Toronto affordability improves as Canada remains ‘attractive destination’ for foreign workers: report

Article content

Despite the escalating cost of living, Canada’s biggest cities remain an attractive and affordable option for international workers compared to counterparts in North America and the rest of the world.

Mercer’s 2024 Cost of Living City Ranking, released over the weekend, examined the cost of living for international workers in 226 major cities around the world. Five Canadian cities made the list, all of them landing around the midway mark.

Article content

Toronto came in as the most expensive Canadian city, at 92 on the list, followed by Vancouver at 101, Montreal at 118, Ottawa at 126 and Calgary at 141.

“Despite economic headwinds in 2024, we’ve seen the Canadian economy show resilience and it is outperforming expectations,” Vince Cordova, Mercer’s North American mobility advisory lead, said in a news release.

“While concerns around cost of living remain, (the) labour market continues to show it’s on solid ground, making Canada an attractive destination for inbound foreign nationals.”

Among the five Canadian cities on the list, Toronto was the only one to improve its affordability on the world stage, having ranked 90th a year ago.

“Employers should be open about sharing cost of living and net pay information with prospective inbound staff so they can better understand the financial impacts of their relocation to Canada and make a fully informed decision on whether or not to move ahead,” Cordova added.

Overall, Hong Kong, Singapore and Zurich were the most expensive cities, while 19 U.S. cities ranked higher than Toronto.

Article content

Despite the apparent good news, many newcomers still find Canada too expensive. A recent survey from Leger Marketing Inc. found more than 80 per cent of newcomers consider Canada too expensive, while more than half of respondents found living in Canada to be “significantly more expensive” than they expected.

“High living costs may cause assignees to adjust their lifestyle, cut back on discretionary spending or even struggle to meet their basic needs,” Yvonne Traber, Mercer’s global mobility leader, said in the release.

“To offset these challenges, employers can offer compensation packages that include housing allowances or subsidies or provide other support services. They can also explore alternative talent sourcing strategies.”

Recommended from Editorial

Canada has been actively encouraging immigration to the country, as it looks to address its labour shortage and aging workforce.

In November 2023, the federal government announced plans to welcome 500,000 newcomers in 2025 and 2026, though the plans have since been scaled back in light of the ongoing housing crisis.

• Email: [email protected]

Share this article in your social network