Average Cost of Living in Canada by Province – 2021 Report

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Canada is a beautiful country with great potentials. It is also one of the most diverse countries in the world and home to people of different beliefs, religions, and lifestyles. Canada boasts of several developments and beautiful landscapes in both the cities and the countryside. What is the cost of living in this highly progress country? Let’s delve in!

Canada is often ranked high in the United Nations annual Human Development Index (HDI) which combines the measurement of life expectancy, education, and per capita income. As a result of the country’s strong and viable economy, it’s expected that a lot of people from different parts of the world love to visit and settle in the Great White North.

Despite its British affiliation and European background, Canada welcomes people from all walks of life annually, to its provinces and territories. Some immigrants coming into Canada have discovered that the cost of living in Canada is much lower compared to their home country.

Although this does not count for all situations, as there are some situations where cost of living in Canada might be higher than in other countries, depending on some factors. However, the cost of living in Canada varies from province to province, and city to city, as no two province or city have the same living conditions.

Notice: This post was first published in 2020 and will be continually updated to refelect current costs.

Cost of Living in Canada

The cost of living in Canada varies, and as such is a factor of where you decide to reside or settle. An individual residing in a major Canadian city will not incur the same expenses as someone else residing in the remote countryside.

In the same manner, the cost of living in Canada depends on how you are able to quickly adapt and familiarize yourself with your new home. You would need to work and live within your means, hence the need for a budget.

This guide is designed to put you at a vantage position while determining which province, city, region or territory fits your lifestyle or one where you can afford to live comfortably.

We offer you detailed information on each of the twelve Canadian provinces and territories in terms of their cost of living, to help you make an informed decision in your choice of residence or location.

Rent and Housing Cost in Canada

The cost of buying a house or renting a home in Canada depends on the size of the house, location, age of the house, and condition of the house or apartment. The cost varies from province to province, and city to city.

Renting Apartments in Canada

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) through its annual report, gives the average rent in Canada for each year. Based on this report, rent costs are higher in urban areas compared to less populated or developed areas.

The average rent price is $1800 per month and it cuts across Canada. It has been predicted that this price will continue to increase drastically.

Update: “The Government of Ontario has passed legislation to freeze rent at 2020 levels. This means that rents will not increase in 2021 for the vast majority of rented units covered under the Residential Tenancies Act.” See more

The majority of Canadians spend up to 50 percent of their income on housing and utilities like electricity, water, heating of the house, telephone service, and other household expenses like furniture, utensils, dishes, and other supplies.

For anyone who intends to settle in any Canadian province, it is crucial to plan your rent or home purchase based on your estimated income. The number of years that a highly skilled worker will take to afford an apartment in a developed city like Vancouver is different from what will take another skilled worker in Quebec to afford the same size of apartment.

Rents Affordability in Selected Cities

City 1 Bed (month) C$ 2 Bed (month) C$
Windsor 750 990
Saint John’s 810 890
Saskatoon 830 1,010
Regina 860 1,080
Quebec 880 1,110
Edmonton 910 1,200
Abbotsford 950 1,080
Winnipeg 970 1,240
London 1,020 1,210

Buying a Home or House in Canada

The average cost of a Canadian house was predicted to rise up to $531,000 from the previous $500,200 price of 2019. The increasing price of houses in Canada is as a result of various tax measures, interest rates, and mortgage regulations. The province of Ontario and British Columbia are in particular, projected to witness much of the growth of housing price increase.

If you are purchasing a house in Canada, you will most likely need a mortgage loan from banks and other credit institutions. These financial agencies will assess your income, assets, as well as your credit scores to decide if they will give you and how much they are able to lend out.

Also, most banks ask for an initial commitment of atleast 5% or up to 10 percent of the house price. Coupled with this cost, you are obliged to pay for your property tax as well as other necessary fees.

House Prices based on Major Cities and Provinces

City Average House Cost (C$)
Vancouver 1, 092,000
Toronto 766,000
Calgary 431,000
Ottawa 382,000
Montreal 341,000
Halifax 316,000
Regina 276,000
Fredericton 173,000
Province Average House Cost (C$)
British Columbia 730,000
Ontario 578,000
Alberta 387,000
Quebec 297,000
Manitoba 296,000
Saskatchewan 288,000
Nova Scotia 249,000
New Foundland and Labrador 246,000
Prince Edward island 230,000
New Brunswick 178,000

Average Cost of Public Transportation in Canada

Following Russia closely is Canada in the second position among the largest countries in the world by area. As a result, you definitely will need to move from one place to another using a means of transportation. Many Canadians have cars that they must maintain, pay insurance for and keep in working conditions.

