Cost of living in Quebec
Montreal is the most expensive city in the province, but cost of living is very affordable in Quebec City, Gatineau (in the National Capital Region), just outside Montreal in Longueil or Laval, in Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, Saguenay, etc.
Average wages in Quebec
Minimum wage (as of May 1, 2019):
- General minimum wage (applies to most employees), $12.50 per hour
- Minimum wage for employees receiving tips, $10.05 per hour
2018 average hourly wage
|Average hourly wage (total employees – all industries)||
|Business – finance and administration||
|Natural and applied sciences||
|Education – law and social – community and government services||
|Art – culture – recreation and sport||
|Sales and service||
|Trades – transport and equipment operator||
|Natural resources – agriculture||
|Manufacturing and utilities||
Cost of living in Montreal
According to the CMHC, a bachelor apartment is $753 per month, a one-bedroom apartment (called a “3 ½” in Quebec) is $887 per month in Montreal. RentSeeker estimates a bachelor apartment is $1015 per month and a one-bedroom apartment is $1282 per month. For PadMapper, a bachelor apartment is $1250 per month and a one-bedroom apartment is $1500 per month.
|RentSeeker data November 2019||
PadMapper dat November 2019
|One-bedroom apartment (3 ½ in Quebec)||$1286||
|Two-bedroom apartment (4 ½ in Quebec)||$1676||
|Three-bedroom apartment (5 ½ in Quebec)||$2165||
Mon loyer Québec is a useful collaborative tool (beta version, in French only) to see how much people pay all over Montreal. This is a great way to see differences from one neighbourhood (or even one street!) to the next.
The most expensive neighbourhoods in the city are downtown Montreal (downtown core and around universities), Plateau-Mont-Royal and Côte-des-Neiges. The cities of Outremont and Westmount are also pricey.
Like everywhere else, the further from the downtown core, the cheaper rent is. You also pay for conveniences—apartments close to a subway station are more expensive. The exception is Nuns’ Island (Île-des-Sœurs)—despite the lack of efficient public transportation options to get to downtown Montreal, it’s very expensive. In this case, you’re paying for the stunning environment!
So, where should you go for cheaper rent? Laval, north of Montreal (just avoid the West side where real estate is expensive) or Longueuil, on the south shore, directly across Montreal. However, both are quiet commuter towns and public transportation options are not exactly convenient, which is why most residents drive to Montreal. You basically have to deal with either traffic jams (and the cost of car ownership) or tricky connections to Montreal’s public transportation system.
Montreal’s extensive public transportation system is operated by the Société de transport de Montreal (STM). It includes metros and buses:
- Reloadable OPUS card: $6
- Single trip (bus and metro): $3.50
- Ten prepaid trips: $29 (so $2.90 each)
- Unlimited weekend pass (from Friday, 6 p.m. to Monday, 5 a.m.): $14
- Three-day pass: $19.50
- Weekly pass: $26.75
- Monthly pass: $86.50
For more information, read Current fares.
- Restaurants: a meal and a non-alcoholic drink sets you back $15-$20 (plus tax and tip). Fancier restaurants are around $45-$80.
- Bars: a beer is $5-$7 and your favourite cocktail $8-$15
- Movie theatre: a ticket is $12-$14
- Cigarettes: $10 for a pack of 20.
Food prices are average for Canada, but produce is often more expensive than in Europe, South America or Asia.
Cost of living in Quebec City
Real estate in Quebec City is much cheaper than Montreal. According to the CMHC, a bachelor apartment is $527 per month, a one-bedroom apartment (again, a “3 ½” in Quebec) is $613 per month. For PadMapper, a bachelor apartment is $890 per month and a one-bedroom apartment is $929 per month. Strangely, the monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment is almost the same in Quebec City and in Montreal.
Rent is higher in Upper Town (“Haute-Ville”) than in Lower Town (“Basse-Ville”) and Vanier.
The bus system is operated by the Réseau de transport de la capitale (RTC):
- Single-trip ticket: $3.10
- Single trip cash fare: $3.50
- Day pass: $8.75
- Unlimited weekend pass: $16
- Five-day pass: $30
- Monthly pass: $89.50
For more info, check the Fare schedule.
- Restaurants: a meal and a non-alcoholic drink sets you back $15-$20 (plus tax and tip). Fancier restaurants are around $45-$70.
- Bars: a beer is $4-$7 and your favourite cocktail $8-$13
- Movie theatre: a ticket is $12.50
- Cigarettes: $12 for a pack of 20
Rent prices elsewhere in Quebec
You will find rent prices for other cities in Quebec on the map below, based on data from the CMHC:
Main articles about the WHV to Canada
Step-By-Step Guide to International Experience Canada Work Permits
Introduction to the Canada Working Holiday permit
Guide to Working Holiday in Canada (free download)
16 Good Reasons to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa
Globe WHV insurance policy highlights
The duration of your insurance coverage directly impacts your WHV
15 Tips for a Successful WHV Experience
The Working Holiday Visa Adventure as a Solo Traveller