Best Province To Live in Canada: Ultimate Guide (2023)
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?
I was in the same shoes in 2019. Since then, I’ve lived in Alberta and Nova Scotia 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.
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Which Province in Canada is the Cheapest to Live in?
Overall, New Brunswick and Manitoba have a pretty low cost of living. That said, you can find cheap places to live in every province.
In Alberta, living in Red Deer would be much cheaper than living in Canmore or Banff.
In Ontario, Windsor would be cheaper than living in Toronto.
In BC, living in Vancouver is expensive, but Kelowna or Kamloops would be much more economical.
You get the picture.
Which Province in Canada is the Best for Jobs?
Job opportunities are abundant anywhere in Canada.
Overall, Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba are the five best provinces for job opportunities.
The number of job opportunities also largely depends on your specific field because certain jobs will be more in demand in particular provinces.
For example, Alberta offers many job positions for IT consultants, technicians and truck drivers.
On the other hand, Nova Scotia is in demand for nurses and doctors, so they’ll have more healthcare jobs available.
What is the Safest Province in Canada?
The statistics change slightly every year, but according to Crime Severity Index in 2021, the safest provinces in Canada were Quebec, Ontario, PEI, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Which Province in Canada Has the Best Quality of Life?
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 are top-ranked with “A+” grades in quality of life.
Which City Has the Best Lifestyle in Canada?
Quebec city is the capital of Quebec province, also known as la belle province. The city provides decent income, affordable cost of living, rich cultural heritage and a low crime rate.
The only downside is the language. If you want to live in Quebec city, you’ll need to improve your French skills.
Which City in Canada Has the Lowest Rent?
St. John’s, the capital of the Atlantic province of Newfoundland and Labrador, has some of the lowest housing costs for rent and real estate prices.
You can check the latest rental statistics.
What is the Warmest Place to Live in Canada?
Many of the warmest places in Canada are located in British Columbia, such as Vancouver, Victoria and the Okanagan region. Halifax also has a milder climate compared to the rest of the country.
Which City in Canada is Best to Raise Family?
Montreal in Quebec, 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 best housing prices.
What Are the Best Cities for International Students?
The most student-friendly cities in Canada are Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Quebec City and Ottawa. Other popular cities for international students are Halifax, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Province to Live in Canada
- The cost of living
- The climate
- Job opportunities
Cost of Living
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.
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%).
You can find information about provincial income taxes in this post. Overall, the highest income taxes are in Quebec.
Housing costs vary widely across the country.
According to the latest data, one of the least expensive places to buy a home is Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, while the most expensive real estate is in Ontario and British Columbia.
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 from February 2022:
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 a great 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.
Canada is known for its high standard of living, 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.
That’s one of the reasons why it’s fairly easy to blend in.
BC and southern Alberta are great options if you love the outdoors, mountains, and hiking.
Ocean lovers have plenty of coastal areas in Atlantic Canada or along the West Coast.
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.
If that’s your cup of tea, you might consider Prairie provinces.
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.
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 the West Coast and in Southern BC, especially in the Okanagan region.
However, Vancouver in winter gets much more rainfall than other areas of Canada.
If you love hiking, then British Columbia would be a great choice for you. The province has miles of trails that wind through forests and mountains. There are also plenty of lakes and rivers where you can go fishing. In addition, you can go whale watching 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. There are also plenty of parks and nature reserves where you can hike, bike, camp, relax in hot springs or ski in the winter.
Other popular ski resorts in Canada include Whistler in BC, Blue Mountain in Ontario, and Mont-Tremblant in Quebec.
Prairies are a paradise for horse lovers.
If you prefer spending time on the beach, you should consider Prince Edward Island or Nova Scotia, with plenty of sandy beaches and rocky coves.
If you love surfing, look no further than Tofino on Vancouver Island.
According to Global Peace Index, Canada ranked as the 12th safest country in the world in 2022, 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 New Brunswick. Feel free to check the link for the latest statistics.
Statistically, many safest cities in Canada are in Ontario or Quebec.
Another important factor when choosing your province might be its immigration policies, especially if your goal is to become a permanent resident. 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 Occupation In-Demand 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.
Pros of Living in Alberta
Alberta is a great place to live if you’re looking for a thriving economy and high quality of life. The province has one of the strongest economies in Canada.
Alberta is one of the 3 prairie provinces. It also has a very diverse landscape, with the Rocky Mountains, forests, and lowlands all located within its borders.
Many people enjoy living in Calgary because of the abundance of job opportunities, relatively affordable housing, and proximity to Banff and Jasper national park. Banff is especially magical around Christmas time.