The majority of Canadian residents use public transportation, bike or walk. The cost of public transportation is a bit expensive in Canada. Actual cost depends on your municipality. For instance, a typical subway fare in Toronto is around $3.25 paid by cash, ticket or a monthly pass like the PRESTO Card.

You would need to purchase a monthly pass for the public transit services in your municipality.

Fare-Free Transit in Canada

There has been a debate about the pros of having a fare-free public transportation system in Canada. Proponents of this discourse on the fair fare and fare-free transit like it to other public services, and believe that it will make life better for the citizens socially, democratically, globally and ecologically.

Cost of Food in Canada

Canada is home to people with different ethnic origins and cultural beliefs, some of which are Scottish, French, English, German, Chinese, Irish, and of course, Canadians. Living in a country that embraces these diverse cultures, having different types of international cuisine is inevitable.

The price of food in Canada varies widely within provinces and cities. It is believed that provinces like Quebec, New Brunswick, New Foundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia spend less on food. On the contrary, provinces like Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia tend to pay higher on food costs.

According to data by Global News’ analysis of Statistics Canada, Canadians spend an average of around $200 a month per person on food bought in stores.

As a result of the expensive nature of produce and dairy products, many Canadians turn to junk foods. Lots of Canadians tend to eat outside their home to get a decent meal. For instance, getting a decent meal in an Italian restaurant for two people in an urban area – appetizer, main course, dessert, and wine – will cost around $100 in Vancouver, $90 in Montreal, $74 in Quebec, $101 in Calgary, and $105 in Toronto.

If you cook your food yourself, you would definitely spend lower than a person who eats out. Groceries for a family of two would cost around $400 per month if they’re conservative.

Urban Areas with the Lowest Cost of Living in Canada

Equipping yourself with information on which provinces or territories are affordable to live will help you in deciding your next destination. Although some urban cities in Canada are quite expensive to live, there are also some great, livable areas that are cheaper to live in, either as an individual or as a family.

The following are the most affordable urban areas in Canada with the lowest cost of living. (From the most affordable to the least affordable)

Urban area/city Cost of living (Single) Cost of living (family of 4) Price index
Thunder Bay, Ontario 2,021 4,146 121
Moncton, New Brunswick 1,926 4,140 124
Quebec City, Quebec 1,979 4,223 126
Kitchener-waterloo, Ontario 2,238 4,418 127
Guelph, Ontario 2,301 4,490 128
Kingston, Ontario 2,368 4,631 132
London, Ontario 2,142 4,478 133
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, 2,093 4,487 134
Montreal, Quebec 2,303 4,599 134
Abbotsford, British Columbia, 2,467 4,791 135
Winnipeg, Manitoba 2,185 4,613 137
Halifax, Nova Scotia 2,363 4,676 138
Barrie, Ontario 2,421 4,879 142
Kelowna, British Columbia 2,837 5,225 143
Edmonton, Alberta 2,368 4,802 143
Oshawa, Ontario 2,510 4,938 146
Calgary, Alberta 2,381 4,869 146
Ottawa, Ontario 2,775 5,262 153
Victoria, British Columbia 3,109 5,577 154
St. John’s, New Foundland and Labrador 2,572 5,275 154

Cost of Living in Canada by Province

In Canada, there are ten provinces and three territories. The cost of living is calculated by accumulating the cost of rent, utilities, food, transportation, health, taxes, and other expenses PER INDIVIDUAL.

Alberta (Edmonton)

Alberta is a Canadian province and the most westerly of the three prairie provinces. The province is often referred to as the energy province of Canada due to its leadership in the oil and gas industry and a fast-growing economy.

The major cities in Alberta are Calgary (the largest city) and Edmonton (the capital city of Alberta province). The province has high labor demands and low levels of unemployment which translates to higher family income and low cost of living than other provinces.

Average Cost of Living in Alberta

Rent: C$1249/month

Groceries: C$115/ month

Public Transport: C$103/month

Entertainment: C$253

The City with the Highest Cost of Living

Calgary – Calgary is the largest city in Alberta. The city borders the British Columbia in the west, Saskatchewan in the east and Northwest Territories in the north, and the united states.

The city has a population of over one million people and has the highest cost of living in the province. Calgary is the fifth most expensive city in Canada, more expensive than 67 percent of cities in Canada, and 59 percent of cities in the world. Calgary cost of living is 23 percent higher than the national average.

