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 2023 Cost of Living Survey placed Calgary 145th out of 227 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.

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 has to offer in terms of lifestyle is focused on the outdoors and is therefore relatively inexpensive. With an abundance of green spaces, expats in Calgary will likely spend most of their time on the hiking and biking trails in the Rockies instead of splurging their 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 will have to 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 June 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent in a good area)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

CAD 1,700

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

CAD 1,420

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

CAD 3,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside city centre

CAD 2,300


Milk (1 litre)

CAD 2.52

Loaf of white bread

CAD 3.10

Chicken breasts (1kg)

CAD 15.32

Rice (1kg)

CAD 3.85

Dozen eggs

CAD 4.27

Pack of cigarettes

CAD 18

Eating out

Big Mac meal

CAD 12

Coca-Cola (330ml)

CAD 2.54


CAD 5.16

Bottle of beer (local)

CAD 7.50

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

CAD 100


Mobile phone monthly plan with data

CAD 56

Internet (average per month)

CAD 88

Basic utilities (per month for a small apartment)

CAD 315


Taxi rate/km


City centre bus/train fare

CAD 3.60

Petrol (per litre)

CAD 1.36

Expat Health Insurance

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Moving your family abroad can be intimidating, but learning about medical options such as family health insurance early on can help you settle successfully.

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