Cost of living, Edmonton Canada

AldurAldur Juniper ModeratorMember Posts: 1,460
I'm interviewing for another position in Juniper which would be in Edmonton Canada and I'm curious of the cost of living out there.

Does anybody know of a salary calculator that will work for figuring the cost of living between a US city and a Canadian city? I searched all over on google and couldn't find one.
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-Bender

Comments

  • astorrsastorrs Member Posts: 3,139 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I don't know of any salary calculator to compare the cost of living between Canada and the US (I've searched high and low in the past and found nothing - at least nothing free or close to it).

    I can give you a few numbers you can work with from quickly talking with a few colleagues in Edmonton.

    Alberta has no sales tax. Canada has a 5% federal "goods and services" tax (GST) that applies to most purchases (except "essentials" - food and the like).

    http://www.finance.gov.ab.ca/calc-script/tax_calc.html

    The above link is an income tax calculator for Alberta (includes Federal tax) so you can estimate the tax burden - remember taxes tend to be higher in Canada when compared to the US, but if you break your arm and end up taking an ambulance to the hospital and getting it casted, etc - you're looking at a $50 bill for the ambulance ride (everything else would be fully covered) compared to $10,000 in medical bills in the US... what I'm getting at is don't make a direct comparison - it's not black vs. white, it's a whole lot of grey. ;)

    House prices in Edmonton, a 1000 sq ft w/ basement will run you ~$290k-310k, while 2000 sq ft will be somewhere between $450-525k depending on the area.

    Now as an aside, I know you come from Utah, and you were considering moving to Minneapolis, MN - but I want to make sure you understand the weather in Edmonton...

    Summers are quite pleasant and can get into the 90's (all temps in F for your convenience)

    Winters on the other hand have an "average" temp of 10F - but... they can easily get down to -30F at winters worst, tack on a wind-chill and you can be looking at -67F (seriously!) Here's a nice video with some news clips: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgHXrNzoWlc

    Not trying to scare you off, just not pulling any punches. ;)
  • JavonRJavonR Member Posts: 245
    Alberta is a great place to live. Cost of living can be a little on the high side, but not nearly as bad as BC (I'm in Saskatchewan, one over - WHERE IT GETS COLDER :D). One thing you really need to take into consideration is the economy for western Canada as well. We are not going to be hit nearly as hard by the economic downturn, if at all. I can't vouch for Alberta but at least in Saskatchewan there is nothing but money floating around these days. This could factor into job security/benefits/raises/salary etc. Either way you look at it Western Canada is a great place to be living right now if you can find the right IT job.
  • GT-RobGT-Rob Member Posts: 1,090
    Yes as long as oil still costs $50+/barrel, there will always be 100k jobs all over the place. The housing costs are pretty insane considering we are in the middle of no where (im in calgary, about 3hrs south of edmonton), but I am sure you can look into rent/house costs on the Internet and compare.


    I have lived pretty much all over Canada, and except for the mountains, I hate it here in Alberta. Its just my opinion, and it may be for reasons that another would love it here. You will never have to worry about finding a job though.


    As for overall living costs, I would say that I find things cost a little more here (food etc), maybe 15%. Gas is 0.85/L (was 1.30 in the summer). Our dollar sucks again, if you plan to send any back to the US you are going to lose 20%. The winters are cold and miserable. West edmonton mall has an indoor waterpark and rollercoaster lol
  • skrpuneskrpune Member Posts: 1,409
    Hi Aldur - I'm assuming you're a US citizen...so are you planning on making a permanent or temporary move up to Canada?

    I just got back from a temporary stint up in Toronto, and there's a few hoops you need to go through if you're going on a temporary basis and plan to be legal about it. First and foremost, you'll need to get a work permit, and the time limit on that is 3 years, no exceptions. You'll need to have a job offer in hand and you have to forward proof of that with your work permit application. It takes 30-45 days for the approval process. There are lots of regulations to follow for bringing cars/belongings across the border - you can PM me if you get to that point and I can run through some of the info for you if you want. Your alternative is to become a resident there, for which there are all sorts of forms to fill out and I think you need a sponsor, but I'm not sure.

    Other things to keep in mind: pay rates are lower (in general) & even with cost of living conversions and currency conversions, you won't get paid as much in Canada as in the US...US salaries are a bit more inflated in most areas to allow us to pay for our healthcare (or at least that's how I rationalize it). In Canada, you won't have to pay for healthcare, but you might need some amount of good luck to find a doctor accepting new patients (I was there for 2.5 years and only saw a doc ONCE and I had to wait quite some time in a not-so-nice "clinic"...but I would liken it more to a hovel, & all other doc's I got referred to weren't taking on new patients).

