On the Web

Toronto, Canada

312 Adelaide Street West, Suite 301
Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
Fine Print

5 Big Things That Are More Expensive in Canada

Written by CNN Team

Sponsored by CIBC.

Canada is an amazing country but it can also be a very expensive one to live in.

Moving to Canada can be a shock in more ways than one. Depending on where you’re coming from, you might need to seriously adjust to the cost of daily living. This guide was built to help you set reasonable expectations and understand the living situation you’ll be walking into.

Just remember that Canada is a massive country and not every single one of these expenses may be true for where you end up settling. Hopefully, you’ll find a home where you barely even notice most of these costs.

  1. Housing/Rent

There’s no getting around it, living in Canada is expensive, especially if you’re in a big city like Toronto or Vancouver. Population growth and people moving in large numbers to the cities has caused demand to largely outpace supply, meaning that both renting and buying have a higher cost than in comparable countries. Specifically, in 2023, average rent in Canada was $2,005 and the average house price was $716,000.

Pro tip: Speak with a CIBC Mortgage Advisor today<LINK> to get their expert advice on how you could make your dreams of owning a home in Canada a reality. 

  1. Food

Thanks to inflation, it seems like food is expensive everywhere. And living in Canada, it’s painfully clear that it’s happening here also. Mixing that with transportation costs, shorter growing seasons, COVID-19 supply constraints, and price gouging, means items like dairy and fresh produce can cost more than you’re used to. And if you’re missing specific ingredients from back home, expect to pay a lot to either import them or when you find them at a specialty store.

But there is some good news. You can earn up to 3% cash back on eligible purchases such as groceries, dining, and even gas for your travels1 with the CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa* Card.<LINK>

  1. Phone Plans

This one is uniquely Canadian. Canada is  known around the world for its astronomical phone plan prices and official studies have confirmed that we offer some of the most expensive wireless rates in the world. This is largely because only three major companies offer services and with almost no competition, they can charge more. Even the few budget competitors that exist are still owned by one of the three major companies so there isn’t really anything in the way of alternatives.

  1. Airfare

Just like with cell phones, there are a limited number of Canadian airlines, which means they can charge more and you have little in the way of choice. This is a bigger problem when flying domestic as international flights will tend to have additional options, so depending on where you’re going, you could still get lucky. With a lack of budget airlines and higher fees Canadian airports charge airlines, this doesn’t look to be resolving soon.

  1. Gas

More than most countries, Canadians are spending a huge proportion of their income on gas. Additional findings show that a $2/liter, Canada’s gas prices are above average when compared to the rest of the world. And while these numbers can ebb and flow depending on a number of global factors, it’s unlikely that Canada will be a country with cheap gas anytime soon.

In spite of all of these costs—don’t despair! There are lots of resources to help you deal with any of the inflated costs that you may face in Canada. Talk to a financial expert from a trusted Canadian bank like CIBC to find the accounts and resources to best manage your savings for all of these new expenses. 

Schedule a free call today and see what advice they have for you.

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.