Country Guides February 8, 2023

Everything You Need to Know About the Cost of Living in Canada

Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

Are you thinking about becoming Canadian? Before you hop on the bandwagon and start planning your international relocation, let’s go over the cost of living in Canada. Knowing how much money you’ll need to live in the country will surely prepare you for the financial changes the relocation will bring.

What Should You Know Before Moving Internationally to Canada From the US

When moving abroad there are a lot of things you need to consider (learn) before the actual move. Some of them will make the relocation process easier while others will ensure that you adjust faster. So, before you move to Canada (CA), let’s go over some of the basics every expat should know:

  • The capital is Ottawa, while the most populous city is Toronto.
  • Around 40 million people live in CA.
  • Canadians use Canadian dollars (CAD).
  • The second-largest country in the world.
  • CA has the longest coastline in the world.

CA might be one of the best places to live abroad but that doesn’t mean you should move without any preparation. Let’s break down different expenses and find the answer to the question “what is the cost of living in Canada“.

Schmidt International Relocations
Before relocating to CA learn a thing or two about the nation

Cost of Living in Canada vs the US – Where Would You Need More Money?

Deciding where to live is an important decision that can significantly impact one’s quality of life. For those considering a move to CA from the United States, the cost of living is an essential factor to consider.

While both countries share a border and a lot of cultural similarities, the cost of living in each can vary widely. Prices of housing, food, healthcare, transportation, and other expenses can differ significantly between the two countries. This begs the question, where would you need more money to live a comfortable life?

To make your decision easier, we took a detailed look at prices and made an in-depth analysis of the cost of living in Canada vs. the USA. Check out the table below and you will have a clear understanding of which country suits your financial needs and preferences better.

Country Utilities (Monthly) Rent Per Month 1-Bedroom Apartment Rent Per Month 3-Bedroom Apartment Price per Square Feet to Buy Apartment in City Centre Price per Square Feet to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre
Canada $145 $1,035 $1,730 $623 $460
United States $185 $1,375 $2,250 $430 $300

Save Up by Settling in Some of the Most Affordable Places in CA

If you are not too keen on settling in Ottawa, or even a city like Calgary, there are numerous other, smaller locations across the country, you call home (and you can save up while doing so). Here are some of the most affordable places in Canada:

  • Sept-Iles in Quebec where renting a 3-bedroom apartment will cost you around $1,500,
  • Cornwall in Ontario where rent for a 3-bedroom apartment is approximately $1,450,
  • Saint John in New Bushwick where rent for a 3-bedroom apartment is around $900.

Utilities and Groceries Can Make a Dent in Your Monthly Budget

Utilities refer to basic services that are essential for daily living, such as electricity, natural gas, water, and waste management. These services are provided by both public and private sector organizations in CA. The monthly amount you’ll have to pay will vary based on various factors, such as the availability of resources, demand, infrastructure, and regulatory policies.

According to the website Numbeo, basic monthly utilities that include electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for a 915 sq ft apartment are around $150. However, keep in mind that electricity prices vary across the country and it is significantly higher in Northwest Territories and in Nunavut than in Quebec and Manitoba. With this in mind, consider what to keep and what to get rid of when it comes to energy-efficient appliances.

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Another thing that can affect the amount of money you give for utility bills is natural gas. It is generally lower in Western provinces while locations such as Nova Scotia and Quebec have higher than average bills.

Besides paying utilities, another unavoidable expense is food. And if you want to become Canadian you need to embrace their eating habits. For starters, know that more than 50% of Canadians eat out at least once a week. However, if you packed plates and plan on using them, then know you’ll need around $200 every month for groceries.

Group of friends having lunch in the restaurant
Lunch is the meal eaten out the most often

There Are Different Transportation Options Available

Transportation is a crucial aspect of daily life in CA, and it encompasses various modes such as personal vehicles, public transit, and intercity transportation. The amount of money you’ll need monthly will depend on your chosen means of transportation.

If you are willing to ship your car to CA and drive it, know that you’ll need insurance for your four-wheeler. And you can expect to pay somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000 per year on insurance. Also, if you get a parking permit that’s an additional $100 per year.

For example, if you hire the Schmidt International Relocations team to assist you with the relocation, you can use a wide range of our international moving services. We can not only ship your car, but we can also provide excellent packing services, as well as storage units.

On the other hand, if you want to use public transportation more often, know that a monthly pass is $75 on average, while a one-way ticket for local transport is $2.50. Monthly transit passes can also be purchased at a discount.

woman is standing on the bus using the phone
Using public transit is a way to save money

Education Is More Affordable Than in the US

CA is considered to have one of the best educational systems in the world. For starters, there are many primary and secondary schools that are free of charge for all Canadian citizens and permanent residents. This includes tuition, textbooks, and other school supplies. However, there may be additional costs associated with education, such as school uniforms, field trips, and extracurricular activities.

