Cost of Living in Canada
January 10, 2024
Embarking on the journey to a new country requires thorough planning, and when it comes to Canada, understanding the cost of living is paramount. From the bustling metropolises like Toronto and Vancouver to the serene rural landscapes, the cost of living varies across the vast expanse of this diverse nation. We delve into the essentials, from housing and transportation to healthcare and education, providing a roadmap to navigate the financial landscape.
Get a better gauge of what to expect living in Canada with our detailed guide on the cost of living in Canada!
Before You Move to Canada
We recommend researching how much it costs to live where you plan to settle in Canada due to the variation of the cost of living based on where you live. A select group of items and services across Canada will have similar costs. Learn if your home country has a limit on how much money you can withdraw by checking with your lawyer, banker, and financial adviser.
Proof of Funds
You must demonstrate you have enough money to support yourself and your family after arriving in Canada if you’re immigrating as a skilled worker or self-employed person. Submit your proof of your funds to the Canadian visa office in your home country when applying to immigrate.
Housing Costs in Canada
In general, Canadians spend 35% to 50% of their income on housing and utilities. This includes home rental costs or mortgage payments. The utility costs include heating and paying for electricity, telephone service, and water. The following provides a more thorough breakdown of housing costs in Canada for renting or buying a home.
If You Rent a Home
Renting a home in Canada can be a costly endeavor, particularly in urban areas. The high demand for rental properties drives up prices, making it important to budget accordingly. In major cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, rental prices can be significantly higher than in smaller towns or rural areas.
Furthermore, properties closer to city centers or with desirable amenities will have higher rental prices. Therefore, you should keep in mind that location plays a crucial role in determining rental costs.
This is shown in the table below with figures from numbeo.com:
|Type of Apartment
|Rent Per Month (CAD)
|1 bedroom apartment in the City Center
|1 bedroom apartment outside the City Center
|3 bedroom apartment in the City Center
|3 bedroom apartment outside the City Center
If You Buy a Home
If you plan on settling in Canada for the long term, buying a home may be a more cost-effective option. However, purchasing a home also comes with its own set of expenses. In addition to the purchase price, you'll need to consider additional costs such as property taxes, home insurance, and maintenance.
The housing market in Canada can be competitive, especially in popular cities. It's essential to work with a real estate agent who can guide you through the process and help you find a property that fits your budget and preferences. In general, buying an apartment or home in Canada is more expensive in the city than outside of it, as exemplified in the table below according to numbeo.com:
|Type of Apartment
|Price Per Square Meter (CAD)
|Apartment in the City Center
|Apartment outside the City Center
Healthcare Costs in Canada
One of the advantages of living in Canada is the universal healthcare system, which provides essential medical services to all residents. Each Canadian province or territory has a different health insurance plan covering different services and products. Some examples include:
- Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan,
- Ontario Health Insurance Plan,
- British Columbia Health Plan, and
- Nova Scotia Health Card (MSI).
There are some important differences between each plan so make sure you know what your plan covers. However, it's important to note that healthcare costs in Canada are not entirely free. While doctor visits and hospital stays are covered, there may be additional expenses for prescription medications, dental care, and vision care.
To cover these additional costs, many Canadians opt for private health insurance. Private insurance can help cover the expenses the government healthcare system does not cover. Researching different insurance options is important and choosing one that fits your needs and budget. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), private health insurance in Canada costs approximately 1,012.28 CAD annually or about 84.35 CAD per month.
Education Costs in Canada
Canada is known for its high-quality education system, but it's essential to consider the costs associated with it. The government mostly funds primary and secondary education, while post-secondary education may require you to pay tuition fees depending on the institution. Tuition fees for universities and colleges can vary depending on the institution and the program of study.
If you are studying in Canada as an international student with a study permit, you will be subject to the following education costs in Canada.
|Type of Educational Institution In Canada
|Education Costs Per Year (CAD)
|9,500 > 17,000
|Private or Independent Day Schools
|15,000 > 30,000
|Private or independent boarding schools
|63,000 > 83,000
|17,680 > 22,100
|College or Vocational Schools
|7,000 > 22,000
Scholarships and financial aid options are available to help alleviate the burden of education costs, with the most prominent examples for postsecondary institutions including:
- Study in Canada Scholarships,
- Organization of American States (OAS) Academic Scholarship Program,
- Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS) program, and
- Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) scholarships.
Grocery Costs in Canada
Grocery costs in Canada can vary depending on the region and the type of food you purchase. Generally, prices in urban areas tend to be higher than in rural areas. However, there are ways to save money on groceries. Shopping at discount grocery stores, buying in bulk, and taking advantage of weekly specials can help reduce your grocery bill.
The cost of staple food items in Canada, according to numbeo.com, can be outlined as follows:
|Groceries In Canada
|Milk (1 liter)
|Loaf of bread (500g)
|Water (1.5 liter bottle)
Utility Costs in Canada
Utility costs in Canada include electricity, water, and heating expenses. These costs can vary depending on the region, the size of your home, and your energy consumption habits. It's important to factor in these expenses when budgeting for your cost of living. According to numbeo.com, utilities in Canada can be outlined as follows:
|Utilities In Canada
|Cost Per Month (CAD)
|Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment
|Mobile Phone Monthly Plan (Calls and 10GB+ Data)
|Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)
To reduce utility costs, consider energy-efficient appliances, and insulation, and practice energy-saving habits such as turning off lights when not in use.
Transportation Costs in Canada
Transportation costs in Canada can vary depending on your location and lifestyle. If you live in a city with a well-developed public transportation system, such as Toronto or Vancouver, you may be able to rely on public transit to get around, which can be a more affordable option.
However, if you live in a suburban or rural area with limited public transportation, owning a car may be necessary. Transportation costs in Canada are outlined below. Figures obtained from numbeo.com.
|Transportation In Canada
|Local Transport One-way Ticket
|Normal Tariff (Taxi Start)
|Normal Tariff (Taxi 1km)
|1 liter of Gasoline
Clothing Costs in Canada
The cost of clothing in Canada can vary depending on where you shop and the brands you prefer. Major cities have a range of clothing options, from high-end designer brands to budget-friendly stores. If you're on a tight budget, consider shopping at outlet stores, thrift shops, or online retailers for more affordable clothing options. Basic clothing item prices are outlined as follows according to numbeo.com.
|Clothing In Canada
|One Pair of Jeans
|Mid-range Pair of Nike Running Shoes
|Pair of Men’s Leather Business Shoes
Income Deductions in Canada
In most jobs in Canada, employers remove some money from your paycheck. Paycheck deductions account for as much as 25% to 35% of your paycheck. Paycheck deductible generally pays for:
- Income taxes,
- Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan,
- Employment Insurance,
- Union dues (if applicable),
- Payments to a retirement or pension plan (if applicable), and
- Other deductions you and your employer agree to in writing.
Please note that your deductibles will be reflected on your paycheck.
Now that you have a better understanding of what to expect from living in Canada, you can begin the process of preparing to move and settle in Canada with one of our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC).
How Does The Cost of Living in Canada Compare to Other Countries?
The cost of living in Canada can vary depending on the region, but overall, it is considered to be relatively high. However, compared to other developed countries such as the United States, Canada's cost of living is generally more affordable. This is exemplified by the cost of living in Canada vs US.
Is it More Affordable to Live in Canada’s Rural Areas Than Urban Areas?
Generally, living in rural areas of Canada tends to be more affordable than living in urban areas. Housing costs, transportation expenses, and even grocery prices are often lower in rural areas. However, it's important to consider factors such as job opportunities, access to services, and lifestyle preferences when deciding where to live in Canada.