    And you will pay more in taxes. Alberta is better than where I was (Ontario) in that there's no sales tax though, I was paying 12-13% sales tax (!). But rates of violent crime are MUCH lower in Canada than in the US...and there's lots of good food & good beer...hrm, maybe there's a connection?! icon_lol.gif You will also have to file income taxes in both the US & Canada...come tax time, it will be expensive to do, but it's worth it to find someone who knows taxes on both sides well so you can maybe only have to pay in Canada & not in the US too.

    You will in general pay more for most things in Canada...I was pretty shocked at the cost of things when I moved up there in 2006. The CAD wasn't as strong at that time, but EVERYTHING was more expensive: food, housing, clothing, vet bills, etc. There's ~33 million people in Canada vs 300+ million in the US, so the US has more "buying power" and gets better deals (think your corner grocery store prices vs Walmart prices). Even when the CAD got stronger & reached parity with the USD, things were still expensive. My first Target shopping trip when I returned to the US in July was pretty comical - I was MARVELING at the prices in comparison to Canadian stores, literally standing in the hair care aisle exclaiming to my husband, "Do you SEE the price of this jumbo Aussie shampoo?! It's twice as much shampoo for half the price, OMG!"

    If you're really interested in making this move, then I strongly suggest taking a trip up there to see if you like it, and do some checking out of neighborhoods you would want to live in & go "shopping" - go to the supermarket, mall, etc. to check out prices & check out some apartments/houses for rent/sale, and do some number-crunching.

    If you're going on a short term (work permit, 3 years or less), you want to make sure you have LOTS of wiggle room between monthly living costs & your income to cover any move expenses that your employer doesn't cover on the way up & on the way back. You're probably looking at $2500-$5K each way if you do most of the move yourself (depending on how much stuff you have & what method you choose), $7-$12K or more if you pay someone to do it all for you.

    SO, there's a LOT of things to consider besides just a straight cost of living index (which I've found to be pretty flawed...I've lived in NYC, Phoenix, Toronto, & now Chicago). Most important questions to be asking yourself are about whether you'd like the job & like the area & be able to find a home that you'd like, and then do the number crunching to see if it's somethign that makes logical, financial sense to do. Just my two cents...
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  • AldurAldur Juniper Moderator Member Posts: 1,460
    wow, thanks for all the responses and info guys.

    From the sounds of it there's alot to consider, the weather as astorrs pointed out :D And the cost of living seems significantly higher. I'm ok with cold weather, although I say that now I'm sure if I do get up there I won't be really prepared for it.

    I also didn't think about the troubles of having to go to a different country to work, as far as getting a work permit. The guy I spoke with about the job said they need to get somebody up there by the start of the year and that's literally less then 1 1/2 months away. I would probably be looking at staying 5 years or longer so I'll probably need to get a temp work permit and then apply for residency.

    The idea of free health care is intriguing but the sound of doctors not taking new patients is scary. It sounds like to me that there are to few doctors and to many ppl needing health care. In my mind that equats out to overworked doctors and mistakes.

    It also sounds like everything costs more and the big concern I have for that is what to ask for salary. Since I have an offer in Denver for 85k I definitely don't want to get less then that comparatively. I'm also looking at a job in NJ, same type position for Juniper, and I found that 85k in denver is like 110k in NJ and was planning on asking for something like that just so I wouldn't feel like I am losing out. The way I am viewing things now is that Edmonton might have a similar cost of living as the east coast in the US and so I'll shoot for the same.
    "Bribe is such an ugly word. I prefer extortion. The X makes it sound cool."

    -Bender
  • TechJunkyTechJunky Member Posts: 881
    With all of them Juniper certs you should look into a job with ATT. A good friend/past co-worker of mine is the head IP Engineer for them here in AK. Ever think of moving to Alaska? :D
  • skrpuneskrpune Member Posts: 1,409
    hi aldur - found some links you might want to check out about the residency/work permit thing:
    - http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/index.asp - main Citizenship & Immigration Canada page for those wanting to live/work in Canada temporarily
    - http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/offices/missions/seattle.asp - contact info for Seattle mission/visa office that's one of the ones closest to you, might be able to answer some questions.
    - http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/offices/missions/los-angeles.asp - contact info for LA mission/visa office.

