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Minimum Cost of Living Across Canada

This Page's Content Was Last Updated: October 27, 2023
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ONQCMBSKABBCNBNSNLPEToronto$4,813Vancouver$5,119London$4,311Montreal$3,388Quebec City$3,342Ottawa$4,515Edmonton$4,395Calgary$4,684Winnipeg$4,053Halifax$4,150Moncton$3,708St. John's$3,650Saskatoon$4,120Charlottetown$3,721

Monthly cost of living for a family of three

$2.63k to $3.02k
$3.02k to $3.41k
$3.41k to $3.8k
$3.8k to $4.2k
$4.2k to $4.59k
Show Detailed Cost of Living in Major Cities - Family of 3
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The inflation rate in Canada remained significantly higher than the target inflation throughout the course of 2022 and even in the first half of 2023, raising the cost of living throughout the country. Understanding how much it will cost you to live in certain cities and provinces compared to the average and median income in that city or province is a key factor in determining where to live. It is important to understand how much it costs to live in a certain area compared to how much is earned in that area because the cost of living may affect the net worth of a person over time. If the cost of living is high, an individual will not be able to save as much money, which will lead to a decrease in net worth growth. Your cost of living can include the costs of key necessities such as:

  • Housing
  • Food & Groceries
  • Transportation
  • Childcare

Housing costs include rent, electricity costs and communication service costs, all of which vary depending on your province. Renting is also impacted by the type of home you rent. The type of homes we will cover in this guide are:

  • Bachelor style apartments designed for 1 person
  • 1 bedroom apartments designed for 1 person or a couple
  • 2 bedroom apartments designed for a couple or a small family of 3
  • 3 bedroom apartments designed for a small family of 3 or 4

For food & grocery costs, this includes the average amount of money needed to feed you and your family, including food from restaurants.

For transportation costs, since gas and insurance are the most variable between provinces, this part will include different gas prices and insurance premiums for each city, along with the cost of maintenance.

Finally, for childcare, it includes the cost of care for infants ages 0-2, toddlers ages 2-3, and preschoolers ages 3-4.

This guide is here to help you determine what these costs could look like for you within some of Canada's largest cities.

Living Cost in Ontario

Ontario is Canada's largest province, with over 14.7 million people, and is one of the most expensive provinces on a cost basis. This is partially explained by the province having some of the highest housing costs in Canada, especially around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), which 48% of Ontarians call home.

The year 2022 saw mortgage rates increase rapidly, compounding the unaffordability in most major Ontario cities. In fact, to buy an average house in Toronto, the largest city in Ontario, a household needs to have an income of over $225,000 (July 2023). An increase in monthly mortgage payments has resulted in sky-high rents across the province.

The monthly cost of food and electricity have inflated to $445 and $161, while the monthly expense for communication is around $169.

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Cost of Living in Toronto

With Toronto being home to many Canadian head offices and well-paying office jobs, it is also one of the most expensive cities to live in in Canada.

Regarding housing, the average Toronto rent will make up your largest cost of living expense. Depending on the property size, the average Toronto rental rates are as follows:

  • $1,306 for a bachelor-style apartment
  • $1,527 for a 1-bedroom apartment
  • $1,779 for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • $2,018 for a 3-bedroom apartment

Another cost for housing is utilities, which include electricity and communication services and are usually not included in the rent. Based on a report by Hydro-Québec, the average monthly cost for Toronto Hydro is $161. Telecommunication services, including TV, phone, and internet, cost an average of $169 per month in Ontario, according to the CRTC at year-end 2019. All of these would add up to the housing cost for 1 person in a bachelor-style apartment being ~ $1,636 per month.

Living in Toronto also entails a lengthy and expensive commute. With a good public transportation system, including subways, city buses, streetcars and buses from the suburbs, the quality of public transport is quite high compared to other Ontario cities. At a cost of $156 per month for a general pass, it can be much cheaper than car ownership. For those living in the outskirts of the GTA, however, owning a car may be a more practical way to commute. Car ownership in Ontario can be expensive, with insurance premiums being some of the highest in Canada at ~$145 per month. Including the cost of gas, at ~$1.6 per litre, with the average amount Canadians drive per month (1384 Kilometers), this would cost you ~$285 per month. According to CAA’s driving costs calculator, the monthly fuel cost, maintenance cost, and insurance cost of an intermediate car in Ontario would be $442 per month.

