Potential immigrants have always wondered what the cost of living in Canada will be like. Knowing about the standard of living in Canada is a proactive measure that everyone who is considering immigration needs to take to prepare financially especially as tariffs, costs, and standards of economy vary largely from country to country.

The basic things that attract costs most in Canada are rent, tax, transportation, and buying of groceries or other provisions. Most other basic needs such as healthcare and education are funded to a major extent by the Canadian government. For example, the Canadian government provides free education for all children who are below 18 years of age and also covers some of the basic health care services citizens and residents need. Except you will want to pay for private education for your children or get additional insurances, the cost of living in Canada per month for a start is still fairly affordable.

If you are just coming into Canada, one of the things that will affect how much of your initial income you spend is the exchange rate of the currency of your country of departure with that of Canada. If the currency of your current location has a lower value than that of the Canadian dollars, then, your purse will be greatly affected for the first few weeks or until you begin to earn in Canadian dollars.

Below is an approximate comparison of the Canadian dollar with other popular currencies in the world.

£1000 ≈ C$1740

€1000 ≈ C$1550

$1000 ≈ C$1300

A$1000 ≈ C$960

The Canada Border Services Agency provides adequate information on all that needs to be known about bringing other currencies with you to Canada.

Average Cost of Living in Canada per Month

The average cost of living in Canada per month is anything from about C$1000 to C$6,000. This depends largely on occupation, location, and family size. Out of the average cost of living in Canada per month, the cost of renting an apartment or paying a mortgage gulps about 35% to 50%. A student dorm in Canada (which is about the cheapest accommodation offer to go for) may not cost anything less than C$450 in the very urban regions. Outside the larger cities, the cost of renting a room can go as low as C$350.

Other necessities that influence the cost of living in Canada per month are:

  • Tax
  • Feeding
  • Transportation
  • Clothing
  • Insurance
  • Other utilities like heating and snow packing

Cost of Living in Canada by Province

The cost of living in Canada varies across the provinces and territories. This is largely affected by the population of residents, the situation of the economy, and the nature of work done in the region. The most expensive provinces are those which are urban and are teeming in population. The five most expensive cities to live in Canada at the moment are:

CITY PROVINCE
Vancouver British Columbia
Toronto Ontario
Montreal Quebec
Calgary Alberta
Ottawa Ontario

The table below gives comprehensive information on the average cost of living in Canada by province:

 

Province

or

Territory

 

Capital

 

Average Cost of Living per Month

(C$)

City with Highest Cost of Living City with Lowest Cost of Living
Rent Groceries Public Transport Entertainment
Alberta Edmonton 1249 115 103 253 Calgary Brooks
British Columbia Victoria 1885 142 101 240 Vancouver Abbotsford
Manitoba Winnipeg 1278 114.34 100 195.61 Winnipeg Winkler
New Brunswick Fredericton 1019 128 80 214 Fredericton Campbelton
Newfoundland and Labrador St. John’s 1450 92 86 159 Happy Valley-Goose Bay Cornerbrook
Nova Scotia Halifax 1581 136.5 80 217.5 Halifax Yarmouth
Ontario Toronto 2212 136 115 275 Toronto Windsor
Prince Edward Island Charlottetown 950 120.75 58 240 Charlottetown Summerside
Quebec Quebec City 1602 107 81 210 Montreal Sherbrook
Saskatchewan Regina 1026 115.5 86 224 Saskatoon Yorkton

Source: https://canadabuzz.ca/cost-living-canada-by-province/

The cheapest cost of living in Canada is found in provinces that are smaller in size and are more dependent on agriculture than other sectors for boosting the economy.

Cost of Living in Canada Vs other Parts of the World

The cost of living in Canada is much lower when compared to other popular immigration destinations like the USA and Australia. In the ranking of 2020s worldwide cost of living, Canada ranks 20th out of 110 countries from all over the world. Countries like Switzerland, Iceland, Israel, and Australia ranked higher than Canada, while countries like the United Kingdom, France, Germany, South Korea, and Nigeria had a lower cost of living compared to Canada.

