Which Canadian city is considered the most expensive?

'Despite domestic inflationary pressures that are affecting overall quality of living, Canada continues to be an attractive destination for remote workers'

Which Canadian city is considered the most expensive?

Toronto is the most expensive city in Canada, outpacing Vancouver in the rankings, according to Mercer.

Other Canadian cities that made it to the list are Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary.

But all these cities are far from being the most expensive in the world.

Globally, Toronto ranks 90th while Vancouver landed at 116th. Montreal (135th), Ottawa (137th) and Calgary (145th) all placed lower down the list.

“Despite domestic inflationary pressures that are affecting overall quality of living, Canada continues to be an attractive destination for remote workers,” says Nicole Stewart, principal for career at Mercer Canada.

“Extensive remote work flexibility is causing many employees to re-shift their priorities and think differently about where they want to work and live, and this will continue to force organizations to develop effective compensation strategies for their globally distributed workforces.”

Canada is experiencing a slight period of economic stagnation, with the GDP contracting 0.1 per cent in Q4 of 2022, and its total growth reduced to 3.5 per cent over the entire year (from five per cent in 2021), according to Mercer. 

The country also experienced a slight decrease in the inflation rate in 2023, with inflation lowering to 5.2 per cent in February 2023 – down from 5.7 per cent last year and 8.1 per cent in June 2022.

Most expensive cities worldwide

Hong Kong is the most expensive city in the world, according to the 2023 Mercer Cost of Living survey.

Singapore placed second while Switzerland’s Zurich (third), Geneva (fourth) and Basel (fifth) filled the next three slots.

Completing the top 10 are New York City (sixth), Bern in Switzerland (seventh), Tel Aviv in Israel (eighth), Copenhagen in Denmark (ninth) and Nassau in the Bahamas (10th).

Meanwhile, the cheapest cities in the world among the 227 countries on Mercer’s list are Islamabad (227th) and Karachi (226th) in Pakistan, and Havana in Cuba (225th).

“The recent COVID-19 pandemic and political tensions around the globe accelerated widespread use of remote working, which, in turn, has prompted multinational employers to reassess how they manage their workforces,” says Yvonne Traber, partner and global head of the mobility business at Mercer.

“Competition in the global talent market is fierce, and with the cost of living crisis affecting both employees and organizations, employers need to be flexible. The structure of their compensation strategies for internationally mobile and remote workers must be not only clear but also backed by reliable data.”

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