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Cost Of Living

The Cost Of Living In Ontario Compared To The Rest Of Canada

Life in Ontario is a dream for many people, with its diversity between nature and culture. The province offers thriving cities along with parks, forests, and freshwater lakes. But with inflation in Ontario skyrocketing, many Ontarians have left the province for a lower cost of living. So, how expensive is Ontario?

Ontario is a massive province, and the cost of living varies depending on where you live. Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area are one of the most expensive areas in Canada. Ontario isn’t the cheapest province to live in when considering rent, food, and gas prices. However, when you compare the cost of living and factor in the available job opportunities, Ontario can be a great place to live.

Cost of Living Comparison

Is the cost of living in Ontario much higher than in the rest of Canada? Comparing housing and other expenses, such as food, transportation, and utilities, is important to get an accurate picture of Ontario’s cost of living relative to other provinces and territories. Also, you’ll need to know how fast prices are rising due to inflation and what you need as a living wage to live in Ontario.

Rent prices

Housing is typically your biggest expense. Rents are increasing across Canada and Ontario, so you can expect your housing costs to be a significant part of your budget. Here’s how the average rent prices in Ontario compare to the rest of Canada.

Rental Type-ApartmentAverage price OntarioAverage Price Canada
1 Bedroom$2180$1695
2 Bedroom$2649$2073
3 Bedroom$2954$2370

As this table demonstrates, you’ll pay considerably more on average to rent an apartment in Ontario than in many other parts of Canada.


The cost of your utilities depends on several factors:

  • The size of your home.
  • The number of people living in your home.
  • The types of utilities you use.
  • How much electricity, heat and water you consume.
  • Whether your utilities are included in your rent or not.

A smaller home will typically use less energy than a larger home. You could be heating it with gas, oil, propane or electricity. If your family is small, you may consume less energy than a larger family.

Data from 2019 indicates that, on average, Ontarians paid $2,165 for gas heat, other fuels and electricity. The average cost of utilities across Canada’s ten provinces was $2,524 for the same year. Of course, getting accurate numbers regarding utility costs is challenging because there are so many variables. Research the city or town you plan to live in to get an idea of how much utilities will cost.

Food prices

Housing is only one of your necessities. Everyone has to eat, and the cost of groceries seems to climb higher every month. When managing your finances, food may be one area where you have some flexibility because it’s not a fixed cost like rent. So, how much, on average, will you pay to keep yourself fed in Ontario?

The average cost of groceries is often measured per person or family. These costs are broken down by age and sex. According to Canada’s Food Price Report, the average monthly cost of food for a female in Canada between the ages of 19-30 in 2022 was $297, while it was $341.14 for a male in the same age bracket.

Food prices in Toronto are about $360 per month per individual. But, of course, Toronto’s cost of living is very high, and you may pay less for groceries in other areas of Ontario.

Transportation costs

Getting around isn’t cheap, regardless of where you live in Canada. If you have a car, you’ll need to buy gas, pay for insurance and pay for parking. However, these costs will vary depending on where you live.

Gas prices in major city centres like Toronto or Vancouver are often higher than in less populated areas. However, if you live in the northern part of your province, you may pay more for gas than in the south. The type of car insurance your province offers can make a difference in how much you pay too. Some regions have private insurers, while others, like Saskatchewan, have public insurers.

Gas prices

In Ontario, the average cost of mid-grade unleaded gasoline on May 3, 2023, was $1.542 per litre. The average price of a litre of mid-grade unleaded gasoline in Canada was $1.567. Where you live will influence the amount you pay for gas.

Insurance prices

The average cost of car insurance in Ontario is $1,500. The average cost of car insurance in Canada is $1,078.  The province or territory you live in will affect your car insurance premiums. Quebec has the least expensive annual car insurance premiums, while British Columbia has the most costly.


Rising prices due to inflation are an ongoing problem for Canadians. Inflation is measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI is a measurement of prices in a basket of goods that the government determines is essential for a decent quality of life. It includes:

  • Shelter costs
  • Food
  • Health and personal care
  • Transportation
  • Clothing, Footwear
  • Furniture, Household operations
  • Recreation
  • Reading, Education
  • Alcohol, recreational cannabis, and tobacco

Increases or decreases in the prices of goods included in the CPI are a measure of inflation. No province or territory in Canada has managed to escape inflation, but is it worse on average across Canada or in Ontario?

In January of 2023, the average inflation rate in Canada was 5.9%. In January 2023, the inflation rate in Ontario was 5.6% compared to a year earlier. So, Ontario’s inflation rate was slightly lower than the nationwide average.

What’s Ontario’s living wage?

Where you live will significantly impact the minimum you need to earn to have a modest but reasonable lifestyle in Ontario. Doing a cost of living comparison will let you know how much you need to make to live comfortably in your chosen area.

One of the lowest amounts required is in the St.Thomas Elgin area in the region of London, Elgin and Oxford. If you live here, you must earn at least $18.05 an hour for a decent lifestyle.

The area with the highest living wage required is Toronto and Peel Region in the Greater Toronto Area. You’ll need a minimum hourly wage of $23.15 to cover your basic living expenses.

Ontario’s minimum wage is $15.50 per hour but will increase to $16.55 on October 1st, 2023. Despite the projected increase, Ontario’s minimum wage is far below what you need to live comfortably in the province.

Job opportunities

The overall job picture hasn’t been as good in Ontario as in other provinces. While Ontario employs the highest number of workers than any other province or territory, employment has grown at an annualized rate of only 1.4% over the last five years. The national average for employment growth is 3.4%. As a result, Ontario’s job growth falls behind the national average.

Some sectors of Ontario’s economy are experiencing a high demand for workers, like health care, trades, retail and restaurants. Job opportunities are available if you’re looking for work in a sector experiencing labour shortages. You can compare the job’s wages to the living wage you need.

Get Help With the Cost of Living

Ontario is a great place to live, but it’s expensive. If you are having a hard time managing your finances due to inflation, high housing costs, and debt payments, help is available. Our Licensed Insolvency Trustees at Adamson and Associates can help you deal with your debt so you don’t have to struggle financially.

Please contact us for a free consultation at 519-310-5646. We offer credit counselling, Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy to help you become debt free and get a fresh start.

John Adamson, Licensed Insolvency Trustee Ontario

John Adamson, CPA, CMA

John is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (1994), a Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional (CIRP – 1994), and a Chartered Professional Accountant with a Certified Management Accounting designation (CPA, CMA – 1992). His experience includes more than 25 years of helping individuals, small businesses, their owners and even lenders, find solutions to their debt problems.

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