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The 10 Most Affordable Places to Live in Canada


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Canada is one of the best countries to live in, boasting stunning landscapes, a dynamic culture, and friendly people. It is also a large country where the cost of living and salaries vary significantly across its 13 provinces and territories.

So, it would help to know the affordability ranking of Canadian provinces if you’re looking to immigrate to Canada or relocate to a new city.

In this article, we’ve rounded up the 10 most affordable places to live in Canada. To take you a little further, we have included the list of the most expensive cities too.

The 10 Most Affordable Places to Live in Canada

We took the estimated income-to-expense ratio to rank the 10 most affordable provinces to live in Canada. We’ve compared the median household income to the cost of living (average estimated expenditure per household) in Canada’s 10 provinces. So, the most affordable province has the highest income-to-expense ratio, as shown below:

Affordability RankingProvincesEstimated Income to Expense RatioAverage estimated expenditure per household (Total current consumption, $)Median after-tax income for an economic family, ($)
2Prince Edward Island1.4158,18382,000
3New Brunswick1.3659,75381,500
4Nova Scotia1.3661,36783,500
6Newfoundland and Labrador1.3260,34579,700
10British Columbia1.2379,59197,800

1. Quebec

image showing chateau castle in quebec, canada
Image Credit: festivio | Pixabay
  • Estimated income-to-expense ratio: 1.5
  • Cost-of-living estimate: $59,770
  • Median household income:$89,400
  • Median home price: $457,314
  • Population: 8,787,554
  • Unemployment rate: 4.1%

Quebec tops the list as the most affordable province in Canada. It has a relatively low cost of living, mainly due to cheap housing and subsidized childcare and education systems. So you’ll spend around $10 per day on childcare, while university students save 25% in tuition fees compared to their counterparts in Ontario.

The average house price in Quebec is $457,314. Residents also pay the lowest electricity rates ($0.073/kWh) since the province generates hydroelectricity.

The region boasts a healthy job market, with an unemployment rate of 4.1% (compared to the national rate of 5.2%), despite a high total tax rate (14.975%).

Its top 7 industries generate about 45% of the region’s GDP and include:

  • Information and communication technologies (ICT)
  • Electronics and optics-photonics
  • Food and nutrition
  • Manufacturing
  • Green and smart building
  • Life Sciences, health, and technologies
  • Video games and digital solutions

2. Prince Edward Island

image showing a lighthouse at prince edward island in canada
Image Credit: 999kasya999 | Pixabay
  • Estimated income-to-expense ratio: 1.41
  • Cost-of-living estimate: $58,183
  • Median household income: $82,000
  • Median home price: $397,136
  • Population: 173,954
  • Unemployment rate: 7.2%

Besides being one of Canada’s smallest and less populous regions, Prince Edward Island (PEI) is among the most affordable places to live. It has a low cost of living, while residents enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.

Buying a house in PEI costs about 50% less than the nation’s average price. Alternatively, you can rent an apartment between $1,055 to $2,000 per month. Buying groceries is also cheaper since agriculture is one of the island’s thriving industries.

Although PEI’s unemployment rate (7.2%) is slightly higher than the overall rate of 5.2%, residents can find job opportunities in the island’s industries, such as:

  • Agriculture
  • Tourism
  • Fishing

Check out these best things to see and do when visiting Prince Edward Island.

3. New Brunswick

image showing st. johns in new brunswick canada
Image Credit: 12019 | Pixabay
  • Estimated income-to-expense ratio: 1.36
  • Cost-of-living estimate: $59,753
  • Median household income: $81,500
  • Median home price: $286,689
  • Population: 825,474
  • Unemployment rate: 6.1%

Flaunting vast areas of natural attractions, New Brunswick is another affordable place to live in. The province’s low cost of living is mainly due to relatively cheap food and housing prices. It has the lowest average home price ($286,689) in Canada and is the easiest region to acquire land.

Additionally, residents enjoy tax benefits and rebates like the New Brunswick Child Tax Benefit (NBCTB). Plus, education is free to the high school level, and post-secondary students can access financial aid through bursaries, loans, and grants.

You can comfortably live in New Brunswick, earning a decent income from its leading industries, including:

  • Insurance and financial solutions
  • Fishing
  • Agriculture
  • Information technology

4. Nova Scotia

image showing houses in nova scotia canada
Image Credit: lintow | Pixabay
  • Estimated income-to-expense ratio: 1.36
  • Cost-of-living estimate: $61,367
  • Median household income:$83,500
  • Median home price: $403,634
  • Population: 1,037,782
  • Unemployment rate: 5.7%

Nova Scotia isn’t only beautiful and slow-paced but a cheap place to live. You’ll stretch your money further in this Maritime province, especially in smaller cities and towns.

