How much money do I need to live comfortably in Canada?

Learn about the costs of moving to Canada, average salaries, currency exchange comparison, and more.

Xe Consumer North America

January 18, 2023 7 min read

Currency exchange rate and cost of living in Canada

Canada is one of the most popular places to live in the world. It has an excellent public healthcare system, low crime rates, and wonderful quality of living.

Relocating can be intimidating and moving often comes with many considerations. Some questions you may be asking yourself could be; How much money do you need to live comfortably in Canada? Is it financially sound to move to the country of ice hockey and poutine? How much do necessities like food, rent, and transportation cost?

If you’re considering moving to Canada, here’s what you need to know about the costs of living in Canada so you can make an informed living decision. As we dive into the expenses, we will also go over the comforts and benefits of living in Canada that can balance out the prices.

What is the cost of living in Canada?

Compared to other countries, Canada has a reputation for having a high cost of living – but it also has many good qualities that are undeniably attractive. Some people worry that it is too expensive or troublesome to move to Canada because, after all the paperwork, you still have to worry about living expenses.

Cost of living in Canada for an individual

An individual who wants to live in Canada can expect to pay at least $1,708 a month. However, this is simply the cost of living in Canada and not the cost of living comfortably. If you factor in common luxuries and the ability to save money after making each month’s rent, you will probably need to pay at least an average of $2,771 monthly costs.

Cost of living in Canada for a couple

Canada is a lovely place for couples to live together. However, the cost of living for a couple may be high for young couples – it averages down to around $3,500 a month. It is advisable to have around $50,000 for a year of living in Canada as partners.

Cost of living in Canada with a family

Naturally, if you have a family, the cost of living does go up, so you should be sure that you can afford at least the bare minimum of $3,911 for a family of four. The advisable amount that you should have each month is $5,230 so that your entire family can live well and comfortably.

Cost of living in Canada based on province

Canada has ten provinces and three territories. Depending on where you want to live, the average cost of living can be quite different. If you take a look at the average rental costs, you can get a good idea of how expensive each province is.

Average cost of rent

  • British Columbia: $2,034

  • Alberta: $1,669

  • Saskatchewan: $1,507

  • Manitoba: $1,523

  • Quebec: $1,602

  • Newfoundland and Labrador: $1,463

  • Prince Edward Island: $1,409

  • Ontario: $1,877

  • New Brunswick: $1,369

  • Nova Scotia: $1,595

As you can see, provinces with more densely populated, metropolitan cities will have higher average rental costs. Vancouver in BC and Toronto in ON are known for having higher costs of living. Make sure you take a deeper dive into the city and province you want to live in once you find yourself interested so that you can get an even better idea of the details.

What is the average house price in Canada?

Looking at average housing costs also provides you with useful indicators of how expensive it will be to live in each province. Housing prices in British Columbia are the highest on average across the country, whereas it is the cheapest in New Brunswick.

Average cost of a house

  • British Columbia: $913,471

  • Alberta: $401,706

  • Saskatchewan: $286,000

  • Manitoba: $321,504

  • Quebec: $459,955

  • Newfoundland and Labrador: $321,700

  • Prince Edward Island: $335,202

  • Ontario: $887,290

  • New Brunswick: $262,200

  • Nova Scotia: $356,757

How much does it cost to move to Canada?

Getting there is a big step. If you live in the United States and want to move to Canada, it can cost anything from $1,500 all the way to $7,000 just to make the initial move. This expense will vary greatly depending on how much luggage and items you need to haul from your previous home to your Canadian destination.

Is Canada more expensive for international students?

International students may have heard that Canada is a more expensive country. An international student who is studying in a Canadian school can expect to spend between $600 and $800 per month on food and other necessities. This is manageable through smart budgeting and dining choices, and many universities do offer meal plans to help students out. 

As for school tuition, the semester tuition in Canada is typically significantly cheaper than in America. The average fee for undergraduate students is $28,000 per year if they pursue a degree. If you add on textbooks and other studying needs, you will probably need a few hundred more dollars (if you choose to purchase new textbooks).

How much are transportation costs in Canada?

Depending on where you live, transit options may differ. Usually, you can expect to pay $100 dollars a month if you are a student or worker who frequently needs transportation or $1,000 a year.

If you’re taking public transportation in smaller, non-metropolitan cities, you may find transit costs to be pricier or transportation to be less convenient. In these cases, many people choose to buy their own vehicle. 

If you want to buy your own car, it will likely make it more convenient for you to move around in urban areas and should be cheaper in the long run. More people are starting to bike around, but this may not be possible depending on your city or the weather.

In addition to ground transportation costs, you may need to take into account the increased need for air travel if you need to go coast to coast. Canada is very big, and vehicles may not be enough for traveling across long distances.

How much are Canadian medical costs?

Canadian healthcare is free to Canadian citizens. That means you don’t need to pay directly for doctor visits, going to the ER, or other medical visits (except small fees such as parking costs and other indirect expenses).

If you have an international status, you will likely want to procure a health insurance policy. The coverage costs for healthcare will differ between provinces, like with everything else. Some provinces might even cover your healthcare expenses for you.

Health insurance policies usually range from 300 to 800 CAD a year, based on where in Canada you live.

Are taxes in Canada cheap?

Canada’s taxes are known for being fairly high. However, it is an important part of the country as it helps stabilize the Canadian economy, ensures universal healthcare, and provides other benefits to Canadian residents. Notably, Canada does not charge tax on the first $11,000 of your income, and the rest of the income tax ranges from 4% to 13%, depending on what province you reside in.

Is Canada more expensive to live in than the United States?

This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on many factors. The average housing price in Canada is probably going to be more expensive than the American one because of the red-hot real estate market in Canada. If you’re comparing prices, it’s key to factor in the exchange rate, so you don’t compare different currencies directly.

However, Canadian healthcare is significantly cheaper and could even be free if you decide to live in Canada long term. On the other hand, in America, you need to pay medical premiums for health insurance, which is notoriously expensive.

Canadian education expenses are generally cheaper than American tuition, but Americans on average, make more living wage than the average salary in Canada. 

All in all, it is up to you to decide whether living in Canada is the move for you – we are here to help.

How do you make sure you have enough CAD?

One Canadian dollar (CAD) is usually worth less than one American dollar (USD). With the fluctuating differences between CAD and USD, you might want to make sure that after exchanging money, you have enough Canadian money to meet the average cost of living comfortably.

XE is a globally trusted currency authority. We make conversions and transfers easy as pie. Our convenient currency converter helps you convert USD to CAD quickly and efficiently so you can find out the values you need whenever you need them.

If you need to transfer money, you can easily send money to Canada through our website as well.

The content within this blog post is not intended for use as financial advice. This content is for informational purposes only.

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