cost of living

The Cost of Living In Canada

By: Isabelle Griesmer

It’s not hard to see why people consider moving to Canada with the socially progressive government, Universal healthcare, and the abundance of beautiful scenery year-round.

If you have decided to make this journey, one of the first things to know is the expectations are in terms of your finances and the cost of living in Canada. 

The goal of this blog article is to guide you in everything you should know about the cost of living in Canada and give you a better idea of how to best financially prepare for your move.

Also, no matter where you are in life, whether you are retiring, moving to Canada permanently, or just relocating, having a service. Kingsmere helps you realize your financial goals through the planning process to ensure a smooth transition from every perspective including financial emigration.


At A Glance

  • The first thing you will need to consider is the change in currency. You’ll have a bank account full of Canadian dollars, typically just referred to as dollars or “loonies”. If you are coming from South Africa, for example, 100 ZAR (South African Rand) converts to eight CAD (Canadian dollars). 
  • Cities across Canada can vary widely in how expensive they are. The top five most expensive cities to live in is Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Ottawas with Toronto being the most expensive of the five.
  • Canada is known for its perk regarding the free health care system. That means you won’t pay any direct fee for doctors’ visits or going to the emergency room. This healthcare is (like most countries) funded by the country’s tax system. According to the 2019 data, the average person pays about C$7,068 per year to maintain the no-cost system. Note, that the free healthcare system is currently available only to Canadian citizens and those with a permanent residence permit.

What About Salary?

Another financial consideration to keep in mind is this: How much will you be making?

Depending on where in Canada you choose to settle, your salary could differ significantly due to employers compensating for the cost of their city. Here is an idea as to what te expect for salary in certain industries based in Toronto and Montreal as an example.



cashier                     C$22,180

graphic designer   C$39,985

product manager  C$75,995

receptionist             C$24,670

teacher                     C$50,000

web developer        C$51,294



Cashier                      C$22,747

graphic designer    C$45,069

product manager   C$84,250

receptionist              C$26,646

teacher                      C$73,292

web developer         C$58,372

Housing & Rent

Knowing where you are going to live and how much it is projected to cost is also highly important! Canadian rent and real estate prices vary depending on the city and province in which you live. the average cost for buying a home in Canada is 495,000 CAD and the average rental price for a one-bedroom in the city center is 1,200 CAD and 980 CAD. Here are some examples of average purchasing and rental prices by city:

City Median Monthly Rent

Toronto       C$2,270
Montréal     C$1,500
Vancouver  C$2,080
Ottawa        C$1,250

City Average House Cost

Toronto       C$766,000
Montréal     C$341,000
Vancouver  C$1,092,000
Ottawa        C$382,000


While driving vehicles will always be a common occurrence almost everywhere you go, there are other ways to get around for example: by bike, public transportation (buses), and taxi. Here are some average prices you can expect no matter your mode of transportation:

Gasoline (1 litre/0.25 gallon)   C$1.20
Bus ticket, single-use              C$3-C$4
Taxi, 1km                                     C$2
Monthly transport pass          C$77-125

Living Expenses

Here is a list of average prices for typical expenses such as groceries and utilities. 

Item                             Average Cost

Carton of milk (1l)                           C$1-4

White bread (500 g)                      C$2-4

White rice (1kg)                              C$2-6

A dozen eggs 3-5                           C$2-4

Local cheese (1kg)                         C$7-23

Chicken (1kg)                                  C$9-20

Beef (1kg)                                         C$9-22

1 kg of tomatoes                             C$4.82

500 gr of cheese                             C$10

1 kg of apples                                   C$3.91

1 kg of potatoes                               C$2.52

0.5 l domestic beer                         C$3.17

1 bottle of table wine                     C$18

2 liters of coca-cola                        C$2.30

Bread for 2 people for 1 day         C$2.06


Utility                          Average Cost

Basic (electricity, gas, water)        C$75-250

Internet C                                          C$50-100

Cell phone bill                                 C$25-210

How Much Will You Need To Live Comfortably?

Overall, how much are you and your family going to need to live comfortably in Canada? Everyone has their own standards and financial goals for themselves and their family. The majority of Canadian citizens believe that C$250,000 per year (before taxes) could offer them a more comfortable living situation. People planning for retirement consider that C$398,347 per year could offer them more appropriate financial comfort.

  • It is important to mention that these prices are far from what most Canadians earn.

Altogether, Canada has always been known as a great place to live. The cost of living in Canada could be higher than what you were typically used to in your home country. Household costs will take-up about 50% of your salary, so it’s important to come well prepared.

Hopefully, this was helpful to you while you plan your expenses, among other important aspects of your immigration journey. Remember, no matter what part of Canada you are moving to, Howzit is here for you!

Did these points raise even more questions? Let’s help you get more answers – reach out to us to chat!
Click here to read our recent PNP article for more info!
Photo by Amina Filkins from Pexels

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