Looking at the Market Basket Measure (MBM) data released by Statistics Canada in late November, the cost of basic needs across all major cities in Canada is highest in Calgary (Alberta) and lowest in Montreal (Quebec).
As defined by Statistics Canada, MBM data is based on the cost of a specific basket of goods and services representing a modest, basic standard of living for a reference family. The MBM reference family consists of two adults with two children for the provinces, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. However, for Nunavut, the MBM reference family consists of two adults with three children.
The StatsCan data, published based on 2022 figures, also includes MBM data for regions in each province based on specific population thresholds – “under 30,000” or “30,000 to 99,999”. In this article, we will focus only on major provincial cities identified by name within the dataset.
In Calgary, Alberta, the total MBM threshold is $55,771, making it the city with the highest cost of basic needs. Vancouver, British Columbia, follows closely with a total MBM threshold of $55,727, and Toronto, Ontario, with $55,262. Interestingly, Calgary’s MBM has risen by almost $4,000 from the previous year.
On the other hand, in Montreal, Quebec, the total MBM threshold is $46,027, making it the city with the lowest cost of basic needs. Brandon, Manitoba, and Saint John, New Brunswick, also have lower costs at $46,779 and $48,468, respectively. The cost of basic needs in other major cities across Canada is also compared in the article.
In a corresponding report by rentals.ca, it was shown that many of the same cities are among the most costly in terms of rental housing, with Vancouver taking the lead as the most expensive city to rent both a one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartment. This is an important consideration for many recent immigrants to Canada, making this a top priority for many newcomers.
Despite the high costs in cities like Vancouver and Toronto, some cities like Winnipeg, in the same province as Canada’s second-least expensive city for basic needs (Brandon, Manitoba), appeared among the cheapest cities to rent a one or two-bedroom apartment. Rent for a one-bedroom residence in Winnipeg was $1,282 while rent for a two-bedroom was $1,692.
Should you be considering immigration to Canada, you can find out if you are eligible by using the Canadian immigration assessment form.
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