On the other hand, if your reason to move is to pursue higher education, know that there are many different universities you can enroll in. Also, you should know that there are various scholarships and financial aid options available to help students. These can include government grants, bursaries, and scholarships offered by individual institutions.

Pick an Affordable College and Save Up

If you are moving overseas on a budget or just across the border, looking for ways to save up is a must. However, you can still get high-quality education without going into debt. All you should do is enroll in some of the most affordable colleges in CA:

  • The University of Calgary – average annual fees are $18,200,
  • The University of Manitoba – annual fees are between $12,700 and $18,700,
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland – average annual fees are $8,550,
  • Humber College – annual fees are between $9,000 and $16,500,
  • Algonquin College – annual fees are between $12,000 and $16,500.

If you want to learn a bit more about some of the most affordable colleges in CA, check out the video below.

YouTube video

Hiring an International Moving Company Will Be Worth the Price

Moving overseas or just across the border is a major life change and one that requires a lot of preparation and organization. One of the biggest challenges is transporting all of your belongings from the old to a new home. This is where hiring an international moving company can be incredibly helpful.

One of the key benefits of hiring international movers is their knowledge and experience in handling different moves. Relocating across borders requires knowledge of customs regulations, paperwork, and logistics which can be complicated and confusing for someone without experience. International moving companies are familiar with these requirements and can guide you through the process. They know which items movers can’t move but also what you should bring with you to a new home.

Another advantage of hiring an international moving company is their expertise in packing and handling items for transport. They have the necessary equipment and materials to properly pack and protect everything you put on the moving inventory list. They also have experience handling fragile or valuable items, which can give you peace of mind that your treasured possessions are in good hands.

For example, the Schmidt International Relocations crew can handle anything from packing your dishes to dealing with your clothes or even different types of shoes.

If you need to store your belongings before or after your move, an international moving company can also provide safe and secure storage options.

This can be especially useful if you need to move out of your US home before your new home in Canada is ready.

Schmidt International Relocations offers 30 days of free storage

While it may seem like hiring an international moving company is an expensive option, it can actually save you time and money in the long run. By hiring professionals, you can avoid relocation mistakes and ensure that your move is completed efficiently and on budget.

The cost of hiring professionals will depend on several factors, including the distance of the move, the number of items being transported, and the services required. It’s important to get a quote from a reliable mover and understand the costs and any additional fees involved.

Schmidt International Relocations
Schmidt International Relocations crew will make your move easy

Average Salary Will Cover Your Basic Living Expenses

Canada is known for its thriving economy, diverse population, and high quality of life. One of the critical factors contributing to the country’s prosperity is its labor market, which is characterized by relatively high wages and competitive salaries.

According to the Labour Force Survey, last year the average annual salary in CA was $59,300. However, it is expected that it will go up by 4.2% in 2023.

piggy bank with coin on the table
You'll be able to earn enough to live comfortably

Becoming Canadian Will Be Worth the Trouble

In conclusion, the cost of living in Canada can vary depending on where you live and your lifestyle choices. While some expenses may be higher than in other countries, CA offers many benefits such as quality healthcare, excellent education, and a high standard of living.

So, if you have set your mind on relocating to CA, give Schmidt International Relocations crew a call. Ask for a free quote and book your move as soon as possible. We will make sure that your relocation goes smoothly and that you become Canadian in no time.

FAQ About Canada's Cost of Living

What Are Some of the Biggest Expenses When It Comes to the Cost of Living in Canada?

The biggest expenses when it comes to the cost of living in Canada are typically housing, food, transportation, and healthcare. These expenses can vary depending on the location and lifestyle.

How Much Does It Cost to Buy Groceries in Canada?

The cost of groceries in Canada can vary depending on the region and the type of food purchased. The average cost of groceries for a family of four in Canada is around $800 per month.

How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Canada?

The amount of money you need to live comfortably in CA depends on your location, lifestyle, and personal preferences. Generally, it is recommended that you have a minimum of $5,230 per month to cover your expenses such as housing, food, transportation, and healthcare. However, this amount can vary significantly based on where you live and what your lifestyle entails.

Is It Expensive to Live in Canada?

Canada can be considered a relatively expensive country compared to some others, but it is also a country with a high standard of living and social services. In terms of expenses, some things may be more expensive in CA compared to other countries, such as housing and food, while other things may be more affordable, such as healthcare and education.

What Is the Cheapest Place in Canada to Live?

The cheapest place to live can vary based on your needs and preferences. Generally, smaller cities and rural areas tend to have a lower cost of living compared to larger cities such as Toronto or Vancouver.

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