Some top outdoor activities include fishing in the lakes, snowshoeing or skiing at Sunshine Village just west of Calgary or biking along the Bow River pathway in Canmore.
Calgary is also hosting the world’s biggest rodeo each year. It’s the famous Calgary Stampede. Another popular festival is Edmonton Heritage Festival.
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Cons of Living in Alberta
The major driving factor for the economy in Alberta is the oil industry. However, as Canada is transitioning to more eco-friendly alternatives, it might also negatively impact the economy in Alberta.
The climate can be extreme, with cold winters and hot summers.
There is a lot of competition for jobs.
Pros of Living in British Columbia
British Columbia is a beautiful province with diverse landscapes, including mountains, forests, and beaches. The economy is strong, with many opportunities for work and recreation.
BC is a nature lover’s paradise with countless hiking and camping opportunities and stunning scenery.
In winter, you can hit the slopes at one of the many world-class ski resorts.
From the snow-capped mountains of Whistler and the lush rainforests of Vancouver Island to whale watching in the Pacific Ocean, there’s always something new to explore.
But British Columbia is not just about the great outdoors. It also has big cities like Vancouver and Victoria that offer all the amenities and cultural attractions you could want.
Vancouver is very diverse and vibrant. It’s a popular city that attracts people from all walks of life. It is one of the creative hubs of Canada.
So whether you’re looking for an urban or rural lifestyle, BC has something to offer everyone.
The province is also home to a wide range of cultural events and festivals that celebrate its diversity. There’s always something going on, from the Vancouver International Jazz Festival to the Victoria Pride Parade.
Cons of Living in British Columbia
There are a few cons to living in British Columbia. First, the cost of living is high. Housing prices in Vancouver are among the highest in Canada, and taxes are also quite high.
Another downside to living in BC is that it can be wet and temperamental. However, this weather also makes for lush green forests and stunning coastal views.
Pros of Living in Manitoba
Manitoba is a great place to live if you want a relaxed and affordable lifestyle.
There are plenty of opportunities for fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, and biking.
The province is home to Wapusk national park and Riding Mountain national park. In addition, Manitoba has numerous lakes and rivers, making it a perfect place for water sports enthusiasts.
Plus, the people of Manitoba are friendly and welcoming.
From its vibrant capital city of Winnipeg to its beautiful natural scenery, Manitoba has something for everyone.
Manitoba is a great place to raise a family due to its excellent public schools.
Cons of Living in Manitoba
Manitoba is not as economically prosperous as other provinces.
The weather in Manitoba can be a bit extreme. Temperatures in winter regularly fall below 30C, and summers are hot and humid with lots of mosquitoes. On top of that, Winnipeg is a very windy town.
Manitoba also has a slightly higher crime rate than other provinces in Canada. That being said, living anywhere in Canada is safer than most places worldwide.
Owning a car is a must as public transport is not very well developed.
Pros of Living in Ontario
Ontario is an economic hub of the country. The province is home to many major corporations and offers plenty of job opportunities.
Ontario also has a diverse landscape, with forests and lakes within its borders.
Some popular hiking trails include the Bruce Trail and the Niagara Glen Trail.
Cycling is a great way to explore the scenic routes that Ontario has to offer.
Fishing and camping are also favorite activities among Ontarians.
Ontario is home to countless lakes and rivers, making it the perfect place for canoeing and kayaking.
Cons of Living in Ontario
Ontario is a great place to live, but there are some cons to consider before making your decision.
The cost of living in Ontario is high, and the taxes are as well. If you’d prefer something more affordable, consider moving to Quebec or Manitoba.
Both provinces have low living costs.
Another downside to Ontario is its weather. The winters are cold and harsh, while the summers are hot and humid. It may be difficult to adjust if you’re not used to those conditions.
Finally, the job market in Ontario is competitive, so it may be tough to find work if you don’t have the skillset or experience that is in high demand.
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Pros of Living in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is a beautiful province with a rich maritime history and culture. It was one of the first places where European settlers arrived on their voyage across the ocean. There is excellent seafood – it is primarily known for its delicious lobsters!
There are plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, and the cost of living and housing is relatively low.
Nova Scotia is a beach lover’s paradise with over 3000 kilometers of coastline.
And let’s not forget the world-famous Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island – one of Canada’s most scenic drives.
Nova Scotia is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a place to call home that offers both urban and rural living.
The capital city of NS, Halifax, is a vibrant hub with plenty to see and do.
But if you’re looking to get away from it all, there are many small towns and villages spread around the province waiting to be explored, such as the UNESCO World Heritage town called Lunenberg.
Cons of Living in Nova Scotia
Although Halifax has plenty of social and cultural activities, the rest of the province is a bit more laid back and slow. The province does not have as much diversity as other provinces.
