Cost Of Living In Manitoba VS Ontario

Toronto View From CN Tower

Despite their many differences, Manitoba and Ontario are both popular provinces to which people move both for work and for a change in lifestyle. Both provinces have great cities, beautiful outdoors, and numerous work opportunities, but if you are thinking about moving to either of these places and you are having trouble deciding which is best, you are in the right place.

A big part of your choice will be the cost of living in both places. Therefore, to help you understand what costs you can expect in Manitoba and Ontario, I have put together a list detailing the cost of living in both provinces. This list will enable you to gauge some of the important information you’ll need to make your next steps.

Housing Costs

It only makes sense to start with information about housing costs, since this is the biggest expense in the majority of people’s lives.

First, we will take a look at the price difference between both capital cities, Winnipeg (Manitoba) and Toronto (Ontario). Since there are so many small towns and rural villages in both provinces due to the sheer land mass of each area, it is difficult to find an accurate provincial average.


The average price of a one-bedroom apartment is currently around $955 per month, and the average price of a three-bedroom apartment is roughly $1460.

You will certainly find the same type or size of an apartment in any area outside of the big cities for less, and if you are willing to move outside of the city centers, it is not unusual to find what you need for as little as $500 per month, even for a small family.

When it comes to buying a home, as of late 2019, the average cost in Winnipeg is between $290,000 and $300,000, and of course, you can expect to pay a lot less in non-metropolitan areas.


For a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto, the average cost is $2150 per month, which is substantially more than in Winnipeg. Renting a three-bedroom apartment in the city will increase the cost to an average of $3550 per month.

In places outside of the capital or in other main cities, you can expect to pay around $1750 for a family-sized apartment, or a few hundred less for a smaller apartment.

If you are in a position to buy a property, the current average cost as of late 2019 is estimated to be $805,000 in the city, but for the same time period, the average house price outside the capital is much less at $428,000. Larger savings can be achieved if you are willing to live outside the city limits.

Average housing costs are based on information on the website Numbeo, which collects real-life data from people actually living in the places in question, and this allows for a statistical analysis of the data to be provided – the link for the comparison on Numbeo can be found here.

Provincial Taxes

Taxes in Canada for personal income tax, sales tax, and provincial tax vary depending on the province.


Currently, Manitoba has a 5% Federal Goods and Services Tax, and an 8% rate for Provincial Sales Tax (also known as Retail Sales Tax) making a total of 13%.

When it comes to Personal Income Tax, Manitoba has fewer tax brackets than other provinces, with three tax brackets covering the following;

Income Percentage
All income up to $31,843 10.8%
Income between $31,843 and $68,821 12.75%
Income above over $68,821 17.4%


The initial ten percent is slightly higher than average compared to other provinces, but the further tax brackets are pretty standard amounts.


Ontario combines their Provincial Sales Tax, and Federal Goods and Services Tax, and instead, they have what is known as a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). The total amount for this tax is 13%, on par with Manitoba.

For Personal Income Tax, there are five tax brackets which consist of;

Income Percentage
 Income up to $42,960 5.05%
Income between $42,960 and $85,923 9.15%
Income between $85,923 and $150,000 11.16%
Income between $150,000 and $220,000 12.16%
Income above $220,000 13.16%

While there are more tax brackets than Manitoba, the tax amounts and income ranges are lower than many other provinces.


As with housing costs, the following information for food prices is sourced from Numbeo, the link towards the top of the also details price comparisons for food between the capital cities.

All main food sources listed below, such as rice, bananas, potatoes, cheese, bread, etc, are cheaper in Manitoba than in Ontario, as is supermarket-bought wine and beer. The difference in prices for food ranges between four percent cheaper in Manitoba, all the way up to some food items being more than fifty percent cheaper. As an average, grocery prices are nearly twenty-four percent more expensive in Ontario.

