Are you considering Canada as your new home and wondering what the best province to live in Canada is? If that’s the case, then this is the post for you.
With a high standard of living, stunning landscape and welcoming Canadian immigration policies, it’s no surprise that Canada is a popular destination for new immigrants.
In fact, over the past five years, more than one million people have become Canadian permanent residents.
Canada has ten provinces and three territories – from beautiful British Columbia to charming Quebec and laid-back maritime provinces.
So, how do you narrow down the best place to live in Canada?
We were in the same shoes in 2019. Since then, we’ve lived in Alberta, Nova Scotia and British Columbia and traveled extensively across Canada.
I’ll outline some of the pros and cons of all provinces so that you can make a more informed decision about the best province to live in Canada for you.
There are many factors to weigh up, whether it’s the cost of living, job opportunities, climate or lifestyle.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Province to Live in Canada
- The cost of living
- Housing costs
- The climate
- Job opportunities
- Quality of life
Canadian Provinces with the Lowest Cost of Living – Newfoundland and Labrador & New Brunswick
Vancouver is the most expensive city to live in Canada, and Toronto is not far behind it, especially regarding housing expenses. Quebec City, Edmonton, Montreal, or Winnipeg are great choices for more affordable living costs.
However, it’s also important to consider the average household income. In other words, how much somebody can afford to buy from their salary.
When I take this factor into account, Calgary comes on top. That’s probably one of the reasons why Alberta is a popular province for newcomers.
|Province||Rent 1 Bedroom||Transportation Costs (Car)||Food Costs (2 People)|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||C$951||C$578||C$720|
|Prince Edward Island||C$1,205||C$523||C$616|
|Province / Territory||Median Annual Total Income (2020)|
|Prince Edward Island||$38,290|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||$36,640|
Canadian Province with the Lowest Taxes – Alberta
Each province has different tax rates and income tax brackets.
The provinces with the lowest goods and services tax are Alberta, Nunavut, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories (5%).
On the other hand, residents of the Maritime provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland/Labrador) pay the highest sales taxes (15%).
Please note that the income tax rates are progressive, and each province or territory has different tax brackets. The actual income tax you pay depends on your income level.
Overall, the highest income taxes are in Quebec and the lowest in Alberta. Alberta has the highest basic personal taxable amounts in Canada and also one of the lowest sales taxes.
|PROVINCE/TERRITORY||2023 INCOME TAX RATES|
|Alberta||10% on the first $142,292 of taxable income, plus|
12% over $142,292 up to $170,751, plus
13% over $170,751 up to $227,668, plus
14% over $227,668 up to $341,502, plus
15% on the amount over $341,502
|British Columbia||5.06% on the first $45,654 of taxable income, plus |
7.7% over $45,654 up to $91,310, plus
10.5% over $91,310 up to $104,835, plus
12.29% over $104,835 up to $127,299, plus
14.7% over $127,299 up to $172,602, plus
16.8% over $172,602 up to $240,716, plus
20.5% on the amount over $240,716
|Manitoba||10.8% on the first $36,842 of taxable income, plus |
12.75% over $36,842 up to $79,625, plus
17.4% on the amount over $79,625
|New Brunswick||9.4% on the first $47,715 of taxable income, plus|
14.82% on $47,715 up to $95,431, plus
16.52% over $95,431up to $176,756, plus
17.84% on $145,995.01 up to $166,280, plus
20.3% on the amount over $176,756
|Newfoundland and Labrador||8.7% on the first $41,457 of taxable income, plus |
14.5% over $41,457 up to $82,913, plus
15.8% over $82,913 up to $148,027, plus
17.8% over $148,027 up to $207,239, plus
19.8% over $207,239 up to $264,750, plus
20.8% over $264,750 up to $529,500, plus
21.3% on $529,500 up to $1,059,000, plus
21.8% on any amount over $1,059,000
|Northwest Territories||5.9% on the first $48,326 of taxable income, plus |
8.6% over $48,326 up to $96,655, plus
12.2% over $96,655 up to $157,139, plus
14.05% over the amount over $157,139
|Nova Scotia||8.79% on the first $29,590 of taxable income, plus |
14.95% over $29,590 up to $59,180, plus
16.67% over $59,180 up to $93,000, plus
17.5% over $93,000.01 up to $150,000, plus
21% on the amount over $150,000
|Nunavut||4% on the first $50,877 of taxable income, plus |
7% over $50,877 to $101,754, plus
9% over $101,754 up to $165,429, plus
11.5% over the amount over $165,429
|Ontario||5.05% on the first $49,231 of taxable income, plus |
9.15% over $49,231 up to $98,463, plus
11.16% over $98,463 up to $150,000, plus
12.16% over $150,000.01 up to $220,000, plus
13.16% on the amount over $220,000
|Prince Edward Island||9.8% on the first $31,984 of taxable income, plus |
13.8% over $31,984.01 up to $63,969, plus
16.7% on the amount over $63,969
|Quebec||15% on the first $49,275 of taxable income, plus |
20% over $49,275 up to $98,540, plus
24% over $98,540 up to $119,910, plus
25.75% on the amount over $119,910
|Saskatchewan||10.5% on the first $49,720 of taxable income, plus |
12.5% over $49,720 up to $142,058 plus
14.5% on the amount over $142,058
|Yukon||6.4% on the first $53,359 of taxable income, plus |
9% over $53,359 up to $106,717, plus
10.9% over $106,717 up to $165,430, plus
12.8% over $165,430 up to $500,000, plus
15% on the amount over $500,000
The Best Provinces to Live in Canada for Affordable Housing – New Brunswick & Saskatchewan
Housing costs vary widely across the country.
