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.


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.

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Fruit is displayed on the island of a kitchen in a cottage on Lake Jo in Muskoka, Ont. on May 23, 2015. Photographer: James MacDonald/Bloomberg

"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
 Toronto $1,887
Vancouver $2,932
Edmonton  $1,266
 Regina  $1,153
 Winnipeg  $1,463
 Charlottetown  $978
 St. John's  $2,063
Halifax  $2,041
 Fredericton  $979
 Montreal  $1,918

Data provided by Zoocasa


Jamina Kotak, chief of staff at Edmonton-based discount carrier Flair Airlines, said the best deals right now are out west.

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Courtesy: Flair Airlines

“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



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.


City Cost
Toronto  $79.29
 Vancouver  $88.23
 Edmonton $86.29
 Regina  $88.03
 Winnipeg  $82.59
 Montreal  $83.19
 Charlottetown  $68.66
 Fredericton  $72.90
 St. John's  $73.89
 Halifax  $81.15

Data by Agri-Food Analytics Lab, Dalhousie University and BetterCart Analytics

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Tomatoes are displayed along with peaches and cucumbers at a farmers market in Milford, Conn. in August 2021. Katie Workman via AP

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
 Regina  $8,327.03
Edmonton  $8,483.29
Winnipeg  $8,686.59
 Montreal  $9,004.19
 Fredericton  $10,904.90
 Vancouver  $10,960.23
 Halifax  $11,182.15
 St. John's  $12,092.89
 Charlottetown  $13,224.66


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.

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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.