Looking to make the move to the vast and rugged landscape that is Canada? We’ve got you covered. New immigrants and Canadians alike understand the work it takes to stretch their Canadian dollars. This is especially true when looking at the cost of living in Canada by province.
If you’ve found a reason to move to Canada, it helps to know the general living expenses here. These include everything from housing and transportation to groceries.
Luckily, we’ve prepared this guide to help you understand these expenses. This way, you’ll make an informed decision about which Canadian city will fit your budget and needs.
Without further ado, let’s find out what it costs to live in the Great White North!
Cost of Living in Canada by Province: Average Living Expenses
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Canada’s cost of living compared to the rest of the world
Before looking at the cost of living in Canada by province, we’ll compare its national average monthly cost to other countries.
According to Numbeo’s 2022 Cost of Living Index, Canada’s cost of living is the 25th highest in the world. Considering we’ve almost two hundred countries in the world, this ranking is quite high.
Interestingly, Canada’s cost of living was the 30th largest in the world in 2021. You’ll notice that Canada’s become a more expensive country to live in.
Tip: Moving to Canada from Ireland/ UK? Discover helpful tips on moving to Canada as an Irish or UK citizen.
The pandemic, supply-chain issues, and inflation have contributed to Canada’s high cost of living. In this guide, we’ll hone in on the “big three expenses”. These major costs are food prices, transportation, and housing costs.
The average cost of living in Canada: Comparison table + guide
|NOTES:||*Rental for 1 bedroom||*Grocery for one||*Public transport|
As we discussed above, Canada has some of the highest costs of living in the world, and there are a few reasons for this.
The country has a good healthcare system compared to its global counterparts. A natural outcome of that is a higher life expectancy at birth. Canadians also enjoy a relatively higher life satisfaction.
All this is to say that, despite its high cost of living, the Great White North is one of the best places to live in. Now, back to the cost of living. On average, it costs a single person about C$1,198 per month (excluding housing) to live in Canada.
You’re probably wondering what the most expensive cities and cheapest cities are. Let’s start with the province with the most expensive cost of living (on average). This would be Toronto, Ontario.
Besides Toronto’s easy hikes and opportunities for adventure, this city has some great areas to live in and a thriving financial district. This, plus it is a commercial hub, makes Toronto the city with the highest cost of living in Canada.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is one of Canada’s cheapest cities: Sherbrooke in Québec. Living in Québec’s south-eastern city is significantly cheaper than other major Canadian cities.
Let’s take Toronto with the highest cost of living, for instance. According to Numbeo, you’d need around C$7,071 per month to live in Toronto. This is to maintain the same standard of living you’d enjoy with C$4,500 in Sherbrooke.
As you can see, it’s essential to know the average costs of living in one province versus another. What C$1 can buy you in one area can be significantly different in a separate area.
Moving on from general averages, let’s check out what it costs to put food on the table.
Similar to the average cost of living, food prices in Canada vary from province to province. However, the national average for monthly food costs is C$217. We must add that this doesn’t include the costs of dining out.
So how does this compare to some of the most expensive and most affordable cities in this lumberjack country’s provinces?
Previously noted as the province with the highest cost of living, it makes sense that food costs will be quite high here. Average food prices in Toronto are around C$253 per month per person.
Understandably, Canada’s cheapest province to live in has really affordable food. Let’s see if it’ll cost more (or less) to fill your belly in Sherbrooke.
At an average monthly cost of about C$254 per person for groceries, this is much cheaper than the national average. Whether you have a large family or are a money-smart individual, you’ll love buying groceries at low average monthly costs here.
Now that we’ve understood what the national average spent on groceries is, it’s time for housing costs. Let’s see what the national average is for a place to stay.
Cozy, warm, and spacious. When looking for a place to stay, you may want housing that meets these requirements. Before jetting off to a new Canadian province, though, consider the monthly costs of housing.
You may love the city center for its chic restaurants and daily hustle. Other areas may offer you more affordable living and a quieter pace of life. This may be suitable if you have a family.
Let’s consider these, shall we?
The average monthly rent outside the bustling city center is around C$1,317. Outside of it, you’d pay about C$1,570.
You may shy away from the city center’s higher rental costs — that’s understandable. It’s good, however, to consider its close proximity to amenities such as banks and public transportation.
