Cost of Living in Canada: Everything To Consider Before Moving

Have little idea about the cost of living in Canada but desire to move there? Fear not, for we’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide. But first,

Why Move to Canada?

Well, why not? Why do you think Canada is one of the first names that come to mind when thinking of immigration?

It is because of Canada’s-

  • unique universal healthcare plan, where you don’t need to pay for simple medical services if you have your health card with you.
  • immigration-friendly policies
  • beautiful landscape
  • overall safety
  • stable politics

Read on to find how the cost of living in Canada is really like.

Notes 

  • Canada has a progressive tax system which means that people who earn higher income pay a greater percentage of taxes. There’s also the case of federal taxes (i.e. you pay taxes to the federal government) and provincial taxes (i.e. you pay taxes to the provincial government). The federal tax rate varies between 15 – 33% based on personal income. Provincial tax rates vary amongst states. It’s important to account for these tax rates for they can greatly affect the cost of living in Canada.
  • The hourly minimum wage rate is expected to change in the future. So, for more information, click here.
  • Data for Average Annual Income is Median Income, Census Families 2017 conducted by Statistics Canada. They can be found here.
  • All costs are given in USD.
  • All expenses are monthly except for real estate cost, minimum wage, and the average annual income. For a breakdown of these expenses, click here.

Most Expensive Cities in Canada

Cities listed here are some of the best places to live in – albeit at a high price.

1. Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver, British Columbia
(Source: TripSavvy)

Vancouver is repeatedly ranked as one of the top three best cities to live in the world. It is a perfect haven for those who crave both the fast-paced city life and the relaxed rural life. If you love the beach, there are plenty of fun activities you to revel in from sunbathing to water sports.

You can also explore the outdoors without worrying about frigid temperatures for 9 months. Also, the transportation system here is incredible! If you’re a foodie, you will never run out of food options.

If you’re into Hollywood, you will love that Vancouver is known as “Hollywood North” since a lot of filming (particularly the CW productions) is done here. Moreover, Vancouver is a major hub for startups so expect to find exciting work opportunities.

BUT all these perks come at a REALLY HUGE price and that is the cost of living. Vancouver is known to be one of the most expensive cities to live in as well. 

Rent: $1100 – $2800

Real Estate Cost: $1,325,929

Food & Grocery Expenses: $200

Transport Expenses: $107

Utility Bills: $127

Leisure Expenses: $64

Clothing Expenses: $285

Hourly Minimum Wage: $14.60

Average Annual Income: $64530  

2. Toronto, Ontario

Toronto, Ontario
(Source: The Independent)

Toronto has long been heralded as the melting pot of diversity and culture. It is also known as the financial capital of Canada. So, if you’re a finance enthusiast or even an aspiring corporate executive, there are so many job opportunities waiting right here for you! Bonus is that some of the world’s top tech companies like Facebook and LinkedIn operate here.

Moreover, Toronto is another startup hub so expect to find an amazing entrepreneurial spirit over here. And, if you’re looking for delicious dining options and excellent safety, Toronto is the place to be in. In fact, as Canada’s biggest city, there is so much for you to experience that you will never be bored.

And yet, these fantastic perks are outweighed by the tremendous cost of living which continues to rise every year. 

Rent: $1300 – $2700

Real Estate Cost: $1,056,741

Food & Grocery Expenses: $201

Transport Expenses: $150

Utility Bills: $165

Leisure Expenses: $75 

Clothing Expenses: $270

Hourly Minimum Wage: $14.00

Average Annual Income: $62,200 

3. Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria, British Columbia
(Source: Lonely Planet)

The capital city of B.C. and residing in Vancouver Island, this dainty city is a gorgeous place to live in. Strolling down the streets, you’ll find yourself surrounded by picturesque historical architecture making you feel like you’re in an English village.

Here’s a fun fact for you: Victoria is known as the “City of Gardens” for when the mildest weather in Canada beckons the flowers to come alive, the whole city bursts with fauna everywhere. Then there are the famous Butchart Gardens and the Abkhazi Garden and more which grace the arrival of countless tourists yearlong.

Being in Victoria gives you the feeling of residing in a close-knit community as life here is somewhat cooler than the brashness of Vancouver and Toronto despite being like them. Experience the best of culture and food here with a thriving arts and cuisine scene.

You don’t have to worry about the job market in Victoria either for there are an up-and-coming tech scene and a provincial government that attracts top employers to operate here. Victoria has also been ranked as one of the top ten cities in Canada to find work in. 

But, all good things have a dark side to them. For Victoria, it is the high cost of living.

Rent: $1000 – $2100

Real Estate Cost: $580,000

Food Expenses: $200

Transport Expenses: $102

Utility Bills: $142.1

Leisure Expenses: $77

Clothing Expenses: $260

Hourly Minimum Wage: $14.60

Average Annual Income: $71,350

4. Calgary, Alberta

Calgary, Alberta
(Source: https://romaneladiaz.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/calgary-canada-city-guide/)

Those who were born in Calgary are some of the luckiest people in the world. This is an exciting place to live in. It has been ranked as one of the cleanest and healthiest cities in the planet.

The average age here is around 35-36 years which means this is a mostly young population. So, count on finding vibrant friendly youthful friends to surround yourself with. Community spirit is especially strong for the citizens of Calgary, so don’t you worry about feeling lonely!

If you love the outdoors, the Rocky Mountains beckons you. There is more than abundant park space for you to relax in and more than 600 water lakes for fun water activities. Calgary is also well-regarded for being presenting numerous job opportunities and low sales tax!