The region’s real estate space is relatively lower compared with other provinces like British Columbia and Ontario. You’ll spend less than $500,00 to buy a house, while monthly rent can be below $1,500.

The median income is slightly lower in Nova Scotia than in other provinces, while the cost of food is relatively higher. But you’ll spend less on entertainment and utilities like electricity, water, and garbage collection.

5. Ontario

image showing toronto as the capital of ontario, canada
Image Credit: scottwebb | Pixabay
  • Estimated income-to-expense rate: 1.34
  • Cost-of-living estimate: $73,805
  • Median household income: $99,10
  • Median home price: $848,120
  • Population: 14,223,942
  • Unemployment rate: 4.9%

Toronto, Ontario’s largest city, is expensive, mainly due to its high housing costs. But smaller cities and rural areas have a low cost of living. For instance, you can pay a monthly rent of $1,200 (or less) in smaller towns like Rainy River and Sudbury.

Ontario’s unemployment rate (4.9%) is notably lower than the nation’s average. That’s because this region has vibrant industries like automobile manufacturing, technology, and mining. Hence, you’re likelier to land a job in Ontario, earn a decent income, and enjoy a higher quality of life than in other Canadian provinces.

6. Newfoundland and Labrador

image showing st. john\s as capital of Newfoundland and Labrador
Image Credit: PiLens | Depositphotos
  • Estimated income-to-expense ratio: 1.32
  • Cost-of-living estimate: $60,345
  • Median household income: $79,700
  • Median home price: $289,964
  • Population: 533,710
  • Unemployment rate: 11.7

Besides being beautiful and safe, Newfoundland & Labrador is an affordable place to live. Residents enjoy a high quality of life, mainly in healthcare, education, and housing.

The province comes second in the lowest housing prices, averaging below $300,000. In addition, electricity, entertainment, and transport costs are lower than Canada’s average. But Newfoundland & Labrador’s unemployment rate is higher than the nation’s average. And that’s because there are fewer job opportunities for skilled workers.

Related: Newfoundland and Labrador minimum wage.

7. Alberta

image showing calagary skyline in alberta canada
Image Credit: jewhyte | Depositphotos
  • Estimated income-to-expense ratio: 1.31
  • Cost-of-living estimate: $81,992
  • Median household income: $107,500
  • Median home price: $444,570
  • Population: 4,647,178
  • Unemployment rate: 5.7%

Alberta boasts a good job market, as seen in its low unemployment rate and high median household income. Hence, most residents have more disposable income to meet their daily expenses. However, some utilities, like food and electricity, are on the upper side.

Still, one can live comfortably in Alberta without provincial sales tax or health premiums. In addition, low-income earners and seniors get transit passes that lower transport costs. Alberta’s housing prices are considerably lower than the nation’s average, while rent is below $5,000 per month.

8. Manitoba

image showing steinbach in manitoba, canada
Image Credit: ArtTower | Pixabay
  • Estimated income-to-expense ratio: 1.28
  • Cost-of-living estimate: $67,040
  • Median household income:$85,700
  • Median home price: $332,637
  • Population: 1,431,792
  • Unemployment rate: 4.8%

Manitoba is one of the Canadian provinces where you’ll access the good things in life at an affordable price. Firstly, the region generates hydropower. So you’ll pay less for electricity (0.099/kWh). And the cost of buying a house is approximately 50% less than the Canadian average.

Manitoba’s government ensures residents have more disposable income by offering aid, such as family affordability packages. There’s also free public health and education. In addition, the provincial sales tax is lower than in some Canadian provinces.

Related: Manitoba Family Affordability Benefit.

9. Saskatchewan

image showing saskatoon in saskatchewan, canada
Image Credit: james_nagarbaul | Pixabay
  • Estimated income-to-expense ratio: 1.26
  • Cost-of-living estimate: $73,237
  • Median household income: $92,300
  • Median home price: $282,707
  • Population: 1,214,618
  • Unemployment rate: 4.8%

Canada’s ‘sunniest’ province also makes it to the list of cheap places to live. Saskatchewan has one of the most affordable housing costs, averaging $282,707. It also boasts reasonable food prices, being Canada’s ‘breadbasket.’

The province has a high employment rate, free healthcare, and quality education. Its thriving economy, driven by agriculture, oil, and manufacturing industries, makes Saskatchewan attractive to immigrants.

The only downside is that Saskatchewan’s electricity rates (0.181/kWh) are slightly above the country’s average.

