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Calling Western Canadians

  1. Jun 4, 2007 #1

    JasonRox

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    This is for anyone who knows something about Western Canada.

    I'm from Ontario and I'm planning to move to Western Canada after I graduate in April 2008. I'll be looking for employment before I move. The cities I'm looking at are Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, or their surrounding area.

    Lots of people and friends have moved out West for jobs. Those who went there didn't complain about the cost of living although it is much higher, but they seemed to have been satisfied with the higher pay to make up for it.

    Others who have never gone always seem to downplay the idea of moving out West because of it's high cost of living. So my question is, how expensive is it really?

    So, for the sake of it, we will compare regular items we buy and see how some things match up.

    Regular Dempster's Bread

    http://www.dempsters.ca/products/StayFresh_Bread.html

    2L of Skim Milk

    1 Movie Ticket

    A Dozen Eggs (Nature's Best if you have that)

    That's all I can think of for now, but next time I work, I'll get the exact prices. (I work at a grocery store.) If you have any other items you think are generally good for comparing, post them up. :biggrin:

    If there's anything else I need to know, that's good too. :biggrin:

    Thanks, I appreciate it!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2007 #2

    Moonbear

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    Are Edmonton and Vancouver really both similar in cost of living, and is Vancouver all that different from say, Toronto? My impression (being from the States and having only visited Vancouver and Toronto, but never Edmonton) was that Vancouver and Toronto were similar to big cities in the US, and similarly expensive to live in, but a place like Edmonton is more like the midwest cities that are a bit less expensive to live in. I could totally have the wrong impression of course, so I'm curious to see how this thread turns out.

    Some other things that might be useful for comparison are cost of meats...maybe the price per lb of boneless chicken breasts or lean ground beef would be a useful comparison (regular prices, not sale prices of course)...at least in the states, those seem to vary more than things like bread and eggs. And, perhaps the typical rent of a one-bedroom apartment downtown vs suburbs. Cost of living might be high if you rent right downtown, but maybe not so different if you live within a commutable distance in the suburbs.
     
  4. Jun 4, 2007 #3

    JasonRox

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    Getting into the prices of meat might get complicated for me since I don't know what's good and what's bad. I don't eat much meat and when I do, I pay premium prices to get quality.

    For apartments, I check online for that. I saw that Calgary on average cost $200 more a month compared to where I'm living now. I haven't checked Toronto prices, but I know they're high.
     
  5. Jun 4, 2007 #4
    I live in Edmonton.

    Cost of living here is comparable to Toronto now, I don't know that it is higher.

    Look at paying about $800-$1000/mo for something semi-reasonable for 1/2(max) ppl. I think Calgary is a bit more expensive. Vancouver is definitely more expensive.

    Since I don't have any of my reciepts with me I can't give u prices on food.

    There definitely are a lot of jobs over here. Check out http://jb-ge.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/ for approx wages you will be looking at.

    edit: Changed rent to $800-1000, 800 is probably a bit low. (depending on the type of neighbourhood you want to live in)
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2007
  6. Jun 4, 2007 #5
    Vancouver is definitely the most expensive, rent will kill you there. I have a friend from that area and she tells me to expect to pay a grand a month for a hovel of an apartment to live in (think closet). Edmonton where I am rent is fairly expensive but not nearly on the level of vancouver, your biggest problem will be finding a place to live, they are getting few and far between in both edmonton and calgary from what ive seen. I honestly can't tell you much about cost of food, I don't pay much attention to it because honestly it really doesnt matter, I have to eat haha. Lots of jobs, especially in the oilfield.
     
  7. Jun 4, 2007 #6
    Just to expand on the rent part of my post since I did a poor job. If you wanted to live in a 'low end' neighbourhood you could maybe get away with $500-600 a month for rent.

    eg. http://www.rentedmonton.com/Detail.aspx?prop=0d88463e-734a-4ea3-904e-410ab1d366ce

    For the price I would say that its worth it, I have had friends who moved out in their teens and of course ended up in cheap housing like that. Its not that bad.

    Anything downtown is going to be $900+ but the city is not very big so living on the edge of the city only means its a 30min bus ride to downtown or a 20min car ride.
     
  8. Jun 4, 2007 #7
    Yeah the whyte ave/university/downtown areas are going to be where you spend the big bucks to live. Edge of city isn't bad just check into how good the transit system is there first before you sign a lease. I will add that I prefer Edmonton over Calgary big time. If you want a 'smaller' city Red Deer is nice and I would imagine would be much cheaper.
     
  9. Jun 4, 2007 #8

    JasonRox

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    Thanks guys!

    Thanks for that link I got earlier. I never thought about looking there for jobs.

    I was actually thinking of living between a university and my job while living in a student room, which I see can go for $400 a month even in Vancouver. If I do that for a year, I can save lots of money.

    I also planned on working 7 days a week for awhile until I saved a lot and if I'm happy where I am, I would buy a place.

    Another question is, when should I start applying for jobs?
     
  10. Jun 4, 2007 #9
    What's your education?
     
  11. Jun 5, 2007 #10

    ShawnD

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    If you're talking about Edmonton, it depends what kind of job you want.

