Detour to Canada

How Much is the Cost of Living in Canada? Monthly Living Expenses for a Family of 3 in Ottawa [Video]


Are you wondering how much is the cost of living here in Canada? Before we moved here, we also wondered the same thing. 

The good news is, Kristine Kasselis from Ottawa shares their family’s monthly expenses in one of her videos from her YouTube channel, The Maple Diaries. 

Watch here and find out how much is it to live in Ottawa for a family of three. 

Note: This video’s actual transcription slightly varies from the one below.

What are the monthly living expenses for a family of 3?

Your monthly expenses depend on many things, such as your city, housing type, where you shop, your lifestyle, and more.

Your cost of living may be different. Your life in Canada will be different than in your home country.

You may have to take a job with lower pay while you upgrade your skills or get experience working here. That means your financial status could change.

Even if you earn a higher salary in Canada than you were earning in your home country, the cost of living in Canada may be higher than you’re used to.

Household expenses can take up to half your take-home pay in Canada. These expenses include the cost of your:

House rent or House mortgage

In our case, we pay for a monthly mortgage which also includes the property tax since we’ve just recently bought our new home. We pay our mortgage on a bi-weekly basis for our 3-bedroom townhouse.

$ 809.85 x 2 = $ 1,619.70 monthly payment

Utility: Hydro Electric bill

The next big expense is the utilities. Anything creating cold (fridge, a/c) or heat (toaster, oven, iron, etc) will raise your hydro bill. The only reason electric bills go up in winter is that people are using more electricity. People use more electricity in winter because they want to be warm—they turn on their heaters and take hot showers. Our monthly hydro bill typically ranges between $60-69.

Utility: Enbridge Gas

Typically, the natural gas bill is higher during the winter because people are using the heater. Then you expect to receive a lower bill during the summer. Our natural gas bill ranges between $120 to $130 during the cold months.

Utility: Hydro Water

Hydro water bill is sent out every two months. Our water bill usually ranges between $90 to $120.

Utility: Internet

Our cable internet provider is Carrytel which costs us around $55 monthly only.


Food is a basic expense. Costs will depend on the size of your family. This cost can double if you often eat in restaurants or choose to buy specialty items.

Managing the food budget expense was quite a challenge to us most especially now because of the pandemic. We don’t really have a fixed budget for the food expense. Conservatively, for a family of 3, we could set the budget to $700, however, we still sometimes spend more than that.

Transportation: Car fuel

We have a second-hand car and we spend $200 every month on fuel, but now due to the pandemic, my husband and I were working from home which saves us a lot with the fuel expense.

Car insurance

It is the law that all cars must be insured and registered with your provincial or territorial government. Car insurance can be expensive, but it protects you and other drivers in case of an accident. Our monthly car insurance rate is around $120.

Mobile data

My husband and I use MyChatr services. I was subscribed monthly with the $35 mobile data and my husband was subscribed with the $55 mobile data plan. It’s a total of $97 on our monthly mobile data bill.


This is optional; however, my husband and I find the registered education savings plan a very good investment for the future of our child’s post-secondary education. It’s a special savings account geared towards our daughter’s future. We pay $50 every month for this fund.

School fee 

Before the pandemic, we usually pay a childcare service for my 5-yr old daughter. Her school tuition fee is free but we need to pay for the extra care since we can only pick her up from her school after our work period. 

Leisure/dine out

Depends on your family’s needs but we have also saved a lot from this expense during this time.

Alcohol and cigarettes

Some people include alcohol and cigarettes as part of their budget. Alcohol and cigarettes are expensive in Canada because they are heavily taxed.


Cost of living in Ottawa, Canada


About Kristine:

Kristine Kasselis is the creator behind The Maple Diaries, a YouTube channel where she shares her newcomer’s journey as an immigrant here in Canada. Watch more of her videos and don’t forget to subscribe.

Do you have questions or feedback about this video? Let us know in the comments!

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