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Cost of Living for a Family in Canada

Canada is a fantastic place to live with family, especially for those looking for a better quality of life. The country has a good life-work balance and is a perfect environment for many.

However, the cost of living in Canada has been rising, so you must know how much living there will cost you. How expensive will it be?

The average cost of living in Canada for a family of four is $7,000 per month. This includes rent, food, utilities, transportation, and childcare. The primary expenses are housing and food.

In this guide, I will help you determine the cost of living as a family in Canada, so make sure you check it out!

What is the average cost of living for a family in Canada?

On average, the cost of living in Canada for a family of four is approximately $7,000 in major cities. This includes rent, food, healthcare, childcare, and transport.

You may spend much less if you move to areas further from the cities. That said, your lifestyle greatly determines your monthly expenses in Canada.

There are several lovely and affordable places to live in Canada with family, including Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, and Calgary. Here, the rental costs are balanced, and the lifestyle is great.

As mentioned earlier, Canada’s main expenses include food, rent, healthcare, and transport. Let’s look at each of them to understand better what to expect once you relocate.


The most significant expense in most Canadian households is rent.

Typically, you will spend 40 to 50 percent of a family’s monthly income on rent. However, the rental cost depends on the type of accommodation you choose.

For instance, a two-bedroom house costs $1,700 to $2,500 while a luxurious condo costs $1700 to $2,000.

It’s important to note that the rental cost doesn’t include the cost of housing utilities such as Internet and electricity. Proximity to the major city centers also affects the cost of housing. For example, you will pay less for an apartment far from the city center.

Below is how much you may pay for rent on average for a family house in various Canadian cities.

  • Toronto- $4,700
  • Montreal- $2,800
  • Ottawa- $3,800
  • Calgary- $2,700

The cost of housing in Canada keeps rising, especially in big cities, due to the high demand.

Food and groceries

On average, the cost of food per person per month in Canada is $200. If you’re a family of four, it will be $ 00. Keep in mind this cost may vary on family size, food preference, where you live, and whether you eat out often.

Food in the rural areas is cheaper since that’s where farming takes place. The case is different in urban areas where households spend a bigger percentage of their income on food.

One of the most notorious cities for food prices is Ontario, followed by Quebec, so you may have to avoid these cities if you have a big family or your income is low.


Canadian residents don’t pay for public schools. Education is free up to grade 12, depending on the province.

International and private schools, however, do pay fully for their education. In a year, the student’s parents pay between $8,863 and $22,153 per annum, but the cost varies from school to school and the province its located.

Parents of private schools are required to also buy books, unlike those in public schools where students are lent books.


Canada has a universal healthcare system, so everyone can access healthcare services for free. The system is funded by taxes.

The average cost of healthcare insurance, on estimate, is $13,229 per year for a family with dependent children.

Most citizens prefer public healthcare coverage since it’s more affordable. Healthcare plans differ from province to province, but emergency services are offered to everyone regardless of location, whether you have a government health card or not.

For instance, the public healthcare system in Alberta covers dental, diagnostic, radiological, laboratory, nursing services, and hospital stays.

On the other hand, private health insurance is broad and covers many services in all provinces. It’s also easy to pay for it since most companies offer flexible payment options. If you’re new in Canada, it’s essential to understand how the country’s healthcare system works.

The services offered by the public care system to foreigners depend on the status of their immigration into the country. Therefore, you might pay more for the services, so you need to budget for this.

The pros and cons of living in Canada

Knowing Canada’s good and bad sides is crucial if you’re considering moving there. Here are the pros and cons of living in Canada that might influence your decision.


  • Beauty

Canada is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The country boasts mountains, elegant beaches, forests, and stunning lakes. Its cities are dominated by spectacular architecture and historical places.

If you’re an outdoors family, you will never run out of places to visit in this country. It has everything you need when it’s time to take a break from the office and school.

  • Great economy

The average household income in Canada has been increasing steadily and consistently for a long time. This has tremendously lowered the unemployment rate in the country. Jobs are plentiful for anyone considering relocating to Canada.

This country is also great for business setups because it runs on a free market economy. Since most Canadians have stable incomes, they will have more money to purchase goods and services from you.

  • Excellent and cheap education

All Canadian citizens are entitled to free education from preschool until they graduate from high school.

The public education system is excellent and competitive, so you can be sure your child will get the best.

