Though we all have our grievances, I'm sure, NC is nowhere near as bad as what the FAA is becoming. One disadvantage of our system is that trainees in centres now go about a year without any pay at all (during the classroom and simulator portions of training, before hitting the floor to work live traffic) -- although now from what I hear the new FAA hires qualify for food stamps during the initial months (years?) so this isn't quite as bad in comparison as it used to be. I remember being pissed when my buddy started at $60k his first day in LA Center before he even took a D-side course, but those days are long gone. If you were hired under the experienced controller program the unpaid training time wouldn't apply to you anyway, you'd draw a salary from day one.
Once you check out (which you can do in about 18 months from the day you start training, unlike in the USA where it can take several years), pay is in my opinion quite good -- at my facility (albeit the highest-paid one in Canada) you'd start at around $100k/yr, including base salary of around $80k and facility premium of about $20k, plus overtime. Even the junior guys in my specialty are grossing about $140k (expect about $60k to get sucked back in taxes and deductions, of course). It's similar at most centres; tower controllers make substantially less (except for high-density ones like Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal).
Pension's good, benefits are good, working conditions (generally 6 days on/4 off as opposed to the FAA's 5/2 -- and you can get blocks of days or eves if you want them, none of this mid shift followed by eve followed by morning followed by early morning stuff that the FAA is known for) are pretty decent. Supervisors are all fully-qualified controllers that have been operational for many years, and they are expected to continue to work in position except during the very busiest times when stand-back supervision is required. Last week we had a blizzard that meant a lot of the evening shift guys didn't make it in until 2, 3 hours past their start time, and it was actually our sup that made up a lot of the shortfall; I think he was on position for 3+ hours straight (very rare in Canada, usually it's more like 1-1.5 hours on, 45 minutes-1 hour off).
All that said, if the FAA continues to do this to its controllers, I'm sure our management will take note and it will affect our next round of collective bargaining negotiations (current agreement expires in 2009). Getting something like the FAA pay scale (on average larger salaries, at a far lower tax rate) used to be a goal for us; obviously now that's no longer the case. One thing we do have in our favour is that our major airlines aren't bankrupt -- both AC and WestJet are doing very well -- but no doubt there will be a downturn at some point and that along with the FAA comparison will lead NC to seek concessions. So right now, I'd say it's a good time to be getting into NC (we don't have age limits either -- one of the guys on my course started at 36 -- but you do need to obtain a work visa prior to applying if you're thinking of immigrating to Canada) but I have no idea what the future will bring.
If you (or anybody else) have other questions, feel free to post again or PM me; I'm happy to help anybody who's interested in becoming a controller in Canada.