Average Cost of Living in Canada by Province [2022]

The cost of living in Canada is a concern for many expats looking to move to Canada.

In order to better understand how expensive it is for an individual to live in Canada and what this means for their day-to-day life, we will look at the average cost of living by province across Canada.

For example, as one might expect from looking at a map, residents of Ontario pay more on average than residents of Manitoba when considering their daily expenses such as food and transportation costs.

The same goes with Quebec versus Saskatchewan in terms of housing and clothing costs too.

In other words, there are some major cost of living differences depending on where you are in Canada.

Let’s dive in so you can determine if the cost of living in Canada is right for you!

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Canada Cost of Living Overview

Cost of Living in Canada Compared Globally

If you’re planning to move to Canada, it’s good to know the cost of living compared to the rest of the world.

According to the Numbeo Cost of Living Calculator, Canada is the 25th most expensive country to live in.

It is ranked above the US and the UK (26th and 27th, respectively). However, on the Canada page, Numbeo states that Canada’s cost of living is over 1% lower than the US.

50 most expensive countries in the world to live in based on Numbeo's 2022 data.

Having lived across the world, I can say that Canada has a lower cost of living than the UK and the US. That’s because of our free healthcare, plentiful resources, and vast area.

However, our high taxes to subsidize these resources mean that our median income is often seen as lower than many Western nations. In Canada, we have to pay provincial and federal taxes based on our income.

However, in certain areas like Toronto, the cost of living is very high. Cost of living in Toronto is lower than that of New York or London. Where New York is ranked as the 14th most expensive city in the world, London is the 34th and Toronto is 122nd. Vancouver is 89th.

CityRankingCost of Living (CAD)
New York14$9,000
London18$8,000
Los Angeles20$7,250
Vancouver93$6,000
Toronto98$5,500
Montreal129$5,250

When comparing how expensive Canada is as a country on the world stage, we also need to look at currency.

The Canadian currency is one of the lowest valued in the Western World. The British Pound is almost double the Canadian dollar. A good rule of thumb for visiting the EU is that the Euro is 1.5x the Canadian Dollar. And the US Dollar is always a few points ahead of us on the stock market.

One of the only places that I’ve been where the currency was lowered valued than Canada’s (that was a Western country) was New Zealand.

CountryCurrencyValue (USD = 1)
UKGPB0.74
EuropeEuro0.88
United StatesUSD1
CanadaCAD1.27
AustraliaAustralia1.39
New ZealandNZD1.49

Average Salary in Canada by Province

According to the Statistics Canada Canadian Income Survey 2019, these are the average salaries (after taxes) across Canada:

Canada Overall = $62,900

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Canada Overall (Excluding Senior Citizens) = $93,800

Newfoundland and Labrador = $56,500

Prince Edward Island = $60,300

Nova Scotia = $53,300

New Brunswick = $56,400

Quebec = $55,600

Ontario = $66,600

Manitoba = $61,300

Saskatchewan = $62,700

Alberta = $72,500

British Columbia = $65,700

Lowest Cost of Living in Canada

Looking for low living costs? Check out these towns and cities.

  • Sherbrooke, Quebec ($1,400/month)
  • Moncton, New Brunswick ($1,981.26/month)
  • Thunder Bay, Ontario ($2,186.49/month)
  • St. Catharines, Ontario ($2,271.71/month)
  • Abbotsford, British Columbia ($2,232.74)
  • London, Ontario ($2,378.16/month)
  • Kitchener, Ontario ($2,517.13/month)

These costs are an amalgamation of Numbeo data and personal research for the cost to live in these cities as a single person in a 1 bedroom apartment outside of city centres but living comfortably with amenities.

Most Expensive Cities to Live in Canada

According to the 2021 Mercer Report, the most expensive cities to live in Canada are (in order):

  • Vancouver, Britsh Columbia (within the top 100 most expensive cities to live in the world)
  • Toronto, Ontario (within the top 100 most expensive cities to live in the world)
  • Montreal, Quebec
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Ottawa, Ontario

Cost of Living in Canada Per Month

These are estimated monthly costs based on a single person living in a one-bedroom apartment.