When it comes to food costs, according to Toronto's Nutritious Food Basket 2022, the average cost per month to buy food in the city for a family of four (two adults and two children) is $1,141. However, this doesn't tell the whole story, especially in a city that's always on the go. The cost of dining can average $10+ for lunch for one person to $25+ for one person’s takeout or an inexpensive dinner.

Finally, the last major cost is childcare. With the introduction of the Canada-Wide Early Learning & Child Care (CWELCC) program, there has been some relief when it comes to the childcare costs. Despite that, Torontonians pay some of the highest childcare costs in Canada. According to a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the projected monthly median fees for childcare in 2022 were:

  • $974 for infant care
  • $807 for toddler care
  • $650 for preschool

Overall, If you are planning on raising a family in Toronto, the added costs of childcare, a larger home, and additional food and miscellaneous costs mean that it is important to have your finances in order.

Cost of Living in Ottawa

As the capital of Canada, the cost of living in Ottawa is lower than in Toronto. The primary reason for this is the lower cost of housing the city offers. According to the CMHC Rental Market Survey for October 2022, the average monthly rents in Ottawa are:

  • $1,121 per month for a bachelor-style apartment
  • $1,347 per month for a 1-bedroom apartment
  • $1,627 per month for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • $1,769 per month for a 3-bedroom apartment

With rental rates being much lower than Toronto, it can lead to saving thousands of dollars each year. Including electricity and communication service costs, the true cost of living for one person in a bachelor-style apartment can be ~$1,440 per month.

Although Ottawa doesn’t have as vast of a network of public transportation as Toronto, a monthly adult pass will set you back $125.50 per month. If you choose to drive, which is especially more convenient if you are commuting from the suburbs or the much cheaper Gatineau, Quebec, you can expect similar gas and insurance expenses as those in Toronto.

With Ottawa being a slightly lower overall cost of living city than Toronto, food prices can be expected to be close to the Ontario average. In a survey by Stats Canada, it was found that the average household of 2.4 people in Ontario spent ~ $868 per month on food in 2019, including dining out, which would mean the average person spent ~$362 per month. However, food prices have inflated significantly since then, and the average food expense for one person adjusted for inflation comes to ~$445.

In terms of childcare, Ottawa’s projected costs for 2022 are below Toronto and London with the monthly median being:

  • $510 for infant care
  • $627 for toddler care
  • $515 for preschool

This makes staying home as a parent less necessary, considering the costs being much lower than an average salary would be. With Ottawa's proximity to Gatineau, which has subsidized child care through the Quebec government, those on a tight budget could live in Gatineau and make the commute to Ottawa. This would be especially worthwhile for families with multiple young children, considering the monthly cost of childcare in Gatineau is $189 per child, meaning you may save thousands of dollars per year.

Childcare Costs in Ontario

Cost of Living in London

London is increasingly being seen as a viable alternative for those looking to save money and still work in the GTA, with many Londoners commuting to Toronto daily. In terms of rent, the average monthly rate is:

  • $860 for a bachelor-style apartment
  • $1,124 for a 1-bedroom apartment
  • $1,394 for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • $1,509 for a 3-bedroom apartment

With electricity and communication service costs fairly standard around province-wide rates, the average cost for 1 person in a bachelor apartment can set you back $1,190 per month.

In terms of transportation, a monthly bus pass will cost $95 per month for the average adult, much cheaper than Toronto and Ottawa's monthly fees. However, this is partially because of less diverse ride offerings and less connectivity throughout the city. This makes owning a car very necessary if you are commuting from the outskirts of London or the surrounding area. Again, the cost of owning a car will be fairly standard across Ontario, given similar insurance rates and gas prices.

For food, the average cost per person of about $445 per month for Ontario holds true. However, it may lean to the lower end of the spectrum given the overall lower costs of living in the city.

Finally, the projected cost of childcare in London for 2022 is between the cost of Toronto and Ottawa, with its monthly median being the following:

  • $635 per month for infant care
  • $608 per month for toddler care
  • $542 per month for preschoo
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Living Cost in Quebec

The province of Quebec continues to rank as one of the lowest cost of living provinces in Canada. This stems not only from some of the lowest rents in Canada and subsidized child care but also from Quebec’s electricity prices being much lower than the national average, at 7.59 cents per kWh.

