In today's society, where the cost of living continues to rise, finding affordable places to live and work is crucial. Canada, known for its diverse culture, stunning landscapes, and high quality of life, has been a popular destination for immigrants and travelers. But which is the cheapest province in Canada? In this article, we'll explore the factors affecting the cost of living in Canada, identify the provinces with the lowest expenses, and help you decide where to settle down.
How To Find The Cheapest Province to Live in Canada
Canada's living costs vary greatly depending on location, taxes, food, housing, transportation, and utilities. Understanding these factors will give you a better idea of which province will be the most affordable. To help you find the cheapest province in Canada, here is how each province ranks in each of these factors:
Taxes in Canada are a significant consideration when calculating the cost of living. Canada has three types of taxes: federal, provincial, and municipal. While federal taxes apply equally to all Canadians, provincial tax rates vary. Alberta boasts the lowest provincial tax rate, with a flat rate of 10%, while other provinces have progressive tax rates ranging from 15% to over 20%. Additionally, some provinces charge a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), which combines federal and provincial sales taxes.
In contrast, others charge a separate Provincial Sales Tax (PST) and Goods and Services Tax (GST). These rates can impact your overall cost of living, so it's essential to consider them when deciding where to live in Canada. According to the Canadian government website, each province's taxes are as follows:
|Province or territory||Tax Rates|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||
|Prince Edward Island||
|Quebec||Go to Income tax rates (Revenu Québec).|
Food costs can also differ significantly between provinces. Factors such as the availability of local produce, transportation of goods, and local competition can impact the prices of groceries and dining out. Generally, Ontario and Quebec tend to have lower food costs due to their abundant agricultural production and accessibility to local markets. However, remote regions like the Northwest Territories and Nunavut can have significantly higher food prices due to the cost of transportation and limited availability of fresh produce.
Here is a breakdown of the basic food costs per province, according to Numbeo.com. Please note: most accurate cost of living calculations are based on the cost of living in a single city rather than an entire province. To maintain this accuracy, the costs mentioned in the following tables will be based on each province's largest or capital city, where the largest concentration of immigrants can be found.
|City and Province/ Territory||Monthly Grocery Costs Per Person (according to LivingCost.org)||Single Meal at an Inexpensive Restaurant|
|Toronto, Ontario||542.00 C$||23.00 C$|
|Montreal, Quebec||519.00 C$||22.00 C$|
|Vancouver, British Columbia||565.00 C$||25.00 C$|
|Moncton, New Brunswick||531.00 C$||24.12 C$|
|Yellowknife, Northwest Territories||614.00 C$||24.12 C$|
|Halifax, Nova Scotia||557.00 C$||20.00 C$|
|Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island||574.00 C$||25.00 C$|
|St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador||533.00 C$||20.00 C$|
|Winnipeg, Manitoba||462.00 C$||20.00 C$|
|Calgary, Alberta||538.00 C$||22.00 C$|
|Saskatoon, Saskatchewan||482.00 C$||20.00 C$|
|Whitehorse, Yukon||534.00 C$||19.00 C$|
|Iqaluit, Nunavut||No data available||40.00 C$|
Rent and Housing Costs
Housing is often the most substantial expense for most people, and the difference in costs between provinces can be significant. Generally, provinces with larger urban centers, like Ontario and British Columbia, have higher housing costs, while smaller populations, like New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, offer more affordable options. Rural areas also tend to have lower housing costs than urban centers.
