Did the last few years prompt more time working from home and fewer hours commuting? Did work-from-home push you into space fatigue, where cramped closets-turned-into-offices drove you to seek out more space? If you’re ready to move and find the perfect place with a work-from-home office, then you’ll need to consider cities with relatively affordable housing costs and lightning-fast internet speeds.
According to Ookla, an enterprise solutions division of digital media company Ziff Davis, Canada ranked 16th in the world for mobile speeds and 21st for fixed broadband speeds during January 2022.
However, internet speeds can vary greatly across Canada, particularly in more remote areas of the country. Residents in large, populated cities may have fast ISP service, but those living in more sparsely populated cities or regions continue to struggle to get consistency when it comes to streaming content or downloading large files.
The ideal is to find a city that offers reliable internet speeds combined with affordable housing. That might sound like a tall order, these days, but if you’re determined to find the best work-from-home city in Canada, then start your search here.
10 Best Cities to Work-from-Home in Canada
Looking to set up the ideal remote work office then check out properties in these 10 Canadian cities, which are ranked based on median internet download speed, as measured in megabits per second — Mbps. (The median is the middle value separating the higher half from the lower half of a range of numbers.)
- Calgary: 129.60 Mbps
- Edmonton: 120.36 Mbps
- Halifax: 118.78 Mbps
- Vancouver: 99.89 Mbps
- London: 99.15 Mbps
- Toronto: 98.54 Mbps
- Québec City: 94.40 Mbps
- Winnipeg: 93.25 Mbps
- Ottawa: 88.66 Mbps
- Montreal: 64.81 Mbps
1. Calgary, AB – 129.60 Mbps
The fastest provider in Calgary is Shaw, according to SpeedTest.net, with a median download speed of 191.79 Mbps but an average Mbps closer to 130. Calgary’s housing market has felt the impact of resource market turbulence over the last few decades but remains stable.
Benchmark house price, as of January 2022: $517,220
Benchmark condo price, as of January 2022: $259,600
2. Edmonton, AB – 120.36 Mbps
This city is still relatively affordable in part because of the recessionary pressures from oil industry changes over the last decade. Condos that would’ve sold for north of $260,000 in 2008, are selling for approximately $175,000. Still, the city is growing and a revamp by the city council has meant the attraction of new businesses and new economic sectors to the municipality (apparently, its booming tech sector is ranked among the top 10 in all of Canada!).
Benchmark house price, as of January 2022: $403,000
Benchmark condo price, as of January 2022: $175,800
3. Halifax, NS – 118.78 Mbps
Nova Scotia, in general, is experiencing a resurgence with an influx of tech workers helping to swell the population of the province.
Average home (composite) as of January 2022: $392,828
Alternative: Annapolis Valley, NS
Home to Acadia University and nestled along the Bay of Fundy, the Annapolis Valley offers a great mix between big-city amenities and a small-town feel. Ideal spots include Kentville, Wolfville, Greenwood, or any valley towns.
Average home (composite) as of January 2022: $392,828
4. Vancouver, BC – 99.89 Mbps
Vancouver is not known for its affordable housing market but it is large enough to command an investment in infrastructure including high internet speed systems. However, home prices may be prohibitive for remote workers or first-time buyers just trying to get into the market.
Benchmark house price, as of January 2022: $1,255,200
Benchmark condo price, as of January 2022: $775,700
Alternative: Penticton, BC
Located in B.C.’s interior and in the middle of wine country, Penticton offers the best of all worlds. Several beaches, rolling mountain ranges and housing prices that are far more affordable than its neighbour, Vancouver.
Benchmark house price, as of January 2022: $707,900*
Benchmark condo price, as of January 2022: $465,400*
5. London, ON – 99.15 Mbps
London’s housing market has been hot, hot, hot over the last few years but when compared to other large Ontario cities, such as Toronto, home prices are still relatively affordable. What’s better is that remote work or work-from-home set-ups mean more house without compromising on salary, at least in theory.
Benchmark house price, as of January 2022: $760,200**
Benchmark condo price, as of January 2022: $377,200**
6. Toronto, ON – 98.54 Mbps
Just like Vancouver’s housing market, homes in Toronto are not considered affordable, particularly for first-time buyers; still, housing demand remains robust and for those fortunate enough to eliminate the commute through remote work, the Toronto real estate market does have appeal.
Benchmark house price, as of January 2022: $1,502,600
Benchmark condo price, as of January 2022: $728,000
Alternative: Quinte West, ON
Nearby in bustling Prince Edward County — and an hour and a half outside of Toronto — is Quinte West. The relatively short commute to major cities and the small-town vibe make this an ideal community to set up a work-from-home arrangement. it manages to maintain its small-town vibe with the added bonus of a short commute to major cities. If you’re lucky, you could find a starter home in the $300s, although more house (and more space for work) will probably require a budget closer to half-million.