  • Rent = $1,160
  • Utilities = $250
  • Bus Pass = $90
  • Monthly Car Costs = $400
  • Grocery Budget = $300

With additional costs for entertainment, insurance, etc., the average cost of living in Canada is $2,300.00.

Average Expenses in Canada

Housing Costs

The cost of buying a house varies massively across the country. Even city by city, this cost changes.

Vancouver, one of the most popular cities for people from other countries to move to, has the highest housing market in Canada.

You will need to save up millions to be able to afford a home.

In Toronto, you’ll similarly need at least 1 million to afford a small home, nowadays.

However, in Nova Scotia, you can buy a lovely house for under $500.

If you’re considering purchasing property when you move, stay out of the city center to get cheaper prices. And avoid Ontario or British Columbia to keep your costs low.

Cost of Living in Canada with Rent

Average housing costs to rent a 1 bedroom in Canada by province in 2022

Canadians tend to rent houses until they’re in their 30s.

The average monthly cost of a one-bedroom apartment across Canada varies significantly.

I’ve lived in a number of cities, and have never found two cities with the same type of rental market.

The average person in Canada will pay about 1/3 of their salary in rent. In major cities, they may pay 1/2 of their salary at the beginning.

Transportation Costs

Canada has a strong public transportation system that makes it easier for people to get around without a car.

However, this transportation is most prominent in major cities rather than small towns.

There, you’ll need to buy a car as public transit isn’t an option.

In Canada, gas prices vary between provinces.

The lowest gas prices are always found in Alberta, where oil is mined. You’ll also find cheaper gas on the East Coast thanks to the plethora of shipping businesses.

British Columbia has the most expensive gas in the country.

You’ll also need to consider insurance premiums when you purchase a vehicle, as these vary by province and by the provider.

Looking to get around via car? Find the cheapest car rentals here!

Utilities and Services Cost

Average utilities costs in Canada by province in 2022

Your total living expenses will include utilities and services. These include your water, heat, gas, and electricity costs.

Some provinces have slightly lower electrical costs than others. But overall, you’re likely to spend $200-400 on these utilities each month.

Banking Costs

Most banks in Canada charge a fee for use.

You can find some no-fee banks, like Wise.com or Tangerine, but they don’t operate with cash.

A starter account costs $5/month. You’ll also have to pay a fee for a credit card.

Make getting a bank account MUCH easier by opening a free multi-currency account here.

Food and Entertainment Costs

Average groceries costs in Canada by province in 2022

Groceries are one of the most expensive things to add to your budget.

No matter where you are in Canada, food is expensive. It’s more expensive than in the United States or in an expats’ home country.

Budget even more if you have a dietary restriction like I do (celiac is expensive!).

Entertainment costs also include internet, television, and going out.

You’ll need to budget to eat out in Canada. A mid-range restaurant across the country is likely to cost $30+ for a meal. In Ontario, it may even cost $40+.

Average eating out costs in Canada by province in 2022

Healthcare and Health Insurance Costs

Canada has free healthcare for all Canadian citizens and landed immigrants.

International students can even take advantage of our medical care.

This free treatment by doctors may seem like it’ll bring down your monthly expenses in Canada, but it may not.

You will still be responsible for paying for prescription medication, any secondary healthcare provider (like a physiotherapist), dentists, and any medical equipment you require.

You get a portion of this returned to you from your taxes, but it does raise your living expenses in the interim.

You will need health insurance to cover these additional costs. Many employers offer it to their employees.

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Education Costs

Canada prides itself on its education.

We offer free education to students up to age 18. This means that their secondary education and primary education are covered. You can pay for private school for your children instead.

Parents only have to pay for school supplies, field trips, and backpacks.

For higher education, we have a number of Canadian Universities that are internationally acclaimed.

