Though Ottawa is Canada’s capital, the cost of living in the city is one of the most affordable in the country. The 2022 Mercer Cost of Living Survey ranks Ottawa as 132nd out of 227 cities surveyed, making it the fourth most expensive city in Canada.

Cost of accommodation in Ottawa

Renting accommodation in Ottawa is far more affordable than in other major Canadian cities such as Vancouver or Toronto, depending on the areas and suburbs expats choose to live in. Property prices in Ottawa are also lower than the national median, while the housing is generally of an excellent standard.

Cost of eating out in Ottawa

Ontario’s designated culinary tourism destination, Ottawa, boasts exquisite and diverse gastronomy. With myriad cuisines on offer, it’s easy to see why eating out is a favourite pastime among locals, although it doesn’t always come cheap. Eating out at one of the many top restaurants in the city can be quite steep. That said, expats on a budget are sure to find great restaurants that won’t break the bank.

Cost of entertainment in Ottawa

The nightlife in Ottawa is lively, with plenty of bars and clubs in the ByWard Market District, but costs can add up quickly. Expats who enjoy a regular night out on the town can reduce their expenses by visiting the student watering holes, where prices are usually lower. Alternatively, adventure-loving expats can access the city's parks, forests and wetlands at little to no cost.

Cost of transport in Ottawa

Ottawa has a relatively affordable, efficient and clean public transport system. Regular commuters can boost their savings by purchasing an integrated Presto smart card for accessing public transit across Ottawa and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas. Cycling is another cheap and healthy way to get around the city.

Cost of education in Ottawa

Public schools in Ottawa are free for all students from kindergarten to grade 12 and offer good quality education in either English or French. Expat parents also have the option to send their children to international or private schools, but the tuition fees tend to be eye-wateringly expensive.

Cost of living in Ottawa chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for August 2022.


Accommodation (monthly)


One-bedroom apartment in city centre

CAD 1,693

One-bedroom apartment outside of centre

CAD 1,375

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

CAD 2,765

Three-bedroom apartment outside of centre

CAD 2,225



Milk (1 litre)

CAD 2.48

Loaf of white bread

CAD 2.84

Chicken breasts (1kg)

CAD 15.93

Rice (1kg)

CAD 3.65

Dozen eggs

CAD 3.76

Pack of cigarettes

CAD 15

Eating out


Big Mac meal 

CAD 12

Coca Cola (330ml)

CAD 2.76


CAD 4.93

Bottle of local beer

CAD 7.00

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant 

CAD 80



Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute) 

CAD 0.28

Internet (Uncapped ADSL or Cable – average per month) 

CAD 79.43

Basic utilities (per month for a small apartment) 

CAD 160.69



Taxi rate/km 

CAD 1.86

City centre bus fare/train fare 

CAD 3.70

Petrol/gasoline (per litre) 

CAD 1.96