Canadian housing is particularly cheap compared with other developed nations.  The average house price in Canada is around seven times the average annual wage.  Prices are highest in Ontario and Alberta (six to seven times the average wage) and Vancouver (eleven times the average wage).

People moving to Canada with the proceeds of house sales from countries with more expensive housing can often buy a house in Canada with a considerably reduced mortgage.  This leaves more of their income for other activities and lowers their cost of living in Canada significantly.

Compared with many other western countries, although not the USA:

  • food is cheaper in Canada
  • Dining out and most forms of recreation are cheaper in Canada.
  • Petrol/gasoline and cars are cheaper in Canada
  • Power is cheaper, but more power is needed to heat houses in a typical Canadian winter
  • Car insurance is very expensive in Canada.

Mercer carried out an extensive Canadian cost of living survey for overseas workers in 2016.  The survey covers 209 cities around the world, and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

Canadian cities continued to improve in this year’s ranking mainly due to the weak Canadian dollar. The country’s highest-ranked city, Vancouver (142), fell twenty-three places. Toronto (143) dropped seventeen spots, while Montreal (155) and Calgary (162) fell fifteen and sixteen spots, respectively, with Ottawa rounding out the list of Canadian cities at 171.

The survey found that Canadian cities have lower living costs than many other locations in the developed world, making them compelling for expatriates from organizations outside the country.

Since the last survey Canada became less expensive relative to other cities.  Vancouver was the most expensive due, in part, to its relatively high rental costs.

Canadian households spent an average of $59,000 on all types of goods and services in 2014.  Of this total, shelter accounted for 29% of spending, transportation for 20%, and food 14%.  Spending on clothing represented 6% of the total, and health care approximately 4%