Canada is one of the best places to live. Many European residents regard it as a friendlier version of the United States, and in the ranking of happiness levels, Canadians have ranked at the top for years. What is the cost of living in Canada, and how much do its residents earn?
What makes up the living costs in Canada?
As with other countries, living costs in Canada depend on several factors. Here are the most important of these:
The place where you live
If you're looking to save money, you definitely shouldn't choose to live in a big city. Toronto living cost is noticeably higher than for small towns. However, it is worth remembering that Canada is a huge country and residents of sparsely populated regions spend a lot of money on transportation.
As we have already mentioned, Canada is a huge country. Its area is almost 10 million kilometers, and the distances you have to travel are many times greater than in the U.S. If you decide to live in this country, you have to be ready to spend really large amounts on fuel. At the end of 2022, gasoline costs about 1.93 CAD per liter, which clearly raises the cost of living in Canada. Residents of Canadian cities spend between CAD 80 and 120 per month on public transportation, but owning a car is much more expensive.
Every person has to eat to live. Although food in this country is not very expensive, its prices cannot be overlooked. When planning to live in Canada, you must be ready to spend between CAD 400 and CAD 600 per month on food. Of course, this amount can be much higher if you have special preferences or often eat out.
It's pretty obvious that renting or buying an apartment accounts for a large portion of the Canadian cost of living. Depending on the region, this will range from CAD 1,200 to as much as CAD 2,500 per month for an apartment for two people. Renting houses is more expensive, but the differences are not very large. The low density of housing, including in cities, makes land quite cheap. The average Canadian salary usually allows you to buy property in this country.
Although the schools are perfect, education does not affect the Canadian cost of living because it is free. Only universities are paid, but there are plenty of opportunities to raise funds for studies, especially for citizens.
Private schools cost between CAD10,000 and CAD16,000, while immigrants have to pay between CAD8,000 and CAD12,000 per semester. If you are interested in tutoring, you should expect to spend between 30 and 50 Canadian dollars per hour.
Health care always affects spending, and the same is true of the cost of living in Canada. Medications, especially insulin, are much cheaper than in the United States, while insurance consumes a smaller portion of earnings. Basic health care is funded by taxes, so insurance is voluntary. Private doctors are not cheap, but the middle class can afford them without much trouble.
Cost of living Canada by province
It's time for some figures. Our calculations are based on monthly expenses of a family of three with normal living needs that does not receive private education or medical care.
- Quebec: $2625
- Newfoundland: $2845
- New Brunswick: $2918
- Saskatchewan: $3091
- Manitoba: $3324
- Alberta: $4115
- British Columbia: $4557
- Ontario: $4589
Cost of living Canada by city
The analysis gets even more interesting when we analyze the cost of living in individual Canadian cities. We did the calculations for the same, a family of three.
- Montreal: $3038
- Quebec City: $3050
- St. John’s: $3632
- Moncton: $3654
- Winnipeg: $3701
- Saskatoon: $4030
- Halifax: $4113
- Edmonton: $4373
- London: $4384
- Ottawa: $4590
- Calgary: $4672
- Vancouver: $4923
- Toronto: $4975
No one should be surprised that Toronto living cost is almost twice as high as the cost of living in Montreal. Although Toronto is not the nation's capital, it is home to the country's largest companies and the center of Canada's financial life. Do you remember how expensive is life in New York City when compared to the average cost of living in the U.S.?
Canadian average salary
Now that you know the average Canadian cost of living, it's time to look at earnings. It is important to remember that we are using an average value. Entrepreneurs and people working part-time are usually not included in the statistics. It's also easy to distort the average because it's relatively common for Nunavut residents to work in oil production or receive hardship bonuses, while there are many migrant workers in big cities like Toronto and Ottawa.
- Canadian average salary (whole country): $72000 per year
- Accounting, HR and administration: $54190
- Architecture and art: $48500
- Banking and Finance: $70961
- Engineering: $83988
- Food services: $33249
- Healthcare: $100693
- IT: $80198
- Marketing: $63444
- Retail: $40377
How could you reduce living costs in Canada?
If the above amounts are high for you, don't worry! There are several effective ways to achieve a cheap living cost in Canada. These tips will come in handy, especially now that fuel prices are high and inflation refuses to fall.
Insulate your home
Reducing heating bills is a great way to save money and protect the environment. The cost of living in Canada by province is dependent on climate. Southwestern cities have much higher average temperatures than those close to Greenland, and this affects the cost of heating buildings.
If you own a property, invest in good windows, wall insulation and solid doors. While this is not a cheap investment, the payback will be very quick, especially in the face of high energy prices.
Eat at home
Average salaries in Canada are enough to eat out, but that doesn't yet mean you have to do so. If you choose to prepare meals at home, you'll save as much as CAD 200 per month, and you'll have more control over what you eat.
Move closer to city center
The cost of living in Canada largely consists of transportation expenses. In this country, fuel is significantly more expensive than in the United States, so owning a car is quite expensive. Fortunately, public transportation is usually efficient and cheap. If you give up your car, you can save up to CAD 5,000 a year.