10. British Columbia

image showing science world in vancouver, british columbia, canada
Image Credit: ArtTower | Pixabay
  • Estimated income-to-expense ratio: 1.23
  • Cost-of-living estimate: $79,591
  • Median household income: $97,800
  • Median home price: $936,098
  • Population: 5,399,118
  • Unemployment rate: 5.0%

British Columbia (BC) is the least affordable Canadian province on this list, having the second-highest cost of living estimate. Buying a house in BC costs a fortune, as prices exceed the country’s average. However, housing, food, and gas prices are lower in less popular cities like Marpole and Surrey.

With an unemployment rate slightly lower than Canada’s average, finding a job in BT is easy. High living standards exist, especially in large cities like Vancouver and Victoria.

Related: Best Seniors Discounts in British Columbia.

Cheapest and the Most Expensive Cities in Canada

The tables below show the 10 cheapest and most expensive cities to live in Canada:

Cheapest Cities in Canada

RankCityCost of Living Index
1Regina, Saskatchewan83.4
2Quebec City, Quebec88.5
3Saskatoon, Saskatchewan89.6
4Winnipeg, Manitoba89.8
5Red Deer, Alberta90
6Windsor, Ontario90.2
7Fredericton, New Brunswick91.8
8Montreal, Quebec93.8
9Edmonton, Alberta93.9
10Kitchener, Ontario97.1

Regina, Saskatchewan, is the cheapest city in Canada, having an 83.4 cost of living index. Since the country’s cost of living estimate is 100%, Regina’s cost of living is 16.6% below Canada’s.

Most Expensive Cities in Canada

RankCityCost of Living Index
1Vancouver, British Columbia121.3
2Toronto, Ontario118.6
3Victoria, British Columbia117.4
4Markham, Ontario114.5
5Nanaimo, British Columbia108.6
6Mississauga, Ontario106.1
7Calgary, Alberta102.7
8Surrey, British Columbia102
9London, Ontario102
10Ottawa, Ontario101.6

Vancouver, British Columbia, is the most expensive city, with a cost of living index of 121.3. Hence, its cost of living is 21.3% more than the nationwide average.


In this study, we aimed to assess the affordability of living in all 10 Canadian provinces by comparing income and expense data. The following steps were undertaken to achieve this objective:

1. Data Collection and Estimation: Annual income data and expense data were obtained from the Canadian government statistics website for all 10 provinces.

The income data was collected for the latest available year.

Data Sources:

a. Median annual after-tax income for economic families
According to Statistics Canada, the median after-tax income for economic families (latest available data).

*An economical family refers to a group of two or more persons who live in the same dwelling and are related to each other by blood, marriage, common law, adoption, or a foster relationship.

b. Household Spending, Canada
According to Statistics Canada, annual total current consumption by households in the provinces as Survey of Household Spending (SHS) data.

Total current consumption specifically captures the value of goods and services consumed, which aligns with the cost of living concept. Also, it excludes Investment and Government Spending

2. Calculation of Ratios: The collected income and estimated expense data were used to calculate the ratio between income and expenses for each province. This ratio served as a measure of the affordability of living in that particular province. A higher ratio indicated better affordability, suggesting that individuals in that province had a relatively larger income than their expenses.

3. Comparative Analysis: The calculated ratios were then compared across all 10 provinces. This analysis allowed us to identify provinces with better affordability based on the income-to-expense ratio. The provinces with higher ratios were considered to have relatively better living affordability than those with lower ratios.

Methodology: City Ranking

In this study, we aimed to assess the affordability of living in 26 Canadian major cities by comparing the cost of living (including rent) index.

  1. Data Collection: Data is taken for the current year, 2023, from NUMBEO.
  2. Cost of living index modification: Indexes are calculated with New York as the standard in the source data. So, if a city has an index of 70, it means that, on average, the cost of living is 30% less expensive than in New York City.

We modified the index from the source data to represent the standard of 100 to be from the Canadian city’s average.

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Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu, personal finance expert, author, and founder of Savvy New Canadians, has written about money matters for over 10 years. Enoch has an MSc (Econ) degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. His expertise has been highlighted in major publications like Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC News, Toronto Star, Financial Post, CTV News, TD Direct Investing, Canadian Securities Exchange, and many others. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and recently created a practical investing course for beginners. You can read his full author bio.

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1 thought on “The 10 Most Affordable Places to Live in Canada”

  1. Gravatar for Patrick

    Just for clarity, do Victoria and Vancouver as used here refer to the cities themselves or to the metropolitan areas (greater Victoria and greater Vancouver)?

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