The City with the Lowest Cost of Living

Brooks – This is a city in the southeastern part of Alberta. It has a 1-percent less than the national average cost of living. Also, the cost of living in brooks is a lot cheaper than the cost of living in Calgary and any other city in Alberta.

British Columbia (Victoria)

This is the most westerly of all Canadian provinces and a popular destination for immigrants. The province has about 52 cities, with Vancouver and Greenwood being the largest and smallest respectively. British Columbia has a population of over five million people, making it the third-most populous province behind Ontario and Quebec.

Average Cost of Living in British Columbia

Rent: C$1885/month

Groceries: C$142/month

Public Transport: C$101/month

Entertainment: C$240

The City with the Highest Cost of Living

Vancouver – Until recently, Vancouver held the number one position of the most expensive city in North America. The city now sits in the second position behind Toronto.

The cost of living in Vancouver is 7 percent more expensive than what is obtainable in BC’s capital city of Victoria, but 5 percent cheaper than Toronto. Vancouver sits at 38 percent higher than the national average for the cost of living in Canada.

The City with the Lowest Cost of Living

Abbotsford – With 3 percent less than the national average cost of living, Abbotsford is the cheapest, largest city in BC. The cost of living in Abbotsford is 17 percent cheaper than Vancouver’s.

Manitoba (Winnipeg)

This Canadian city shares a border with Ontario and Saskatchewan. The province is seen as having a strong and stable economy, and a low cost of living in Canada. Canada’s fifth-most populous province has over one million residents.

Average Cost of Living in Manitoba

Rent: C$1278/month

Groceries: C$114.34/month

Public Transport: C$100/month

Entertainment: C$195.61

The City with the Highest Cost of Living

Winnipeg – This is the capital and largest city in Manitoba, and equally the fourth cheapest city in Canada. It has a 10 percent higher than the national average cost of living.

The City with the Lowest Cost of Living

Winkler – This is a small city in southern Manitoba and the sixth-largest city in the province. It is a regional hub for agriculture, industry, and commerce. The city has a 6 percent cost of living less than the national average, making it one of the most affordable in Canada.

New Brunswick (Fredericton)

This is one of the four Atlantic Provinces. It is a mixture of Anglophone and francophone residents. Its largest city is Moncton. New Brunswick has a 6 percent cost of living less than the national average.

Average Cost of Living in New Brunswick

Rent: C$1019/month

Groceries: C$128 /month

Public Transport: C$80/month

Entertainment: C$214

The City with the Highest Cost of Living

Fredericton – The capital city of New Brunswick has a 3 percent cost of living higher than the national average. It is the third-largest city in the province behind Saint John and Moncton.

The City with the Lowest Cost of Living

Campbellton – This is a city of less than ten thousand in population. Its economy strives mainly on forestry and tourism. The city has a 6 percent cost of living less than the national average. Rent, food, and groceries are a lot cheaper in Campbellton than in Fredericton and other cities in the province.

Newfoundland and Labrador (St. John’s)

This is the easternmost province of Canada. The province is made up of Newfoundland (island) and Labrador (mainland). It has a 16 percent cheaper cost of living than in Toronto.

Average Cost of Living in Newfoundland and Labrador

Rent: C$1450/month

Groceries: C$92

Public Transport: C$86/month

Entertainment: C$159

The City with the Highest Cost of Living

Happy Valley-Goose Bay – This city is in the central part of Labrador and has a 15 percent higher cost of living compared to the national average. Rent prices are over 70 percent high in the Happy Valley-Goose Bay than in Saint John’s, the capital city.

The City with the Lowest Cost of Living

Cornerbrook – This is located on the Bay of Islands. The city is the second-largest population in the province behind Saint John’s. Cronerbrook has a 2 percent cost of living higher than the national average.

Nova Scotia (Halifax)

The cost of living in Nova Scotia is 3 percent less than the national average which makes it one of the most affordable provinces in Canada.

Average Cost of Living in Nova Scotia

Rent: C$1581/month

Groceries: C$136.5

Public Transport: C$80/month

Entertainment: C$217.5

The City with the Highest Cost of Living

Halifax – This is the economic center for Canada’s important port. The city has a 9 percent cost of living above the national average. The cost of living in Halifax is cheaper than in 67 percent of cities in Canada.

