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Cost of Basic Needs

Comparing the Cost of Basic Needs in Canada’s Major Cities: 2024 Insights

Recent Market Basket Measure (MBM) data from Statistics Canada sheds light on the varying costs of basic needs across major cities in Canada heading into 2024. The MBM data, defined by StatsCan as the cost of a specific basket of goods and services represents a modest, basic standard of living for a reference family. It reveals intriguing insights into the affordability of living in different regions.

Costliest Cities

Calgary, Alberta tops the list with a total MBM threshold of $55,771, followed closely by Vancouver, British Columbia, at $55,727, and Toronto, Ontario, at $55,262. Notably, Calgary’s MBM has seen a significant increase, rising by almost $4,000 from the previous year.

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Most Affordable Cities

On the flip side, Montreal, Quebec emerges as the most affordable major city, with a total MBM threshold of $46,027. Brandon, Manitoba, and Saint John, New Brunswick, follow closely with thresholds of $46,779 and $48,468, respectively.

Regional Insights

Expanding the analysis to include one major city from each province and territory reveals further nuances in the cost of basic needs:

  • St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador: $50,931
  • Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island: $51,033
  • Regina, Saskatchewan: $51,101
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia: $52,439
  • Whitehorse, Yukon: $59,124
  • Yellowknife, Northwest Territories: $66,991
  • Iqaluit, Nunavut: $118,787

Rental Housing Insights

A November 2023 MBM finding highlights the correlation between basic needs costs and rental housing expenses. Vancouver, known for its high basic needs costs, is also the most expensive city for renting both one-bedroom ($2,872) and two-bedroom ($3,777) apartments. Toronto follows suit as the third most expensive city for rentals, with average costs of $2,607 for a one-bedroom and $3,424 for a two-bedroom.

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Affordability Factors

For those considering the cost of living in Canada, rental housing is a key concern. Cities like Winnipeg, situated in the same province as Brandon, one of the least expensive cities for basic needs, make an appearance among the top five cheapest cities for renting.

According to the Rent Report, Winnipeg Understanding the regional variations in the cost of basic needs and rental housing is crucial for individuals planning to settle in Canada. Whether in the vibrant metropolis of Vancouver or the culturally rich Montreal, considering both basic needs and rental affordability becomes essential for newcomers navigating their way into Canada’s diverse cities.

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