Report: Canada’s Most Attractive Destinations for Work Right Now

The Canadian tradition of migrating west in search of more job opportunities or higher-paying jobs appears to be slowing. A new report from BMO Economics has found that fewer people are changing provinces for work given the relatively strong job market and low unemployment across the country.

Writes BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic: “Interprovincial migration has steadied, and become more balanced. Most notably, Alberta is now effectively seeing neutral net flows with other provinces. That is a stark change from both the energy boom when 35k people per year flocked in from every other province.”

There are distinct advantages to relocating for work. People who are willing to move to where the jobs are will have far more opportunities than those who simply mine the local job market.

Across the country, B.C. and Ontario are still gaining workers from other provinces, according to the report. Migration to Saskatchewan and Manitoba remains weaker. More people are moving to Quebec, however, that province still consistently loses workers to other parts of Canada. Notably, outflows from Atlantic Canada have moderated significantly compared to what had been the norm for decades.

So, wherever you are, there are likely more jobs closer to home. But some people are still moving in pursuit of more opportunities and higher salaries. “There are two key reasons to move,” says Kavcic. “To find a job, if you don’t have one; or to take a better-paying job, if you do.”

So where are the best places to go right now? The study also ranks the attractiveness of Canada’s cities and regions to see where the most attractive places to live and work are.

Destinations were rated based on housing affordability, job opportunities, salaries, and taxes.

For that reason, some of Canada’s biggest cities such as Toronto and Vancouver which seem like popular choices fall near the bottom of the list because of the high cost of housing.

The most attractive city in Canada right now for income, opportunity, and cost of living? Ottawa. BMO ranks the nation’s capital as the best place to live and work because the unemployment rate in Ottawa is 2 percent lower than the average of the ranked regions, has relatively low housing prices, and has the highest median employment income per family.

Canada’s top ten cities to live and work

RegionMedian incomeAv. Home PriceJob openings
Ottawa$98,500$403,500View jobs
Quebec City$78,800$267,700View jobs
Hamilton$82,600$549,900View jobs
Edmonton$94,300$372,200View jobs
Windsor$70,100$280,300View jobs
Regina$89,200$302,300View jobs
Calgary$95,200$464,000View jobs
Victoria$76,500$695,400View jobs
Guelph$91,900$521,300View jobs
Saskatoon$85,400$330,200View jobs

Atlantic Canada’s top-ranked city is Moncton, coming in at number 16 of the 21 regions compared. The median employment income in Moncton is $69,900 and the average home price is $180,100. View hundreds of job openings in Moncton.

Contrast that with Vancouver where the income levels are just slightly higher ($77,100) but the average price of a home is a whopping $1,027,400. See jobs in Vancouver.

Read the full report from BMO Economics.

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