This guide is probably one of the less glamorous yet most practical introductions to Canada you’ll find because yes, money matters—you need to figure out your budget before the trip and maybe choose your destination based on cost of living.

So, how expensive is Canada, really? As you probably suspect, in such a big country, there are huge differences between cities and regions. Your current cost of living will also affect your perception—some travellers find it lower than at home, others much higher. This is why you need averages, estimates, data and numbers.

After an overview of average hourly wages, food and rent prices, phone plans and sales taxes in Canada, we offer more detailed info on each of the 12 provinces and territories—QuebecOntarioBritish ColumbiaAlbertaManitobaSaskatchewanNew BrunswickPrince Edward IslandNewfoundland and LabradorNova ScotiaYukon and Northwest Territories.

Nunavut isn’t included (yet)—with a small population and a challenging location, reliable data is hard to find. But hey, if you do go, pass along any info collected!

All prices are in Canadian dollars.

Cost of living at a glance

Rent: In the most expensive cities (Toronto and Vancouver), a room in a shared house starts around $850-$1,000. You’ll pay slightly less in the rest of the country, except in Yellowknife.

Food: On average, an adult spends $375 per month to eat nutritious meals. Your budget depends on your diet and where you shop.

Phone plan: You’ll pay an average of $60 per month for a plan with data and minutes.

Internet access: You’ll pay an average of $100 per month for Internet access.

Public transportation: $97/month in Montreal, $156/month in Toronto and $104.90-$189.45 in Vancouver (depending on the number of fare zones covered).

Minimum wage: The federal minimum wage is currently $17.30 per hour. For other workers (non-federal), minimum wage varies by the state/province, type of job (e.g. tipped employees may receive a lower wage), etc. See our province-specific chapters for more detail.

Average hourly wage: Just over $30, depending on the province/territory.

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