Many Canadians’ job routines have been turned upside down with the new work-from-home reality that’s lasted for more than a year and a half.
While some individuals have taken the opportunity to work from friend’s houses or the cottage, others have actually moved to completely different provinces.
A survey by RBC Economics showed a record number of Canadians moved out east during the second quarter of 2021, which was a larger haul of new residents than 2019 and 2020 combined.
If your search history is full of apartment listings for a city you’ve always wanted to visit or you just can’t stand to work at the same bedroom desk anymore, we’ve compiled some of the basic costs for moving across the country while taking advantage of that work-from-home freedom.
AVERAGE COST TO RENT
Penelope Graham, managing editor at Zoocasa, said remote work is really opening up opportunities for Canadians to improve their cost of living.
"It’s important to weigh all the variables; rent and vacancy rates are a big part, but the impact on your lifestyle is also an important consideration,” Graham said in an email.
"For instance, if you have kids, will you pay more or less for childcare, or perhaps lose family support? Will you be leaving a network of friends or a community where you’ve built connections? It’s vital to take the big picture into account when making a big move."
Graham said the Maritimes and Prairies are the most-affordable markets for Canadians to move to right now but she warned there’s tough rental competition out east in cities like Charlottetown and Fredericton, which have a vacancy rate of 2.6 per cent.
|Canadian cities||Average rent price for two-bedroom apartment in October|
Data provided by Zoocasa
TRAVELLING TO THE NEW CITY
Jamina Kotak, chief of staff at Edmonton-based discount carrier Flair Airlines, said the best deals right now are out west.
“From Toronto, you’re going to get a great deal heading out west or to Florida,” Kotak said.
“Vancouver for $89 (without a bag)? That’s a steal. Halifax is also a great place for a fall trip and fares are very affordable.”
The following prices include the flight and one carry-on bag:
|Flight||Carrier||Price (including one carry-on bag)|
|Toronto to Vancouver||Flair Airlines||$138|
|Toronto to Edmonton||Flair Airlines||$108|
|Toronto to Regina||Flair Airlines||$108|
|Toronto to Winnipeg||Flair Airlines||$118|
|Toronto to Montreal||Flair Airlines||$98|
|Toronto to Charlottetown||Flair Airlines||$98|
|Toronto to Fredericton||Porter Airlines||$188|
|Toronto to St. John's||Porter Airlines||$291|
|Toronto to Halifax||Flair Airlines||$88|
MOVING TRUCK COSTS
Another factor to consider is the cost of shipping all of your belongings to your new apartment.
Toronto-based J and J Moving said the least expensive city to ship an average two-bedroom’s worth of belongings is Montreal.
Moving companies consider a number of different variables such as price-per-pound for shipping to various cities and gasoline.
|Moving two-bedroom apartment from Toronto||Price|
|Toronto to Vancouver||$7,802|
|Toronto to Edmonton||$7,023|
|Toronto to Regina||$7,023|
|Toronto to Winnipeg||$7,023|
|Toronto to Montreal||$6,905|
|Toronto to Charlottetown||$12,080|
|Toronto to Fredericton||$9,665|
|Toronto to St. John's||$9,665|
|Toronto to Halifax||$8,972|
In terms of buying groceries, cities in Eastern Canada have better prices for food with an average basket of products costing less than other municipalities.
Data by Agri-Food Analytics Lab, Dalhousie University and BetterCart Analytics
Vancouver comes in at the top of the list with basic groceries costing residents almost $20 more than it does for locals in Charlottetown.
The estimates are base prices for basic staples like bread, milk and vegetables for an average adult.
From tallying up the price of an average two-bedroom apartment, food costs for basic items, flights out of Toronto and shipping your belongings, the best options to work remotely from right now are Regina, Edmonton and Winnipeg.
While it’s cheaper to rent and buy groceries on the East Coast, the high cost of shipping belongings and lack of inexpensive flights make the initial cost to move more expensive.
|City||Average initial moving cost|
WORKING REMOTELY WITHOUT MOVING
But if the total cost of moving to another city looks like it might be out of your price range there are always other options if you’re looking to get away for a bit while working remotely.
Some airlines offer reduced ticket prices if you’re travelling without a carry-on bag which can help significantly cut the cost of your flight.
You can also use vacation rental apps like Airbnb, which have reported a surge of users staying for an extended period of time during COVID.
The accommodation-sharing platform said from July to September, one-out-of-five of nights booked were for stays of one month or longer with many guests looking to get away while working remotely.
And no matter where you’re staying, make sure to check on your new home’s WiFi and workspace set-up before moving in order to ensure the smoothest transition possible without any surprises.