Since you want to find out the cost of living in Canada, you are one of the many dreamers and achievers who wish to provide themselves with the best possible lifestyle. Indeed, Canada is one of the most beautiful places to spend your life due to its culture, lifestyle, and economy.

Canada ranks among the top when considering government transparency, safety, education, healthcare, civil liberty, and quality of life. The cosmopolitan culture welcomes people from different ethnicities that dwell in harmony.

The growth potential of an individual is massive in a fast-growing economy like Canada. With thousands of job opportunities growing every year, Canada has a declining poverty rate and economically booming.

It is imperative to determine the cost of living in Canada to understand how much money one needs to make to have a sustainable lifestyle. This article will cover aspects including average monthly costs, housing costs, health insurance, food costs, electricity costs, transportation costs, and more. 

It will help you calculate estimated monthly costs to account for general living expenses. We will also give you an insight into comparing living in expensive cities against the less expensive ones. 

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Average Cost of Living in Canada

Canada ranks among the top when considering the quality of life and economic power. These two are significant driving forces making thousands of people want to immigrate to this nation. Moreover, when considering growth opportunities and quality living, Canada is relatively reasonable compared to several other nations like the UK, the US, Japan, Switzerland, and more. The fact that Canada is a first-world country clarifies why it is not the cheapest place to thrive. However, it gives tough competition to other economies when considering immigration.

The primary reason the cost of living in Canada is high is the tax rate. The tax rate set by the government aims to provide free healthcare, social protection, secondary education, police, and military services.

According to 2021, the average cost of living in Canada was CAD 2,730. To determine how expensive it is for an individual, one must check the currency converter to get an accurate idea.

Most expensive cities to live in Canada

The cost of living in Canada varies depending on the geographic location and significance of a place. The second reason Canada is expensive from one city to another is its housing costs. Smaller towns will be cheaper to live in, but they will also have fewer job opportunities compared to big cities.

When you plan to immigrate to Canada, you must first determine your opportunities and then check the cost of living. The most sought-after places, which are also the most expensive to live include:

  • Vancouver in the province of British Columbia
  • Toronto is the province of Ontario
  • Montreal in the province of Quebec
  • Calgary in the province of Alberta
  • Ottawa in the province of Ontario

A family of four would require a monthly expenditure of CAD 4,032, excluding rent. The same for a single person would be CAD 1,125.

How much money do you need to live in Canada?

As of 2021, one had to earn at least CAD 40 per hour, which accounted for CAD 78,000 per annum, to have survived sustainably. The quoted amount helped residents live a decent lifestyle in Canada with a family. It is important to note that entry-level job opportunities will not help you earn such an amount. Such jobs will pay around CAD 32,293 per annum.

Leading a comfortable lifestyle in Canada will vary depending on the province you choose to settle in. For example, a comfortable lifestyle in Nova Scotia is much easier to achieve compared to British Columbia. Also, if you choose to live within an inland region instead of the outskirts, the cost of every place significantly varies.

A decent salary to settle and lead a sustainable lifestyle would require an income of at least CAD 42,000 to CAD 59,000 annually. Moreover, most provinces in Canada help you lead a modest lifestyle while offering quality living, weather conditions, and public security.

How expensive is Canada in comparison to other countries?

According to the latest World Data, Canada ranks number 21 in terms of cost of living. With an average monthly cost requirement of USD 3,632, it has a purchasing power index of 68.4 percent.

Total living expenses in Canada are less than in countries like Japan, New Zealand, the US, and the UK. However, when planning to move to Canada, you must determine finances as per the exchange of Canadian dollars against your home country.

Cost of living in Canada [according to major Canadian cities]

When planning to move to Canada, the first locations you would target would include major Canadian cities and not the suburbs.

Before you look for the cheapest cities, you should check if the expensive cities are affordable or not. Here is us breaking down the top 11 Canadian cities that you will look through before settling elsewhere:

1. Living Costs in Toronto

The housing cost in Toronto for 900 sq. ft. furnished accommodations will be anywhere between CAD 2,761 to CAD 3,226, depending on the locality and amenities.

Tenant’s insurance would cost around CAD 50, followed by hydro, gas, and electricity costs for CAD 150, food costs worth CAD 100 weekly, and CAD 130 for transportation. When calculating other expenses like internet, prepaid mobile tariff, and entertainment, the total cost will not be less than CAD 4,000 for one person.

2. Living Costs in Ottawa

Housing costs in Ottawa for 900 sq. ft furnished accommodations will be around CAD 1,713 to CAD 2,138 depending on prime location or otherwise. Utility bills will be worth CAD 196, followed by internet and phone bills worth CAD 95. Weekly grocery costs will be at least CAD 60 for one person. The total cost of living, adding other expenses like entertainment, eating at a mid-range restaurant, etc., will require CAD 2,500 to 3,000 for one person.

3. Living Costs in Oakville

The cost of living in Oakville, on average, is CAD 2500. A one bedroom apartment in the city center would cost CAD 1423 whereas CAD 1340 out of the city center. Essential utility bills will cost CAD 121, while internet and phone services cost around CAD 57. If availing of public transport, it will cost CAD 110 or more, while food will cost at least CAD 100 or more per week. When adding other expenses like shopping, entertainment, and outings, you need a budget of at least CAD 200 more.

