 billion|
|Stephen Jarislowky||$2.26 billion|
|Alan Zekelman||$2.14 billion|
|Sharon Azrieli||$2.14 billion|
|Naomi Azrieli||$2.14 billion|
|Terence Matthews||$2.01 billion|
|Gerald Schwartz||$2.01 billion|
|Brandt Louie||$2.01 billion|
|Dr. Catherine Phillips||$1.89 billion|
|John Phillips||$1.89 billion|
|Richard Fortin||$1.89 billion|
Which Industries Have The Most Billionaires?
If you dream of one day becoming a billionaire (or at least a millionaire), it helps to know a little bit about the industries that power billion-dollar brands, companies, and individuals. Based on the Wealth-X billionaire census, the following industries account for the majority of the world’s billionaires.
Banking and finance account for 20.4% of the world’s billionaire population. These individuals know how to leverage their money to make more money by investing in start-ups, public companies, cryptocurrency, technology and more.
In fact, almost all of the industries mentioned below frequently rely on capital obtained from the top finance billionaires and their investment banking firms.
Industrial conglomerates are large multi-faceted organizations that consist of several other companies. Examples of this include:
- Google (more than just a search engine)
- Walt Disney (retail, entertainment, hospitality, streaming, and more)
- Honeywell (manufactures a variety of home products)
- Samsung (phones, TVs, cloud networking, and more)
Some say that real estate is one of the most profitable sectors, as there’s a limited supply of it left on our planet. Many of the skyscrapers you see in downtown Vancouver and Toronto are owned by multi-billionaires, who are the only people who have enough money to construct mega-structures like that.
Technology is a big one. One of Canada’s wealthiest tech billionaires is Changpeng Zhao, who created Binance – the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume. He’s currently estimated to be worth over $14 billion CAD and $11 billion USD.
Manufacturing has always been a profitable sector. From cars to building materials and more, the manufacturing sector creates physical products and resources for many of the other industries on this list.
Some of the most profitable manufacturing businesses create parts for tech giants like Apple and Samsung.
Businesses and services run the world. This broad group includes businesses like:
- Marketing and advertising
- Service-based businesses (cleaning, maintenance, etc.)
- Research and development
- … and a whole lot more
At some point, almost every human being needs a doctor or needs to purchase a healthcare-related product.
Although some restaurants are owned by billionaires, I’m talking about major food companies, drink manufacturers, and more. Think about global companies like Coca-Cola and McDonalds.
Believe it or not, non-profits are often billion-dollar organizations. In fact, billionaires often use non-profit organizations to funnel their money away from the government and into their own personal interests (for better or worse).
Major entertainment companies and hotel conglomerates like Hilton, Marriott Bonvoy, and others own property and entertainment rights around the world.
If Canada continues its current growth trend, it will likely become home to even more billionaires in the coming years.
Who knows, the next one could be somebody who you know. Whether you despise or envy them, billionaires can teach you a lot about financial intelligence and how to manage your money.
Want to read more about Canada’s top billionaires? Check out my list of the richest people in British Columbia next!