It has been widely recognized as an energy-hub, especially after the completion of the Trans-Canada Pipeline. Another reason for this is that 97% of the world’s oil reserves are found in Alberta. Expect to find scrumptious healthy and locally sourced crops for you to cook with it.

Do visit the infamous Stampede – the embodiment of Calgary culture. Also, expect to find plenty of people owning their homes instead of renting.

But, to make your dream of moving to Calgary come true you need to have great savings to finance the spiraling cost of living here.

Rent: $900 – $1550

Real Estate Cost: $466,357 

Food & Grocery Expenses: $183

Transport Expenses: $112

Utility Bills: $208

Leisure Expenses: $77

Clothing Expenses: $260

Hourly Minimum Wage: $15.00

Average Annual Income: $76,460

Most Affordable Cities in Canada

These cities may not be as well-known as the ones on the other list, but they still offer great bang for your money.

1. Kingston, Ontario

Kingston, Ontario
(Source: skyticket.com)

It is said that Kingston is the best place in Canada to retire in and is on its way to becoming an attractive place for the youth to settle in. And why not?

With its quaint charm and a tightknit community, it offers a magnificent opportunity for someone who wants to reside in a snug place close to the buzzing city life. Kingston presents a unique experience: wedged right between Toronto and Montreal, with an airport too, you can travel to any of these major cities with ease.

It is also converting into a major hub for education, tech, health, and business. Also, there is no dearth of leisure opportunities, especially for someone who enjoys visiting the coast and the restaurants. 

And, you know what? The best thing is that you can live here comfortably due to its amazing affordability.

Rent: $900 – $1560

Real Estate Cost: $350,000

Food Expenses: $189

Transport Expenses: $100

Utility Bills: $1723

Leisure Expenses: $55

Clothing Expenses: $260

Hourly Minimum Wage: $14.00 

Expected Annual Income: $68,750

2. Saint John City, New Brunswick

Saint John City, New Brunswick
(Source: Intelligent Community Forum)

The second-largest city in New Brunswick, Saint John awaits those who love nature and clean carefree life in the countryside. Luckily, even the infrastructure is advanced for the anxious millennial and there are plans to upgrade it further.

It is a major industrial hub as it operates Canada’s biggest oil refinery and biggest dry dock. Another major source of commercial activity here is the famous Port of Saint John. Expect work opportunities in industries like forestry, brewing, electricity, oil, transportation, and aquaculture.

It also hosts several military units of the Canadian Armed Forces. Labor union spirit is extraordinarily strong here for this is the first Canadian city to form a labor union back in the 19th century. You can also satisfy the inner creative in you here with the city’s booming arts and theatre scene.

To sum up, Saint John City is one of the best options for those who care about affordability.  

Rent: $540 – $1200

Real Estate Cost: $200,000

Food Expenses: $189

Transport Expenses: $100

Utility Bills: $225

Leisure Expenses: $91

Clothing Expenses: $300

Hourly Minimum Wage: $11.70

Average Annual Income: $60,500

3. Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax, Nova Scotia
(Source: Wikipedia)

You don’t necessarily have to move to the countryside if you feel overwhelmed by fast-paced city life. You can move to a gorgeous city in Nova Scotia known as Halifax.

Here, unlike other major cities, the weather isn’t severe, and life is much more easygoing. Infused with arts, culture, entrepreneurship, stunning scenery, terrific nightlife, youthful energy – you will always find something to do here. 

If these aren’t enough to convince you to move to Halifax, know that here you can afford to buy a spacious house without paying any mortgage whatsoever. 

Rent: $750 – $1710

Real Estate Cost: $330,000

Food & Grocery Expenses: $192

Transport Expenses: $89

Utility Bills: $195

Leisure Expenses: $70.38

Clothing Expenses: $265

Hourly Minimum Wage: $12.55

Average Annual Income: $67,050

4. Winnipeg, Manitoba

Winnipeg, Manitoba
(Source: https://traveladventureeverywhere.blogspot.com/2012/01/spectacular-end-to-busy-day-with-sunset.html)

Living here – the capital of Manitoba and the eighth-largest city in Canada – is not for the faint at heart. For example, it will take some time to get used to the harsh winter here. Crime rate is the highest in the country. Infrastructure could be better.

But it’s still all worth it!

Expenses are unbelievably so low here that you can do virtually anything! Start a business, travel with your friends, take a trip to see the polar bears, watch the sports, or even buy a house in your twenties!

In fact, Manitoba possibly has the cheapest housing options amongst all the Canadian cities. Also, because of its cultural diversity, Winnipeg has some amazing cuisine selections and a flourishing arts scene. What’s more, commuting here is far easier than in a major expensive city.

The unemployment rate in Winnipeg is one of the lowest at 8.2%. Here, there are loads of job opportunities to find in manufacturing, agriculture, aerospace, healthcare, and government administration. Awesome companies like Boeing and Bristol Aerospace even operate here!

Rent: $740 – $1120

Real Estate Cost: $300,000

Food & Grocery Expenses: $175

Transport Expenses: $106

Utility Bills: $185

Leisure Expenses: $65

Clothing Expenses: $235

Hourly Minimum Wage: $11.65

Average Annual Income: $64,160

Final Words

Moving to a new place in North America may be nerve-wracking but not when you have the right information on the cost of living in Canada. Like this list. It is hard to keep track of how the expenses, income, and tax rates vary from province to province.

But what does not vary is the quality of living and the perks each Canadian city extends to its citizens. No wonder that its cities are consistently ranked as the best places to live in. No wonder that Canada is such a popular place to immigrate to.

And, even if you still get lost – this list is always here to guide you. Happy Moving!

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