Benchmark house price, as of January 2022: $576,100
7. Québec City: 94.40 Mbps
Apparently, a shortage of single-family home listings and continued low mortgage rates means that housing prices in Quebec City and Montreal are higher than anticipated, even for seasoned real estate agents in this province! Still, for those looking for a property where remote work is possible at an affordable price, then Quebec City certainly fits.
Benchmark house price, as of January 2022: $343,100
Benchmark condo price, as of January 2022: $218,300
8. Montreal, QC: 64.81 Mbps
Remote workers will want to consider whether or not Montreal is the best spot in Quebec. Median internet speed is certainly slower than in other areas, such as Quebec City, and benchmark housing prices are higher. Even with these obstacles, Montreal will still appeal to some work-from-home professionals.
Median house price, as of December 2021: $722,500
Median condo price, as of December 2021: $431,500
Montreal North Shore
Median house price, as of December 2021: $455,000
Median condo price, as of December 2021: $300,000
Montreal South Shore
Median house price, as of December 2021: $530,000
Median condo price, as of December 2021: $338,500
Alternative: Chambly, QC
Southeast of Montreal is the town of Chambly. Only 45 minutes away from Montreal Island, the area was once a draw for medical professionals or those in the educational sector; however, remote workers may not feel the constraint of sticking to those sectors (or you can capitalize on the support required by the surrounding schools and hospitals).
Median house price, as of December 2021: $532,000
Median condo price, as of December 2021: $362,400
9. Winnipeg: 93.25 Mbps
Like many big cities in Canada, Winnipeg is experiencing a short supply of single-family home listings, as well as condo resales. As a result, prices are expected to remain strong (and higher than the seasonal average) for much of 2022. For remote workers, however, Winnipeg will still be appealing as home prices are extremely affordable in this Manitoba big-city when compared to other Canadian large cities.
Benchmark house price, as of January 2022: $348,100
Benchmark condo price, as of January 2022: $206,800
10. Ottawa: 88.66 Mbps
While Ottawa rounds out the list remote workers will need to dig into the details if they want an affordable place to live and reliable internet service. That’s because last year, Ottawa was one of 51 communities across Canada that failed the speed test conducted last year by Local News Data Hub. Failing this test means that most households were unable to get internet speeds to meet even the basic service objectives for both upload and download speeds set by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Tests conducted last year showed the median download speed for Ottawa internet users was 38.22 Mbps and the median upload speed was 9.96 Mbps.
Benchmark house price, as of January 2022: $784,700
Benchmark condo price, as of January 2022: $424,200
Provinces and Territories with the Fastest Internet Speeds
Not too keen on moving to the cities mentioned above? Not to worry, you can adapt your home search — and your quest for the best work-from-home set-up — based on your province or territory of preference.
The following list starts with the best option, based on internet download speeds according to speed test data from PCMag and HP.com.
- Newfoundland and Labrador: 119.77 Mbps
- New Brunswick: 117.29 Mbps
- British Columbia: 110.45 Mbps
- Nova Scotia: 105.04 Mbps
- Alberta: 91.81 Mbps
- Ontario: 84.42 Mbps
- Québec: 69.51 Mbps
- Manitoba: 66.90 Mbps
- Saskatchewan: 58.54 Mbps
- Prince Edward Island: 53.08 Mbps
- Northwest Territories: 47.81 Mbps
- Yukon Territory: 42.02 Mbps
- Nunavut: 15.00 Mbps
Quite surprisingly, the East Coast tops the list for the fastest internet service in Canada and the best region to set up a work-from-home office. The northern territory of Nunavut comes in with the slowest broadband speed; not too surprising given how remote and sparsely populated this northern territory is, with only 40,000 residents occupying the 1.8 million square kilometres of land!
Minimum Internet Speed Connections
According to the Canadian Radio-Television Communications (CRTC), Canadian households should have internet connections with broadband speeds of at least 50 Mbps for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads.
However, more than 7,500 tests conducted in 2020 in 53 communities across Canada, showed that 51 communities failed to meet the basic requirements, as set out by the CRTC. For example, only 34% of internet users in Ottawa met both the CRTC’s minimum upload and download service objectives.
Pegging the best cities for remote work can be a bit of a moving target. Housing prices change, job opportunities ebb and flow and even a municipalities internet infrastructure can alter over a few years. However, if you are in the market to set up a dedicated work-from-home office—and staying in a precise location isn’t a factor—it’s a good idea to consider access to amenities, as well as internet speeds and housing prices. Use this list to help you start your search.
Housing prices were obtained through the Canadian Real Estate Association’s housing benchmark tool, except for Nova Scotia and Quebec, where the average housing prices were taken from the Nova Scotia Real Estate Board or Centris, respectively.
*Based on interior B.C. housing prices
**Based on London & St. Thomas housing prices