What is the best province to live in Canada? This is the question that many people ask themselves when they consider relocating or starting life in Canada.
It was also the question that we asked ourselves before moving to Canada. We wanted to help you gain more clarity to make this process easier and less confusing for you.
There are many factors to consider when deciding which province is the best for you. Some people might be looking for a province with a lower cost of living, while others might want a province with more job opportunities. Some like city life while others like being immersed in nature.
In this blog post, we will outline some of the pros and cons of each province, so that you can make a more informed decision about what is the best province to live in Canada for you!
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 in Canada, and Toronto is not far behind it especially when it comes to housing expenses. If you are looking for a more affordable option, Quebec City, Montreal, or Winnipeg are great choices.
However, it is also important to consider average household income. In other words, how much somebody can afford to buy from their salary. When we take this factor into account, Calgary comes on top.
Each province has different tax rates and income tax brackets. In general, the provinces with the lowest good and services tax are Alberta, Nunavut, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories (5%).
On the other hand, residents of the Maritimes (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland/Labrador) pay amongst the highest sales taxes (15%).
You can find information about the 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 in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland & Labrador while the most expensive real estate is in Ontario and British Columbia.
However, 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:
The job market in Toronto is very competitive, but job fields such as web development, cyber security and health care support for seniors are in high demand.
Vancouver and Calgary have a strong economy 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.
If you are looking for a smaller city with a more relaxed pace, Halifax is a great option. The job market in Halifax is growing rapidly, and there are many new opportunities available!
Canada is known for its high quality of life and this is reflected in its provinces. It is a very diverse country and a melting pot of people from multiple ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
That’s one of the reasons why it’s fairly easy to blend in.
If you love the outdoors, mountains and hiking, then BC and southern Alberta are great options.
For ocean lovers, there are 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, because of more online work opportunities, many people are starting to opt for more affordable rural living outside the hustle and bustle of large cities.
If that’s your cup of tea, then you might consider Prairies or Yukon.
There are also plenty of small charming towns such as Banf in Alberta, Golden in BC, Mahone Bay in Nova Scotia or Trinity in Newfoundland.
The climate of Canada varies greatly across the country, from the Arctic tundra in the north to the tropical rainforest in the southwest.
Most of Canada has a climate characterized by freezing cold snowy winters and hot summers. Northern territories have a climate similar to Northern Scandinavia with long cold winters and short cool summers.
Central Prairies, Southern Ontario, and Quebec have hot, humid summers and harsh cold, 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, in Vancouver, you will also get a lot more rainfall compared to other areas of Canada.
If you love hiking, and biking, 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. 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.
Arctic Yukon has also plenty to offer for outdoor lovers. Whitehorse in Yukon is one of the best spots to see Northern lights. There are miles and miles of hiking trails and rivers of the beautiful Canadian wilderness.
Prairies is a paradise for horse riding lovers.
If you prefer spending time on the beach, then you should consider Prince Edward Island or Nova Scotia with plenty of sandy beaches and rocky coves.
If you love surfing, then look no further than Tofino on Vancouver Island.
According to Global Peace Index, Canada ranked in the top 10 safest countries in the world in 2021.
Below you can see a report of violent crimes in Canadian provinces per 100 000 residents from 2020.
Pros of Living in Alberta
Alberta is a great place to live if you are looking for a thriving economy. The province has one of the strongest economies in Canada.
Alberta also has a very diverse landscape, with mountains, forests, and prairies all located within its borders.
Many people enjoy living in Calgary because of the abundance of job opportunities, relatively affordable housing and close proximity to Banff natural park.
Some of the 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 called Stampede. Another popular festival is Edmonton Heritage Festival.
Cons of Living in Alberta
The major driving factor for the economy in Alberta is the oil industry. As Canada is transitioning to more eco-friendly alternatives it might also negatively impact the economy in Alberta.
Traffic congestion is another issue, as Calgary is one of the most congested cities in North America.
The climate can be a bit extreme, with cold winters and hot summers.
There is a lot of competition for jobs, especially in the oil and gas industry.
Pros of Living in British Columbia
British Columbia is a beautiful province with diverse landscapes including mountains, forests, and beaches. The economy is strong, and there are many opportunities for work and recreation.
With its countless hiking and camping opportunities, as well as stunning scenery, BC is a nature lover’s paradise.