Product Toronto Winnipeg
Milk (1 liter) C$ 2.84 C$ 1.75
Rice C$ 4.31 C$ 3.44
Eggs 12 units C$ 3.47 C$ 3.12
Local Cheese C$ 19.74 C$ 10.50
Chicken Breasts 1kg C$ 14.98 C$ 12.65
Beef Round 1kg C$ 21.15 C$ 12.33
Beef Round 1kg C$ 21.15 C$ 12.33
Apples 1kg C$ 4.09 C$ 3.64
Oranges 1kg C$ 4.45 C$ 2.20
Tomato 1kg C$ 4.45 C$ 2.20
Potato 1kg C$ 3.12 C$ 2.74
Onion 1kg C$ 3.11 C$ 2.03
Lettuce 1 Head C$ 2.74 C$ 2.43
Water 1.5-liter bottle C$ 2.20 C$ 2.08
Bottle of Wine C$ 16.38 C$ 15.00
Domestic Beer C$ 3.12 C$ 2.36
Imported Beer C$ 3.24 C$ 2.81
Cigarettes 20 Pack Marlboro C$ 15.00 C$ 15.50


When it comes to utilities, prices in both provinces are more or less the same. The few dollars that you might save in Manitoba on water or electricity compared to Ontario, are absorbed in higher average costs for things like internet services. In both provinces, you can expect comparable utility prices, and of course, the total amount will depend entirely on your consumption or needs.

Monthly Expenses Toronto Winnipeg
Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water C$ 133.77 C$ 128.36
Basic Internet C$ 66.02 C$ 71.10


Toronto Dundas Square

Entertainment costs will depend on your idea of entertainment and what you like to do in your spare time, but as a general rule, you will find entertainment slightly cheaper in Manitoba.

This includes things such as eating out in restaurants, gym memberships, the cinema, and show tickets. The difference in prices might only be a few dollars but paying a few dollars less on a regular basis will add up over time. However, one of the great advantages of living in Canada is the ability to explore the wonderful and rugged terrain found all over the country. Both provinces have plenty of hiking and walking trails from which you can marvel at the breathtaking beauty for free.

Average Salary

It is necessary to know the average salary for the area in order to give some perspective to the cost of living.


Unfortunately, it is not possible to get an accurate provincial average. However, since the main expense of housing costs includes the capital, it is easy enough to get an idea by using the current average salary for Winnipeg which stands at $47,259. Using this figure against all the costs listed above will give you a fairly good idea of what your standard of living would be like. The salary you can achieve get will depend on the field you are in and the area, and it is worth noting that the same job outside the city will likely pay a lower salary.


As with Manitoba, there are too many factors to accurately get a provincial average, but we can use the average of Toronto to get a good idea of what income would look like compared to outgoings. As of late 2019, the average salary is $62,000, which is nearly fifteen thousand dollars more than in Winnipeg, but you must not forget the consistently higher living costs.


The overall conclusion, when comparing Ontario to Manitoba, is that Manitoba is cheaper overall; even in areas that we have not covered such as clothing prices, public transport costs (Ontario actually have some of the most expensive public transport costs in the country) and childcare costs. It is estimated that based on a single person renting in the cities, you would need to earn around $4600 per month in Winnipeg to have a good standard of living or $6800 to have the same standard of living in Toronto.

There are many reasons why, on the whole, Ontario is more expensive, and there is no doubt that there are better job opportunities in the province compared to Manitoba. The economy in Ontario is particularly strong in the country but it is important to be fully aware of the facts before making a decision about where to go. Like with all cities in the world, if possible, it is better to live on the outskirts of the city and commute to the city because you can earn a city salary without paying city housing prices.

This is not to say that living in Manitoba will be a financial dream because you are not guaranteed to find a great job or a desirable place to live; but Manitoba does also have a strong economy. Due to the fact that they are able to use and export many natural resources, such as mining and agriculture, they are able to keep the balance between a good standard of living with fairly low costs.

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