The Cost of Living In Canada

Most people from the UK and Europe find the cost of living in Canada is significantly lower than their home country.

Toronto - Canada's Financial Capital
Toronto – Canada’s Financial Capital

Canadian housing can be cheap compared with other developed nations – the average house price in Canada is around nine times the average annual wage. Though in some provinces, such as New Brunswick, it is as low as four times the annual wage. Prices are highest in Ontario (ten times the average wage) and Vancouver (fourteen times the average wage).

People moving to Canada with the proceeds of house sales from countries with more expensive housing can often buy a house in Canada with a considerably reduced mortgage.

This leaves more of their income for other activities and lowers their cost of living in Canada significantly.

Compared with many other western countries, although not the USA:

›› Dining out and most forms of recreation are cheaper in Canada.
›› Petrol / Gasoline and cars are cheaper in Canada.
›› Power is cheaper, but you use more power to heat your house in a typical Canadian winter.
›› Car insurance is very expensive in Canada.

Mercer carried out an extensive cost of living survey for overseas workers in 2016. The survey covers 209 cities and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

The survey revealed that Vancouver (142nd) has the highest cost of living in Canada, followed by Toronto (143rd), Montreal (155th), Calgary (162nd) and Ottawa (171st).

The survey found that Canadian cities have lower living costs than many other locations in the developed world.

Since the last survey Canada as a whole is becoming less expensive relative to other cities because of the weakness of the Canadian dollar, Mercer says.

The rankings for Canadian cities out of the 209 cities surveyed are:

  1. Vancouver (142nd)
  2. Toronto (143rd)
  3. Montreal (155th)
  4. Calgary (162nd)
  5. Ottawa (171st)

Top 50 Cities 2016 Ranking

1Hong Kong
2Luanda, Angola
3Zurich, Switzerland
5Tokyo, Japan
6Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
7Shanghai, China
8Geneva, Switzerland
9N’Djamena, Chad
10Beijing, China
11New York, U.S.
12Shenzhen, China
13Lagos, Nigeria
13Bern, Switzerland
15Soeul, South Korea
16Victoria, Seychelles
17London, United Kingdom
18Guangzhou, China
19Tel Aviv, Israel
20 Abuja, Nigeria
21Dubai, United Arab Emirates
22Osaka, Japan
23Brazzaville, Congo
24Copenhagen, Denmark
25Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
26San Francisco, U.S.
27Los Angeles, U.S.
28Libreville, Gabon
29Nanjing, China
30Tianjin, China
31 Shenyang, China
32Noumea, New Caledonia
33Qingdao, China
34Chicago, U.S.
34Chengdu, China
36Conakry, Guinea
37 Honolulu, U.S.
38Washington, U.S.
39Yangon, Myanmar
40Djibouti, Djibouti
41Buenos Aires, Argentina
42Sydney, Australia
43Taipei, Taiwan
44Paris, France
45Dhaka, Bangladesh
45Miami, U.S.
47Boston, U.S.
47Accra, Ghana
50Bierut, Lebanon
50Milan, Italy
50Yaounde, Cameroon


  1. Ben Johnson says:

    I would disagree with the statement that people from the UK find the cost of living in Canada significantly lower, it really depends on where in the UK you lived and where in Canada you moved. When Americans and Canadians talk about the cost of living in the UK the actually mean the cost of living in London or in the south. The North of England is in many ways far nicer than the south and much cheaper. In 2016 I lived in a 2 bedroom house in a nice town near York UK, my rent was £450 + £75 council tax + utility £70 + TV and Internet £45 taxes included. On today exchange rate that is $1,116 Canadian. By comparison I now live on the ground floor of a bungalow with tenants in an apartment below 45 minutes out of Toronto and pay $1700 including utilities + TV and internet $120 ($1820 total) I have shared laundry, shared garden, no use of the garage. I also find basic food staples more expensive in Canada, for one example econamy bread in the UK £0.45p ($0.79) vs bread in Canada firstly less chose but prices range from $2 to $4

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