The cost of living in Canada

This is a subjective view, based on living in Edmonton, Alberta for two and a half years after living in England until my mid 50s.

You will hear many people tell you that it is really cheap to live in Canada, do not believe them!

Canadian shops and websites are not honest with their prices

Certain things are less expensive, but my experience is that you can often buy the same thing cheaper in the UK even when you have paid the 17.5% VAT.

Comparison is difficult, because Canadian shops and websites are not honest with their prices. They quote prices without taxes, so depending on where you live the cost can be either 6% or 14% more, and it gets more complicated because post and packing is not included on internet purchases and that too is subject to tax.

Prices are often quoted after 'mail-in rebates', a system somewhat like a coupon that gives the customer some money back, but you have to pay the money up-front, then ask for it back. The process is made deliberately difficult and very lengthy by suppliers, so your chances of getting your money are low. In addition, you pay the taxes on the full price but do not get them back. The whole 'mail-in rebate' system is deceptive and dishonest.

Most Canadians I ask about this say it would be much simpler if the price you saw included tax, but they do not seem to think that anything can be done to change the way things are.

Canadians earn significantly less per hour than Europeans, so the cost of goods and services are more when you consider how many hours you have to work to buy them. Holiday (vacation) entitlements are very low, typically two weeks per year. Laughable but true.

In reality Canada is 20 years behind Europe, but Canadians will not thank you for telling them!

Consumer protection legislation is almost nonexistent, there are no industry regulators, prices go up by large amounts without explanation or comment from anyone.