According to the latest data, some of the most affordable places to buy a home are Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Manitoba, while the most expensive real estate is in Ontario and British Columbia, followed by Quebec and Alberta.
Luckily, you can still find some more affordable housing options in rural areas or suburbs.
Below is a breakdown of rental costs in major cities across Canada in 2023.
|Province||Average Home Price (2023)||Average Rent for One-bedroom apartment|
|Prince Edward Island||C$382,283||C$1,065|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||C$302,651||C$951|
The Best Province to Live in Canada for Job Opportunities – Ontario
Other important factors to consider before choosing the best province to live in Canada are the labor market and job opportunities.
The job market in Toronto, the largest city in Canada, is very competitive. However, job in web development, cyber security and health care support for seniors are in high demand.
Vancouver and Calgary have strong economies and plenty of jobs to choose from. However, the high cost of living in Vancouver might make it challenging to manage household expenses even with a higher salary.
Halifax is an attractive option if you’re looking for a smaller city with a more relaxed pace. The job market in Halifax is growing rapidly, and many new opportunities are available.
Best Canadian Provinces for Lifestyle – British Columbia & Quebec
Canada is known for its high quality of life, which is reflected in every province. In addition, it’s a very culturally diverse country and a melting pot of people from multiple ethnic backgrounds.
Lifestyle is highly subjective and depends on your preferences. I’ve lived in three provinces across Canada, and when it comes to lifestyle, British Columbia is hard to beat.
The province offers a unique combination of city life and rural living, making it an ideal place to live for those who enjoy being close to nature but still have access to top-notch city amenities.
The mild climate makes outdoor activities, such as hiking, sailing, and kayaking, possible to do year-round.
If you live in Vancouver, you’ll get epic mountains and the Pacific Ocean at your doorstep.
BC also has a vibrant cultural and dining scene with a large number of events happening year-round.
I must say I also loved living in Canmore, Alberta, close to Banff National Park and Halifax in Nova Scotia.
Quebec offers a great mix of history and culture.
If you love vibrant cities that never sleep, then Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver could be the right fit for you.
In recent years, many people are starting to opt for more affordable rural living outside the hustle and bustle of large cities because of more online work opportunities.
There are also plenty of small charming towns across Canada, such as Banf in Alberta, Golden in BC, Mahone Bay in Nova Scotia, Trinity in Newfoundland and many more.
The Best Provinces for Milder Climate – British Columbia (south) & Nova Scotia (Halifax)
Canada has four seasons.
The climate varies greatly across the country, from the Arctic tundra in the north to the rainforest in the southwest.
Canada’s climate is characterized by freezing, snowy winters and hot summers. Northern territories have a climate similar to Northern Scandinavia, with long cold winters and short cool summers.
Prairie provinces – Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba, have extremely cold winters with temperatures below zero and dry, hot summers.
Southern Ontario and Quebec have hot, humid summers and snowy winters.
Because of a large body of water, Atlantic maritime provinces tend to have relatively mild winters and summers. There’s a high volume of snow and rainfall.
If you’re not a big fan of cold weather, you will find the mildest climate around in Southern BC, especially in the Okanagan region and on Vancouver Island.
