Is it better to live in BC or Ontario?

Ontario and British Columbia are the two most popular provinces in Canada. Anyone thinking of moving to Canada will likely have on their shortlist. So, which is a better place to live between BC or Ontario.

There isn’t much difference between British Columbia and Ontario regarding livability. Both are expensive to live in, have an efficient transport system, strong economies, a beautiful environment, and are family-friendly. But BC edges Ontario as the more livable place due to higher living standards.

However, Ontario remains a fantastic choice for anyone planning to live in Canada. The province has the biggest economy and entertainment scene in the country. Here, we compare livability factors between Ontario and British Columbia.

1.   Accommodation

Having a roof over one’s head is a necessity, and the ease of having access to that can go a long way to determine if a place is livable. For British Columbia and Ontario, there’s only a slight difference in the price of homes, and accommodation is generally unaffordable, especially in the major cities. Both provinces contain Canada’s most expensive housing markets, i.e. GTA and Greater Vancouver. The average cost of homes in British Columbia is over a million, while Ontario is a bit lower at $998,629.

Rents are equally expensive in both provinces, with Ontario being slightly cheaper. For example, the rent for a 1-bed apartment in Vancouver is $2,200, and it’s $1,900 in Toronto. Of course, several other cities within both provinces have more affordable accommodation. But the cost is still far above that of other provinces.

2.   Transport

Getting around British Columbia is quite easy due to the multiple transportation options available. Public transportation options include buses, rails, ferries, and taxis. The plethora of transportation options in the province makes it easy for residents to get from one part of the province to another. Beyond that, several cities in British Columbia are bike-friendly. Victoria, Vancouver, and Sunshine Coast are reputable bike-friendly cities. There are several kilometres of bike lanes in most of these cities, and you can easily find where to rent bikes even if you don’t have yours.

Ontario equally has an efficient public transportation system, which most of the over 14 million residents in the province use. If you live in a major city like Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, etc., you’ll most likely not need to have a car of your own to get around. This shows just how effective the transport system is. Ontario is also bike-friendly, even if not up to BC.

However, The Go Train in Toronto is more expensive than Vancouver’s SkyTrain. With Ontario having almost 9 million people more than BC, the difference in population means that it’s more congested. Thus, moving around can be more difficult.

3.   Outdoor Environment and Weather

Ontario is a wonderful province with lots of amazing sights. The province has several lakes, and almost all the cities here have parks. Its biggest city, Toronto, has over 1400 parks. However, British Columbia has a different kind of beauty. It’s close to the ocean and what you get here is a combination of coastal beauty with mountainous terrain. In addition, it has a far lower population than Ontario, making it easier to appreciate its natural beauty.

Along with BC’s beautiful environment is its weather. It’s warmer than Ontario due to its closeness to the ocean. The warmest cities in Canada, such as Vancouver and Victoria, are in British Columbia. The quality of air, scenic environment and warm weather has led to an outdoorsy culture in British Columbia. So, if you’re someone who prefers spending time outdoors and enjoying the natural environment, BC might just be perfect for you.

4.   Economy and Employment Conditions

British Columbia has the best-performing economy among Canadian provinces, but Ontario has the largest economy. The strong economy of Ontario owes a lot to Toronto and Ottawa. Ontario’s manufacturing and service industries contribute more than two-thirds of its GDP, and Toronto is a major technology and financial hub.

Although both cities have a strong economy, employment conditions differ slightly. The unemployment rate in British Columbia is 5.1% as of January 2022, while that of Ontario is 7.30%. The average wage BC is $131,000 while Ontario’s is $134,000. Thus, there isn’t much difference in the economic conditions of the two provinces. That said, Ontario is the economic capital of Canada which means there are more economic opportunities here than you’ll find in any other part of the country. BC also has a higher minimum wage than Ontario.

5.   Family-Friendly Amenities

If you’re moving to Canada with your family, you’ll want a place with family-friendly facilities. Fortunately, both excel in this area. Whether it’s healthcare, entertainment, leisure or educational amenities, you’ll find lots of it no matter where you choose to live. Both provinces have a high-quality education system starting from kindergarten to tertiary institutions. Two of the best universities in Canada, the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia, are located in both provinces.

Both provinces are the top three in terms of educational standards and Alberta. Both provinces are also highly rated when it comes to healthcare. But BC is better with ratings similar to that of Switzerland and Sweden. Both are quite safe, but if you’re looking to have a good time, Ontario has more entertainment options.

6.   Cost of Living

There are only slight differences in the cost of living in Ontario. The average cost of living in British Columbia for a single person and family of 4 is $1,841 and $4,275, respectively. This doesn’t include rent. On the other hand, Ontario has an average cost of living at $1887 for a single person and $4266 for a family of 4. Thus, BC is the more expensive option. But the difference is almost inconsequential.

In Conclusion

Ontario and BC are like two sides of the same coin in many cases. For example, both provinces have a high standard of living, strong economy, several amenities, etc. But there are still some differences to note, especially when considering which of the two you should live in.

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