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 2020. 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 (94th) has the highest cost of living in Canada, followed by Toronto (98th), Montreal (139th), Calgary (153th) and Ottawa (161th).

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 more expensive relative to other cities. Vancouver (94th), jumped eighteen places.

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

  1. Vancouver (94th)
  2. Toronto (98th)
  3. Montreal (139th)
  4. Calgary (153th)
  5. Ottawa (161th)

Top 50 Cities 2020 Ranking

1 Hong Kong
2 Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
3 Tokyo, Japan
4 Zurich, Switzerland
5 Singapore
6 New York, U.S.
7 Shanghai, China
8 Bern, Switzerland
9 Geneva, Switzerland
10 Beijing, China
11 Soeul, South Korea
12 Tel Aviv, Israel
13 Shenzhen, China
14 Victoria, Seychelles
15 N’Djamena, Chad
16 San Francisco, U.S.
17 Los Angeles, U.S.
18 Lagos, Nigeria
19 London, United Kingdom
20 Guangzhou, China
21 Moscow, Russia
22 Osaka, Japan
23 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
24 Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
25 Copenhagen, Denmark
26 Nagoya, Japan
26 Dhaka, Bangladesh
28 Honolulu, U.S.
28 Taipei, Taiwana
30 Chicago, U.S.
31 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
32 Washington, U.S.
33 Libreville, Gabon
34 Nanjing, China
35 Bangkok, Thailand
36 Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
37 Miami, U.S.
38 Tianjin, China
39 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
40 Chengdu, China
41 Boston, U.S.
42 Noumea, New Caledonia
43 Qingdao, China
43 Brazzaville, Congo
45 Beirut, Lebanon
46 Dublin, Ireland
47 Milan, Italy
48 White Plains, U.S.
49 Bangui, Central African Republic
50 Paris, France

8 thoughts on “The Cost of Living In Canada”

  1. Clare’s comments make the most sense. There is a significant difference between ‘ high cost of living’ and the ‘cost of living high’.😆

  2. There is no way living in Canada is cheaper. Between taxes, cost of food, clothing, housing, fees of every sort, insurance, travel (significant difference), entertainment, services, daycare etc. etc.

    The handful of foreign countries I have visited are without a doubt cheaper, on the whole, to live in. Gas might be an exception but in Canada, driving frequently, long distances and driving larger vehicles is essential. Plus, in many areas of Canada, vehicles do not last. Canada “is” an expensive country to live in anyone who states otherwise is not factoring in all the variables or makes enough money that many significant variables do not concern them.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. I moved from London UK to toronto Canada. And I’m sorry but this is nonsense. Canada is frequently ranked number 1 in the world for quality of life, and there is a reason why. Wages are significantly higher here, it’s a lot safer, housing is cheaper, and the homes are absolutely astonishing. As for the air being cleaner, I doubt that as Canada is sparsely populated therefore less pollution. Jobs are everywhere here too, and good ones. You can’t really compare these two countries, I think Canada is much more like Scandinavian countries like sweeden and Norway.

  5. 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.

      1. There is a difference between the high cost of living and the cost of living high. Booze and fancy restaurants and cigarettes are expensive in Canada – the cost of living high. Many luxury items (brand name fashions, fancy wines or good whiskeys, fancy imported cheeses, prime steaks, organic fruits and veggies etc) are expensive in Canada – again the price of living high. It is possible for a couple to raise 2 kids to adulthood, buy and pay for a decent home,and drive 2 used cars starting in 1981 to today never making more than $42000 a year – and even manage to take an international vacation (cruise) every few years and have money in the bank.
        It is also possible for a couple with no kids, starting at the same time, to have had income from 80-120000 a year (or more) and have a combined net value at age 65 of less than $200,000 – but they’ve been out every weekend, belonged to a country club, worn brand name fashions, travelled every year, leased 2 luxury cars every year, and generally “lived the good life”.
        Just like when I taught in Zambia in the early ’70s – I lived cheap because as a volunteer I had to. To live even the standard of life I lived here in Canada as a “responsible” single would have been EXPENSIVE in Livingstone. The cost of living for the average Burkinabe in Burkina Faso is a few hundred dollars a year – but to “live like a Canadian” in Ougadougou would be at least as expensive as living here – if you could. Again, the difference between the high cost of living and the cost of living high. The average European tends to live a little higher at least in the cities.

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