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RichMitch's questions about cost of living

RichMitch's questions about cost of living

Old Nov 5th 2021, 3:39 pm
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Smile RichMitch's questions about cost of living

Hi,

I was just looking for pointers on how to garner some information please in regards to typical day-to-day living expenses in Canada, things like groceries, utilities and running a family car. Apologies in advance if there is a wiki which covers this )

I appreciate that costs vary depending on where we end up living but was just looking for ball park figures if at all possible please.

Also, is it true that a tax is added onto items when you go to pay for it or maybe this is just in BC (I have a friend who lived there and he told me about this)?

Thanks so much again for all of your help.

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Old Nov 5th 2021, 3:49 pm
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Smile RichMitch's questions about cost of living

Originally Posted by RichMitch View Post
Hi,

I was just looking for pointers on how to garner some information please in regards to typical day-to-day living expenses in Canada, things like groceries, utilities and running a family car. Apologies in advance if there is a wiki which covers this )

I appreciate that costs vary depending on where we end up living but was just looking for ball park figures if at all possible please.

Also, is it true that a tax is added onto items when you go to pay for it or maybe this is just in BC (I have a friend who lived there and he told me about this)?

Thanks so much again for all of your help.
It would help to specify where in Canada you are looking at.
Basically our equivalent of VAT isn't included in the price of goods so if you see a pair of jeans for $24.99 it will cost you more than that once GST and PST/HST is added. GST is 5% and PST/HST vary by province.

https://www.retailcouncil.org/resour...s-by-province/

Car insurance can vary wildly between Provinces and not all give you the option of shopping around.

There is no simple answer.
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Old Nov 5th 2021, 3:55 pm
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Smile RichMitch's questions about cost of living

Originally Posted by RichMitch View Post
Hi,

I was just looking for pointers on how to garner some information please in regards to typical day-to-day living expenses in Canada, things like groceries, utilities and running a family car. Apologies in advance if there is a wiki which covers this )

I appreciate that costs vary depending on where we end up living but was just looking for ball park figures if at all possible please.

Also, is it true that a tax is added onto items when you go to pay for it or maybe this is just in BC (I have a friend who lived there and he told me about this)?

Thanks so much again for all of your help.
Hi, I'm going to move your post in to a new thread in the main Canada forum as it's a general query rather than a visa related one, hopefully you'll get more advice that way.

There are quite a lot of good threads around with cost of living info on them, if you do a search. Here's a very long running thread to get you started, head to the end of it for more recent prices - Groceries Generally expect it to be around the same as in the UK as a rough guide, possibly a bit more depending on where you go. Here's a Wiki article too - https://britishexpats.com/wiki/Cost_of_Living_in_Canada

And yes, tax is added on at the till.

HTH.
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Old Nov 5th 2021, 3:58 pm
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Default Re: RichMitch's questions about cost of living

Thanks very much for this info Former Lancastrian, much appreciated.

It all depends on where I can get work to be honest. I work in the IT industry and currently live in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.

We've been looking at Victoria on Vancouver Island, Calgary Alberta and Fredericton NB.

From what I can make out, I'm best to head over first for a while to get orientated, find work and hopefully a home to rent for my family and I.



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Old Nov 5th 2021, 4:01 pm
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Default Re: RichMitch's questions about cost of living

Thanks a million again ) Really appreciate your help and tips.

I'll get cracking on reading up on those threads.


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Old Nov 5th 2021, 4:04 pm
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Default Re: RichMitch's questions about cost of living

Originally Posted by RichMitch View Post
From what I can make out, I'm best to head over first for a while to get orientated, find work and hopefully a home to rent for my family and I.
I'd do that in two trips. If you find a job offer then it'll be a few months before you can get a visa and start work anyway, so no point hanging around in Canada and certainly no point in renting anywhere until you actually have visas in hand. So plan a job hunting trip (be prepared for it to take more than one) just for a couple of weeks, then you can come home whilst the visa process is started by your employer.

You might want to say what you do in the IT industry, as we have a lot of peeps that work in IT on the forum and they may be able to advise/help.
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Old Nov 5th 2021, 4:19 pm
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Default Re: RichMitch's questions about cost of living

