Why You Should Move to Rural Canada

July 28, 2023


  • Sinethemba Phongolo

Canada's much beloved and celebrated cities like Toronto or Vancouver are the dream destinations for many prospective immigrants. However, rural Canada has grown progressively attractive for many immigrants who have grown weary of the hustle and bustle of city life.

Among the most common;y cited reasons for the recent trend in immigration to the rural areas in Canada are the affordable cost of living and a quiet, calm pace of life. Most immigration to a rural area in Canada requires moving provinces in Canada.

Rural provinces in Canada should be first on your list of potential rural areas in Canada to settle in. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offers no shortage of Canada immigration visa programs that prospective immigrants to Canada can use to move to a rural area in Canada.

Top 5 Reasons to Move to Rural Canada

There are many reasons why you should move to Canada. However, the top 5 most commonly cited reasons why you should move to rural Canada:

Access to Canada’s Beautiful Natural Environments

One of the most compelling reasons to move to rural Canada is the unparalleled access to the country's stunning natural environments. From the majestic Rocky Mountains to the serene beauty of the Maritimes, rural areas in Canada offer a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Imagine hearing birds chirping, hiking on a picturesque trail, or fishing in a pristine lake. In rural Canada, these experiences are not only possible but easily accessible right in your backyard.

Rural Canada also boasts an abundance of wildlife. Whether you're interested in birdwatching, spotting bears and moose, or simply enjoying the tranquility of nature, rural areas in Canada provide ample opportunities for wildlife encounters.

The chance to immerse yourself in nature and experience its awe-inspiring beauty is a compelling reason to move to rural Canada in provinces such as:

High Standard of Living

Rural Canada offers a high standard of living that rivals its urban counterparts. With a lower population density, rural areas provide a slower pace of life, cleaner air, and a stronger sense of community.

Studies conducted by Rural and Remote Health show residents of rural areas tend to have higher levels of life satisfaction and overall well-being compared to those in urban areas.

Moreover, rural Canada is home to top-notch healthcare facilities and educational institutions. Rural areas still offer excellent healthcare services, while you may have to travel a bit farther for specialized medical treatments.

Regarding education, rural schools often have smaller class sizes and dedicated teachers who provide personalized attention to students. This can lead to a better quality of education and a more nurturing learning environment for children.

Low Cost of Living

One of the most attractive aspects of moving to rural Canada is the low cost of living. Rural areas offer significantly lower housing costs than bustling cities, making owning a home or renting an apartment more affordable.

Everyday expenses tend to be cheaper in rural areas, allowing you to stretch your budget further for living costs such as:

  • Groceries
  • Transportation
  • Entertainment

The average cost of living in Canada varies depending on the province and specific rural area, but overall, it is much more affordable than in urban centers. This means that your hard-earned money can go a long way in rural Canada, allowing you to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank.

Whether you're a young professional looking to start a family or a retiree seeking a peaceful retirement, the lower cost of living in rural Canada is a significant advantage.

The table below shows the living costs between Stratford and Toronto, Ontario.

Living Costs Stratford, Ontario (CAD) Toronto, Ontario (CAD)
Gasoline (1 liter) 1.51 1.53
Utilities for 85 m2 city apartment 166.22 201.98
Family 3-bedroom apartment  1,616.67 2,483.56

All statistical figures are obtained from

High Salaries

Contrary to the perception that rural areas offer limited job opportunities, many rural provinces in Canada are experiencing a high employment rate and a strong economy.

Several rural areas are booming with growth and development, particularly in primary industries such as:

These industries offer various job prospects, from skilled trades like welding and plumbing to project and farm management positions and agricultural directorships.

Rural Canada often offers competitive salaries to attract and retain skilled workers. Since the cost of living is lower than in urban areas, the salaries offered in rural Canada can provide a higher standard of living and greater financial security.

High Employment Rate

The scarce population in rural areas in Canada often drives higher demand for specific skilled workers and professionals where Canadian employers across all industries compete for hiring opportunities. This ensures that there is always a variable number of job posts available for job seekers in rural Canada.

Whether you're a recent graduate looking to start your career or an experienced professional seeking new opportunities, moving to rural Canada can offer a promising job market and a brighter future.

Reduced Crime Rates

Rural Canada is known for its low crime rates and a strong sense of community. Rural areas often experience lower crime rates with smaller populations and tight-knit communities than urban centers.

This provides individuals and families with a safer and more secure environment. In addition, rural Canada's strong sense of community fosters a supportive network where neighbors look out for one another and come together to celebrate local events and festivals.

Strong Sense of Community

Living in a close-knit community also means that you have the opportunity to build lasting relationships and make meaningful connections. Rural Canadians are known for their friendly and welcoming nature, making it easier to integrate into the community and forge lifelong friendships. Moving to rural Canada can offer a warm and inviting environment if you value a sense of belonging and a supportive community.