The City with the Lowest Cost of Living

Yarmouth – Located in the heart of the largest lobster fishing ground, the city has a 7 percent cost of living less than the national average.

Ontario (Toronto)

The Ontario province is Canada’s most populous province and the second largest in landmass. Ontario has a 5 percent cost of living higher than the national average.

Average Cost of Living in Ontario

Rent: C$2212/month

Groceries: C$136

Public Transport: C$115/month

Entertainment: C$275

The City with the Highest Cost of Living

Toronto – The capital of Ontario has a 35 percent cost of living above the national average. It is ranked as the most expensive city in Canada and is 71 percent more expensive than cities in North America.

The City with the Lowest Cost of Living

Windsor – This is a city in southwest Ontario and the third most populated city in southwest Ontario. The city has a 1 percent cost of living higher than the national average. The cost of living in Windsor is 27 percent cheaper than in Toronto.

Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown)

This province is one of eastern Canada’s Maritime Provinces. It is the smallest Canadian province in terms of landmass and population. The province has a 1 percent cost of living higher than the national average.

Average Cost of Living in Prince Edward Island

Rent: C$950/month

Groceries: C$120.75

Public Transport: C$58/month

Entertainment: C$240

The City with the Highest Cost of Living

Charlottetown – The capital city of the province has a 0 percent cost of living to the national average, making it one of the most affordable places to live in Canada.

The City with the Lowest Cost of Living

Summerside – This is a Canadian city in Prince County and the second-largest city in the province. The city has a 3 percent cost of living less than the national average. Rent is 43 percent lower in Summerside than in Charlottetown.

Quebec (Quebec City)

This is Canada’s largest province by landmass and part of central Canada along with Ontario. Its largest city is Montreal.

Average Cost of Living in Quebec

Rent: C$1602/month

Groceries: C$107

Public Transport: C$81/month

Entertainment: C$210

The City with the Highest Cost of Living

Montreal – The third cheapest city in Canada with a 94 percent cost of living cheaper than cities in North America. It has a 24 percent cost of living higher than the national average.

The City with the Lowest Cost of Living

Sherbrook – This is a city in the southern part of Quebec, noted for its natural attraction and heritage sights. It has a 13 percent cost of living less than the national average. The cost of living in Sherbrook is 13 percent cheaper than in Montreal.

Saskatchewan (Regina)

Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Western Canada. The city is known for its beautiful architecture and beautiful stone of its Usask campus. Did you know that Saskatchewan is home to over 100,000 lakes?

One of the most unique lakes in the world is located in Saskatchewan. It’s called the Manitou Lake located southeast of Saskatoon. Saskatchewan has a 4 percent cost of living higher than the national average.

Average Cost of Living in Saskatchewan

Rent: C$1026/month

Groceries: C$115.5

Public Transport: C$86/month

Entertainment: C$224

The City with the Highest Cost of Living

Saskatoon – This is the largest city in the province. Cost of living in Saskatoon is about 14 percent higher than the national average.

The City with the Lowest Cost of Living

Yorkton – This is a city in the southeastern part of the province and the sixth-largest. The city has a 2 percent cost of living higher than the national average. Compared to Saskatoon, the cost of living is cheaper in Yorkton.

Final Thought

This is one of the most practical and detailed guide on the cost of living in Canada. With this, you would be able to make informed decisions about  your choice of location within any of the Canadian provinces.

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2 thoughts on “Average Cost of Living in Canada by Province – 2021 Report”

  1. There is no way anyone in Calgary spends only 115$ a month on groceries unless they are eating out all the time, which would then fall under entertainment, which also seems very low, but then again these numbers are during covid times..

    1. BRITISH COLUMBIA AND MOVED TO CALGARY

      I agree, no one in Calgary pays this much, however, it honestly depends, even when I used to live in British Columbia our groceries were about the same but after moving to Calgary our groceries seem a little lower than before.

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Post Comments

2 thoughts on “Average Cost of Living in Canada by Province – 2021 Report”

  1. There is no way anyone in Calgary spends only 115$ a month on groceries unless they are eating out all the time, which would then fall under entertainment, which also seems very low, but then again these numbers are during covid times..

    1. BRITISH COLUMBIA AND MOVED TO CALGARY

      I agree, no one in Calgary pays this much, however, it honestly depends, even when I used to live in British Columbia our groceries were about the same but after moving to Calgary our groceries seem a little lower than before.

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Avid researcher, freelance writer, and personal finance enthusiast passionate about financial education and literacy.

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Kareena Maya

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Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.

Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.