In winter, you can hit the slopes at one of the many world-class ski resorts.
From the snow-capped mountains of Whistler to the lush rainforests of Vancouver Island, there’s always something new to explore.
But it’s not just about the great outdoors – British Columbia 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 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. From the Vancouver International Jazz Festival to the Victoria Pride Parade, there’s always something going on to celebrate BC’s unique culture.
Cons of Living in British Columbia
There are a few cons to living in British Columbia. The cost of living is quite high, especially in Vancouver. Housing prices are among the highest in Canada and taxes are also quite high.
Another downside to living in BC is that it can be quite wet and temperamental. The winters are long and cold, while the summers can be quite rainy. 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 are looking for a relaxed and affordable lifestyle. The province has a low cost of living, making it a great choice for those looking to save money.
There are plenty of opportunities for fishing, hunting, camping, as well as hiking and biking. The province is home to numerous lakes and rivers, making it a perfect place for water sports enthusiasts. Manitoba’s diverse landscape includes forests, prairies, and tundra.
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 fall regularly below 30C, and summers are hot and humid with lots of mosquitoes. Winnipeg is a very windy town.
Manitoba has also a slightly higher crime rate compared to other provinces in Canada. With that being said, living anywhere in Canada is safer than most places in the world.
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 it offers plenty of job opportunities.
Ontario also has a very diverse landscape, with forests, mountains, and lakes all located 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’re looking for a more affordable option, consider moving to Quebec or Manitoba. Both provinces have lower costs of living.
Another downside to Ontario is its weather. The winters can be cold and harsh, and the summers are hot and humid. If you’re not used to those conditions, it may be difficult to adjust.
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.
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 great seafood – it is especially 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 the most scenic drives in all of Canada.
If you’re looking for a place to call home that offers both urban and rural living, Nova Scotia is a perfect choice.
Halifax, the capital city, is a vibrant and cosmopolitan 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 winters in Nova Scotia can be long and cold, and 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 the highest numbers of seniors per province in Canada. 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. Compared to other provinces New Brunswick has a relatively low cost of both real estate and rent. There is also a good 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, Saint John you will be able to find work for most professions and trades. New Brunswick does not have as much diversity as other provinces so as an expat you might stand out more.
Salaries are lower than in larger cities in Canada, and career advancement might not be as easy. Taxes for goods and services are also quite high – 15%. Although, in the larger cities like Vancouver and Toronto, you may earn more your housing costs are double or triple.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Pros of Living 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. 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 a bit 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
PEI is a fairly small island 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 relatively small population which means there is a stronger sense of community.
Cons of Living on Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island has one of the lowest employment rates in Canada.
It rains here quite a lot compared to other provinces.
The infrastructure could be improved. It’s a must to own a car if you want to move around the island.
Pros of Living in Quebec
Quebec has a unique french flair to it 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 is a vibrant global city where living expenses are relatively lower than the vast majority of major 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 it might be more challenging to integrate and find a job.
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 are looking for a relaxed lifestyle.
2 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 people who are genuinely very friendly and helpful.
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 winters in Saskatchewan can drop to -40, -50°.
Summers can also be very hot and humid with temperatures going up to +40°.
The province does not have as much diversity as other provinces.
Similar to Alberta, the major economic sector in Saskatchewan is oil and gas which was negatively impacted in recent years.
The best province to live in Canada depends on your budget, preferences and lifestyle you are looking for. If you are looking for an affordable place to live with plenty of job opportunities, you might consider Alberta.
Manitoba is another affordable option with a lower cost of living compared to other provinces.
If you want to live in a province with beautiful scenery and outdoor activities, British Columbia may be a great choice for you.
Newfoundland and Labrador or Prince Edward Island are very suitable for families as they offer plenty of opportunities to get involved in the community.
If you are looking for a quiet place to retire, Atlantic Canada could be a great fit for you.
Ontario has the strongest economy with plenty of job opportunities while Quebec offers a great mix of culture, history, and beauty.
No matter what you are looking for, there is a province in Canada that will suit your needs.
For us, Alberta was a winner and we were more than happy with our choice especially when it comes to job opportunities and spectacular outdoors.
But you never know we’re always open to discovering other parts of Canada as well.
We hope this article helped you to narrow down the best province to live in Canada for you and your family. Happy exploring!