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These 7 Everyday Things Cost Way More In Canada Than Almost Anywhere Else

The country ranks top 25 most expensive in the world. 💸

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
​A person on the phone. Right: A grocery store in Montreal.

A person on the phone. Right: A grocery store in Montreal.

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Canada's cost of living was once notoriously reasonable with no credit card fees, cheaper health care than the U.S. and affordable housing (especially in Quebec). But times are a-changing. Compared to the 50 most expensive countries in the world in 2022, Canada ranks 25th this year — now one place higherthan its neighbour to the south. Skyrocketing housing costs and food prices aren't helping and income inequality has reached its highest point since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While many countries are also struggling with high inflation, here are some everyday items that cost a lot more in Canada:

Milk

\u200bMilk installation in downtown Montreal.

Milk installation in downtown Montreal.

Michel Bussieres | Dreamstime

Groceries in Canada have seen a massive price spike over the past few months with dairy products, in particular, seeing a 7% year-over-year cost increase. According to a 2021 study, Quebecers pay the most for milk in the country, shelling out around $2.06/litre. When it comes to the rest of the world, Canada's milk prices rank in the top 10 at $2.61 per litre on average, behind China ($2.72), Nigeria ($3.98), Jamaica ($4.05) and Lebanon ($6.63).

Cell phone service

\u200bTwo people stare at a smart phone in Montreal.

Two people stare at a smart phone in Montreal.

Cagkan Sayin | Dreamstime

Phone service rates push many Canadians' buttons, far exceeding those in most other countries. "The MIN monthly price for a 5G smartphone plan with at least 1000 mins, 10 Mbit/s and 100 gigabytes was 13x more expensive in Canada than in France," according to last year's report by telecom analyst Rewheel. The company found that Canada has one of the highest wireless prices in the world. That's because Canada's "Big Three" providers Telus, Rogers and Bell control over 90% of the national wireless market and can set prices without the fear of competition from other companies.

Health care

\u200bParamedics help someone into a Montreal ambulance.

Paramedics help someone into a Montreal ambulance.

Clement Morin | Dreamstime

Canada spends among the highest average amount on health care ($6,666/person) compared to other nations with a similar GDP. While the U.S. nearly doubles that amount ($13,590/person), Canada remains above average in terms of per-person spending, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Gasoline

\u200bSomeone walks away from a gas station in Montreal.

Someone walks away from a gas station in Montreal.

Cagkan Sayin | Dreamstime

As of mid-October, Canada was beating the U.S. when it comes to the average price per litre of gasoline, thanks to several one-day price hikes across the country and mega-high rates on the West Coast. Data from Global Petrol Prices shows $1.98/litre in Canada in October compared to $1.46/litre in the U.S. Europe is still reigning supreme when it comes to punishing people at the pump with U.K. motorists facing a $2.45/litre average.

Housing

\u200bHalloween deco outside a Montreal home.

Halloween deco outside a Montreal home.

Jerome Cid | Dreamstime

Montreal's housing crisis is worsening. A recent study by the Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques (IRIS) found the local housing price index rose 314% over the past two years, jumping higher than some of North America's largest cities, including Los Angeles (+296%), San Francisco (+267%), and New York (+158%). But the crisis isn't just limited to Montreal. On a national scale, Canada is seeing prices and demand spike, while supply diminishes. By the end of 2021, Canadian home prices had increased at least twice as fast as any other G7 country and more than doubled since 2005.

Credit Card Fees

A Montreal payment sign.

A Montreal payment sign.

Jerome Cid | Dreamstime

Quebecers may be spared the credit card fees now being passed onto consumers in other provinces, many of whom could soon see a surcharge of up to 3% on some purchases (plus tax). Credit card fees are capped under 1% in most other parts of the world, including EU countries, the U.K., Israel, Australia and China.

Cigarettes

A cigarette butt receptacle.

A cigarette butt receptacle.

Derek Robbins | Dreamstime

Smokes in Canada are expensive, more so than in just about any other country. The average price for a 20-pack is around $12 Canada-wide, with Newfoundland showing the highest rate ($15.71) and Quebec showing the lowest ($10.65). The average price has gone up nearly $3 in the past two years with several provinces looking to raise tobacco taxes even more by the end of 2022. Compared to the rest of the world, Canada is sixth most expensive for a standard pack of cigs behind Norway ($12.98), the U.K. ($13.30), Ireland ($14.55), New Zealand ($20.70) and Australia ($25.11).

@mtlblog

Canada was ranked the 25th most expensive country in the world, and these 7 things cost more in Canada than almost anywhere else. 🇨🇦💵 #canada #costofliving #canadian #countryranking #montreal

This article has been updated to remove a quote attributed to the CIHI.

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