However, students have to pay for this postgraduate education.

Many postgraduate international students are introduced to Canada and then decided to become permanent residents. Our education system and job opportunities draw them in!

Alcohol Costs

Alcohol costs vary depending on the province you are in.

You’ll find cheaper alcohol in the Maritimes than in Ontario.

A beer, on average, will cost around $3.50. While a glass of wine will cost $15-20 depending on your location.

Canadian Sales Tax and Federal Tax

In Canada, we pay a number of taxes.

PST and HST are provincial taxes. GST – or our services tax – is a 5% tax added on top of that for federal taxes.

Canadians pay high taxes, but it’s reinvested in our healthcare and education, which every Canadian benefits from.

2022 Federal Income Tax Brackets2022 Federal Income Tax Rates
First $50,19715%
$50,197 - $100,39220.50%
$100,392 - $155,62526%
$155,625 - $221,70829.38%
Over $221,70833%

Federal Income Tax Brackets Canada (2022)

Source: https://www.taxtips.ca/taxrates/canada.htm

Childcare Costs

On average, childcare in Canada costs $1,100 per month for pre-school classes.

Travel Costs

It is incredibly expensive to travel in or outside of Canada.

Local travel can have plane tickets that cost more than going abroad. And trains aren’t any better, with incredibly high fares for long journeys.

For example, a flight from Ottawa to Toronto (45 minutes) costs $300 on average. A flight to Europe costs $800+ (8 hours).

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Cost of Living in Canada by Province (2022)

Average living costs in Canada by province in 2022

Nova Scotia Cost of Living

Total = $2,700/month

Housing Costs = $900

Utilities Costs = $163

Communications Costs = $100

Grocery Costs = $500

Average Restaurant Meal Cost = $30

Bus Pass Cost = $82.50

Gas Prices = $1.33/L

Most Expensive City = Halifax

I lived in Nova Scotia for four years and let me tell you it’s so much cheaper to live there than in Ontario.

Although produce prices can be slightly higher, the cost of fish is almost nothing and housing is incredibly affordable. If you leave downtown Halifax, you’ll find housing prices even cheaper than the 1 bedroom cost cited above.

Gas is very cheap, which is good because you need a car to go appreciate the hikes in Nova Scotia.

New Brunswick Cost of Living

Total = $2,900/month

Housing Costs = $865

Utilities Costs = $167

Communications Costs = $110

Grocery Costs = $350

Average Restaurant Meal Cost = $40

Gas Prices = $1.20/L

Most Expensive City = Moncton or Saint John

New Brunswick is a lovely province with a very low cost of living. The only problem is that jobs are limited here, especially outside of the two main cities.

Prince Edward Island Cost of Living

Total = $2,300/month

Housing Costs = $980

Utilities Costs = $210

Communications Costs = $150

Grocery Costs = $350

Average Restaurant Meal Cost = $35

Gas Prices = $1.22/L

Most Expensive City = Charlottetown

Prince Edward Island is one of the most picturesque places to live in Canada. It’s popular with retirees for the cheap cost of living but a wonderful lifestyle.

Everyone moves a little slower in PEI. Maybe that’s because they’re soaking up how cheap it is to live here!

Newfoundland and Labrador Cost of Living

Total = $2,300/month

Housing Costs = $800

Utilities Costs = $260

Communications Costs = $140

Grocery Costs = $400

Average Restaurant Meal Cost = $35

Gas Prices = $1.26/L

Most Expensive City = St. John’s

Living in Newfoundland and Labrador may look cheap, but with the highest unemployment rates in Canada and a notoriously challenging job market, many people struggle to make ends meet.

Also it’s bloody cold on the Rock!

Quebec Cost of Living

Total = $3,000/month

Housing Costs = $1,000

Utilities Costs = $125

Communications Costs = $100

Grocery Costs = $600

Average Restaurant Meal Cost = $45

Bus Pass = $90

Gas Prices = $1.45/L

Most Expensive City = Montreal

Quebec is an odd province. The cost of living seems low, but the tax costs are incredibly high – higher than any other province in Ontario.

