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Immigrating to Canada can be an exciting dream for many in Hong Kong: you get to discover a new place, enjoy a slower pace of living, and experience a completely different lifestyle. Canada is also known to be one of the best countries to live in the world, thanks to its low crime rate, ample natural scenery, and comprehensive healthcare system.
If you are living in Hong Kong, the city which has ranked as the most expensive city in the world many times over, worries and stress relating to living expenses are always on your mind. The cost of living in Canada, a country often dubbed the “Great White North”, cannot be compared to that of Hong Kong. The following entry will demonstrate how living in Canada, especially Montreal, is a very affordable and desirable option.
If you have children, education expenses is one of the most important factors to consider before moving to Canada. Canada has a world-class education system; it is home to many top universities and offers both private and public options at rates that are lower than what you would pay for private education in Hong Kong.
Take Montreal as an example, if you intend to immerse your children in an international environment while in Canada or if neither of the parents is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you can opt for international education for your children. The yearly cost of international primary school education in Montreal for one child is approximately a fifth of what it costs in Hong Kong.
The housing situation in Hong Kong is internationally infamous, therefore finding a new home can be at the top of your list when considering immigrating to Canada. Whether you are planning to rent an apartment or to buy a property outright, it is important to know what the costs could be before moving.
The real estate prices vary in different Canadian cities. While the Toronto and Vancouver real estate market has become increasingly expensive over the last few years, Montreal can offer much more attractive housing options for both potential renters and buyers. In Montreal, the real estate prices are low as compared to many other major Canadian cities, and it is fairly easy to find a property within a short period of time.
Depending on the size and location, rent in Hong Kong can be 2-5 times of that in Montreal. For instance, the rent of a one-bedroom apartment in the centre of the Montreal costs around CAD $1,000, or HKD$ 6,000, while in Hong Kong it costs from HKD$ 15,000 – 30,000. If you are looking for a three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre, you would likely have to pay around HKD $7,500 in Montreal and HKD$ 20,000 – 50,000 in Hong Kong.
While many expats choose to rent in Montreal, you may be more interested in buying and owning your own home, especially if you plan on staying in Canada permanently. Buying a property in Canada is also considerably cheaper than in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, an apartment in the city centre will often cost more than10 million HKD, which is almost six times higher than what you would pay in Montreal. Even comparing to Toronto, an apartment with the same quality can be half of the price in Montreal. Besides the lower cost, you can also have a variety of properties to choose from in Canada; whether it’s a chic two-bedroom apartment in the city centre, or a standalone house in the suburb with a spacious garden for your kids to play and run around in, owning a property can be an affordable reality.
Now that we have shown you the lower cost of living in Montreal, you may wonder what the living costs in other Canadian cities are like, especially when comparing to Montreal, and whether immigrating to Canada is still an affordable and the right decision for you. Here is a summary and comparison of the living expenses in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto:
Dining out is generally cheaper in Montreal than in other major Canadian cities. A three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant costs 30% more in Toronto and Vancouver than in Montreal.
Grocery shopping is the cheapest in Montreal, with Toronto being the most expensive for everything including meat, fresh produce and alcohol.
If you like heading to the cinema, the cheapest place to go watch a movie among the three cities is Montreal, with an adult ticket costing 15% more in Vancouver and Toronto. Joining the gym is also 40% cheaper in Montreal than in Toronto.
Once again, Montreal is the cheapest in this category: a monthly transport card costs 10% more in Vancouver and 70% more in Toronto, comparing to Montreal.
If taking a taxi is a habit of yours after living in Hong Kong, Toronto should be the city to avoid as it is the most expensive there, with the starting tariff set at CAD $4 / HKD $24, compared to CAD $3.5 / HKD $21 in Vancouver and Montreal.
While you won’t find too much of a difference in vehicle prices between the three cities, it is slightly more economical to purchase a new car in Montreal.
It’s worth pointing out that it is not common in Canada for your utilities to be included in the rent, so it is important to take into consideration that extra cost when looking at renting. In general, your basic utilities (water, garbage, heating, electricity) will be 65% higher in Toronto than in Montreal.
In our experience, there are numerous reasons why Quebec is better suited for Hong Kong immigrants. As the most populous city in Quebec province, Montreal is considered one of the best places to live in Canada due to its low cost of living, fantastic child care and comprehensive subsidies and welfares. The overall cost of living is lower in Montreal. Sending your child to an international school or buying your own property with a garden may seem like a distant dream in Hong Kong, but in Montreal, it can become a reality.
If you are thinking about immigrating to Canada but do not know which immigration program you should apply for, our team of professional immigration lawyer consultants at Simard & Associates are happy to help. Our immigration consultants are Quebec-licensed immigration lawyer consultants, who are experts in helping clients immigrate to Quebec. By understanding your personal conditions and immigration ambition, we will tailor the most suitable immigration solution for you and your family. In fact, we have already helped thousands of families move to Canada successfully.
If you have any questions about immigration to Canada or want to know more about the cost of living in Canada, please feel free to give us a call at +852 2169 0388 or fill in our online enquiry form.
Footnote: Average costs correct at time of writing, but may be subject to change.