The country was recently celebrated among the best countries with top-performing schools in math and science. Compared to many universities in Europe and the US, Canadian universities are more affordable for residents.

Additionally, the country is well accomplished in ensuring there is no gender or social background discrimination, which is essential for foreigners.

  • Free healthcare

Healthcare in Canada is free, making this one of the biggest pros, especially for those relocating from America.

After all, the US is notorious for huge medical insurance costs!

You won’t pay a cent for those emergency room treatments, doctor visits, dental checkups, and ambulance transportation, among others.

Besides, the public healthcare services are quality and comprehensive, so this may be a reason you would want to make Canada your home.

Taxes cover healthcare costs, which is why the country’s taxation rules are stringent.

  • Low crime rate

Canada is widely known as one of the safest places in the world. The country has often been on the front line of peacekeeping campaigns and advocating for tolerance for everyone.

Canada has very low crime rates compared to many other nations, so peace of mind is guaranteed since violence is not a norm. Canadian police are trustworthy, easy to contact, and quick to respond hence the low crime rates.

All that said, you also have a responsibility to ensure you don’t expose yourself to danger by staying out late, especially if you are in an area known for crime. Always lock your house and car and teach your kids to be conscious about their safety.

  • Great culture and welcoming people

Canada is a tolerant nation globally known for being hospitable, friendly, approachable, and courteous. Most Canadians believe that the strength of their country is boosted by diversity. This is why they encourage people from all over the world to make this country their home.

Canadians will not discriminate against you whether you are a guest or an outsider. The sense of community here is strong, so don’t be surprised when people stop to talk to you at the supermarket, train station, or in the parks.

  • High quality of life

Citizens in Canada enjoy a comfortable life without substantial hardships. Good income, access to health and education, political stability, safety, and environmental protection are among the things that make life in Canada comfortable. You will be happy to live in Canada too if you move here.


  • High cost of living

The high cost of living in Canada is one thing that shocks new residents. The Canadian cities are ranked as the most expensive for foreigners, with Toronto and Vancouver being the most expensive.

This is because of the high taxation in the country that takes a bigger percentage of people’s income. Keep in mind that this is offset by free education, a good healthcare system, and excellent public service

  • Climate

Compared to other countries in the world, the environment in North Canada is extreme. Winter is freezing and chilled and prolonged.

Most people argue that the snow adds to nature’s beauty but can you move around and enjoy the beauty in the snow? Things are crazy in December because the temperature goes as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit. You may have to spend your Christmases indoors.

  • Challenging immigration process

Canadian immigration rules are very complicated and costly. If you want a work permit within a short time, you must pay an immigration fee of $1,500.

You must also prove that your immigration to the country will boost its economy. Only skilled workers have a higher chance of relocating to Canada easily.

Things may be favorable if you have a family member with Canadian residency status.

  • Unfavorable exchange rate

The exchange rate for Canadian money is not favorable, especially in developing countries. This makes online shopping challenging for those who want to purchase Canadian products and send them to their home countries.

You can buy them from locally based retailers, but it will still cost you more money to ship them.

  • Government control

The Canadian government is strict on literally every aspect of its citizens’ lives, from the type of food they eat in restaurants to where they go to school to the quality of products they use in their homes.

All these rules are overwhelming to Canadians and new residents.

Which are the cheapest cities in Canada?

Here are some of Canada’s cheapest cities to live in with family.

Rimouski, Quebec

Rimouski is in a natural setting on the shores of the world’s largest estuary, offering a scenic environment for various outdoor activities. If you have a steady income of $700 per month, you can comfortably live in Rimouski.

Although the rental costs are a bit high, you can buy food and groceries cheaply. Transport is also cheap here, and you can take your kids to a free public school.

St. Catharines, Ontario

St. Catharines is an excellent option for new people in Canada who want to avoid the expensive Toronto life.

Besides being affordable, St. Catharines has plentiful job opportunities. The rental prices here are half that of Toronto, and you will save a lot of money, unlike in major cities. You will also enjoy a quiet quality of life in this place.

Brockville, Ontario

Despite being one of the oldest cities in Canada, Brockville is also an affordable place to live with family. The city has enough low-cost condos and houses. You can be sure of a smooth start in this place.


Canada is a great place to live with family. Although the cost of living is high, the country offers so many employment opportunities that you can hardly lack an income. Make sure you budget well to live a comfortable life!