While not quite as expensive as Toronto's or Vancouver's, Calgary's cost of living is still relatively high in some aspects. Mercer's 2024 Cost of Living Survey placed Calgary 141st out of 226 cities surveyed, making it the fifth most expensive city in Canada.

Cost of accommodation in Calgary

Housing is likely to be the highest expense expats in Calgary will incur. There is a significant shortage of affordable accommodation in the city, which has driven up rental prices in the city centre and forced many families into the outlying areas and suburbs of Calgary.

On top of the high housing prices, you'll also have to account for utility fees like electricity, gas, water, and WiFi. These can be fairly steep during Calgary's freezing winters. 

Cost of transport in Calgary

The cost of travelling in Calgary is relatively affordable, especially compared to other major Canadian cities. A monthly integrated travel pass is the most cost-effective means of getting around in Calgary. While taxis are readily available in the city centre, they are not cheap. Running a vehicle is also becoming increasingly expensive, so expats should consider car ownership carefully.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Calgary

Luckily, most of what Calgary offers in terms of lifestyle is relatively inexpensive and focused on the outdoors. With abundant green spaces, you will likely spend most of your time on the hiking and biking trails in the Rockies instead of splurging your hard-earned dollars at a shopping mall.

The restaurant and dining scene in Calgary is less diverse than what some expats from cosmopolitan cities may be used to. While much of the cuisine is American, expats can explore the city to discover some of its hidden culinary gems. Those who like to eat out will find the cost quite reasonable.

Cost of groceries in Calgary

The cost of groceries in Calgary is fairly affordable, and Alberta is the only province in Canada that does not levy a provincial sales tax on goods and services. This further adds to Calgary's affordability. That said, the cost of groceries in the city, as is the case worldwide, is rising.

Expats can make their grocery baskets more wallet-friendly by buying in bulk or from discount supermarkets, and ensuring they buy seasonal produce to avoid paying exorbitant prices. 

Cost of healthcare in Calgary

Expats who are permanent residents and those who have valid work or residence visas are eligible to receive free healthcare in Calgary. Additionally, the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) will reimburse expats for any medical expenses incurred before they receive their AHCIP card. 

New arrivals may consider investing in private health insurance to cover specialist services such as physiotherapy, dental care and mental health services. Some expats may be fortunate to have this covered by their employers. Otherwise, it's recommended that newcomers research the options available.

Cost of education in Calgary

Expats moving to Calgary with children will be glad to know they have the option of sending their child to a public school in the province at no cost. Alberta's education system benefits from extensive government funding, and some of the province's best-performing public schools are in Calgary. Nevertheless, childcare outside of school hours can be expensive, and expat parents with little ones must budget for this.

Cost of living in Calgary chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for July 2024.

Accommodation (monthly rent in a good area)
One-bedroom apartment in city centreCAD 2,000
One-bedroom apartment outside city centreCAD 1,600
Three-bedroom apartment in city centreCAD 3,200
Three-bedroom apartment outside city centreCAD 2,600
Milk (1 litre)CAD 2.50
Loaf of white breadCAD 3.50
Chicken breasts (1kg)CAD 19
Rice (1kg)CAD 5
Dozen eggsCAD 5.40
Pack of cigarettesCAD 20
Eating out
Big Mac MealCAD 15
Coca-Cola (330ml)CAD 2.90
CappuccinoCAD 5.30
Bottle of beer (local)CAD 7.50
Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurantCAD 100
Mobile phone monthly plan with dataCAD 64
Internet (average per month)CAD 91
Basic utilities (per month for a small apartment)CAD 300
Taxi rate/kmCAD 2
City centre bus/train fareCAD 3.70
Petrol (per litre)CAD 1.50

Expat Health Insurance

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