Lastly, there are not as many job opportunities available in Nova Scotia, which causes a lot of young people to migrate to other provinces.
Nova Scotia has one of Canada’s highest numbers of seniors per province. But overall, Atlantic Canada seems to be a popular choice for retirement.
Pros of Living in New Brunswick
New Brunswick is a bilingual province. If you speak both French and English, it will be easier for you to find a job.
New Brunswick has a relatively low cost of both real estate and rent compared to other provinces. There is also a sound education system and plenty of recreational opportunities.
New Brunswick is part of Atlantic Canada. It is home to some of the best whale watching in the Bay of Fundy and scenic coastal rides.
The lifestyle here is more relaxing and slow-paced, which some people can perceive as a pro or con depending on personal preference.
Cons of Living in New Brunswick
New Brunswick can be difficult career-wise, but in Fredericton, Moncton, and Saint John, you can find work for most professions and trades. New Brunswick does not have as much diversity as other provinces, so you might stand out more as an expat.
Salaries are lower than in larger cities in Canada, and career advancement might not be as easy. Taxes for goods and services are also high – 15%.
Although you may earn more in larger cities like Vancouver and Toronto, your housing costs are double or triple.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Pros of Living in Newfoundland and Labrador
NL is a great place to live if you love winter, wildlife and the outdoors.
There is a lot of natural beauty similar to places like Iceland, Scandinavia or Greenland. In addition, the province offers plenty of opportunities for fishing, hunting, and hiking.
You will be amazed by historical sites, beaches, harbors, national parks and breathtaking fjords.
The cost of housing is relatively low, and the people are very friendly and welcoming.
The quality of air and water is very high.
Cons of Living in Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland has a sub-arctic climate. That means it has a short summer and a long and harsh winter.
The economy is not as strong as in other provinces.
You may feel a bit isolated. It can be expensive and inconvenient to get on and off the island if you live in St. John’s, the capital city of NL.
Prince Edward Island
Pros of Living on Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is the smallest province in Canada, with red sand beaches, rolling green hills, and friendly people. The cost of living is relatively low, and there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.
The province ranks high when it comes to seafood and other locally sourced food.
It is a safe, family-friendly place with a small population which means there is a stronger sense of community.
Check this post for more details about the pros and cons of living in PEI.
Cons of Living on Prince Edward Island
PEI has one of the lowest employment rates in Canada.
It rains here quite a lot compared to other provinces.
The infrastructure could be improved.
Owning a car is a must if you want to move around the island.
Pros of Living in Quebec
Quebec has a unique French flair that separates it from the rest of Canada. It is a beautiful province with a rich history and culture. Besides historic architecture in bigger cities, it also has picturesque small villages and towns.
In Montreal, you can immerse yourself in French Canadian culture and cuisine.
Montreal and Quebec City are vibrant global cities where living expenses are relatively lower compared to the vast majority of main cities in Canada, making Quebec an affordable place to live.
What matters more here is the quality of lifestyle rather than hustling to make more money.
Cons of Living in Quebec
If you don’t speak French, integrating and finding a job might be more challenging as French is the sole official language here.
The winters in Quebec can be long and cold, and the province does not have as strong of an economy as other provinces.
Income taxes are one of the highest in Canada.
Much like the French are known to be less courteous than the English. The Canadian stereotype of saying ‘Sorry’ and being overly polite doesn’t apply here as much. However, people are friendly in their own way.
Pros of Living in Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is a great place to live if you want a relaxed lifestyle.
Two major cities are Saskatoon and Regina.
Commuting in Saskatoon is very convenient as you can go from one end of the city to another in less than 30 minutes by car.
There is a small community of genuinely very friendly and helpful people.
The cost of living is relatively low.
It’s fairly easy to find entry-level jobs.
There is also strong agriculture and mining sector.
Cons of Living in Saskatchewan
It can be challenging to find higher-paying jobs.
The temperatures in winter in Saskatchewan can drop to -40°.
Summers can also be very hot and humid, going up to +40°.
The province does not have as much diversity as other provinces.
Like Alberta, the primary economic sector in Saskatchewan is oil and gas, which has been negatively impacted in recent years.
The best Canadian province to live in 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 or Manitoba.
British Columbia may be a great choice if you want to live in a province with beautiful scenery and love the outdoors.
Newfoundland and Labrador or Prince Edward Island are very suitable for families as they offer plenty of opportunities to get involved in the community.
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.
Economically, Alberta is stronger than Nova Scotia.
I hope this article helped you to narrow down the best province to live in Canada for you and your family. Happy exploring!