These high taxes help subsidize lower rent and childcare, as well as some utilities like electricity and gas. So it may seem cheap to live here up front, but you pay it all back in taxes.

Ontario Cost of Living

Total = $4,100/month (Average excluding Toronto)

Housing Costs = $1,500

Utilities Costs = $170

Communications Costs = $120

Grocery Costs = $600

Average Restaurant Meal Cost = $40

Bus Pass = $125

Gas Prices = $1.40/L

Most Expensive City = Toronto and Ottawa

I grew up in Toronto and now live in Ottawa, so I know a lot about the expensive cost of living in Ontario.

We have some of the highest housing costs in Canada, some of the highest fuel costs, and very small apartments for the fees we pay.

The only reason we put up with this is the incredible job market.

Toronto Cost of Living

Total = $5,500/month

Housing Costs = $2,200

Utilities Costs = $200

Communications Costs = $170

Grocery Costs = $600

Average Restaurant Meal Cost = $40

Bus Pass = $150

Gas Prices = $1.40/L

Toronto is one of the most expensive cities to live in Canada. Not only are houses and rental prices high, but our groceries are extremely expensive considering we’re right near a lot of farms.

But we also have the best job market in Canada.

Manitoba Cost of Living

Total = $3,300/month

Housing Costs = $1000

Utilities Costs = $220

Communications Costs = $110

Grocery Costs = $350

Average Restaurant Meal Cost = $30

Gas Prices = $1.30/L

Most Expensive City = Winnipeg

Manitoba is much cheaper than its neighbour, Ontario. Here, you’ll find the lowest grocery costs in Canada. Your household costs will continue to go down with the lower cost of gas and meals out.

Saskatchewan Cost of Living

Total = $3,000/month

Housing Costs = $900

Utilities Costs = $190

Communications Costs = $100

Grocery Costs = $390

Average Restaurant Meal Cost = $30

Gas Prices = $1.20/L

Most Expensive City = Regina

Saskatchewa’s monthly rent and cost of buying a house are some of the lowest in all of Canada.

This balances out because the electricity and grocery costs are some of the highest in Canada.

It’s still low compared to the living costs in Ontario.

Alberta Cost of Living

Total = $3,900/month

Housing Costs = $1000

Utilities Costs = $220

Communications Costs = $110

Grocery Costs = $500

Average Restaurant Meal Cost = $40

Bus Pass = $110

Gas Prices = $1.30/L

Most Expensive City = Calgary and Edmonton

Alberta is a great place to move for a comfortable life. Their big cities offer affordable living, with many smaller towns being even more affordable.

Alberta has no provincial sales tax (called harmonized sales tax in other areas), which allows for higher incomes than in other provinces.

The province also has mandated low rents and the cheapest gas prices in Canada, which can make it extremely attractive to live here for the monthly costs.

It should be noted that groceries and utilities are still quite high, as this is the Prairies.

British Columbia Cost of Living

Total = $4,800/month

Housing Costs = $2,000

Utilities Costs = $120

Communications Costs = $120

Grocery Costs = $400

Average Restaurant Meal Cost = $35

Bus Pass = $100

Gas Prices = $1.65/L

Most Expensive City = Vancouver

British Columbia is often tied with Ontario for the top average monthly cost of living in Canada.

General living expenses are below the national average, but housing and gas are some of the highest costs we’ve seen.

Real estate prices and the high cost to rent are a major disincentive for expats to move here.

But people are still drawn to BC from around the world, as it’s one of the most beautiful places in Canada.

Cost of Living in the Territories

It’s nearly impossible to get accurate statistics on living costs in the Northern Territories. The average cost varies so much between locations.

With many people living in the north being Indigenous residents, their living costs aren’t indicative of that of a new immigrant looking to work in a major city.