Overall, it may cost you more to commute to the city center’s amenities and your workplace (if you work in the city center).
Given it has the highest cost of living, it makes sense that the cost of housing will be quite high. In 2022, the average housing cost in Toronto is C$2,125 per person in the city center. Outside it, you might expect to pay C$1,825.
These are higher than the national average — both in and outside the city center. If you’re a highly-paid worker, Ontario’s housing costs may not startle you. Larger families may require something more affordable, though.
On the other hand, housing in Canada’s cheapest province is quite affordable. A one-bedroom apartment costs around C$600 a month for a single person. This is for a spot located outside of the city center. Inside it, you may pay around C$685.
This is much less than the national average in both the city center and outside it. You may find Quebéc a more affordable province to live in. This is especially true for a young person starting a new job or a family.
The last component of the “Big Three Expenses” is the cost of transportation.
Canadians spend an average of around C$100 per month for a pass on Canada’s rail network. On the other hand, taxi fares are about C$4 and C$2 per kilometer.
If you have the money for a car, fuel is about C$2.02. If you’re on a budget, Canada has various great public transportation options. They’re safe, comfortable, and reliable. Some of these include trains, taxis, buses, and more. We’ll focus on the local public transit and taxis.
Let’s compare the transportation costs of the country’s most expensive and most affordable provinces.
You’ll pay about C$156 per month for a pass in Ontario. This is 56% higher than the national average. Compared to a taxi ride, you’d pay about C$4.44 for the fare and then C$1.75 per kilometer. Gas costs you about C$1.99 per liter.
Tip: You will surely save if you are using the transit in Toronto. Their public transportation system is efficient and it makes navigating various neighborhoods easy, plus you will save money on car insurance (which is also very high in Toronto, and of course parking fees!)
Canada’s cheapest province has a monthly public transportation cost of about C$89 for an RTC (Réseau de transport de la Capitale) pass. On the other hand, catching a taxi ride will cost you about C$3.50 and then around C$1.75 per kilometer. Fueling up here is about C$2.08 per liter.
Comparing these two areas, you’ll see that transportation costs are much cheaper in Sherbrooke than in Toronto. This is something to consider if you’re thinking of moving to Toronto.
Cost of living in Canada’s provinces and major cities
As you can see, the cost of living in Canada varies by province.
Some areas are significantly cheaper than others. Thanks to greater subsidized child care and lower electricity costs, some Canadian provinces offer more affordable living than the rest.
Below you’ll find detailed information on the cost of living in all ten Canadian provinces.
Cost of living in Alberta
Spanning an area of 611,848 square kilometers, Alberta is awash in stunning natural areas like its five national parks and the lush Boreal Forest.
This western Canadian province is one of the prairie provinces which produces a substantial amount of wheat. It’s also a significant source of petroleum and natural gas for the nation.
Another interesting fact about Alberta is its high GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita. Alberta workers enjoy an average salary higher than some in other provinces.
With a high GDP per capita, do Albertans also face a high cost of living?
Grocery costs for the average person living in Alberta cost an average of around C$277. Considering the national average of C$217, you’d pay 27.65% more than your fellow Canadians here.
You can expect a housing cost of around C$2,969 for a one bedroom apartment in Edmonton’s city center. A quieter area outside it has a lower average monthly cost of C$1,592, which is a bit cheaper.
Compared to the national average, you’d pay less rent as an Albertan in Edmonton.
As a first time home buyer, we utilized our RRSP deductions towards a nice duplex in a new community in Edmonton. So spacious 3 bedroom with basement, attached garage, backyard, and lawn will be in the range of $340k to $400k.
Real estate and house price tip: You can also find a nice townhouse for 200k and above in the capital city! Take a look at some of the best places to live in Alberta.
Albertans pay around C$100 for public transportation (per adult pass on Edmonton’s Transit Service). It’s the same as the national average, so it might not be a factor for you. If you were to use taxis, you’d pay around C$3.70 and then C$1.65 per kilometer.
Overall, you can see that the cost of living in Alberta is more than Canada’s national average monthly cost.
British Columbia cost of living
From rugged rocky coastlines to abundant wildlife, there’s so much to appreciate in this province.
But can one appreciate the cost of living in one of the largest Canadian provinces? Let’s find out.
The average price of food for a single person sits at around C$262.