Electricity Cost Per KWH (Cents)

Cost of Living in Montreal

Although the Montreal Metropolitan area accounts for Canada's second most populated area, the cost of living in Montreal is among the lowest for major cities in the country. This is partially because the cost of rent is very low compared to other big cities.

The average monthly housing costs are:

  • $785 for a bachelor-style apartment
  • $912 for a 1-bedroom apartment
  • $1,022 for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • $1,232 for a 3-bedroom apartment

In addition to low rents, the cost of power is only $87 (including taxes) for an average of 1000 kWh per month. As well, $160 per month for communication services makes for some of the lowest total housing costs in all of Canada, at ~$1,032 for 1 person in a bachelor-style apartment.

The cost of transportation in Quebec is one of the lowest in the country, with insurance rates of ~$70 per month. Even with the price of gas being slightly above the national average, Montreal and Quebec still rank among the lowest cost to drive provinces in Canada. If you're living in the city especially, public transportation is also very affordable, with the monthly cost of an adult Montreal transit pass being $97 per month.

In terms of food costs, the average monthly household expenditure for Quebec is ~$1,262 for a household of 3 people. This comes out to ~$421 per person, making the cost of food one of the lowest in Canada. Depending on your type of diet and whether you eat out a lot or not, this average will differ.

Finally, Quebec’s subsidized child care means that the average monthly provincial rate for infant care, toddler care, and preschool is $189 per month. This means that young families are able to have both parents working, with the added income far and away outweighing the low cost. This makes Montreal and all of Quebec a very appealing place to raise a family on a cost basis.

Cost of Living in Quebec City

The trend of low Quebec rents continues in Quebec City, with the average monthly rent being:

  • $681 for a bachelor-style apartment
  • $864 for a 1-bedroom apartment
  • $976 for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • $1,150 for a 3-bedroom apartment

These low rents, along with low power and communication service costs make living in Quebec's capital very affordable. The image below shows just how much cheaper Quebec City is for a bachelor-style apartment, compared to other major Canadian cities.

Bachelor Style Apartment Rental Rates

Monthly food costs for Quebec City are also around the average for the province, at ~ $421 per person.

A general bus pass in Quebec City costs $94.50 per month. If you are to own a car, the cost is similar across Quebec and Montreal, given low insurance rates and slightly above-average gasoline prices.

Finally, just like in Montreal and the rest of the province of Quebec, subsidized child care means an average cost of $189 for all types of childcare.

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Living Cost in Alberta

With Alberta having no provincial sales tax and relatively higher incomes than the rest of Canada, the province can be attractive to move to. Along with a fairly modest cost of living that is anchored by low rents province-wide, and cheap gas prices, Alberta can be a place to comfortably raise a family. However, for some necessities such as food and electricity, Albertans pay some of the highest costs in all of Canada.

Cost of Living in Calgary

The cost of living in Calgary is slightly affordable compared to other major cities in Canada, attributed to the low rents. Average monthly rents are as follows:

  • $972 for a bachelor-style apartment
  • $1,222 for a 1-bedroom apartment
  • $1,463 for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • $1,579 for a 3 bedroom apartment

Much of this low cost of rent can be explained by the economic difficulties both Alberta and Calgary have faced over the last number of years. Low rent, in addition to electricity prices at 19.9 cents per kWh and $209 (including taxes) for 1000 kWh, and communication services at $180 per month, means the cost of housing for 1 person in a bachelor-style apartment would be ~$1,361.

For transportation, many Albertans gravitate towards driving rather than public transportation. The cost of insurance is $118 per month, while the cost of gas is lower than the national average. If you do choose to take public transit, the cost is $112 for an adult monthly pass.

Monthly food costs in Alberta happen to be some of the highest in Canada, at ~$484 per person. With Calgary being a major city, it's likely that the food costs associated with living here are slightly higher as a result of an overall higher cost of living versus smaller towns.

Finally, the monthly cost of childcare in Calgary is among the highest in Canada, with the projected median costs for 2022 being:

  • $770 for infant care
  • $785 for toddler care
  • $700 for Preschool

Cost of Living in Edmonton

The cost of living in Edmonton is partially dictated by low housing costs, which are as follows:

  • $904 for a bachelor-style apartment
  • $1,070 for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • $1,3033 for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • $1,449 for a 3-bedroom apartment

With a similar cost of electricity and communication services to Calgary, the average cost for 1 person in a bachelor-style apartment would be ~$1,293 per month.