Based on the statistics,

Canada’s Cost Index = 95.2

Average Monthly Income = 3,864 USD

Purchasing Power Index = 74.0

Cost of Living in Australia vs Canada

The cost of living in Australia ranks higher than that of Canada with an average monthly income of 4,592 USD and a cost index of 104.9

Cost of Living in Italy vs Canada

The cost of living in Italy is a bit lower than that of Canada with an average monthly income of 2.878 USD and a cost index of 80.1

Cost of Living in New Zealand vs Canada

The cost of living in New Zealand is slightly higher than that of Canada with an average monthly income of 3,563 USD and a cost index of 98.9.

Cost of Living in Portugal vs Canada

The cost of living in Portugal is way lower than that of Canada with an average monthly income of 1,933 USD and a cost index of 68.9

Cost of Living in Sweden vs Canada

Sweden ranks just above Canada (19th) in the worldwide cost of living statistics with an average monthly income of $4,648 and a cost index of 96.8

Cost of Living in Thailand vs Canada

Thailand has a very low cost of living compared to Canada. The average monthly income is 605 USD and the country has a cost index of 41.8.

Cost of Living in Canada vs USA

The United States of America has a higher cost of living than Canada with an average monthly income of 5,488 USD and a cost index of 100.00.

Note: A higher cost of living compared to that of Canada means things will be cheaper in Canada than in that country and that the currency has a greater value than the Canadian dollar.

Income Rate in Canada

The average salary paid an employee in Canada is about C$45,000 per annum or about C$3700 per month. There is usually a paycheque deduction made from all employees’ monthly income. This can account for about 25% to 35% of the monthly salary. The deduction is done by employers to cover for:

  • Income taxes
  • Pension plans
  • Employment insurance
  • Union dues (peradventure you belong to any)
  • Other rates you agree in writing that your employer should deduct.

Cost of Housing and Accommodation in Canada

As earlier said, renting and mortgage costs gulp about half of the salary earned per month in Canada. Housing costs depend largely on your chosen location. Urban areas like Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver have the largest populations in Canada, accounting for more than one-third of all persons that are in Canada at a particular time.

The high number of residents leads to scarcity and competition for accommodation and this greatly hikes rent and mortgage costs. Buying a home in Toronto for example can cost up to about C$800,000. Looking out to buy the same kind of house with almost similar facilities in a sub-urban region or the countryside might reduce the cost by almost 20% to 50%.

Table showing Average House Cost in Canada by Province

PROVINCE AVERAGE HOUSE COST (C$)
British Columbia 730,000
Ontario 578.000
Alberta 387,000
Quebec 297,000
Manitoba 296,000
Saskatchewan 288,000
Nova Scotia 249,000
New Foundland and Labrador 246,000
Prince Edward Island 230,000
New Brunswick 178,000

 

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) postulates the average rent price in Canada per month to be about C$1800 as of 2020, with speculations that renting prices may continue to increase.

To mitigate accommodation costs as an immigrant, you may consider renting an apartment in the countryside rather than the city centers. This as an option will attract more transportation cost so you will need to compare the budget for doing this with staying in the city before making a choice. Another option immigrants go for is to settle in smaller cities in the provinces and territories. Some of these small cities have the lowest cost of living in Canada, while still providing most of the amenities that can be found in the major cities.

The Canadian government has even in a bid to attract foreign workers to a less popular region set up a program known as the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP).

FAQs

What is the Cost of Living in Canada?

The average cost of living in Canada is about $2500 per month with rent.

Why is Cost of Living so High in Canada?

One of the things that greatly hike the cost of living in Canada is the tax rate. The average individual in Canada pays about C$7,068 for tax as of 2019. While this may seem ridiculously high to foreigners, Canadians think it is a value worth paying for all the government provides, especially in terms of quality healthcare.

Which Province has the Highest Cost of Living in Canada?

British Columbia, particularly Vancouver. With about $2,793 to pay for a 2-bedroom apartment per month. Closely following in Ontario.

Which Province in Canada has the Lowest Cost of Living?

Quebec. With an average cost of about C$1600 per month.

What is the Cheapest Cost of Living in Canada?

The cheapest cost of living in Canada can be about C$15,000 per month. Cities that can afford such low cost are Edmonton, Alberta; Hamilton, Ontario; and Montreal, Quebec.