Generalisations:
  • Prices for everything are ex-tax. You have to add GST/HST (VAT in Uk terms) to everything. Rates vary by province so google is your friend.
  • Sales tax is charged on vehicles everytime they are sold. So you pay tax on a second hand car. Again vehicle prices are generally quoted ex-tax. Finance calculators on manufacturers websites usually have a "include taxes" option.
  • Car insurance is massively expensive. It varies from province to province but we pay circa 3.5k per annum for two vehicles. .
  • Property taxes can be expensive - figure roughly 10% of property value.
  • Taxation consists of provincial and federal amounts. Again google is your friend here. Taxes are as high if not higher than the UK.
  • While GP (if you can find one) and hospital services are generally free, prescriptions are not and are charged at price not a flat rate like on the NHS. Extended health benefits which cover prescriptions and usually an amount towards things like physio etc are usually part of an employment package. Dental is fully private and payable & again dental package is usually available through your employer. You will pay some percentage of the premiums for extended health through payroll deductions.
  • Electricity/Heating oil/gas costs can be researched per province. It gets cold and hot in Canada so you you'll likely have heating and aircon costs.
  • The price of cheese will make your eyes bleed......:-)
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Old Nov 5th 2021, 4:55 pm
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Default Re: RichMitch's questions about cost of living

Originally Posted by Atlantic Xpat View Post
Generalisations:
  • Prices for everything are ex-tax. You have to add GST/HST (VAT in Uk terms) to everything. Rates vary by province so google is your friend.
  • Sales tax is charged on vehicles everytime they are sold. So you pay tax on a second hand car. Again vehicle prices are generally quoted ex-tax. Finance calculators on manufacturers websites usually have a "include taxes" option.
  • Car insurance is massively expensive. It varies from province to province but we pay circa 3.5k per annum for two vehicles. .
  • Property taxes can be expensive - figure roughly 10% of property value.
  • Taxation consists of provincial and federal amounts. Again google is your friend here. Taxes are as high if not higher than the UK.
  • While GP (if you can find one) and hospital services are generally free, prescriptions are not and are charged at price not a flat rate like on the NHS. Extended health benefits which cover prescriptions and usually an amount towards things like physio etc are usually part of an employment package. Dental is fully private and payable & again dental package is usually available through your employer. You will pay some percentage of the premiums for extended health through payroll deductions.
  • Electricity/Heating oil/gas costs can be researched per province. It gets cold and hot in Canada so you you'll likely have heating and aircon costs.
  • The price of cheese will make your eyes bleed......:-)
What a useful collection of information, had to chuckle about the price of cheese and in my experience it's not particularly good either.
Another source of information which we found to be reasonably accurate for food prices is https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/
HTH
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Old Nov 5th 2021, 5:03 pm
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Default Re: RichMitch's questions about cost of living

Worth highlighting that taxes are not added to grocery foods except for stuff like pop and potato chips.
And you may get the odd situation where frozen shrimps are food but if sold in a ring they are taxed. Party (or luxury) food rather than essential food kind of thing.
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Old Nov 5th 2021, 6:16 pm
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Default Re: RichMitch's questions about cost of living

Originally Posted by christmasoompa View Post
You might want to say what you do in the IT industry, as we have a lot of peeps that work in IT on the forum and they may be able to advise/help.
Indeed. Be aware that there's only one place in Toronto, possibly all of Canada, that can serve you a fry with the choice of soda or tatty bread.

I don't think anyone's mentioned the price of houses, and therefore rent. www.realtor.ca is the place to have dreams shattered.
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Old Nov 5th 2021, 6:19 pm
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Default Re: RichMitch's questions about cost of living

Originally Posted by Atlantic Xpat View Post
Generalisations:
  • Prices for everything are ex-tax. You have to add GST/HST (VAT in Uk terms) to everything. Rates vary by province so google is your friend.
Worth noting that prices for food and some other essentials have no tax applied.

Originally Posted by Atlantic Xpat View Post
  • Sales tax is charged on vehicles everytime they are sold. So you pay tax on a second hand car. Again vehicle prices are generally quoted ex-tax. Finance calculators on manufacturers websites usually have a "include taxes" option.
This can be worked around/reduced in some cases. For example, when I bought my car I put that it needed a bunch of mechanical work so wrote that I paid less for the car than I actually did.

Originally Posted by Atlantic Xpat View Post
  • Car insurance is massively expensive. It varies from province to province but we pay circa 3.5k per annum for two vehicles. .
But there is no road tax and fuel price and taxes are less. So that's worth considering.

Originally Posted by Atlantic Xpat View Post
  • Property taxes can be expensive - figure roughly 10% of property value.
10%?! That is not the case at all. For my home it is 0.5% of what I paid for it last year.

Originally Posted by Atlantic Xpat View Post
  • Taxation consists of provincial and federal amounts. Again google is your friend here. Taxes are as high if not higher than the UK.
Tax rates in most developed countries are similar. Though in Canada it is lower for higher incomes than the UK I believe.

Originally Posted by Atlantic Xpat View Post
  • While GP (if you can find one) and hospital services are generally free, prescriptions are not and are charged at price not a flat rate like on the NHS. Extended health benefits which cover prescriptions and usually an amount towards things like physio etc are usually part of an employment package. Dental is fully private and payable & again dental package is usually available through your employer. You will pay some percentage of the premiums for extended health through payroll deductions.
Again varies, but yes for the most part this is true.

