I wouldn't necessarily say that it's not tricky to practice in the US with a Canadian degree. There are only 2 states that take the Canadian degree as equivalent (MA and NY). Otherwise you have to be admitted to another states bar before you can practice (ie for California). I believe that for NY you often still have to take further courses at a US law school, and many states require that you pretty much get an LLM before you can practice there. To get an LLM you need to have already been practicing for a number of years in Canada, then you have to apply, hope you get in, and hope you can afford the 60 grand or so (in US $) that it will cost you to attend (schools typically do not have fin aid for LLMs).
As for the starting salary of Canadian lawyers, I believe the average is $60 000, but that is after articling. At least this is what the banks go on for giving you loans.