How expensive is it to live in Canada? Can one survive with minimum income?

Living in Toronto, a highly populated metropolis, with soaring skyscrapers, multinational companies, hundreds of start-ups being born everyday comes with a cost. The cost of living in Toronto is definitely higher than living in other cities in Canada.

It takes a few months to get a decent job in your field after you move here and surviving is a major concern. Like I mentioned in my previous blog no work here is looked down upon and it is advisable to get started with an odd job till you land the job of your dreams. Stated below is an approx cost of living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and whether a minimum income ($14/ hour) would be enough for you to survive in Canada.

Canada: Monthly Expenses
Canada Cost
  • Rent: $1200 to $2400
    Depends on the size of the apartment, old or new building, number of bedrooms, area/ locality, parking availability etc. Maximum cost renting up a top floor 1 bhk in a prime location, city centre with parking, would not go beyond $2400 a month.
  • Electricity: Approx $50
  • Phone bill: Approx $100 for 2 people
    If you have a phone already it will be $50. But if you need a new phone along with the sim card, you won’t have to pay the entire phone cost in one go, but pay it in instalments along with your phone bill.
  • Wifi: Approx $50
  • Grocery: $300 to $500 for 2-3 people
  • Travel expenses
    – Public transport (bus and train): About $10 everyday so about $300 – $350 a month
    – A Car would not be advisable to start with, as the insurance cost per month will be higher than the EMI + gas + parking etc. going over $600 a month.
    – Uber/ lyft rides are expensive as well, starting with a minimum of $10 + tip + taxes for minimum distance.
  • Additional expenses
    – Eating outside: In a restaurant: $40 for 2 people, fast food: $20 for 2 people
    – Hair cut/grooming starting from $25 – $30
  • The first time you move in, there will be other additional expenses like winter clothes, boots, furniture etc. which will be additional. Most of the houses provide a fridge, microwave etc. The only product we got was a mattress and beddings and winter boots.
  • Total monthly expense for 2 people: $2,200 to $3,700 (including points 1 to 7)

Even if you get a minimum pay job at a coffee house or a supermarket you will make $14 per hour, with 40 hours a week. Deducting taxes, 2 people would earn about $4000.


It is possible for 2 people to survive in Toronto on minimum wages till you get a stable job. But both of you would have to work. If you are coming solo, you can reduce the expenses by renting a shared apartment.

If you are still in the earlier stages and lost with the application process, read the PR process blog to get clarity.

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Until next blog,
Much love,
Hacks to survive in Canada with a $14/ hour minimum wage job - Vishakha Sodha