|City and Province/ Territory||Rent for a Single-Bedroom City Apartment||Rent for a Three-Bedroom City Apartment|
|Toronto, Ontario||2,450.00 C$||3,921.05 C$|
|Montreal, Quebec||1,452.80 C$||2,536.53 C$|
|Vancouver, British Columbia||2,505.96 C$||4,522.50 C$|
|Moncton, New Brunswick||1,180.94 C$||1,956.67 C$|
|Yellowknife, Northwest Territories||1,725.00 C$||2,560.00 C$|
|Halifax, Nova Scotia||1,717.27 C$||2,799.77 C$|
|Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island||1,210.00 C$||2,000.00 C$|
|St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador||1,004.50 C$||1,675.00 C$|
|Winnipeg, Manitoba||1,131.92 C$||1,933.10 C$|
|Calgary, Alberta||1,611.94 C$||2,873.53 C$|
|Saskatoon, Saskatchewan||1,261.11 C$||1,762.50 C$|
|Whitehorse, Yukon||1,725.00 C$||2,800.00 C$|
|Iqaluit, Nunavut||no data available||4,000.00 C$|
Transportation can also impact your cost of living, depending on factors like gas prices, public transit costs, and the availability of public transportation. Provinces with larger cities like Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia tend to have more extensive public transit systems, which can be more cost-effective than owning and maintaining a vehicle. However, more rural provinces like Saskatchewan and Manitoba can have lower gas prices, making driving a more affordable option.
|City and Province/ Territory||Cost of 1l of Fuel||Monthly Pass (Public Transport)|
|Toronto, Ontario||1.61 C$||156.00 C$|
|Montreal, Quebec||1.75 C$||94.00 C$|
|Vancouver, British Columbia||1.94 C$||120.00 C$|
|Moncton, New Brunswick||1.73 C$||70.00 C$|
|Yellowknife, Northwest Territories||2.10 C$||70.00 C$|
|Halifax, Nova Scotia||1.82 C$||82.50 C$|
|Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island||1.64 C$||60.00 C$|
|St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador||1.99 C$||78.00 C$|
|Winnipeg, Manitoba||1.85 C$||104.00 C$|
|Calgary, Alberta||1.40 C$||112.00 C$|
|Saskatoon, Saskatchewan||1.64 C$||83.00 C$|
|Whitehorse, Yukon||2.02 C$||62.00 C$|
|Iqaluit, Nunavut||no data available||no data available|
Utility costs, including electricity, heating, and water, can also vary between provinces. Factors like weather, energy sources, and provincial regulations can impact the price of utilities. For example, Quebec has some of the lowest electricity rates in Canada due to its abundant hydroelectric power. In contrast, provinces like Ontario and Alberta can have higher rates due to their reliance on other energy sources.
|City and Province/ Territory||Monthly Utilities (for 85m2 apartment)||Monthly Internet Bundle (60 Mbps)|
|Toronto, Ontario||190.72 C$||75.77 C$|
|Montreal, Quebec||100.18 C$||60.74 C$|
|Vancouver, British Columbia||134.65 C$||86.17 C$|
|Moncton, New Brunswick||196.67 C$||106.00 C$|
|Yellowknife, Northwest Territories||380.00 C$||261.99 C$|
|Halifax, Nova Scotia||232.42 C$||106.78 C$|
|Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island||202.16 C$||113.57 C$|
|St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador||236.64 C$||98.17 C$|
|Winnipeg, Manitoba||216.07 C$||87.36 C$|
|Calgary, Alberta||310.04 C$||88.30 C$|
|Saskatoon, Saskatchewan||323.61 C$||72.73 C$|
|Whitehorse, Yukon||262.50 C$||173.59 C$|
|Iqaluit, Nunavut||no data available||99.00 C$|
Based on the Factors Above, Which is the Cheapest Province to Live in Canada?
Considering all factors mentioned above, the cheapest province in Canada is New Brunswick. New Brunswick has the lowest cost of living in the country, with affordable housing, low food costs, and reasonable utility rates. Additionally, the province has a low population density, which can contribute to a lower cost of living overall.
