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

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


  1. 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.

  2. 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

    • 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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