However, Vancouver in winter gets much more rainfall than other areas of Canada.
The Best Canadian Province for Outdoors – Anywhere in Canada
To be fair, there is no shortage of natural beauty wherever you choose to move to Canada. There are plenty of provincial and national parks all over Canada where you can hike, bike, camp, kayak, relax in hot springs or ski in the winter.
If you love mountains, then British Columbia would be a great choice for you. The province has miles of fantastic trails with breathtaking scenery. There are also plenty of postcard-perfect azure lakes and rivers. You can go whale watching, swimming, boating or kayaking in some of the most beautiful waters in Canada.
Alberta is another great option if you enjoy being active outdoors. The province is home to the spectacular Rockies mountain range.
If you love skiing, popular ski resorts in Canada include Whistler in BC, SkiBig3 in Banff, Blue Mountain in Ontario, and Mont-Tremblant in Quebec.
Prairies are a paradise for horse lovers.
If you prefer spending time on the beach, consider Maritime Provinces or Vancouver Island, with plenty of sandy beaches and rocky coves.
For surfing, look no further than Tofino on Vancouver Island or Lawrencetown in Nova Scotia.
The Safest Canadian Province – Quebec
According to the Global Peace Index, Canada ranked as the 12th safest country in the world in 2023, which is way better than the United States.
Below you can see a crime severity index in Canadian provinces per 100,000 residents from 2021.
According to the Crime Severity Index, the top 5 provinces with low crime rates in 2021 were Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Feel free to check the link for the latest statistics.
Statistically, many of the safest cities in Canada are in Ontario or Quebec.
|Province||Crime Severity Index (2021)|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||75.50|
|Prince Edward Island||56.95|
Provinces with the Most Immigration-Friendly Policies – Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia
Another important factor when choosing your province might be its immigration policies, especially if your goal is to gain permanent residence in Canada. So you may be wondering… what is the easiest province to immigrate to in Canada?
The most immigration-friendly provinces in Canada are:
- Saskatchewan – The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program and Express Entry programs target skilled workers to enter the country.
- Alberta – The Alberta Express Entry stream selects eligible candidates from the federal Express Entry pool, making it easier to gain permanent residency.
- Ontario – Skilled workers in high-demand industries can use Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities stream to find job opportunities and obtain residence.
- Nova Scotia – NS has a Labour Market Priorities initiative that screens people from an Express Entry Pool.
Canadian Provinces with the Best Quality of Life – Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, PEI and New Brunswick
You can’t go wrong with any Canadian province when it comes to the quality of life. Overall,Canada ranked as the second-best country to live in the world in 2023, right after Switzerland.
According to the Conference Board of Canada, all provinces in Canada earn at least an “A” grade on life satisfaction.
Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, PEI and New Brunswick ranked with “A+” grades in life satisfaction. The factors that were measured to determine this are:
- GDP per capita
- life expectancy
- social network support
- perceived absence of corruption
- perceived freedom of choice
The best province to live in Canada depends on your preferences and the lifestyle you’re looking for. For example, if you’re looking for an affordable place to live with plenty of job opportunities, you might consider Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba.
British Columbia may be a great choice if you want to live in a province with beautiful scenery and great outdoors.
Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec or Prince Edward Island are very suitable for families as they offer plenty of opportunities to get involved in the community and are one of the safest provinces in Canada.
Atlantic Canada could be a great fit for you if you’re looking for a laid-back place to retire and a cute lake house.
Ontario has the most robust economy with plenty of job opportunities, while Quebec offers a great mix of culture, history, and beauty.
No matter what you’re looking for, there is a province in Canada that will suit your needs.
I spent almost three years living in Canmore, Alberta, which was a great choice. Yes, the housing cost was a bit pricey, but the jaw-dropping sceneries more than compensated for that.
Currently, my partner and I live in Nova Scotia, close to Halifax. The winters are much milder than in Alberta, but the downside is higher taxes.
I hope this article helped you to narrow down the best province to live in Canada for you and your family.
Which City in Canada is Best to Raise Family?
Montreal in Quebec is a great place to raise a family because the city has one of the most affordable childcare in Canada.
Calgary in Alberta has one of the best purchasing power. Meaning your income can go further.
St Johns in Newfoundland has one of the most affordable housing.
What Are the Best Cities for International Students?
The most student-friendly Canadian cities are Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver City and Ottawa, with some of the best universities in Canada. Other popular cities for international students are Halifax, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton.