how much does it cost to live in Canada?

It is much more expensive to live in Vancouver or Toronto than, say, Ottawa or Halifax, and cheapest in Manitoba and Quebec. The provinces of Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia are the most expensive in the country. The United States, nearby, has generally lower compulsory costs. Nevertheless, Canada is a country with a developed economy and a high standard of living: The government makes a policy so that everyone – both local and expat – could earn a decent living regardless of their position. will tell you about the main costs for housing, food, transportation and entertainment.

Living in Vancouver or Toronto is considerably more expensive, Canada is famous for its lack of social inequality. Prices are commensurate with the standard of living, and despite the wage differentials, everyone can afford to rent a place to live, eat well and have fun. Almost 70% of the population owns their own real estate, more than 50% have their own car. The state holds the first position on the number of digital and computer equipment per person.

However, the regions differ greatly in economic situation. For example, according to a ranking compiled by BMO Bank, the best cities to work and live in are Ottawa, Quebec and Hamilton. And the popular Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal didn’t make the list at all.

Housing costs


The range of housing prices in Canada is very wide, depending on the region. A peculiarity of the country that each province has the right to impose their own rules relating to taxation and pricing. For example, the average cost of housing in Vancouver – $ 1 million, and in Montreal – $ 262.4 thousand in January 2019. In Quebec, the average property costs $190 thousand, one of the most affordable is the city of Charlevoix: $ 97.5 thousand on average.

In Calgary (Alberta), you can buy a one-bedroom apartment for $170,000 and a two-bedroom – for $230,000. In Vancouver, the price per square meter apartment varies depending on the location from an average of $3.8 to $5.7 thousand, in Toronto – $2.66-5.30 thousand, in Montreal – $1.36-2.60 thousand.


The process of renting property in Canada is virtually no different from other countries – non-standard requirements for tenants owners do not impose. The most they can ask for is a certificate of employment on income (and they do not always ask for it).

Among the features – the size and type of housing, depending on the size of the family. For example, a family of two could rent a one-bedroom apartment. But if there is also a child, he, according to local law, must have its own room. That is why you need an apartment with at least two bedrooms.

At move-in owners require a deposit of one to three times the monthly rent. On average, to rent an apartment with one bedroom in Toronto, you need $1.2-1.5 thousand, in Vancouver – $1.1-1.4 thousand, in Calgary and Ottawa – $750-800, in Montreal – $530-600, in Quebec and Halifax – $450-500.

Mandatory utility bills include gas, water, electricity, and garbage collection. Depending on the size of the apartment and the number of people, the monthly fee varies. For example, a 35-square-meter studio apartment will cost $80-90, and a 90-square-meter apartment will cost about $150-180. The Internet will cost $45-50.

Transportation and communications

Public transportation

Public transportation in Canadian cities “adheres” to a precise schedule. Buses run every 5 to 10 minutes during peak hours and every 15 to 20 minutes at other times. However, buses do not run late: from 7:30 am to 8:30 pm on weekdays and from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on weekends. The driver sells the ticket and the price is usually $1.50 to $2.00. A monthly pass will cost about $40.

Major cities have a subway that runs daily from 5:30 to 00:30 and until 1:30 on Saturday. The cost per trip is $2-5 (depending on city and distance), a pass for seven rides costs $14-20, and a monthly pass costs $80-120.


In Canada cabs are expensive, so if this form of transport is used – only for relatively short distances. Carriage of luggage is free, and the final price of a trip depends on travel time and kilometrage. It costs about $3.2 to board in Toronto, $1.3 per kilometer, and a one-hour wait is $25. The driver is allowed to turn on the meter only when the customer is in the car and the engine is running.


Most Canadians prefer to travel around the country by car – it is faster and sometimes cheaper. A liter of gasoline costs $1.0-1.5. Renting a car is $22-40, depending on the brand, and half that for a weekend. To rent a car you will need a passport, a credit card and an international driver’s license. The driver must be at least 21 years old (in some cases from 23), the driving experience – 1-5 years, depending on the company.

If you have your own car – do not forget about compulsory insurance, which costs $ 60-80 a month.

Traffic in Canada is right-hand traffic, most roads – free, with high-quality flat surface. Fines for violations are very high, so it is better to always wear your seat belt, do not talk on the phone while driving, and do not cross bike lanes.

Parking is $0.8-2.2 per hour, but carefully read the information boards and signs in a particular place: even for a minor error car can be evacuated, and this pleasure is not cheap: call a tow truck – $ 190-200, the penalty for wrong parking – $ 15-40.

Mobile communications
There are more than a dozen cell phone operators in Canada, but the main ones are Telus, Bell, Rogers, and Fido. A basic monthly package costs $50-55 everywhere. Keep in mind that most plans don’t include caller ID or voicemail, and you don’t have to pay for incoming calls unless you have an unlimited plan.

Food and clothing


As with housing, the cost of groceries varies from province to province. The most expensive place to eat is Toronto, followed by Vancouver, Montreal, and Ottawa. We’ll show you the average prices in these cities.

canada living cost

Seafood is expensive. Shrimp in the store is about $20 a kilo, salmon tenderloin is $18-20. Flounder is about $3.5. But smoking in Canada is not profitable: a pack of cigarettes costs $10 on average. As for alcohol, a bottle of beer costs $2.5-4.0, a bottle of wine about $11.

Living in Toronto, you will spend about $350 per person per month on food (assuming you only shop at the supermarket). According to statistics, Canadians spend about 15% of their budget on food. And the minimum wage is $9.0-11.3 per hour, depending on the province, and $1,60-2,03,000 per month for a 40-hour work week.

Restaurants, cafes, fast food

  • Hot dog, sandwich in a street cafe, diner – $ 1.5-4.5
  • Pizza – $ 6-9, burritos – $ 6
  • Spaghetti with seafood – $ 13-14
  • Sushi – $ 7.5-11.0 per serving
  • Combo set at McDonald’s with big mac – $ 8.5
  • Cup of cappuccino – $ 2.5-3.0
  • Complex lunch in an inexpensive establishment – $ 9-15 per person
  • Dinner with wine per person – $ 15-25
  • Dinner with wine in a good restaurant for two – $ 90-100

In addition to the final price, tax (13% for Toronto) and a tip to the waiter are added to the check.


Clothing and shoe prices in Canada are average European, sometimes even lower. Branded jeans cost $45-50, summer dress – $30-35, shoes and sneakers – $60-120. For shopping go mainly to large shopping centers, as in addition to clothing stores there are a lot of entertainment, so you can have a good time with the kids at the weekend.

Other Expenses


Canadian medicine is one of the highest quality in the world. For residents and citizens who live in the country for more than three months, most services are covered by insurance (but not all). Keep in mind that if you live in Canada for less than 183 days, you will have to pay for services, and the cost is very high. For example, a day of hospitalization could cost $3,000, a doctor’s visit $100-300, and an ambulance call $500-600. But there is always the possibility to be insured with a private company instead of the state one: the policy will provide you with assistance in emergencies. Medicines are also partially covered.

In most cases, if you work for a good company, the employer provides insurance. National insurance is compulsory. But note that policy prices vary greatly from province to province. For example, it costs $100 for an ambulance in Toronto, $80 in Vancouver, and $35 in Ontario.

Most prescription drugs are free for people under 25 and over 65. For the rest, you have to pay $5-10 off your first prescription once a year – insurance covers the rest. And if you get insurance through your place of employment, it’s not uncommon for your whole family to be covered under one policy.

If your insurance costs $40 a month (deducted from your salary), the policy covers dentist services up to $1,000 a year, cleanings, and preventive exams. Complex procedures (crowns, bridges) are partially covered (up to 80%).

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