What is the best city for IT jobs in Canada?

The best city or cities for IT jobs in Canada can be summed up as what do you consider to be the best reason to take a job. Is it the highest salary or cost of living or maybe it’s just finding a job that is not too stressful and taking a pay cut, could make it the best.

One thing to consider is the climate of the city and whether there is a high crime rate or not. All these factors and more determine which city is best for you. When taking in all of these factors plus the availability of work in your ideal city makes for a difficult choice.

If the highest salary is your main focus as well as availability and sheer numbers of jobs are what you are looking for then Toronto is by far the best city for you. This is where we will begin, by examining the different major cities in Canada to see what each of them has to offer. Here is the list of Best Cities for IT jobs in Canada.

Toronto

Based on the latest CBRE(Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis) ranking Toronto scores the top spot among Canadian cities based on the quality of labor, tech industry concentration 8.3%, and a 54% increase in the technology workforce. Next to Vancouver, it has the best weather in Canada. The Main Drawback is the high cost of living. However, Pay rates are some of the highest in Canada. Expert Market has a ranking as far as the cost of living and average salary which will surprise you. Toronto ranks 3rd in there charts coming 4th in average salary and 2nd in diversity in the workforce. Toronto being the financial capital of Canada and a lot of multi-millionaires, you can believe it is a place that tech startups go to be successful. The Economist even tried to name Toronto “Maple Valley” comparing it to “Silicon Valley” but it didn’t catch on. Toronto is home to such notable companies such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon Etsy, Shopify, LG. Samsung as well as so many more major brands that have invested in this city.

Kitchener/Waterloo

Most people consider Kitchener/Waterloo as one of the best places in Ontario to work. Without Toronto’s traffic and high population density and a high concentration of tech jobs. The CBRE ranks this area 4th in their rankings of tech cities with 20,400 tech workers and a 40% growth rate in the technology sector in just the last 5 years. Expert Market overall ranks it as 8th with a 2nd best in rent and sixth in average salary.

Montreal

With all the cultural activities going on in Montreal and the fast-growing technology sector it is a favorite for many. It is ranked 5th in Canada with the second most tech workers at over 130,000 but the sector’s growth rate was at around 14%. With Montreal’s french culture and charm, it is no wonder people want to live there but you will find that most of the tech jobs require you to speak and write French, with lots of bilingual positions as well. Montreal overall in the Expert Market had a ranking of 3rd with the 3rd place in rent and 3rd in the wage growth of the tech industry. With Ubisoft in Montreal and is the primary gaming industry leader in Canada, not to mention an amazing nightlife Montreal is hard to beat. Montreal’s tech talent has had better performance than Vancouver once again landing them ahead of Vancouver in the overall ranking.

Ottawa

The city of Ottawa ranks 2nd in Canada on the CBRE rankings and it is no wonder with over 64,000 tech workers and 10% of the workforce works in technology. That is one of the highest rates in North America as far as concentration of the workforce and with such a low crime rate and a low population density working in Ottawa is a choice for many Government workers. Ottawa was ranked as the best place to live and work with the 1st place in the cost of living and 2nd place in the average salary of tech jobs.

Vancouver

The best weather by far in all of Canada as far as temperature goes. One of the most scenic parts of the country, with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop of the city. Vancouver has around 75,000 technology workers with over 42% growth and a host of major tech firms which makes it rank 3rd in Canada. The Expert Market overall ranking of 9th with a mention of unique opportunities with branch offices of Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft.

Quebec City

With the old world charm and French culture all around, Quebec City is a favorite destination for tourists the world over. You will have to know how to speak and write French to work in this city as the majority of jobs require French with some bilingual positions available. The Tech sector employs around 25,000 people and with a 4.1% growth from 2013-2018, it is ranked in 8th position among cities in Canada.

Calgary

Known to Canadians as Canada’s Oil rich city, it employs around 40,000 technology workers and has a high score in labor quality but it experienced a 7% decline over 2013-1018 and is ranked 6th in Canada. Calgary is placed with a 2nd position ranking overall and as far as the average salary of tech workers they are number 1.

Edmonton

A sister city to Calgary, Edmonton has about 28,000 tech workers with a 25.7 % growth rate and a high score in the quality of workers, it is ranked 10th in Canada. Edmonton features low crime rates as well as less population density than most other cities but it still is experiencing a high growth rate in the technology sector. This city ranked overall 6th in Canada with a high ranking in time to commute to work.

Types of jobs in demand in 2020

In today’s job market in technology, the most in-demand jobs are related to programming. If you can write code then you have a great chance to get a job easily in Canada. The most demand programming languages are:

  • Python
  • Javascript
  • Java
  • C#

The jobs that pay the most with an average salary of the technology market at 81,750 with top earners surpassing 140,000. You can expect the top IT positions such as developer/programmer, IT project manager, and quality assurance analyst being the top-paying jobs with Network Administrator and Technical Support Specialist rounding off the top 8 positions. In between the top 3 and the bottom 2 you have a data analyst, IT business analyst, and software engineer.

List of Jobs on-demand with the average salary range

Job Title Salary range
Software Engineer / Developer / Programmer $43,190 – $119,984
System Administrator $40,603 – $80,547
IT Project Manager $52,898 – $130,146
Quality Assurance Analyst $40,084 – $78,681
Data Analyst $39,390 – $115,689
IT Business Analyst $47,763 – $94,991
Help Desk Analyst $32,208 – $56,623
IT manager $60,651 – 117,276

Conclusion

There is concern among economists that these regions are creating an inequality when compared with smaller cities that don’t have a tech sector concentration. They say only one smaller city stood out as a tech superstar and that was Waterloo. Waterloo between 2010 and 2018 had an expansion in its tech sector by 110%. Apart from that city, they fear that Canada will turn into another US country with the people in cities being the ones with the wealth and the smaller cities will be less fortunate. The problem they say in having such a concentration of tech jobs in just 5 cities is that the rest will have lower home valuations and suffer from inequality as seen between smaller cities and large cities in the US.

With such a vast array of choices to live you might wonder which is best even now. You will find Toronto as having the most growth and highest paying jobs as well as Montreal with its French Culture or Vancouver with its great climate all year long, Its a varied choice to say the least and maybe a smaller city would suit you better, it’s up to you after all.

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Thais R

I moved to Canada in 2016. This was the best decision that I ever made. I created this website to share what I’ve learned with anyone who’s thinking of moving or travelling to Canada.

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