The cost to drive will also be very similar to Calgary, with the average Alberta insurance rate being $118 and gas prices being similar in the region. If you instead take public transit, the monthly cost will be $73 for those under 25 years of age and $100 for those 25 years old and above.

Estimates for food costs in Edmonton are the same as in the province of Alberta, with the monthly amount spent on food being ~$484 per person.

Finally, childcare in Edmonton is around the national average and is more affordable than in Calgary with the following projected monthly median costs:

  • $570 for Infant care
  • $580 for toddler care
  • $575 for preschool

Living Cost in British Columbia

Housing is especially a hot topic when discussing the cost of living in BC, given high real estate prices and a high cost to rent. This makes BC one of the most expensive provinces to live in Canada.


Cost of Living in Vancouver

With a very expensive housing market to buy into, renting is the only option for many Vancouver residents. This expensive cost of housing limits home affordability and makes the cost of living in Vancouver comparable to cities such as Toronto. The cost to rent per month is as follows:

  • $1,378 for a bachelor-style apartment
  • $1,543 for a 1-bedroom apartment
  • $2,009 for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • $2,441 for a 3-bedroom apartment

Although rents are high in Vancouver and in BC, the cost of electricity and communication services are below the national average. The cost of electricity in Vancouver is $122 (including taxes) for 1000 kWH, and that for phone, TV, and internet is $174, making the high rents slightly more affordable. The average cost for 1 person in a bachelor-style apartment would be ~$1,674 per month.

For transportation, with parking being tough in the city core, public transportation is one option to get around. The cost for a monthly transit pass depends on what zone of Vancouver you plan on commuting in, ranging from $104.90 to $189.45 per month. If you were to own a car, the cost of insurance in BC is, on average, $143 per month, and the average price of gas is among the highest in Canada.

The monthly cost of food living in BC is an average of ~$454 per person. This is likely much higher in the Vancouver area, with more people being on the go and opting to eat out or get takeaways, and with an overall higher cost of living in the city.

Finally, childcare costs are comparable with that in other major cities, such as Toronto and Calgary, with an approximate cost of $650 per month for one child.

Living Cost in Manitoba

Being a fairly rural province aside from large cities such as Winnipeg, the cost of living in Manitoba is affordable.


Cost of Living in Winnipeg

The cost of living in Winnipeg is very low compared to other major cities. Housing costs per month are as follows:

  • $789 for a bachelor-style apartment
  • $1,056 for a 1-bedroom apartment
  • $1,352 for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • $1,684 for a 3-bedroom apartment

In addition to the cost of rent being affordable, electricity prices are a very low 10.24 cents per kWh, or $117 (with taxes) per month for an average of 1000 kWh. As well, the cost of communication services is slightly below the national average at $175 per month. Overall, the total monthly cost of housing for 1 person in a bachelor-style apartment is ~$1,081.

The cost of a monthly pass for public transportation in Winnipeg is $107.80 for the average adult. This is one option to get around the city, with the other being by car. The average monthly cost of insurance in Winnipeg is $110, with the cost of gas being below the national average.

For food, the average amount spent per person in Manitoba is one of the lowest in Canada, at $425 per month.

In terms of childcare, the average monthly costs are some of the lowest in Canada, at:

  • $651 for infant care
  • $451 for toddler care
  • $451 for preschool

Living Cost in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan ranks as a very affordable province to live in and raise a family.

This stems from some of the lowest housing costs in all of Canada, however, electricity costs and food are some of the highest in Canada.


Cost of Living in Saskatoon

For example, the cost of renting in Saskatoon, the largest city in Saskatchewan, is below $1500 a month for the following:

  • $780 for a bachelor-style apartment
  • $1,026 for a 1-bedroom apartment
  • $1,248 for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • $1,417 for a 3-bedroom apartments

Saskatchewan’s electricity costs are 16.51 cents per kWh or $197 (including taxes) per 1000 kWh. When it comes to the cost of communication services, Saskatchewan is also the highest, at $202 per month.

The cost of food in Saskatchewan is ~$445 per month.

In terms of childcare, the projected monthly costs in Saskatoon are close to the national average. These monthly costs are:

  • $598 for infant care
  • $492 for toddler care
  • $449 for preschool

Living Cost in Nova Scotia

With some of the lowest income levels in all of Canada, the cost of living in Nova Scotia is modest. This low cost of living is fueled by lower housing costs versus more populated and higher earning provinces.


