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Living Cost in Canada – Can You Afford to Live Here?

One of the questions we keep getting in different configurations has to do with living cost in Canada.  A smart immigration candidate is one who takes the financial concern very seriously.
If you haven’t thought about it yet, no time like the present.  If you have thought about it, you can start your financial research here.
We tried to discuss all the most significant figures – housing, clothing, transportation and food.
It’s important to remember, however, that Canada is massive and there are so many variants.  So these figure – whilst up-to-date – are also very general.
Once you have chosen a province to focus on, you can find more specific information here.

 

living cost canada

What do we mean when we say “living cost”?

First, we need to answer the question – what is “living cost”? It stands to reason that we each have different ways to define living cost, as we each have different lives.
What it seems to be is a personal definition of what each of us feel we require to keep our lives going on a reasonable – functioning level at least.
So if we wanted to tell you about your specific living costs, we would probably have to write a book that would become obsolete by the time we’d finish writing it, especially as living costs can vary from province to province and even from town to town.

So we will give you the answer to this question based on universal human needs (Food, housing, transportation, personal hygiene etc) and our own personal experiences.
Hopefully, this will be sufficiently informative.  Due to length restraints, we will provide the average of the all-Canada costs as well as the costs in the cities most immigrants choose to settle in.

All the following figures are current as of February 2019.

1. The average salary in Canada

We made you this short video to give you general information about that average monthly salary in each province.
Please not that this is the overall average – it is not divided by type of position, job seniority, experience, education, etc.  Unfortunately a full-feature film would be required for all that information, but this film will give you something to base yourself on.

 

2. Housing cost in Canada

Is there anything more important than having a roof over your head? So let’s see how much that should cost.

A 75 sqm apartment is large enough for 2 bedrooms, a spacious living room and kitchen, a utilities room and at least 2 bathrooms. The average national cost of such a property near a city center should around 450,000 CAD.  A 50 sqm apartment which would make a spacious home for a young couple or a single occupant would cost approximately 300,000 CAD.
The farther you get from the center – the lower the rates.  Of course, we can’t all have the capital to own our real estate, so we rent.

The monthly cost of rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in a city center is around 1200 CAD, While a 2 bedroom apartment would be around 1900 CAD.  This might sound like 66% the average salary, but here we would remind you that a 2 bedroom apartment is usually home to at least 2 earning adults or 3-4 earning flat-mates, and so it’s more like 10-30% of the household income.  And if you can live outside the city center, rates drop significantly.
So far – we still have 70% of our salary to spend.

Now for the popular cities average costs:

  • Calgary:

A 75 sqm apartment in the city center would cost around 375,000 CAD.
A 50 sqm apartment in the city center would cost around 250,000 CAD.
The monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in the city center would be around 2100 CAD.
The monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in the city center would be around 1300 CAD.

  • Montreal:

A 75 sqm apartment in the city center would cost around 390,000 CAD.
A 50 sqm apartment in the city center would cost around 260,000 CAD.
The monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in the city center would be around 1900 CAD.
The monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in the city center would be around 1050 CAD.

  • Ottawa: 

A 75 sqm apartment in the city center would cost around 337,500 CAD.
A 50 sqm apartment in the city center would cost around 225,000 CAD.
The monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in the city center would be around 2100 CAD.
The monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in the city center would be around 1300 CAD.

  • Toronto:

A 75 sqm apartment in the city center would cost around 760,000 CAD.
A 50 sqm apartment in the city center would cost around 500,000 CAD.
The monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in the city center would be around 3500 CAD.
The monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in the city center would be around 2000 CAD.

  • Vancouver:

A 75 sqm apartment in the city center would cost around 900,000 CAD.
A 50 sqm apartment in the city center would cost around 600,000 CAD.
The monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in the city center would be around 3600 CAD.
The monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in the city center would be around 2000 CAD.

In the end, though, what really matters is that you get your house in Canada.

 

This is the wrong kind of House…

house in canada

 

3. Utilities Cost in Canada

I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned, the most important thing after having a roof over my head is – keeping the lights on and the water running.
The national monthly average is around 125 CAD for all basic utilities – water, electric, trash pickup, cooling and heating for a large apartment or a family home.
On top of basic utilities, we would add the “important” utilities – a mobile phone and Internet.
Well, phone plans can vary drastically, so this would be tough to calculate.  But we can tell you that 1 minute on a prepaid card (with no special phone plan) is 0.32 CAD.
A monthly internet plan for a fast connection is around 75 CAD.

4. Food Cost in Canada

We can’t tell you all the prices for all types of foods around Canada because that would end up a longer novel than a standard Stephen King book… So we’ll go for the Canadian national average for the basic necessities.

A liter of milk would run you around 2.5 CAD. A loaf of fresh bread would be around 3 CAD. 12 regular eggs would be about 3.5 CAD.
As for fruits and vegetables, the average ranges from 1.5 CAD per KG to around 4 CAD per KG.
A 1.5 liter bottle of mineral water would be about 1.5 CAD.
We could go on about food, but as you can see the averages are pretty similar, so you should have a general idea of the cost of your weekly groceries.

5. Transportation Cost in Canada

You have a new job in Canada, and you need to get there! So how much would it cost you to travel to work?
A one-way ticket on local transport is 3 CAD on average. A monthly pass for your daily trips to work is around 95 CAD unless you have special discounts (student discounts, retired discounts etc).
A taxi would charge about 2 CAD per KM on average.
But what if you got a car? In that case, a liter of gasoline should be around 1.2 CAD.

 

How’s this for Canadian transportation?

 

6. Clothing Cost in Canada

We can’t give you a list of prices for all types of clothes all over Canada, but we can tell you the average cost of a pair of Levi’s jeans will be about 60 CAD and a summer dress in a chain store would be about 40 CAD.
A pair of mid-range Nike running shoes would be about 100 CAD and a pair of leather business shoes would be around 130 CAD.
These are national averages, meaning it can vary greatly between provinces and regions. You can get a rough estimate from it at the very least.

7. Childcare Cost in Canada

The issue of childcare has come up repeatedly among our clients, as so many people bring the family.  So we can’t fail to include this section.
The national monthly average cost for a full-day private preschool or kindergarten is around 900 CAD.
The national yearly average cost for primary school is around 15,200 CAD.
The rates are for each child and can vary greatly between the provinces.

 

Tell your friends about living cost in Canada

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To Sum Up

Get it? Sum up…
So what was the point of telling you all this?
The point was to give you an up-to-date realistic view of the cost of living in Canada and to help you make better-informed plans.
We did not mention fun things like going out to a movie, a show or a restaurant.  But we know you’ll be able to treat yourself to some good times and happy memories living here.
So we’re not too worried about it at all.  Also, we didn’t want to bore you with even more numbers.
Please keep in mind that all this information is very rough.  Rates vary between provinces and even towns, and when you choose your desired location you should research into the rates in that specific province to get a good view of the necessary finances for such a move.

 

living cost canada

 

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Violet Mitchell

Who needs a navel if it's not for gazing?

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