Originally Posted by Atlantic Xpat View Post
  • Electricity/Heating oil/gas costs can be researched per province. It gets cold and hot in Canada so you you'll likely have heating and aircon costs.
Stay away from electric baseboard heating if possible. It's obscenely expensive to run.

Originally Posted by Atlantic Xpat View Post
  • The price of cheese will make your eyes bleed......:-)
Since the CETA Canada-EU deal the price of cheese has gone down considerably. In every supermarket there is a fancy cheese "deli" section (usually near the front) which remains pricey, but there is a second packaged cheese section in the dairy part of the store. The second area is usually much more affordable. I highly recommend Real Canadian Superstore/Loblaws for their Presidents choice cheese. You can get a 300g block of Swiss Cheese for $5.98 which is comparable to UK cheese prices.

Last edited by CanadaJimmy; Nov 5th 2021 at 6:48 pm.
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Old Nov 5th 2021, 6:40 pm
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Default Re: RichMitch's questions about cost of living

As Canada Jimmy has pointed out I had a decimal place missing in my property tax calculation. Figure on 0.5-1% of property cost.

The point on gas (petrol) cost being lower than UK I'd challenge. Cost of gas is $1.60/l here vs. probably the same in GBP in the UK. So cheaper, yes, but most vehicles here will be much less fuel efficient than the vehicle driven in the UK. In other words, petrol might be a third cheaper but even a modest car is going to do less mpg than whatever you drive in the UK. Drive a truck or SUV and of course the situation is much worse. No roadtax but annual motor vehicle licence amounts to the same thing surely?

Sadly out here in the far east I've yet to see the impacts of CETA on the price of decent cheese. It's a burden we carry for isolation.

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Old Nov 5th 2021, 6:50 pm
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Default Re: RichMitch's questions about cost of living

Originally Posted by Atlantic Xpat View Post
As Canada Jimmy has pointed out I had a decimal place missing in my property tax calculation. Figure on 0.5-1% of property cost.

The point on gas (petrol) cost being lower than UK I'd challenge. Cost of gas is $1.60/l here vs. probably the same in GBP in the UK. So cheaper, yes, but most vehicles here will be much less fuel efficient than the vehicle driven in the UK. In other words, petrol might be a third cheaper but even a modest car is going to do less mpg than whatever you drive in the UK. Drive a truck or SUV and of course the situation is much worse. No roadtax but annual motor vehicle licence amounts to the same thing surely?

Sadly out here in the far east I've yet to see the impacts of CETA on the price of decent cheese. It's a burden we carry for isolation.
For the car stuff, there is some truth there, that's reflective of human behavior though - there have also been studies that improved engine efficiencies have also led people to get larger vehicles.

For commuting I have a Honda Civic Hybrid which is comparable to european diesel cars and gets about 7l/100km or 40MPG (UK MPG not to be confused with US MPG which is different as a US gallon is smaller). For the family car we do have a large SUV, a Subaru Ascent, which does a much worse 23 MPG and thats after I increased the tire pressure to try and improve it as well. Also you do typically have to do more driving in Canada which is another factor.

For cheese I do believe you really can get some decent deals if you shop smart. Another one is a giant 1kg block of Kirkland Mozzerella at Costco for around $13. I guess if you're into the more artisan cheeses it's more difficult, but even then the Italian grocery stores like Bosa Foods in Vancouver aren't so bad cost wise. But yeah maybe different in Newfoundland.
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Old Nov 5th 2021, 7:20 pm
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Default Re: RichMitch's questions about cost of living

Originally Posted by Atlantic Xpat View Post
It's a burden we carry for isolation.

Nah, costs here: https://www.cheesyplace.com/

That said, we don't spend more than fifty bucks a week on cheese so, in terms of household budget, it's neither here nor there. The price of wine is more of an issue. Price of that here: www.lcbo.com

Last edited by dbd33; Nov 5th 2021 at 7:23 pm.
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Old Nov 5th 2021, 7:33 pm
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Default Re: RichMitch's questions about cost of living

Originally Posted by RichMitch View Post
Hi,

I was just looking for pointers on how to garner some information please in regards to typical day-to-day living expenses in Canada, things like groceries, utilities and running a family car. Apologies in advance if there is a wiki which covers this )

I appreciate that costs vary depending on where we end up living but was just looking for ball park figures if at all possible please.

Also, is it true that a tax is added onto items when you go to pay for it or maybe this is just in BC (I have a friend who lived there and he told me about this)?

Thanks so much again for all of your help.
I continue to think it’s expensive here, my gas, hydro and water bill are ridiculous.

Food is so expensive, we have got a lot healthier here though because takeaways are in general awful.
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