How to Decide Where to Live in Canada
Deciding where to live in Canada
Most people relocating from America to Canada will already know where they are going to live—your location needs to be confirmed during the application process for an employer-specific work permit. However, if you’ve been granted an open work permit, you’ll need to take several factors into account when deciding on where to live.
From low crime rates to health and education systems, there are many variables to consider when choosing the perfect place for you and your family to call home. Given the sheer size of the country, geography and weather can also play a large part in your decision, just as unemployment rates, average salary and the cost living are likely to influence the location of your new home.
To help you decide where in Canada will best suit both your needs and those of your family, some of the most important factors are outlined below.
What is the Unemployment Rate in Canada?
Local unemployment rates are a good indicator of the trends in the local job market. Understanding these trends is vital for people who have been granted open work permits. The Government of Canada provides statistics on Labor force and unemployment rates for each province and the major cities. The Government of Canada’s Job Bank tool also allows you to search for specific jobs in specific regions to gauge the demand for your skill set.
What is the Average Salary in Canada?
As at the end of 2016 the average weekly salary in Canada was C$968, equivalent to just over C$50,000 per annum. However, given the sheer size of the country, a better factor to consider when choosing where to live in Canada is the local average salary, which will provide a good indication of your likely earning potential. The Government of Canada publishes average salary statistics for specific occupations, as well as average weekly earnings by province and territory.
What is the Cost of Living in Canada?
The cost of living in Canada varies greatly from province-to-province and even city-to-city. Investigate the average cost of living in your preferred province or city so that you can budget accordingly.
The following list provides an idea of the average prices you can expect to pay for products and services in Canada (although keep in mind that these prices will vary based on both location and provider):
- Monthly rent for an unfurnished two-bedroom apartment: C$2,500
- Monthly internet (uncapped ADSL or cable): C$58
- Monthly utilities (gas, power and water) for a small apartment: C$122
- Petrol (per liter): C$1.25
- A dozen eggs: C$2.96
- A liter of milk: C$2.04
- A loaf of bread: C$2.60
- McDonald’s Big Mac Meal: C$9
- A cappuccino: C$3.81
- Three course meal for two (mid-range restaurant): C$70.
What is the Canadian Crime Rate?
Canada’s crime rate has steadily decreased since 1998, with 5,224 incidents of police-reported crime per 100,000 people in 2016.
Everyone wants to find a safe neighborhood to call home. Just how safe a neighborhood is varies from province-to-province and even city-to-city. So, before you decide where to live in Canada, review the Government of Canada’s crime rate statistics.
For more information, visit What is the Healthcare System Like in Canada?
What is the Quality and Availability of Health Care Like in Canada?
The availability of quality local health care is a key priority when researching potential areas to live. This report by CBC News provides an excellent ranking of 240 Canadian hospitals, and results can be filtered by province. The Conference Board of Canada also published a report that ranks the best Canadian provinces according to healthcare.
For more information, visit What is the Healthcare System Like in Canada?
What is the Quality of Schools Like in Canada?
If your children will be accompanying you on your relocation to Canada, it’s important that you move to an area that can provide them with a quality education. The Compare School Rankings site, authored by the Fraser Institute, allows you to compare various schools across Canada. This report by MoneySense also offers a ranking of the best areas in which to educate children.
For more information, visit What is the Education and Schooling System Like in Canada?
What is Population Wellbeing and the Standard of Living in Canada?
Canada performs very well in many measures of population wellbeing when compared to most other countries in the OECD Better Life Index. Particularly in areas such as housing, subjective wellbeing, health, personal wellbeing, social connections, income, jobs, education, civic engagement, and work-life balance.
However, when it comes to deciding on a place to live, you really need an understanding of what local population wellbeing is like. For instance, in the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, life expectancy is (on average) more than seven years less than the national average. The Canadian Index of Wellbeing provides some information on physical, mental and social wellbeing of the Canadian population in the different territories.
What are Tolerance and Diversity Like in Canada?
As in any country, some cities and provinces of Canada are more tolerant of cultural, racial, religious and sexual differences, both socially and legally. Although, it should be noted that Canada has consistently ranked as one of the most tolerant countries in the world across a range of issues.
What is the Average Commute Time in Canada?
When deciding on where to live in Canada, the average commute time can be an important consideration, particularly if you plan to drive to and from work every day. According to the 2011 National Household Survey, Canadian commuters spent an average of 25.4 minutes travelling to work each day. The longest average travel times were in Toronto (32.8 minutes), Oshawa (31.8 minutes), and Montréal (29.7 minutes). Workopolis’ article on average commute times in various Canadian cities is a useful resource.
What is the Climate in Canada?
Canada is the second-largest country in the world, and there are enormous variations in climate throughout the various provinces and territories. Most of Canada’s population resides close to the US border where the weather is more temperate, but if you’re planning on moving to Edmonton or Calgary, you need to be prepared for extremely cold winters. Research the climate of the potential province you’re planning to live in to ensure it suits your preferred lifestyle.
What is the Geography of Canada?
There are enormous geographical variations throughout Canada. The British Columbia coast (along the Pacific Ocean) enjoys the most comfortable climate, particularly as it is protected from storms by Vancouver Island. The Cordillera area, from British Columbia to the Alberta border, is characterized by rugged mountains and plateaus.
The Prairies of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan feature miles of wheat fields. The Canadian Shield is a rocky region surrounding the inland sea of Hudson Bay, and the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Lowlands is home to prime agricultural land and 50% of Canada’s population.
The Atlantic provinces and Appalachian region is full of low, rugged hills, while the Arctic zone is filled with miles of ice and snow, and reserved for the adventurous.
Be sure you know what sort of geography (and therefore outdoor recreational activities) is predominant in your new home before you decide to move there.
What is the Weather in Canada?
Canada encompasses everything from endless prairie land to the impenetrable ice of the artic, which is why there is so much variation in the weather. So, be sure you understand what the weather is like in the area where you intend to move to. Most of populated Canada enjoys four distinct seasons:
- Summer: The Prairies are hot and dry, while temperatures are milder on the coasts. Central Canada experiences quite humid weather during the summer months
- Fall: Most areas will experience a crisp, cool Fall
- Winter: Cold, with snowfall varying from province-to-province. Winters are typically milder but wet on the west coast, while southern Alberta can sometimes experience a ‘Chinook’, which is a warm dry wind that blows in from the Rocky Mountains and melts the snow
- Spring: Generally pleasant weather across the country.
What are the Most Popular Cities to Move to in Canada?
For information on the most popular Canadian cities to live, visit: