Pros and Cons of Living in Alberta
Alberta is one of the best places to live in Canada. With its vast greeneries and big cities, this province is the perfect balance between rural and urban living.
Living in Alberta lets you experience having higher wages and low tax rates. You also get free healthcare and basic education.
However, just like in any other place, Alberta also has its disadvantages.
We’ve outlined some of the pros and cons of living in Alberta so you can make an informed decision before moving to the province.
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Pros of Living in Alberta
Higher Minimum Wage and Hourly Rates
The average minimum wage in Alberta is $15.00. It is the third-highest rate in all of Canada. Nunavut has the highest minimum wage of $16.00, followed by British Columbia with $15.20.
To put things into perspective, these numbers only mean that people in Alberta generally earn more than most Canadians.
Low Tax Rates and Cost of Living
The province of Alberta also doesn’t charge provincial sales taxes. People in Alberta only pay the 5% tax that is imposed by the Canadian government.
In other parts of Canada, people pay an additional provincial sales tax of up to 10% on top of the 5% for goods and services.
As for real estate, Alberta has more affordable housing rates. For a median after-tax income of $74,100, Albertans earn about $1,425 a week.
In Calgary, Alberta’s metropolis, the average monthly rent for a studio apartment is $1,207. This means that Albertans could work for a week and still be able to pay for an apartment in the city.
For more rural areas in Alberta, the cost of living is even lower. A city like Airdrie offers favorable living conditions.
Learn more about the real estate market in Alberta and Canada to get a better understanding of the market conditions.
Free Healthcare and Basic Education
Alberta offers free healthcare services. These include hospital visits, psychiatric visits, diagnostic services, dental services, transgender surgery, and many more. New residents are advised to immediately apply for healthcare insurance in Alberta to avail of these services.
Basic education in Alberta is also funded by the federal government from Kindergarten through Grade 12. Alberta also provides an excellent quality of education for the students.
The tuition fees for some public colleges and universities are also subsidized by the Albertan government. This makes education accessible to more people.
Cons of Living in Alberta
Cost of Electricity
The cost of electricity in Alberta is a little high compared to, say, Quebec or Manitoba. Alberta charges around $166 per month for electricity, assuming a monthly usage of 1,000 kWh. Even Ontario has a lower cost of electricity at $130 per month.
This isn’t ideal especially for people with low monthly incomes. Even the income taxes are not exactly favorable for them.
A 10% tax is a big chunk off your income if you’re only earning less than $100,000 annually. At least for a province like British Columbia, even though their income taxes reach 20.5%, their lowest tax rate starts at 5%.
While taxes in Alberta are relatively low, they are beneficial only for the middle and upper classes.
Higher Crime Rate
Alberta has the 6th-highest crime severity index in 2020 with 107.36. To put things into perspective, Canada only has a crime severity index of 73.44 in the same year. Quebec, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island only have an index of less than 60.
43% of the roads in Alberta are also in bad condition. Road rehabilitation is being done often, but if the quality keeps being substandard, roads in Alberta will remain to be dangerous for people.
A lot of people have also commented how Alberta has some of the worst drivers in Canada.
While Alberta has warm and dry summers, the province also has some of the harshest winters in Canada. Temperatures fall below zero and snowfall is irregular.
If you’re not used to the cold weather, you might want to look for another province besides Alberta.
Living in Alberta vs. Ontario
Alberta and Ontario have their own pros and cons in terms of living conditions. Here’s a comparison of some aspects that you might want to consider as you decide where to settle down.
|Income Tax Rates||10–15%||5.05–13.16%|
|Provincial Sales Tax||0%||8%|
|Cost of Electricity||$166||$130|
|Crime Severity Index||107.36||55.66|
Both provinces offer good basic services. No one is superior to the other. What’s important is that you know what you’re looking for in a community. Do some more research and find the one that fits your needs best.
Living in Alberta in 2022
Before deciding on where to settle down, check out these 2022 real estate projections for Canada’s top cities. This will help you get a better idea of where it might be good to find a property.
Alberta, while it has some disadvantages, is still a great place to live in. The people in Alberta join a lot of volunteer activities, so you can expect them to be kind and helpful to everyone.
Read home buyer guide to know more about the step by step home buying process if you have already decided to settle in Alberta.
To recap, here are the pros and cons of living in Alberta:
- High wages and low cost of living are a perfect combination for most people.
- There’s no provincial sales tax, so you get cheaper goods and services.
- Healthcare is free. You get to enjoy health services without worrying about the bills that much.
- Basic education is free. College tuition fees are subsidized. The quality of education in Alberta is great for all students.
- Income taxes may be relatively low, but it’s not ideal for people with low incomes.
- Electricity cost and crime rates are also a little higher compared to other provinces.
- While summers are warm and dry, winters in Alberta are cold and harsh.