In the north, costs are generally much higher. You will get paid a lot to work in these regions, but most of that will quickly be eaten up by the incredibly high cost of food. Your take home pay may look good, but you’ll only get a modest lifestyle out of it.

average cost of living in canada in Toronto

5 Tips to Save Money in Canada

Living in Canada can be expensive.

To help you get the cost of living down so you can enjoy your life in the great white north, here are 5 tips to save money.

1. Get Roommates

If you can manage it, getting roomates is a great way to save money.

You’ll be splitting the cost of rent and other expenses, like cable and power bills.

Be sure to set out rules with your roommates (and rental contract) about things like noise and the number of parties held in the home each year.

2. Live Outside the City

If your job is in the city, there’s a good chance you’ll want to live in or close to it.

The cost of living in these large cities is high and people will pay for anything near them.

But with Canadians renting more than ever before, they’re paying huge premiums on their homes and even apartments.

Try to negotiate to work from home so you can live further outside the city center.

Many Canadians commute as well, but I would rather pay the high cost than sit in traffic for an hour.

3. Don’t Waste Food

Many people’s grocery bills are so high because they buy more than they can eat.

Try to shop as you eat, like they do in European countries, so you don’t have a week’s worth of food piling up that goes bad.

4. Use Public Transport

When you can, use public transport instead of a car. It’s significantly cheaper and you’ll save money on gas and road tolls.

If you don’t get car sick, this is a great time to read a book or get some work done.

I always listen to podcasts when I’m in transit.

5. Create a Budget

I’m not a fan of restricting people from eating out or travelling. I think it’s unsustainable to remove those fun things from your life just to cut your monthly cost of living in Canada.

Instead, create a budget where you only allow a certain amount of money to entertainment or eating out.

Just looking at a budget can help you save money. You’ll start noticing places you can cut back (like I did when I realized how high my monthly rent is in Ottawa). It may inspire you to downsize.

Wrap Up: Is it expensive to live in Canada?

The cost of living in Canada varies depending on which province you reside in.

While some provinces have average monthly costs that are below the national average, others have expenses that are significantly higher.

Housing and food prices are among the highest costs Canadians face, while gas and transportation cost less than the norm.

There are a number of ways to reduce your cost of living, including getting roommates, living outside of major cities, and using public transportation. Creating a budget is also an effective way to manage your expenses and keep them under control.

If you’re looking to move to Canada, it’s important to understand the cost of living in each province. Hopefully, by now you feel confident in moving to Canada with a more thorough understanding of the costs.

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FAQs Average Cost of Living in Canada

Cost of Living in Canada vs US

The cost of living in Canada is around 10 percent higher than the cost of living in America. The cost alone should not be a deterrent from moving to Canada, but it should be something to fully consider before making a move.
Our cost of living on average may be higher, but our major cities cost much less to live in than the likes of New York or Los Angeles.

Cost of Living in Canada vs UK

The cost of living in the UK is much higher than living in Canada.
Not only is their currency a higher value, but they also have higher housing costs, more services to pay fees for, and high gas prices.
However, their food and travel prices are very low.

Cost of Living in Montreal vs Toronto

Living in Toronto is more expensive than living in Montreal, on the surface.
While Montreal has cheaper rent and food prices, they have to pay incredibly high taxes to subsidize this.
In Toronto, the prices are high, but our taxes are much less than that of Quebec.
Both cities have expensive rental prices in the downtown core.

Where are the cheapest places to live in Canada?

The cheapest cities to live in Canada are:
-Halifax, Nova Scotia
-Surrey, British Columbia
-Kelowna, British Columbia
-Edmonton, Alberta
-Kitchener, Ontario
-Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
-Saint John, New Brunswick
-Windsor, Ontario
-Winnipeg, Manitoba
-Sherbrooke, Quebec

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

There is no universal number that can predict cost of living in Canada.
In Toronto, you need to make at least $40,000 a year to live comfortably with roommates.
However, in Halifax, $40,000 a year can mean a large apartment in the city centre with amenities.


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