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An American’s Guide To The Cost Of Living In Canada Vs USA

By Quality Move Management Inc / April 30, 2024

Are you thinking about moving to Canada from the US? Many Americans are drawn to Canada’s stunning landscapes, friendly culture and lower crime rates. But before you trade in your stars and stripes for a maple leaf, understanding the cost of living in Canada compared to the United States is crucial. Is it cheaper to live in Canada or the US? To answer that question and help you make an informed decision about your relocation plans, we’ll uncover the cost of living in Canada vs US. In this guide, we will delve into what American migrants can expect when it comes to housing, food, transportation and healthcare costs in Canada and more.

What is the Average Cost of Housing in Canada Vs America

One of the most significant factors to consider when comparing the cost of living in Canada and the United States is housing. When it comes to the average cost of rent in Canada, overall, rent prices in the United States are 25.2% higher.

In major cities like Vancouver and Toronto, housing costs may be steep, especially in downtown areas. Renting a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto could cost an average of around $1,850 per month ( $2,509.17 CAD) while in Vancouver monthly rent can cost around $2,034 ($2,759 CAD). When comparing cities with similar populations, Canadian rent prices may be up to 21% cheaper. Moving to smaller towns in Canada can offer even more affordable housing options, especially as you venture further away from the city. Buying a home, however, might be a different story.

While Canadian real estate can be expensive in major cities like Vancouver and Toronto, the average cost of a house in Canada will vary greatly depending on which province you move to and whether you choose city living or suburban life. You can expect higher costs in bustling metropolitan areas compared to smaller towns. Also, just like anywhere else, the size and features of your desired dwelling will significantly impact cost.

Compared to the US, What is the Cost of Food in Canada?

Food prices also play an important role in the overall cost of living in Canada. When considering the cost of food in Canada, some grocery prices can be slightly higher than in the US for staples like meat and vegetables. However, for most people, the difference might be negligible. Looking at cities side by side, if we compare grocery shopping in Edmonton AL and Rochester NY, groceries can be up to 17% cheaper in Edmonton. As with anywhere, seasonal produce and imports can affect prices in grocery stores. When it comes to dining out in Canada, restaurants can be slightly less expensive (around 8% cheaper) on average compared to the US, especially for casual dining.

Transportation Costs in Canada vs the USA

Transportation expenses vary depending on factors like gas prices and public transit fares. Gas prices in Canada tend to be higher than in the US due to a number of factors including taxes and a weaker Canadian dollar. You may find that gasoline prices could be around 17% more expensive in Canada but buying a car can be up to 31.7% more affordable. If you plan on driving regularly, the additional costs associated with owning a car like insurance and maintenance are generally similar to the US.

When it comes to public transportation, most major Canadian cities have well-developed public transit systems in place. If we compare a city like Vancouver with Seattle, a single ticket on public transport can be around 15% cheaper in Vancouver. Monthly passes can offer significant savings, making the Canadian public transit system a budget-friendly option for city dwellers.

What is the Cost of Healthcare in Canada vs the US?

Healthcare is a significant consideration for Americans moving to Canada. Canada boasts a universal healthcare system, Medicare, which offers free or heavily subsidised healthcare services. Government-funded health insurance covers most medical services. This system offers peace of mind and reduces financial burdens when compared to the US healthcare system, which relies heavily on private insurance. Canadians pay healthcare premiums through taxes, which are generally lower than private health insurance premiums in the US. While high medical bills can be common in the US health system, Canadians are generally able to escape these high costs.

When it comes to accessing healthcare in Canada as an American citizen, you won’t be able to directly access the full benefits of Canada’s universal healthcare services upon arrival. You will be able to receive emergency care because, regardless of immigration status, everyone in Canada can receive free emergency medical treatment. You’ll need to become a permanent resident to gain access to the country’s public health insurance for non-emergency care. Each province has its own process and waiting period for new citizens to qualify for provincial health insurance. This waiting period can range from zero to three months depending on the province.

How do Childcare Costs in Canada Compare to Costs in America?

For families with children, childcare costs are a crucial factor in assessing the overall cost of living. The cost of childcare in Canada can vary significantly depending on the location and the type of care provided. On average, private kindergarten in Vancouver can cost around $1,090.52 per month ($1,478.95 CAD) while in Seattle you could pay up to 42% more at around $1,982 ($2,687.97 CAD) per month.

Canada is currently rolling out a national childcare program aiming to reduce costs for parents. While not yet fully implemented, some provinces already offer significantly lower childcare fees compared to the US. Another advantage of Canadian childcare is the generous parental leave policies which can delay the need for childcare for some families.

How to Move to Canada From the US

If you’re planning to move to Canada from America, it is important to find a professional cross-border mover you can trust. QMM can handle your move from anywhere in the United States to Canada with our comprehensive moving services. We understand no two moves are the same, so we factor in the distance and size of your belongings to create a transparent and competitive quote tailored specifically for you. To find out more about our cross-border moving services or to request a quote, contact our helpful team.

*Comparative cost of living data taken from

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