    I'd call 'em up and ask them flat out - how long will it take to review your work permit application (sometimes there's a backlog), and can you switch over from work permit to permanent resident & how do you do so & what will you need from your employer, or does it make more sense for you to do permanent resident status from scratch?? It's a complicated process to apply for a work permit, and even more complicated to go from a temporary resident status to permanent resident, so ask lots of questions. And then call back to ask those questions again to be sure you get the same answers. I had go to through a million and one hoops and talk to countless people when I did my move up there, and it wasn't a fun process. Nor was it cheap - it's $150 to apply for a work permit per person, so it was $300 for my & the husband, and that had to come out of our pockets, phooey.
    Currently Studying For: Nothing (cert-wise, anyway)
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  • GT-RobGT-Rob Member Posts: 1,090
    Ugh, AT&T sucks :P


    I wouldn't come to Edmonton for less than 90k, especially if you are a single income.

    I think if you have a place willing to hire you right away, a permit will not be a problem. Canada has open arms to skilled workers.



    Don't let the lack of family doctors scare you. Walk-in clinics are also free and plenty. I have never had any issues with one, and sometimes prefer it over my family doctor anyway for quick visits. Prescriptions are also much cheaper here I believe.


    Also, something a lot of people don't realize, is some cars are not allowed here. Older lancer evos, the new GTO, 3rd gen MR2s etc, can not be plated here. Google "RIV list" if you are ever curious.
  • skrpuneskrpune Member Posts: 1,409
    GT-Rob wrote:
    Ugh, AT&T sucks :P
    Also, something a lot of people don't realize, is some cars are not allowed here. Older lancer evos, the new GTO, 3rd gen MR2s etc, can not be plated here. Google "RIV list" if you are ever curious.
    Good point about the vehicle issues. They don't allow you to import vehicles that you don't own outright either, unless you have expressed written consent from the lien holder. So if you're car's not paid off, then either pay it off before moving or you have to get your bank to write you an official letter stating that they are allowing you to leave the country with their vehicle. I had two cars before moving to Canada...I couldn't get consent from either one to allow me to take the vehicles across the border. So I had to sell one car and DRAIN our savings to pay off the other one. It's been over two years and my husband still hasn't gotten over having to give up his Wrangler...
    Currently Studying For: Nothing (cert-wise, anyway)
    Next Up: Security+, 291?

    Enrolled in Masters program: CS 2011 expected completion
  • AldurAldur Juniper Moderator Member Posts: 1,460
    skrprune, thanks for the great links I'll definitely be checking them out. And that is so messed up to hear about the bringing cars across the border, thanks for the heads up on that GT-Rob. I have 2 cars, my pontiac G6, and my wife's jeep liberty. We owe considerable amounts on both and so that would suck if we had to pay them off or leave them behind. Also, that's good to hear that there are plenty of clinics that you can get into if needed, the whole idea of overworked understaffed family MD's kinda freaked me out :D

    And TechJunky I have thought of living in alaska, I grew up in wyoming and so alaska has always been a place I've wanted to go. Also, funny that you bring up ATT, the RE job in NJ for Juniper would be working directly with ATT supporting their operations there.
    "Bribe is such an ugly word. I prefer extortion. The X makes it sound cool."

    -Bender
  • TechJunkyTechJunky Member Posts: 881
    Alaska is booming while everyone else is going into a recession. I haven't had this many job offers for the amount of money they are offering and the job position in my area for a while, then again I hardly ever apply anywhere because I am usually content with my current job. I took my current position because the corporation contacted me and at the time it seemed like a good fit. Now after 5 months I can defiantly tell they dont have their act together and I have started looking elsewhere. They have me as an acting IT director, title of a Systems Engineer and no pay increase but expect me to fly 3-4 weeks out of a month. So its time for me to part ways.

    I actually have my last interview today with one of the biggest corporations on the planet for a job title that would garantee me future employment for the rest of my life. So there is defiantly jobs to be had here. If someone was just breaking into IT its even easier. I see 20hr jobs for Helplessdesk all day long.

    I just had an interview yesterday where the starting pay was 30hr and goes all the way up to 45hr. This is extremely good money IMO for Alaska. 60k+ in AK you could live fairly decent. Most single family homes are around 230k. An expensive home around 2000+ sq feet is around 320k or so and is in an extremely nice neighborhood. So that should give you some insight on how our economy here is.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Living in Alaska sounds cool.
  • astorrsastorrs Member Posts: 3,139 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Like GT-Rob said, don't worry about doctors accepting new patients in Edmonton, a quick search came up with 195 General Practitioners accepting new patients in the Edmonton area. :)

    https://host.softworks.ca/AGate3/client/cpsa/custom/findaphysician/medical_directory.asp

    The employer should also take care of any work permit and related immigration issues (lawyers, etc). You should also be looking for full relocation benefits (moving, legal/tax consulting, real estate, etc). Most employers will usually make you sign a contract that forces you to pay those costs back on a sliding scale should you leave in less than 24 months (again this shouldn't really be a concern if you are considering a major relocation like this - chances are you would be staying for a while).
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