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Expats say Canada’s Cost of Living is still affordable

If you are planning on immigrating, Canada might offer you the most affordable options say the findings of the newest Mercer Expat survey who ranked Canada's priciest city, Vancouver, ranks relatively lowly at 107th in the world, occupying mostly the bottom half of the 2009–world-city-list.

Expats Say Canada’S Cost Of Living Is Still Affordable

The survey from human resources consultancy Mercer ranks Toronto second, after Vancouver, followed by Montreal and Calgary from most to least expensive cities. The same survey named Australian cities the most expensive for foreigners - and anyone else for that matter, but locals are less affected. Mercer Consulting carries out these cost-of-living surveys for business expats — people who are sent on company business around the world. So it measures cost of living differently from how locals would.


Given the soaring cost of housing in Toronto and Vancouver, you'd think both these cities would be near the top of the most expensive cities worldwide.

Vancouver ranked as the 107th most expensive city in the world, while Toronto came in 119th, followed by Montreal (129th), Calgary (143rd) and Ottawa (152nd).

Compare that to Aussie cities’ rankings; Sydney (25), Australia’s most expensive city for expatriates, gained seventeen places in the ranking along with Melbourne (46) and Perth (50) which went up twenty-five and nineteen spots, respectively.

"Although the cost of living in Vancouver or Toronto may be high for locals, both cities remain attractive destinations for expatriates placed by organizations outside the country," Gordon Frost, head of Mercer Canada's career business, said in a statement.

Why does Canada remain more affordable?

One major factor is relative exchange rates. Canada's dollar has sunk in recent years, following oil prices downwards. That has reduced the cost of living in these cities from a global perspective. Of course, to a local earning local currency, that doesn't make much difference.

"The Canadian dollar has appreciated in value, triggering the major jumps in this year's ranking," said Nathalie Constantin-Métral, the principal at Mercer responsible for compiling the rankings.


Luanda, Angola, ranks as the most expensive city in the world, according to Mercer. But as part of that cost, Mercer counted the cost of providing your own security. If you're a local in Luanda, chances are you aren't paying a combat team to protect your home.

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