Skip to main content

Main Area


Richest people in Canada

  • Richest people in Canada

    Last year, the combined wealth of the top 10 richest Canadians hit a new record high of $96.4 billion. In fact, the number of billionaires in Canada has doubled during the past decade, as large Canadian businesses have expanded and become even more profitable, and as technology has given rise to successful startup ventures.

    But as the rich have gotten richer, the status quo for many Canadians has remained the same. The 87 richest families in Canada have the same amount of wealth as roughly one-third of the country’s population. In 2016, the net worth of the wealthiest Canadian was 4,448 times that of the average Canadian.

    There is also some evidence that points to the inequality gap growing in Canada. Between 2012 and 2016, the average net worth of the richest Canadians rose by 37%, while the average net worth of all Canadians rose by just 15% during the same time period. Meanwhile, wages have stagnated and student debt is piling up for many younger Canadians. In a 2019 poll, 67% of Canadians surveyed said they felt the Canadian economy is rigged to benefit the rich and powerful, up eight points from when the same question was posed in a 2016 survey.

    Stacker compiled a list of the 43 Canadian billionaires and ranked them by net worth, based on Forbes data from March 12, 2020. The billionaires in Canada are nearly all men, although Sherry Brydson is one of the richest women in the country. Brydson is worth an estimated $7.64 billion, largely due to her inherited wealth from her grandfather Roy Thomson. Because she is a member of the Thomson family, though, she did not get her own spot on the Canadian billionaires list, since the Thomson family is grouped together.

    Read on to see how Canadian's billionaires stack up to one another.

  • #43. N. Murray Edwards

    - Net worth: $0.9 billion (#2,060 richest in world)
    - Source of wealth: oil and gas
    - Residence: London, U.K. (citizen of Canada)
    - Age: 61

    At 28, N. Murray Edwards started a merchant bank with some of his colleagues, each contributing $100,000 toward the project. They looked for investments in oil and gas, and eventually, Edwards became an incredibly successful entrepreneur with investments in not only oil and gas, but also mining, aerospace and ski resorts. He also became a co-owner of the National Hockey League’s Calgary Flames. Today, his businesses employ more than 25,000 people.

  • #42. Brandt Louie

    - Net worth: $1.2 billion (#1,840 richest in world)
    - Source of wealth: drugstores
    - Residence: Vancouver, British Columbia
    - Age: 77

    Brandt Louie’s grandfather Hok Yat Louie moved to Canada from China, and gradually saved up enough money to open a small general store in Vancouver, British Columbia’s Chinatown in 1903. That small store would become the basis of the family’s business, which now includes IGA supermarkets and London Drugs. Today, Louie heads the H.Y. Louie Co. Ltd., which is one of the largest private companies in British Columbia with 10,000 employees. He also operates two charities with wide-ranging operations: the Tong and Geraldine Louie Family Foundation and the London Drugs Foundation.

  • #41. K. Rai Sahi

    - Net worth: $1.2 billion (#1,838 richest in world)
    - Source of wealth: real estate
    - Residence: Mississauga, Ontario
    - Age: 74

    K. Rai Sahi moved to Montreal in 1971 from India, where he started a job as an insurance salesman, and eventually accepted a job with the Bank of Montreal as a business loans officer and honed his real estate skills. In the late 1990s, he took over the real estate company Morguard Corporation, focusing on bargain real estate deals and prioritizing growth over dividends, which took the organization to new heights. He continued to expand the company into an entity worth $20 billion, that owns numerous apartment buildings, shopping malls and office buildings in North America.

  • #40. Guy Laliberté

    - Net worth: $1.2 billion (#1,818 richest in world)
    - Source of wealth: Cirque du Soleil
    - Residence: Montreal
    - Age: 61

    Former Montreal street performer Guy Laliberté became a billionaire after he founded what would become Cirque du Soleil in 1984. He sold his majority stake in Cirque du Soleil in 2015, and since then, started up Lune Rouge Entertainment and spent $100 million constructing buildings on his private island in French Polynesia. In 2009, Laliberté spent $35 million to become the first private Canadian citizen to visit space.

  • #39. Gerald Schwartz

    - Net worth: $1.3 billion (#1,753 richest in world)
    - Source of wealth: finance
    - Residence: Toronto
    - Age: 79

    Gerald Schwartz co-founded CanWest Capital in 1977 at age 35, but by 1984 that venture had fizzled, and he used his portion of assets to start Onex Corp., a Toronto-based private equity firm. Today, Onex reportedly has $33 billion in assets. Schwartz has donated millions of his fortune to universities and hospitals, and has been inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. He is married to Heather Reisman, founder and CEO of Indigo Books and Music.

  • #38. Terence (Terry) Matthews

    - Net worth: $1.3 billion (#1,711 richest in world)
    - Source of wealth: telecom
    - Residence: Ottawa, Ontario
    - Age: 77

    Terry Matthews has shepherded about 120 startups into successful companies, including Mitel Networks Corp., which he founded in 1972 to import electric lawn mowers, but eventually shifted gears and began selling dial pads for telephones. He used the money he made when British Telecom bought Mitel to found telecom company Newbridge Networks, and in 2016 founded Excalibur Steel UK Ltd. Matthews is originally from Wales, and today chairs the board of the Swansea Bay City Region.

  • #37. Aldo Bensadoun

    - Net worth: $1.3 billion (#1,679 richest in world)
    - Source of wealth: shoes
    - Residence: Montreal
    - Age: 82

    Aldo Bensadoun is the figure behind Aldo Group, a shoes and accessories design and manufacturing group that has more than 1,600 stores in 80 countries. Bensadoun was born in Morocco, but grew up in the south of France, where his father owned multiple shoe stores. He moved to the United States to attend Cornell University but became enamored with Montreal after visiting, and soon transferred to McGill University. He started Aldo in 1972 at the department store Le Chateau, and in 1993, the brand expanded to the United States.

  • #36. Mark Leonard and family

    - Net worth: $1.4 billion (#1,635 richest in world)
    - Source of wealth: software
    - Residence: Toronto
    - Age: 64

    Mark Leonard founded Canadian tech company Constellation Software in 1995, remains chairman of the company today and retains a 5% stake. Constellation Software, which operates in more than 100 countries, earned $2.3 billion in sales in 2018 and acquired eight companies. However, little is known about Leonard: He has never spoken to the press, and there are no known images of him online.

  • #35. Jack Cockwell

    - Net worth: $1.4 billion (#1,583 richest in world)
    - Source of wealth: real estate, private equity
    - Residence: Toronto
    - Age: 79

    Jack Cockwell was born in South Africa, and at 27, he was hired to manage the inheritance of a few of the Bronfman brothers, who belong to a wealthy Canadian American family. In his role, Cockwell spearheaded a number of acquisitions on behalf of Edper Investments, the Bronfman’s company, and eventually built a real estate and financial services firm that would become Brookfield Asset Management. The company has a $250 billion portfolio and Cockwell remains a director at Brookfield today.

  • #34. Stephen Jarislowsky

    - Net worth: $1.5 billion (#1,488 richest in world)
    - Source of wealth: money management
    - Residence: Montreal
    - Age: 95

    Born in Berlin in 1925, Stephen Jarislowsky moved to the United States in 1941 to attend prep school in Asheville, North Carolina After serving in counterintelligence in World War II, Jarislowsky earned his MBA at Harvard before starting Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd. in 1955 in Montreal. The company became one of the largest and most successful investment management firms in Canada, and Jarislowsky remains on the company’s board of directors today. He is also the co-founder and director of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance.

2018 All rights reserved.