In the last few years, Alberta has done a major marketing campaign to get Canadians to move to the province. The ad encourages people nationwide to make the move because they’ll have access to better paying jobs and cheaper homes.
With many people struggling to get ahead in their current city, moving to another province for better opportunities can be appealing. However, does it make financial sense to move to Alberta? Possibly, but there are many things to consider.
Alberta Housing Costs Are More Affordable
Housing prices across the country have soared, but in some provinces, they’re practically astronomical. August 2023, home sales showed that the average cost of a home in Vancouver was $1,208,400, while prices in Toronto averaged $1,082,496. Compare that to Calgary and Edmonton, where prices averaged $707,337, and $397,811, respectively.
Even if you’re not looking to buy, renting can also be appealing. In Alberta, there’s more inventory available, units are typically bigger, rents are lower, and you usually don’t have to pay extra for things such as parking, and utilities.
Just about everyone would love to have more space and save money at the same time. Plus, since homes are cheaper overall, renters have a real chance of buying after a few years as they may be able to come up with a down payment quicker.
Even though housing costs are low in Alberta, it’s worth mentioning that you’ll likely need a vehicle because public transportation can be limited. That said, there’s significantly less traffic compared to Toronto and Vancouver. Also, gas prices are much lower in Alberta compared to the rest of the country.
Alberta Has Lower Income Taxes And High Paying Jobs
Most people that are contemplating moving to Alberta, likely won’t consider doing so unless they have a job lined up. What’s interesting is that according to Statistics Canada, the average salary in 2019 in Alberta was $120,762. Only residents of the Northwest Territories had a higher annual salary of $168,801. Those in Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia saw significantly lower average salaries at $85,798, $92,795, and $74,603, respectively.
That said, these numbers are just averages. Alberta has a lot of high paying jobs in tech, nursing and oil, which may skew the averages.
Alberta Income Tax Rates
Regardless of how much you make, Alberta has favourable tax brackets. Those living in the province fall under the following provincial tax brackets:
- 10% up to $142,292
- 12% between $142,292 and $170,751
- 13% between $170,751 and $227,668
- 14% between $227,668 and $341,502
- 15% on any taxable income exceeding $341,502
Admittedly, if you’re earning less than $90,000, you’d be paying more provincial taxes than those living in British Columbia, and Ontario. However, compared to other provinces and territories, you’d come out ahead. High income earners in Alberta also benefit since the provincial tax rate tops out at 15%.
Speaking of taxes, Alberta only has provincial sales tax (PST), which is only 5%. That means your day-to-day purchases will cost you less than in some other provinces.
Beyond The Finances
There are certain non-financial attributes of Alberta that you should consider before moving:
Weather In Alberta
While the financial benefits of moving to Alberta are clear, it’s not always about the money. One other serious consideration is the weather. Winters in Alberta are long, and temperatures can reach as low as minus 40°C. The province also gets Chinooks, which causes rapid changes in weather. This could be a huge system shock for anyone who hasn’t experienced these types of weather conditions.
Quality Of Life
The quality of life can also have a major impact on your decision to move. Without a doubt, Toronto and Vancouver offer more diversity, restaurants, and entertainment. However, Alberta has many outdoor spaces and easy access to the mountains. If you have an active lifestyle, the province will be attractive.
Ability To Travel
For some people, the ability to travel is also a concern. Although WestJet has many flights that operate out of Calgary and Edmonton, residents won’t have nearly as much access to international destinations compared to those in Vancouver and Toronto. That means travelling outside of North America will often require a stopover or two.
Moving Away From Family
Finally, there’s also family to think about, which is arguably the biggest barrier. Many people are hesitant to move to another province since they won’t be near friends or family. While it’s possible to meet new people, it’s not always easy. That said, when there are immigrants who are willing to move halfway across the world to live in Canada. Moving a few hours away to another province for a chance at a better life seems trivial.
If your goal is to buy a home and get financially ahead, then moving to Alberta can make a lot of financial sense. That said, the grass is always greener on the other side. Many people who move to Alberta don’t regret the decision, but they may prefer where they’re from more, they just can’t afford that same lifestyle.
However, if you asked an Alberta native if they’d ever move back, they may say no because now they enjoy what other cities offer. Regardless of where you live, there will always be more opportunities, but cheap housing and higher salaries are certainly incentives to move to Alberta.