Cost of Living in Halifax

With monthly housing costs making up a large portion of the cost of living in Halifax, the costs are as follows:

  • $990 for a bachelor style apartment
  • $1,156 for a 1-bedroom apartment
  • $1,449 for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • $1,690 for a 3-bedroom apartment

In addition to the cost of rent, electricity costs are 17.3 cents per kWh, for an average of $182 (including taxes) for 1000 kWh. As well, communication services cost $180 per month. This means that the monthly housing cost for 1 person living in a bachelor-style apartment in Halifax is ~$1,352.

For transportation, a monthly transit ticket costs $82.50. However, if you plan on owning a car and commuting around town, the average monthly cost of insurance in Nova Scotia is $87.5.

Nova Scotia has some of the lowest food costs in all of Canada. The average monthly cost for food is $388 per person, however, if you plan on eating out somewhat frequently, this number will be much higher.

In terms of childcare, the projected monthly median costs are as follows:

  • $540 for infant care
  • $510 for toddler care
  • $508 for preschool

Living Cost in New Brunswick

Along with its fellow Atlantic Canada provinces, New Brunswick ranks among the more affordable places to live in Canada. This includes the cities of Moncton, Fredericton, and Saint John.


Cost of Living in Moncton

The average cost of rent per month in Moncton is as follows:

  • $765 for a bachelor-style apartment
  • $926 for a 1-bedroom apartment/
  • $1,120 for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • $1,203 for a 3 bedroom apartment

In addition to the cost of rent, electricity costs are 13.94 cents per kWh or $160 (including taxes) per 1000 kWh. For communication services, the average cost is $172, below the national average of $176. This makes the monthly cost of housing for 1 person in the form of a bachelor-style apartment at ~$1,097.

The monthly cost of food in New Brunswick is ~$405 per person.

For childcare in New Brunswick's biggest city of Moncton, the average costs are:

  • $456 for infant care
  • $391 for toddler care
  • $391 for preschool
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Living Cost in Prince Edward Island (PEI)

PEI is the smallest province in Canada, and has very low housing costs. However, the cost of electricity in the province is among the highest in the country. The cost of telecommunication is close to the national average.

Cost of Living in Charlottetown

The average monthly rent in PEI is as follows:

  • $629 for a bachelor-style apartment
  • $927 for a 1-bedroom apartment
  • $1,083 for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • $1,226 for a 3-bedroom apartment

The cost of electricity is 17.78 cents per kWh or $204 (including taxes) per 1000 kWh, which is above the average in Canada. The cost of communication services is $177 per month versus $176 for the average rate in Canada. The cost of housing for 1 person to live in a bachelor-style apartment would be ~$1,010 per month.

Monthly food expenditures in PEI are also very low compared to the Canadian average, at ~$394 per person.

Monthly Childcare costs in PEI’s biggest town, Charlottetown, were the following:

  • $434 for infant care
  • $434 for toddler care
  • $434 for preschool

Living Cost in Newfoundland & Labrador

Although Newfoundland & Labrador has a weaker economy compared to other provinces, with the highest unemployment rate among all provinces in Canada, it's a very affordable province to live in.


Cost of Living in St. John's

The monthly cost of housing in Newfoundland & Labrador are as follows:

  • $783 for a bachelor-style apartment
  • $851 for a 1-bedroom apartment
  • $1,033 for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • $1,055 for a 3-bedroom apartment

These are some of the lowest rental rates in all of Canada. For the costs of electricity, the province is close to the Canadian average at 13.76 cents per kWh or $158 (including taxes) per 1000 kWh. For communication services, the average cost of $175 per month compared to the Canadian average of $176 per month. The monthly cost for 1 person to live in a bachelor style apartment would be ~$1,116.

The average monthly food cost in Newfoundland & Labrador is ~$403 per person, with only $85 per month being spent at restaurants.

For childcare, the province has slightly below average costs, evidenced by St. John’s monthly childcare costs being the following:

  • $326 for infant care
  • $326 for toddler care
  • $330 for preschool

In conclusion, understanding how much it will cost you to live in a certain city or province is something to take into consideration when determining where to live. It however isn't the only factor. It's also important to live somewhere you like, where the job you want is located, and where your friends and family are.

The calculators and content on this page are provided for general information purposes only. WOWA does not guarantee the accuracy of information shown and is not responsible for any consequences of the use of the calculator.