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The cost of living in Canada

By September 30, 2019January 23rd,

The cost of living in Canada

September 30, 2019


If you are planning to move to Canada, you are no doubt wondering about its cost of living and how it compares to South Africa. Your quality of life in Canada or any country is closely linked to its cost of living, so it’s essential you know how far your new salary will go when it comes to covering your living costs.


Cost of living in Canada: Regional versus city living


The cost of living in Canada is high, but not as high as Western Europe and there are significant differences between the rural areas and major cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Mercer’s 2019 Cost of Living Survey, which compared the cost of living of Canada and 209 other cities ranked Toronto at 115th position, Montreal at 139th, followed by Calgary at 153rd and Ottawa at 161st. Many expats report that while housing is expensive in Canada, the cost of living is very affordable because Canadians receive a lot of support towards things like education at public schools and health insurance.


Mercer’s report highlights that Canadians spend between 35 to 50% of their income on housing and utilities including rent, electricity, heating, phone and water. 15% of their income goes towards food and 6% goes towards clothing.


Cost of living in Canada versus South Africa

If you want to make a direct comparison between Canada’s cost of living and the cost of living in South Africa, a good website to look at is which directly compares the cost of living between the two countries. A few of the differences between South Africa’s cost of living and Canada’s include:

  • South Africa’s cost of living is 25.7% cheaper than Canada’s
  • A basic meal with a drink in Canada is 41.3% more expensive in Canada than in South Africa
  • You will pay 78.6% more for your groceries in Canada
  • The good news is that you will bay 3.1% less for transportation with petrol being 12.3% cheaper in Canada
  • If you are renting, you can expect to pay double for a 1-bedroom apartment in a downtown area in Canada, than you would for the same apartment in a similar area in South Africa.
  • You will pay 3.3 times more for childcare in Canada

Quality of life in Canada

The good news for South Africans moving to Canada is that while the cost of living might be higher than South Africa, the quality of life is much better. The average life expectancy of a person in Canada is 82 years, while in South Africa it is 64 years.


You will also make 3.6 times more money in Canada, which will help offset the higher cost of living and you are 76.4% less likely to be unemployed – with only 6.5% of Canadians currently without jobs. You will also pay a lot less tax. South Africa has a top tax rate of 45%, whereas in Canada the top tax rate is 33%!


If you are a South African living abroad and would like to know more about how you can maximise your finances through financial emigration, accessing your South African retirement annuity and our tailor-made tax solutions for South Africans around the world, contact FinGlobal today for your free and no obligation consultation and quote.


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