Study: Best Cities to Get Rich in Canada

January 29, 2023
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Quebec City

Canada is a great place to get rich. With its lower-cost of living, a high standard of living, and a stable economy, it's the perfect destination for those looking for financial success.

If you want to make it even easier on yourself, there are plenty of Canadian cities that will give you the best opportunities and perfect for people who want to get rich and live a luxurious lifestyle.

Our Methodology Based On Statistics

This list was centered around small cities that are attracting more people and businesses. For each city, we pull in data from the best data sources available. Our trusted sources include public-sector providers such as Statistics Canada, CREA, Government Canada and each city’s official website. Looking at the statistics, the ranking evaluates each qualifying city based on three factors:

  1. Median Household Income After Taxes
  2. Monthly Cost of Living
  3. GDP Per Capita

We started by considering the median household income after taxes. This data, from the Statistics Canada, evaluates the economic health of an area and provides a picture of the standard of living of various households. It is also a good barometer of the local and national economies. 

The distributions of household economic accounts (DHEA) shows that households in the lowest two wealth quintiles and those aged younger than 45 years increased their average net worth at a faster pace than wealthier and older households up to the first quarter of 2022. Net worth for wealthier and older households remained relatively stable, because increases in their real estate values were offset by reductions in the value of their financial assets.

Here’s a closer look at median salaries (after tax) and cost of living by city:

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Source: Statistics Canada 

Based on the recent update by Statistic Canada, Employment rose by 108,000 (+0.6%) in October, recouping losses observed from May to September. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.2% in October.

Employment increased among both men and women in the core working ages of 25 to 54 in October. It was little changed among men and women aged 15 to 24 and those aged 55 and older.

Employment rose in six provinces Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with gains concentrated in Ontario and Quebec.

Second factor, we considered the Monthly Cost of Living based on 8 major factors such as housing, commodities, food, energy, health care, transportation, education and other expenses from the Statistics Canada. The inflation rate and high cost of living continues to rise with the steep rise in gas and food prices getting most of the blame.

The third factor is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Per Capita for each city that will provide a broad measures of economic growth. During the first two quarters in 2022, economic activity rose as consumer spending and business stockpiling contributed to growth. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 6.9% on a year-over-year basis and rose 0.1% on a monthly basis. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI was up 0.4%, decelerating from a 7.0% gain in August, marking the third consecutive monthly slowdown in headline inflation.

Here are the best small cities for getting rich in Canada:

1. Oakville

Population (City Proper): 193,832

Oakville is all about economic opportunity, growth and success, no matter what industry sector you represent. The city’s economic indicators show the big picture: from nearly full employment to higher-than-average household incomes.

Oakville's industry strengths include Professional and Financial Services; Digital Media, ICT and Film; Life Sciences; and Advanced Manufacturing. In Oakville, businesses in these sectors have access to competitive costs of doing business, an exceptional talent pool, excellent educational resources, proximity to Canada's corporate and cultural capital, and accessibility to domestic and international markets.

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $95,035
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $2,984
  • GDP Annual Growth Rate: 3%

2. Burlington

Population (City Proper): 193,533

Burlington is a city of safe neighbourhoods, protected rural spaces and natural beauty with a thriving economic and technological infrastructure that provides every opportunity for your startup or business expansion.

Its pro-business culture has enabled companies from Canada and around the globe to leverage unique opportunities while drawing from one of the highest educated and skilled workforces in the region.

American Cities of the Future ranked Burlington in its top 25 for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Strategy, in part due to their ability to attract a number of high-profile companies in a range of industries.

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $93,588 
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $2,923
  • GDP Per Capita: $58,275

3. Saskatoon

Population (City Proper): 198,958

Saskatoon is centrally located in Canada and offers plenty of grants and funding for entrepreneurs seeking assistance. 

The lower cost of living in the city also makes a large difference. There are plenty of tax credits to help with your business, and a lot of support is provided.

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $77,500
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $2,061
  • GDP Per Capita: $64,447

4. Regina

Population (City Proper): 176,183

Regina is a city in Saskatchewan, Canada. Its industry was originally largely confined to activities associated with its agricultural hinterland. Oil and natural gas, potash, kaolin, sodium sulphite and bentonite contribute a great part of the economy of Regina, and the surrounding area. 

Regina's major industries include: Steel and Manufacturing, Information Technology, Energy and Environment, Finances & Insurance, Agribusiness, and Agriculture

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $72,200
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $2,045
  • GDP Per Capita: $71,059

5. Barrie

Population (City Proper):  153,169

The City of Barrie remains one of Canada's fastest growing municipalities. 

Barrie is a hotbed for start-ups and entrepreneurs, thanks to a team of community partners who are just a phone call away. Invest Barrie can introduce you to the organizations who will help you access the resources, supports and programming you need to achieve your business goals.

Its tight-knit business community thrives on collaboration and the ability to easily connect with like-minded professionals. The city brings together place, people and potential for businesses seeking an ideal location. Capital spending will also increase noticeably in the next two years. As the city pursues its growth infrastructure and asset management plan, its large capital program will be partially funded by strong operating balances and manageable debt issuance. 

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $70,314
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $1,971
  • GDP Per Capita: $37,735

6. St. John’s

Population (City Proper): 112,063

St. John's economy is connected to both its role as the provincial capital of Newfoundland and Labrador and to the ocean which is now tied to what lies beneath it – oil and gas since the collapse of the fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

The city is the centre of the oil and gas industry in Eastern Canada and is one of 19 World Energy Cities. ExxonMobil Canada is headquartered in St. John's and companies such as Chevron, Husky Energy, Suncor Energy and Statoil have major regional operations in the city. Three major offshore oil developments, Hibernia, Terra Nova and White Rose, are in production off the coast of the city and a fourth development, Hebron, which is estimated to contain over 700 million barrels of producible hydrocarbons.

Economic forecasts suggest the city will continue its strong economic growth in the coming years not only in the “oceanic” industries mentioned above, but also in tourism and new home construction as the population continues to grow.

St. John's is also becoming known as an entrepreneurial city. The civil service supported by the federal, provincial and municipal governments has been the key to the expansion of the city's labour force and to the stability of its economy.

In a 2009, St. John's was ranked the best major city in Atlantic Canada and 19th overall in Canada for providing a good environment for small business development.

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $68,026
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $1,973
  • GDP Per Capita: $63,965

7. Saanich

Population (City Proper):  124,639

They are building a strong and vibrant community by attracting, supporting, and retaining businesses and residents. 

The city has well established, pedestrian-oriented commercial centres in Saanichton and Brentwood Bay, commercial and industrial activities in the Keating Business Park, and a range of businesses, including farms.

Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce advocates to, and holds accountable, local governments, associations, and residents, builds awareness of local businesses, and fosters community so that every business can grow in a healthy environment and become a long-term integral part of the Saanich Peninsula.

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $77,282
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $2,895
  • GDP Per Capita: $45,103 

8. Waterloo

Population (City Proper): 123,991

Waterloo has a vibrant and diverse economy, with large manufacturing, food and beverage, insurance and technology sectors. The region's manufacturing sector is the fourth largest in Canada. fDi Intelligence ranks Waterloo 9th for business friendliness in the 2017/2018 American Cities of the Future report and was ranked seventh best for economic potential. 

According to the most recently released Statistics Canada Business Counts data, there are 1,570 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies with more than 11,160 employees in Waterloo Region. With approximately 1,100 start-ups for a population of 623,930 people (2020), the Waterloo Region has the second highest start-up density in the world after Silicon Valley.

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $72,701 
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $2,597
  • GDP Per Capita: $53,060

9. Guelph

Population (City Proper): 146,600

The Conference Board of Canada is giving Guelph a positive economic outlook. Guelph's economy is expected to see real growth in gross domestic product of 3.9% in 2022 and 2.3% in 2023 with a number of advantages, especially in the manufacturing sector.

Economic activity in the city’s finance, insurance and real estate sector is expected to recover in 2023.

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $70,379
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $2,452
  • GDP Per Capita: $62,638

 10. Sherbrooke

Population (City Proper):  172,713

Sherbrooke, which is the economic centre of Estrie, is a significant cultural, industrial, and academic hub in the province. 

The city’s Economic development ecosystem provides for greater municipal leadership, people interested in starting a business will only need to knock on one door. This organization will also be responsible for business development to accelerate the growth of companies in key sectors by focusing on innovation, exports, digital transformation and talent attraction.

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $57,431
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $1,515
  • GDP Per Capita: $37,797

 11. Kamloops

Population (City Proper): 101,603

Kamloops' economy includes healthcare, tourism, education, transportation, and natural resource extraction industries.

Four major highways join in Kamloops, making it a transportation hub and a place which attracts business. There are over 50 trucking and transport companies located in Kamloops that ship across Canada and into the United States.

The city’s tourism's economic ROI is immense. Tourism generates many types of income for the region, including business income, wage earnings, share earnings, rates and levies. 

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $64,064
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $2,082
  • GDP Annual Growth Rate: 2%

12. Greater Sudbury

Population (City Proper): 157,857

Regina is a city in Saskatchewan, Canada. Its industry was originally largely confined to activities associated with its agricultural hinterland. Oil and natural gas, potash, kaolin, sodium sulphite and bentonite contribute a great part of the economy of Regina, and the surrounding area. 

Regina's major industries include: Steel and Manufacturing, Information Technology, Energy and Environment, Finances & Insurance, Agribusiness, and Agriculture

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $62,673
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $1,969
  • GDP Per Capita: $54,491

13. Lethbridge

Population (City Proper): 101,799

Lethbridge is the hub of the agricultural region of Southern Alberta with GDP growth that will outperform the wider provincial economy. 

There are several other economic indicators that make Lethbridge stand out. For example, the annual unemployment rate continues to be among the lowest in the province, the housing market has remained relatively stable throughout the economic downturn, and there are more than $1 billion in construction projects planned or underway over the next four years. These indicators support our continued claim to balanced growth and economic stability. 