Comparing this to the national average of C$217, it’s clear that groceries are more expensive in British Columbia. The monthly cost of food here is 20.74% more than the national average.
With a much milder climate and slower pace of life, it’s no wonder living in British Columbia’s city of Victoria appeals to many. The City of Gardens also offers a high quality of living, making it an attractive city to live in if you’re thinking of moving to Canada.
A single person can expect a housing cost of roughly C$1,901 for a one-bedroom apartment in Victoria’s city center. A quieter area outside the city center has an average monthly cost of C$1,588, which is slightly cheaper.
However, compared to the national average, you’d pay a bit more for rent here
Getting around this walkable city is relatively easy. With efficient public transport, it’s understandable that many commuters enjoy using it.
The monthly cost for the Victoria Regional Transit System is about C$85. Compared to the national average of C$100, you’d enjoy a cheaper commute here.
Moving over to taxis: you’d pay a fare of around C3.60 and C$1.95 per kilometer. Compared to the national average, you’d pay less to catch a taxi in Victoria.
Another one of the prairie provinces, the charming rural province of Manitoba offers an affordable lifestyle. With its breathtaking scenery, abundant wildlife, and family-friendly attractions, Manitoba is one of the best Canadian provinces to live in.
Let’s break down the average monthly cost of living in this peaceful province.
Manitobans from Winnipeg pay an average monthly cost of around C$214 per person for grocery shopping. Compared to the national average of C$217, it’s one of the more affordable provinces to grocery shop.
The average housing cost for a single person in the province’s Winnipeg is C$1,373 for rent in the city center. Outside the city center, you’d pay about C$1,160.
Looking at the national average, we can see that single-person housing in Winnipeg is cheaper. It’s also suitable for families, so it’s worth considering if you have a family.
You’ll find Winnipeg one of the most wallet-friendly Canadian cities.
The average monthly fee of public transit is around C$106, compared to the national average of C$100, and you see it costs 6% more. In contrast, your taxi fare would be about C$3.80 and C$1.60 per kilometer. Gas is about C$1.90 per liter.
Known for its ample supply of fresh lobster and breathtaking wilderness, New Brunswick doesn’t appear to call for a higher cost of living in its province. Buying a home here is more affordable than in other provinces.
Let’s take a closer look and a breakdown of these average monthly costs.
A Canadian Dollar goes a long way in New Brunswick, but not when grocery shopping. Food costs around C$244 per month, which is slightly more than the national average of C$217.
The average housing cost for a single person in New Brunswick’s capital city center is about C$1,108 per month. Outside the city center, you’d pay a low monthly cost of about C$998.
Compared to the national average, you’d find single-person housing in New Brunswick’s capital considerably cheaper.
Fredericton is one of the most affordable Canadian cities for housing. This is great for both the single person on a budget and the family looking for affordable housing costs.
Commuters pay a monthly cost of around C$88.50 for public transportation in Fredericton. In contrast, a taxi fare costs you C$6 and C$2.50 per kilometer. You’ll find Fredericton’s base taxi fares more expensive than in other Canadian cities. Fuel here is C$1.91 per liter.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Located in eastern Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador is unlike other Canadian provinces. Its abundance of food, culture, and diverse job market appeal to many.
The small and friendly province offers simple living in Canada. Let’s find out if its cost of living is simple too.
The average monthly food cost here is about C$259, which is slightly more than the national average.
A single person’s monthly housing cost in St John’s city center is about C$932. Outside the city, you can expect to pay C$783.
When compared to the national average, you may find housing in St John significantly less expensive.
As a result, St John is a good choice for lower rental costs.
Commuters pay a monthly cost of about C$77 for unlimited bus rides in St John’s. You’ll find this lower than the national average for Canada’s rail network. On the other hand, taxis start at C$4.50 and are C$2.50 per kilometer. Gas is about C$2.31 per liter.
Despite being Canada’s second smallest province, Nova Scotia is also Atlantic Canada’s most populous province.
Halifax, it’s capital city, is home to almost 50% of the province’s residents. Why don’t we explore its cost of living?
The average monthly food cost here is about C$315, which is almost $100 more than the national average.
The monthly rent in Halifax’s downtown center is about C$1,600. Outside of it, you may pay a lower cost of C$1,305.