Opportunities for Cultural Exchange with Canada’s Indigenous Communities

Moving to rural Canada provides a unique opportunity for cultural exchange with Canada's Indigenous communities. The country is home to a rich and diverse indigenous culture, with each community having its traditions, languages, and art forms. Rural areas often have a higher concentration of indigenous communities, allowing for a deeper immersion into their culture.

By living close to indigenous communities, you can:

  • Engage in cultural activities
  • Attend powwows
  • Traditional ceremonies
  • Learn about indigenous histories and traditions

This cultural exchange can be a transformative experience, fostering mutual understanding and appreciation between different cultures. Rural Canada offers a unique chance to participate in this cultural tapestry and gain a deeper appreciation for Canada's indigenous heritage.

Business Opportunities in Canada’s Booming Primary Industries

If you're an entrepreneur or looking to start a business, rural Canada offers many opportunities in its booming primary industries. Rural areas in Canada are the backbone of the national economy, from agriculture and forestry to mining and energy.

These industries provide stable employment and create a favorable business growth and innovation environment. The agricultural sector in rural Canada is thriving, with vast expanses of fertile land and a growing demand for organic and locally sourced produce.

This presents an opportunity for aspiring farmers or agribusiness entrepreneurs to establish sustainable and profitable ventures. Similarly, the forestry industry offers opportunities for timber harvesting, wood processing, and value-added manufacturing.

Whether you're interested in starting a small-scale business or aiming for large-scale success, rural Canada provides entrepreneurs with a supportive and nurturing environment. The local communities often rally behind new businesses, fostering economic growth and contributing to the area's overall prosperity.

How to Move to Rural Canada

The Canadian government offers several immigration programs catering to individuals interested in moving to rural areas. These programs aim to attract skilled workers, entrepreneurs, and individuals who can contribute to rural communities' economic growth and development.

Express Entry

The Express Entry system is a popular immigration program that allows skilled workers to apply for permanent residency in Canada. While the program is not exclusive to rural areas, it allows individuals to secure a job offer in a rural province or territory, significantly boosting their chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residency. The immigration visa programs administered under the Express Entry system include the following:

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is another pathway to move to rural Canada. Each province and territory in Canada has its own PNP, which allows them to nominate individuals who meet their specific economic and labor market needs. Many rural provinces have specific streams within their PNP that target individuals interested in settling in rural areas. Prominent rural PNP streams for Canada's rural areas include:

  • Alberta Rural Renewal Stream
  • Alberta Farmer Stream
  • Manitoba Farm Investor Pathway
  • Saskatchewan Farm Owner and Operator Category
  • Yukon Community Pilot

Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP)

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) is a community-driven program that aims to attract skilled workers to rural communities in Canada. Under this pilot program, designated rural communities can recommend candidates for permanent residency based on their local labor market needs. This program offers a unique opportunity for individuals to connect with rural communities and contribute to their growth and development.

Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP)

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) is a collaborative effort between the Atlantic provinces of Canada and the federal government. This program targets skilled workers, international graduates, and intermediate-skilled workers who wish to live and work in the Atlantic provinces of:

While not exclusively focused on rural areas, the program presents opportunities to settle in smaller communities within the Atlantic region.

Agri-food Pilot

The Agri-Food Pilot program is specifically designed for individuals interested in working in Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector. This pilot program aims to address labor shortages in the industry by providing a pathway to permanent residency for eligible candidates. Rural areas in Canada with a strong agricultural presence can offer enticing opportunities under this pilot program.

Agriculture Worker Stream

Some rural provinces in Canada have unique Agricultural worker streams that target individuals with experience or a job offer in the agriculture sector. These streams provide a direct pathway to permanent residency for individuals interested in working and settling in rural areas involved in agriculture and related industries.

One of the most commonly used Agricultural worker streams is the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP). The SAWP enables employers to hire temporary foreign workers (TFW) when Canadians and permanent residents are unavailable.

Employers can hire TFWs from participating countries for eight months, between January 1 and December 15, as long as they can offer the workers at least 240 hours of work in 6 weeks or less.

Temporary Foreign Work Permit

If you want to gain work experience in rural Canada before applying for permanent residency, you can consider applying for a Temporary Foreign Work Permit (TFWP).

This permit allows you to work in Canada for a specified period, typically up to two years, and gain valuable Canadian work experience. This experience can enhance your chances of obtaining permanent residency through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and temporary resident to permanent resident pathways.

Moving to rural Canada offers many overlooked benefits. From access to beautiful natural environments and a high standard of living to the low cost of living and ample job opportunities, rural areas in Canada provide a unique and fulfilling lifestyle.


What Percentage of Canada's Population Lives in Rural Areas?

According to Statistics Canada, approximately 17.8 % of Canada's population lives in rural areas. While most Canadians reside in urban centers, rural areas play a vital role in the country's economy and offer unique opportunities for individuals seeking a different lifestyle.

What is the State of Healthcare in Rural Canada?

Rural Canada offers access to quality healthcare services, although variations may vary depending on the rural area. At the same time, specialized medical treatments might be spitals that provide essential medical services.

The close-knit communities in rural Canada often rally together to support each other during medical needs, creating a strong network of care and support.