How much does it cost to live in Manitoba?

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Learning about the cost of living in Manitoba plays a large part in planning for your finances. You will need to consider several factors when calculating your everyday costs, especially in your first few days or weeks. There is no definitive amount as your projection will depend on things like the size of your household, the kind of temporary accommodations that you will have, your lifestyle, and others. Your IRCC-required settlement fund is actually a conservative estimate of your budget for the first few months of settling. It will likely be spent on basic goods and utilities such as:

  1. Food
  2. Clothing
  3. Transportation (bus, or car, gas and car insurance)
  4. Health insurance – since your Manitoba Health Care coverage starts on the first day of the third month after your arrival in Manitoba, it may be wise to spend on a temporary health plan in the period that you are not covered.
  5. Child care
  6. Occasional expenses – this includes money for prescription drugs/medicine, school supplies, entertainment, alcohol and cigarettes, long distance calls.

How does the cost of living in Manitoba fare compared to other cities in Canada?

The good news is that the cost of living in Manitoba is relatively cheaper compared to other cities in Canada. To illustrate: minus the basic annual costs like taxes, housing, utilities, child care, and car insurance, a family of five earning $75,000 is left with $17,000 per year more than the same family in the province of Ontario (Living in Manitoba, immigrate Manitoba.com) or $8,554 more than the national average (Manitoba Business Facts, Quality of Life: Cost of Living).

Affordable living is due in large part to the comparatively lower housing costs (see Manitoba Business Facts, Quality of Life: Low Housing Costs) and utilities (specifically electricity costs), as well as university or college tuition. Residents also benefit from the free quality health care in the province.

Rent or mortgage

Many new immigrants stay initially with family or friends or book temporary accommodations at a hotel. After a few weeks or months, they move out to rent or buy a home. Generally, your rent/mortgage and utilities will be your biggest expense.

  1. Renting a room or apartment – To give you an idea of average costs, rental rates may go as low as $527 a month (for a room) to a maximum of $1,999 for a three-bedroom apartment in Winnipeg (RentBoard.ca, Apartment rental rates in Winnipeg). If you are Winnipeg bound, you can learn more details about the rental market from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: Rental Market Report (Winnipeg CMA). In Manitoba, individuals and families may avail of Rent Assist, which provides financial support to low-income private renters.
  2. Buying a house– as mentioned, house costs are comparatively low in Manitoba. In 2015, median house cost was at $418,000 in Winnipeg, compared to $462,000 in Montreal and more than $1.2M in Vancouver (the highest). Read the article 5 things to know before buying a house in MB to know the basics of owning a home in the province.

Taxes and supports

In Manitoba, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is 5% while the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) is 8%. This is levied on most goods and services. However, individuals with low or modest incomes can avail of the GST/Harmonized Sales Tax Credit (HST). This is financial support to offset part or all of the GST/PST paid by residents. Go to the GST/HST overview from the Canada Revenue Agency site to know more about these taxes.

Once employed, you will need to pay income taxes. Depending on your employment, you may pay provincial or federal personal income taxes. Go to this page on the Manitoba Finance website to learn about tax brackets and rates: Manitoba Individual Income Taxes.

Residents are encouraged to file an income tax return even if they have not started working yet. You must file if you want to receive government benefits such as the GST/HST credit or the Canada Child Benefit Program (tax-free payments for eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under 18 years old), or other government benefits you may be eligible for.

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Community Resources

Living in Canada is a tool from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to help you plan your first few days of settling.

Read the Economic Development Winnipeg page to learn more about cost of living in the province’s capital.

Go to the New Journey Housing website or contact them to know more about your housing options in Manitoba as well as other supports that you can avail.

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