Single-person housing in Halifax is slightly more expensive than the national average.
If you have a modest average salary, Halifax’s housing costs may not be suitable for you.
In Nova Scotia, commuters pay around C$82.50 per month for public transit. Filling your car with a liter of gas will cost you C$1.98.
Canada’s second-largest province is home to its parliament, the technology sector, and incredible winter getaways.
It’s also home to one of the most expensive cities in the country — in part due to the high demand for housing. Let’s have a look.
Average food prices in Toronto are around C$253 for a single person. You’ll find this more expensive than the national average.
In 2022, the average housing cost in Toronto for a single individual in the city center is about C$2,125. Outside it, you could pay around C$1,825.
You’ll find housing costs more expensive than the national average.
It costs about C$156 per month for a TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) pass. This is 43% higher than the national average. On the other hand, taxis start at C$4.44 and cost you about C$1.75 per kilometer. Filling up with a liter of gas will cost you about C$1.99.
Prince Edward Island
Canada’s smallest province boasts simpler living, world-class seafood, and low housing costs. With high homeownership rates, good schools, and close proximity to amenities, it’s perfect for families seeking a comfortable island lifestyle.
An average of C$308 is spent on food per person per month, which means you may pay C$200 more than the average.
The monthly rent for a single person in downtown Charlottetown is about C$1,286. Outside it, you’ll pay a low monthly fee of around C$1,093.
Single-person housing in Charlottetown is slightly lower than the national average, so you may find it more affordable.
Rent here is slightly lower, but if you’re seriously looking to save money, consider another province.
Monthly bus transit passes are C$20, much lower than the national average. Gas is about C$2.10 per liter.
Living in Quebéc, you’re bound to love hockey in no time. Plus, the French-speaking province is safe to live in and is a great place to raise a family. Canada’s largest province is world-renowned for its maple syrup. Does its living cost leave a bitter taste in one’s mouth, though?
You may spend about C$261 on food here, a bit higher than the national average. So it’s something to consider when comparing prices, especially if you love cooking or have a large family.
Did you know: A yummy, interesting fact about Quebéc is that poutine was invented here.
The average housing cost in Quebéc City per person in the city center is around C$942. Outside it, you’d pay about C$706.
You’ll find housing costs here considerably lower than Canada’s national average.
The average monthly costs of a bus transit pass are around C$89. Here, you’d pay lower than the national average of C$100 on Canada’s rail network. Fueling up on a liter of gas will cost you about C$2.
Saskatchewan is one of Canada’s prairie provinces. Despite this, it offers you bustling arts and culture and picturesque cultural parks.
Plus, there are tons of sports and recreational activities to partake in, making it great for setting roots and raising families.
You’d pay about C$306 per month for groceries. If you move here, you’d find this much higher than the national average.
In Regina, the average housing cost for a single person in the city center is C$920. Outside this area, you’d pay about C$938.
You’ll find this much lower than the national average. So whether you’re a student, a worker, or raising a family, you can rent for a low cost.
A monthly transit bus pass is about C$88, which you’ll find cheaper than the national average. A liter of gas will cost you around C$1.94.
Final thoughts on Canada’s cost of living
Housing and transportation prices vary by province in Canada. Some places are more expensive than others, so investigate before settling down or seeking work.
We did cover the big ticket items from the expenses list (you know housing, transport, food) and then there are other things to keep in mind such as
- Mobile and data plans (telecommunication) including the internet. When you are brand new you can start on a prepaid mobile tariff plan and then get a phone without a down payment and with a 2-year contract!
- Shopping costs also add up. We all need our formal wear for work, leather business shoes for events, skincare and cosmetics, electronics, and other amenities, now note that prices in Canada as displayed in stores or online are just the base price. And then based on your place of residence you have to pay taxes. So if I were to buy a pair of Nike running shoes, the base price is the same across the country for the same, and then taxes are added (5 to 13%+). Those Nike shoes will be cheaper for me to buy in Alberta versus British Columbia.
Also, be sure to choose one that fits your budget and lifestyle. If you’re single, you may want to consider affordable provinces like Manitoba or New Brunswick. For families, provinces like Saskatchewan may be a better fit due to the affordable rent and food prices.
We hope this post helped you choose a Canadian province to live in. Be sure to read our moving to Canada checklist in addition to this guide.