In 2016, Lethbridge ranked fourth among Canada’s Best Places for Business by Canadian Business and PROFIT as well as the second most Business Friendly. According to the results, Lethbridge “boasts an entrepreneurial, integrated science and engineering environment and plenty of food expertise.”

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $65,351
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $2,273
  • GDP Per Capita: $52,243

14. Kingston

Population (City Proper): 135,169

Kingston is a leader in research and development, fostering innovative startups and growing multinational corporations. Kingston is a lower-cost jurisdiction, strategically located to access Canada’s largest markets representing the third-largest GDP connection in North America combined.

The city offers businesses access to municipal support and affordable fully serviced City-owned and private land opportunities. Kingston businesses can benefit from affordable provincial tax rates, access to a skilled workforce, and access to global markets like the U.S. and the U.K. Kingston has free trade agreements with the largest manufacturing markets in the world: United States (USMCA), European Union (CETA) and Asia-Pacific (CPTPP). 

According to Invest Kingston, below are the Top 3 Reasons to choose Kingston for your business are (1) Access to markets which is strategically located along the Canadian and American border, (2) They offer shovel-ready City owned business parks with state-of-the-art infostructure at lower costs than urban centres and development charges are waived for industrial use, and (3) they offer a diverse and experienced workforce 

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $62,741 
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $2,180
  • GDP Per Capita: $54,022

15. Thunder Bay

Population (City Proper):  110,790

Thunder Bay is one of the few cities in Canada that has an ocean port, International airport, Trans-Canada Highway system, two national railroads and is at the centre of growing mining development in Northwestern Ontario. 

Positioning themseves to use their existing assets to grow and expand their existing business, and attract new ones.

The main themes of the CEDC’s Strategic Action Plan, Transitioning to Growth are: Entrepreneurship, Business Retention and Expansion and Business Succession Planning, Innovative Manufacturing, Training and Educational Community, Logistics and Supply Hub, Social Enterprise, Information, Communications & Technology (ICT), Regional Food and Film and Mining Readiness Strategy.

  • Median Household Income After Taxes:  $60,855
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $2,148
  • GDP Per Capita: $49,177 

16. Lévis

Population (City Proper):  152,058

Lévis, cradle of the Desjardins movement, whose head office is one of the largest regional employers, hosts about 40 cooperatives, positioning it as a “city of cooperation.” The development of commercial centres and the presence of a technology park further stimulate its economy that is based on its commercial, service and industrial sectors with the manufacture goods including food, beverages, and plastic and metal products. 

The principal industries in Quebec are manufacturing, generation of electric power, mining, pulp and paper. The Quebec manufacturing sector represents 25 per cent of the Canadian total.

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $62,634
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $2,343
  • GDP Per Capita: $52,384

17. Kelowna

Population (City Proper): 149,687

According to the Canadian Federation of Business, Kelowna is the most entrepreneurial friendly city in Canada. 

The city contributes more than $700,000 annually to fund regional economic development efforts.  It has a diverse economy including manufacturing, tourism, aviation, agriculture, wineries and health care. Businesses are supported by quality post-secondary institutions including UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College.

Kelowna also has a thriving arts and culture scene and a variety of outdoor activities that make the city a must-see tourism destination. Kelowna is the base for over 600 technology companies with over $1.8 billion in annual revenue, according to Accelerate Okanagan

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $62,462 
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $2,416
  • GDP Per Capita: $46,828

18. Trois-Rivières

Population (City Proper):  141,417

Trois-Rivières is Canada’s oldest industrial city and the economic and cultural hub of the Mauricie region and is currently giving an offer you can’t refuse to help get you started and establish your business in the city. It’s an offer worth up to $169,000 with Programs for grants and free assistanc and start-up support.

The city is attempting an industrial revitalization by establishing technology parks and taking advantage of its central location to both Montreal and Quebec City, its university and port. Its other prominent industries include metal transformation, electronics, thermoplastics, and cabinet making. An industrial park adjoining Trois-Rivières Airport serves also as a major centre for the aeronautical industry. 

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $44,987
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $1,470
  • GDP Per Capita: $40,290 

19. Nanaimo

Population (City Proper):  101,987

Nanaimo is the urban economic hub centre on the east side of Vancouver Island in British Columbia with an abundance of recreation, cultural opportunities and vibrant business community. 

BC was actually the first province to recover back to pre-pandemic levels of employment, and its year-to-date growth in employment indicators is highest in the country. 

The City of Nanaimo accounts for approximately 1.6% of BC’s GDP. With a diversified economic base, the City of Nanaimo is the right place for your business idea. 

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $55,838
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $2,694
  • GDP Annual Growth Rate: 2.5%

20. St. Catharines

Population (City Proper): 141,397

St. Catharines is a rapidly growing community, with many opportunities for business growth and development. The city provides a friendly, welcoming experience and can direct you to the right resources and supports for all your business needs with a thriving and supportive business community. 

The city’s vision is to make St. Catharines the most dynamic, innovative, sustainable and livable city in North America with a commitment to help businesses succeed.

  • Median Household Income After Taxes: $56,729
  • Cost of Living (Monthly): $2,482
  • GDP Per Capita: $37,505 

Sources:

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