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 definite amount as your projection will depend on factors 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 – You may opt to buy a supplementary plan to anticipate any health issues not covered by Manitoba Health.
  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 $12,000 per year more than the same family in the province of Ontario (Living in Manitoba, immigrate Manitoba.com).

Affordable living is due in large part to the comparatively lower housing costs (Cost of living, Economic Development Winnipeg) 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 hotel accommodations. After a short period, 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 $563 a month (for a room) to an average rate of $1,695 for a five-bedroom apartment (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). Also learn about Rent Assist. It provides financial support to low-income private renters.
  2. Buying a house– As mentioned, house costs are comparatively low in Manitoba. In January 2020, average price was at $277,670 in MB compared to $338,091 in Quebec and $728,044 in BC according to the National Price Map of the Canadian Real Estate Association.

    Read the article 5 things to know before buying a house in MB to know the basics of purchasing and 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 7% (Sales Tax rates by province). 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 a form of financial support that offsets 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 tax credits.

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 and other government benefits you may be eligible for.
 
Article updated Feb. 2020

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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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