    Academics, or any white collar job with an HR department (secretary, etc):
    If you want a job based on education, you need to start applying right away. The HR department of any company will try their hardest to see the company fail, and they do this by inefficient hiring and firing policies. Companies with academic job openings advertise that they are understaffed, but that doesn't mean they're hiring people. I'll see a job listed on my college's website for literally weeks, and when I call them about it they say they're not interested in hiring me, and they give the same response to my friend who is more qualified than myself. It takes weeks/months to find a job related to your educational training, and even then it will only pay near the poverty line.

    Skilled Labor:
    The shortage of tradesmen is artificially created. No company is willing to take on new people and sponsor their apprenticeship, so basically the trades are a closed system. No new tradesmen can be trained because nobody with sponsor them, this creates a shortage of journeymen trades people, which leads to welders making $80/h when even a successful lawyer makes less than that. Unless you already have your journeyman ticket and several years of experience, you can't get into the trades.

    Unskilled Labor / Service Industry:
    You can get these jobs easily. Walk into any Tim Hortons or any Warehouse and you'll walk out with a job. You can make pretty good money doing this too if you're willing to work weird hours (Tim Hortons) or overtime (warehouse). Just as an example, most warehouse jobs start at $15/h, McDonalds starts at something like $11/h; I think Tim Hortons pays better than McDonalds but I'm not too sure. You can add a few dollars per hour if you work night shifts at McDonalds or Tim Hortons, and these shifts are easy to get because lack of night people is why most locations are closed at night. The McDonalds locations that are 24/7 often have car lineups going around the entire building, and they'll gladly hire more people to serve those customers.


    Some good places to look for jobs:
    Edmonton Job Shop
    Canada Job Bank
    Be sure to check out jobs for municipal, provincial, and federal government. They often pay crazy amounts like $40,000 per year for a secretary, and they start with 3 weeks paid vacation per year. Competition for them is intense but if you get one it's like winning the lottery.
     
  12. Jun 5, 2007 #11

    Danger

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    I live in a town outside of Calgary, but within 4-15 minutes driving (depending upon your approach to the speed limit and available horsepower). W and I are in a 2 bedroom 4-plex at $625/month, but ours is almost the last building that hasn't gone condo. Similar units next door are selling at something like $80,000. Luckily, I own a house up at the end of the street which is worth about $400,000, and we're going to move in as soon as we can get it fixed up. (The house itself isn't worth very much, but it's on a double lot in an R4 zoned neighbourhood.) My grandfather built it in 1911, my mother was born in the living room in 1912, and she was living in it with Lucy (Lucifer T. Cat) until we shipped her to the hospital and thereafter nursing home last November. If you're looking for an apartment, good luck.
    There is in fact talk of provincial rent regulations being introduced after an incident with a family in Calgary who were struck from nowhere with a rent increase of something like $2,500/month. That is an increase, mind you, over the $800/month or whatever they were previously paying.
    Here in my town, a single bedroom batchelor apartment will run somewhere around $600-800/month. As for food prices, it pretty much comes down to where you shop. M&M Meatshops, for example, with get you pretty much twice as much for the same bucks as a normal grocery store, especially if you have one of their membership cards. (And it's really, really good food.)
     
  13. Jun 5, 2007 #12

    ShawnD

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    I think they already brought in regulations about how often the land lord can raise the rent, but all that did was drive up the cost of rent in 1 jump instead of 2. Capping the cost of rent won't help either because then prices will be kept artificially low and there's no reason to build new apartments.


    Just to add to the job prospects thing, I just got off the phone with a lady from Alberta Research Council, and she said the entry level chemistry job I just applied for had literally hundreds of applicants. Unless you plan on working at Tim Hortons, it's not worth coming here to get a job.
     
  14. Jun 5, 2007 #13

    JasonRox

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    I don't plan on moving there until I land a job that's for sure. Meanwhile, I'll stay here and work.

    I'm actually going to consider anywhere in Canada. I hear Saskatchewan is starting to get jobs too. I'm just asking about Western Canada because that's where I want to go.
     
  15. Jun 5, 2007 #14

    JasonRox

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    Oh, and also you're talking about a place that always had hundreds of applicants to begin with.
     
  16. Jun 5, 2007 #15
    bread: $2.79
    milk: $2.49
    ticket: $8.25
    eggs: $4.80 (can't remember if they were nature's best but i found some organic/free-range)
     
  17. Jun 5, 2007 #16

    JasonRox

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    Thanks alot!

    That's not bad prices at all.

    From what I noticed, the average pay seems to be about $3-3.50 more an hour. So, that's right around what I thought at $150 more a week. That more than makes up for extra cost of living.
     
  18. Jun 5, 2007 #17

    Moonbear

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    Wow, that sounds nearly as bad as New York City! I always thought Canadian cities would be more affordable than that. Just shows how far off my views were!
     
  19. Jun 5, 2007 #18

    JasonRox

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    Minimum wage in Ontario is $8 an hour which every employer pays, which is why I want to leave.

    In Alberta, the minimum wage is lower, but the least paid job I've seen is $10 an hour.
     
  20. Jun 5, 2007 #19
    You don't have to try that hard to get around 15/hr.
     
  21. Jun 6, 2007 #20

    JasonRox

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    That's sad because getting $10 an hour here for part-time work is like impossible to get. I have that right now, but that's still absolutely nothing.
     
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