Toronto and Vancouver improve in cost of living survey
Although it may not feel like it, a recent study on the world’s most expensive cities to live and work in indicates that Canada is becoming a little cheaper relative to other major cities across the globe.
Mercer’s 25th annual Cost of Living Survey has come out, and it reports that life in two of the most expensive Canadian cities—Vancouver and Toronto—has dropped at least a little bit in cost.
Toronto, which took the top place for Canadian cities in 2018, dropped six spots in 2019, ending up number 115 on the list. Vancouver, although it replaced Toronto as the most expensive Canadian city, also fell from 109 in 2018 to 112 on the list in 2019.
Over 500 cities were looked at in the survey, and the 2019 ranking contains 209 cities across five continents. In order to determine what the cost of living is in each city, the survey looks at how expensive over 200 different items or services are in each city, from housing and transportation to the price of coffee and movie tickets.
The survey is aimed at helping employers whose employees have moved overseas for business to accurately calculate how much they should be compensated based on how expensive the living situation is in the employees’ new city. The results are as of March 2019, when the most recent data was collected.
“This year’s results show that Canada remains a relatively affordable place to live and an attractive destination for expatriates – a strength for Canada and Canadian companies as we compete to attract and retain the best talent in the world and prepare for the workforce of the future,” said Gordon Frost, Partner and Career Business Leader for Mercer Canada.
Those who call Ottawa their home will be happy to hear that the nation’s capital is still the cheapest Canadian city to live in of those that appeared on the list, holding fairly steady at 161 compared to last year’s 160 spot. Calgary also moved by only one point, going from 154 in 2018 to 153 in 2019.
Montreal had the biggest change of any Canadian city, and is the only one that became significantly more expensive: it jumped from 147 to 139 on the list.
The top 10 most expensive cities are, in order:
- Hong Kong
- Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
- New York City
- Shenzhen, China
The top 10 is dominated by countries in the Asian Pacific partially because of a strong housing market, according to the survey.
“From a global perspective, Canada remains a relatively affordable place to live and an attractive destination for expatriates placed by organizations outside the country,” said Gordon Frost, Partner and Career Business Leader for Mercer Canada.
“Cost of living and quality of living are key components of a competitive total rewards program and compelling employee value proposition – both of which are essential for companies to attract and retain the best talent as they prepare for the workforce for the future.”