|City and Province/ Territory||Overall Cost of Living Per Person (Excluding Rent)|
|Toronto, Ontario||1,418.30 C$|
|Montreal, Quebec||1,688.00 C$|
|Vancouver, British Columbia||1,356.10 C$|
|Moncton, New Brunswick||1,335.50 C$|
|Yellowknife, Northwest Territories||2,103.00 C$|
|Halifax, Nova Scotia||1,324.20 C$|
|Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island||1,305.80 C$|
|St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador||1,360.80 C$|
|Winnipeg, Manitoba||1,258.50 C$|
|Calgary, Alberta||1,453.60 C$|
|Saskatoon, Saskatchewan||1,276.10 C$|
|Whitehorse, Yukon||1,498.00 C$|
|Iqaluit, Nunavut||Not enough data available|
While Manitoba is the most affordable option, other provinces like New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan can offer a lower living cost than more expensive provinces like Ontario and British Columbia. Ultimately, the most affordable option will depend on your priorities, needs, and lifestyle. One of the best ways to ensure you're prepared to move to Canada is to know precisely which of Canada's 100+ visa and immigration programs you're most eligible for. The best way to do this is to consult a certified immigration expert like an RCIC. A Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) can help you find your immigration program by evaluating your visa application and submitting it on your behalf. They can also provide a beneficial strategy for your visa options and help you choose the best immigration program.
RCICs are trained immigration experts who know the Canadian visa system and can represent you in an immigration or citizenship application or hearing. To ensure that your representative is authorized, you can check if they are a member of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants. If you are looking for an immigration lawyer, search for their details using their RCIC number, company name, or place.
How to Budget for Your Time in Canada
Moving to a new country requires a substantial financial commitment, and Canada is no exception.
Determine the Cost of Living
Research the cost of living in Canada, including housing, utilities, food, clothing, health insurance, and transportation. Most Canadians spend 35% to 50% of their income on housing and utilities. However, it's vital to determine the cost of living in your specific city before you start budgeting.
Plan for Immigration Costs
Plan for the costs of immigrating to Canada before and after you land. These costs will likely include government fees and private services such as consulting an immigration lawyer. Here's a breakdown of the different immigration fees you may incur.
Prove Your Funds
You’ll have to prove you have enough money to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada. The amount of money you need depends on the immigration program and family size. Here's a breakdown of what kind of settlement funds you need and how to prove them.
Look Into Banking Options
Look into banking options in Canada to manage your finances. Establishing credit is important for renting an apartment, getting a loan, or applying for a credit card. Learn more about banking in Canada here.
Plan for a Possible Decrease in Income
Plan for a possible decrease in income when you arrive in Canada. Many new immigrants face barriers to employment in their fields and positions that pay high wages. It is important to research the policies and limitations regarding work, student, and residency permits and visas before you immigrate.
Is it Possible to Find Work in the Cheapest Province?
Yes, but job opportunities may be more limited in smaller provinces than in larger urban centers. Be prepared to be flexible and consider employment in different industries or sectors. Learn more about finding a job in Canada here.
What is the Quality of Life like in the Cheapest Provinces?
While the cost of living may be lower, the quality of life in these provinces is still relatively high. Canada is known for its excellent healthcare system, education, and public services. Learn more about life in Canada's provinces here.
Is it Easy to Adapt to Life in the Cheapest Province?
This will depend on your personal preferences and needs. Smaller provinces may have a more tight-knit community feel, while larger cities offer more diversity and opportunities. Learn more about the differences between small-town and big-city life in Canada here.
Fulfill Your Dreams in Canada without Breaking the Bank
Canada offers an excellent quality of life and diverse opportunities for immigrants and travelers. Ultimately, the best choice will depend on your priorities, needs, and lifestyle. So, make an informed decision and enjoy Canada's unmatched beauty and culture. One of the best ways to learn about the right place for you in Canada is to talk to an RCIC.
RCICs know inside-out about Canadian immigration policies, processes, and systems. They are specially trained, qualified, and intimately familiar with Canadian immigration policies. RCICs are regulated and approved professionals authorized and certified to represent and guide you through your application for permanent residence in Canada. They thoroughly understand Canada's visa system.
They can assist you in various ways, such as liaising with the Canadian Immigration Authorities and your employer on your behalf, ensuring that your application meets the requirements of the Canadian Immigration Authorities, and completing your paperwork on your behalf. Therefore, RCICs have significant knowledge of Canada's immigration policies and procedures.