Teacher salaries and house prices in Canadian cities – 2012

Recently a reader posted a comment on one of my blog entries about Teacher Pay Scale Across Canada where I compared salaries of teachers across various cities.

She writes: “Sure, we are paid fairly well but our working conditions are difficult. I know for a fact from several teachers from Quebec that we, in Alberta are expected to put in all sorts of after school time. I don’t get to walk away when my school day ends. And let’s not even talk about the fact that I could by 3 houses in Quebec for the cost of my ordinary bungalow in Calgary! GRRR.”

I had other comments on that same post about similar issues: cost of living. I lived in the two extremes: Montreal and Calgary, and just based on my personal experience I don’t see many differences across the two cities, in terms of how much we pay for groceries, cars, swimming pools, houses, etc. The major difference is in childcare: in Quebec childcare is subsidized: $7 a day (I think recently it went up to $8 a day), while in Calgary, some places charge up to $70 a day – a 10X increase.

But since I am just talking about my experience I thought I would do a bit of a statistical comparison, to be just a bit more objective on the subject. So here is the same teacher salary comparison as from the previous post (Teacher Pay Scale Across Canada) but this time along with a comparison of the average house prices in the various cities. This is a crude comparison, but it gives an indication of how the cities listed below compare. Here it is:

ProvinceTeacher SalaryAverage House Price(2012)House price / Teacher Salary
British Columbia (Vancouver)$73,972$768,00010.38
Alberta (Calgary)$87,954$409,0004.65
Saskatchewan (Regina)$72,435$289,0003.99
Manitoba (Winnipeg)$76,547$250,0003.26
Ontario (Toronto)$83,865$478,7005.71
Quebec (Montreal)$52,435$322,0006.14
New Brunswick (Saint John)$72,536$176,5002.43
Nova Scotia (Halifax)$59,644$275,0004.61
P.E.I. (Charlottetown)$64,608$205,0003.17
Newfoundland (St. John’s)$69,994$275,0003.93
Source: http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/odpub/esub/61500/61500_2012_Q01.pdf

The last column shows a number: the average house price divided by annual salary of a teacher. The reason I did this was to have a comparison among the cities. This number represents the number of years it would take to pay off the house, if all the money earned was spent on paying off the house. (Of course this doesn’t even take into account taxes, and there are huge differences among the provinces.) This last column allows me to decide which city is the most economical city to be a teacher and own a home (the smaller that number the more economical city).

So here is the list from least expensive to most expensive cities in Canada (for teachers), according to my crude statistics (can’t you tell I’ve never taken an economics class in my life? – I’m sure there are better indicators than the ones I’ve devised here, but this is what makes sense to me!):

  • 1. Saint John, New Brunswick
  • 2. Charlottetown, PEI
  • 3. Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • 4. St. John’s, Newfoundland
  • 5. Regina, Saskatchewan
  • 6. Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • 7. Calgary, Alberta
  • 8. Toronto, Ontario
  • 9. Montreal, Quebec
  • 10. Vancouver, BC

Update: I now live in Calgary, and the average house price is approximately $590,000 (2021). This list therefore is very much outdated. However, I feel like the ranking among cities probably still is somewhat correct.