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 2018. 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 Toronto and Vancouver (joint 109th) has the highest cost of living in Canada, followed by Montreal (147th), Calgary (154th) and Ottawa (160th).

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 slightly more expensive relative to other cities. Toronto (109th), jumped ten places due to an increase in expatriate rental accommodation costs.

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

  1. Vancouver (109th)
  2. Toronto (109th)
  3. Montreal (147th)
  4. Calgary (154th)
  5. Ottawa (160th)

Top 50 Cities 2018 Ranking

1 Hong Kong
2 Tokyo, Japan
3 Zurich, Switzerland
4 Singapore
5 Soeul, South Korea
6 Luanda, Angola
7 Shanghai, China
8 N’Djamena, Chad
9 Beijing, China
10 Bern, Switzerland
11 Geneva, Switzerland
12 Shenzhen, China
13 New York, U.S.
14 Copenhagen, Denmark
15 Guangzhou, China
16 Tel Aviv, Israel
17 Moscow, Russia
18 Libreville, Gabon
19 Brazzaville, Congo
19 London, United Kingdom
21 Victoria, Seychelles
22 Noumea, New Caledonia
23 Osaka, Japan
24 Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
25 Nanjing, China
26 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
27 Taipei, Taiwan
28 San Francisco, U.S.
29 Sydney, Australia
29 Tianjin, China
31 Chengdu, China
32 Dublin, Ireland
33 Milan, Italy
34 Paris, France
35 Los Angeles, U.S.
36 Qingdao, China
37 Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
38 Shenyang, China
39 Vienna, Austria
40 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
41 Nagoya, Japan
42 Lagos, Nigeria
43 Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
43 Yaounde, Cameroon
45 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
46 Rome, Italy
47 Oslo, Norway
48 Bangui, Central African Republic
49 St. Petersberg, Russia
50 Amsterdam, Netherlands

4 thoughts on “The Cost of Living In Canada”

  1. As a tourist from the UK (September 2019) visiting the West Coast and Rockies I would say that the cost of your groceries is close to double ours, especially anything dairy based. But even Mars Bars and snickers etc. are 3 times the price here! Alcohol appears to be 2-3 times the price after factoring in taxes added at the checkout and even drawing out money costs $3CAN everywhere – its free to draw your own money out in the UK! Your petrol is significantly cheaper, but I couldn’t say I found anything else that costs less in direct comparison.

  2. Canadian from New Brunswick living in the Midlands in the UK for the last ten years. I regularly fly “home” to Canada. Even New Brunswick, which the article promotes as less expensive, is far more expensive than where I live in the UK. I can buy organic produce here cheaper than I can buy regular produce in Canada. London is certainly more expensive, but the vast majority of people don’t live there. Life is better here – the air is cleaner, the winters milder, the travel opportunities more abundant and less expensive, and apart from gasoline, far less expensive here.

  3. 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

    1. Good article; however, one must keep in mind that the index is based on actually living in a selected city. Many people find that living 20 to 30 miles out side of cities usually means that your cost of living is lower than living in the city. Hence, suburban areas can have a significant lower cost of living. Cost of living is also based on consumer choices. Controlling your spending and saving money can often make a significant difference. If you are interested in living in a particular area, do your research, don’t let indexes and surveys unduly sway your decisions.

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