4. Living Costs in Vancouver

The monthly rent of a 480 sq. ft. furnished apartment in Vancouver is around CAD 1,760 in a normal area and around CAD 2,360 in a posh area. The same can go up to CAD 3,320 for a 900 sq. ft. furnished place in an expensive area, making Vancouver extremely costly to live in.

The transport ticket costs CAD 131, whereas a cab ride for 8 km would cost CAD 35. An average lunch cost would be around CAD 27, while groceries for a week would be around CAD 100. Utility bills will be at least CAD 172, and when adding entertainment, internet, and other costs, the average monthly expenses for one person is a minimum of CAD 3,000.

5. Living Costs in Calgary

Rental costs in Calgary are comparatively less expensive, and you can get a 900 sq. ft. furnished apartment at CAD 1,688 away from the center. Utility bills are a little higher at around CAD 200 for one person. Weekly grocery costs would be around CAD 80, and when adding internet and entertainment, it will be CAD 90 more. A public transport ticket costs CAD 105, and the total requirement for one person comes to CAD 2,200.

6. Living Costs in Alberta

Housing cost in Alberta can be as less as CAD 703 for one person. Families prefer choosing a place like this as the cost of living on rent is around CAD 2,100. Groceries will be around CAD 300 for one, with an average meal cost of CAD 25 when eating out. Utility bills will cost around CAD 95 for one person and CAD 147 for families. The monthly travel pass for each is CAD 92. A single person can manage to live in Alberta with a monthly income of CAD 1,500.

7. Living Costs in British Columbia

The cost of living in Canada, on average, is 1.5 times less compared to living in British Columbia. Here, a furnished accommodation of a one-bedroom apartment would cost CAD 1,641 to CAD 1,869. Utility bills cost around CAD 100, and weekly food costs around CAD 80. Public transport ticket is CAD 66 monthly, and entertainment would cost around CAD 100 more. The average salary to sustain in this province for one person is CAD 3,067.

8. Living Costs in Manitoba

Manitoba is not everybody’s first choice among other Canadian provinces. However, it is close to Ottawa and has a low standard of living. The rental cost of a 900 sq. ft. furnished place is CAD 988. Cab drives take around CAD 26 for 8 km. Weekly food cost is around CAD 60 to 80. When adding other expenses, the total cost of living for one person is around CAD 1,500.

9. Living Costs in Nova Scotia

Housing cost in Nova Scotia is CAD 1,541 to 2,165 for a 900 sq. ft. furnished apartment, depending on the location. For 480 sq. ft., it will be CAD 1,609 to 938. Utility bills for one person are CAD 116, internet CAD 54, monthly transport pass CAD 81, and food around CAD 70 weekly. An average person requires CAD 2167 to sustain a living in Nova Scotia.

10. Living Costs in Nova Brunswick

The cost of living in this province is 1.17 times cheaper compared to the average living cost in Canada. The average salary required is CAD 2383. Household expenses account for CAD 300 for food and CAD 88 for utilities. House prices for monthly rentals are CAD 1,275 for an individual and CAD 2893 for a family of four. Monthly transport ticket costs around CAD 54 only.

11. Living Costs in Prince Edward Island

The cost of living in this province is CAD 859 for one person in a 480 sq. ft. apartment away from the city center. The cost of a 900 sq. ft. apartment in a prime location can be around CAD 1,571. Internet and phone bills will cost around CAD 150, whereas grocery costs are comparatively cheap. You need to pay CAD 63 for the monthly transport ticket and for entertainment you can keep around CAD 50 to 100 at least. The average living cost in a city like Charlottetown is around CAD 1,500.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cost of Living in Canada

1.      How much money do you need to live comfortably in Canada?

The cost of living comfortably in Canada widely varies from one province to another. If settling down in a place like Toronto, your average monthly expenditure without rent would be minimum of CAD 1,200. Whereas, in Montreal, it would be a minimum of CAD 1,000. These expenditures include food, public transport, utility bills, and other variable expenses.

2.      Is it expensive to live in Canada?

As reported by World Data, Canada ranks 21st among 109 countries as per the average standard of living. It is pretty expensive when comparing living costs with places like India, Pakistan, China, Indonesia, Kenya, and more. However, when migrating from European countries like the UK, France, Germany, and Italy, the cost of living isn’t very different. 

3.      Is it cheaper to live in Canada or the US?

Overall, Canada has cheaper living costs than the United States. The average price in the US is approximately USD 5,378 for one person. However, it is slightly tricky to share an accurate comparison as it can majorly depend on where you stay.

For example, the cost of living in a place like Michigan or Detroit could be similar to the cost of living in Vancouver. Michigan is 11% cheaper than the national average in the US, whereas British Columbia is the most expensive place to live in Canada.

4.      How much does it cost per month to live in Canada?

The cost of living in Canada for a single person is around CAD 1,172 without rent. Whereas, for a family of four, it is approximately CAD 4,217 without rent. The average cost of rent varies from CAD 1500 to 2500 depending on the size of the apartments and location.

However, it can come down by CAD 200 to 300 if the location is not in a city center. Both rent and cost of living vary according to the province you select. For example, the monthly rent of a one-bedroom apartment could be around CAD 700 in Quebec City and around CAD 1900 in Vancouver.