As with any location, the cost of living is always subject to change. The following information is presented to give a general overview of the cost of living in Northern Alberta and the REDI Region.
In 2008, the average Canadian household spent $71,360. By comparison, Alberta spent $86,910; the highest average in Canada. Although statistics show Albertans spend the most on personal taxes, this is attributable to the fact that there are more Albertan households with incomes higher than the national average. More information on Canadian spending patterns .
Utility bills include such things as gas, electricity, and water/sewer/garbage services. Although these vary depending upon the size of the home, and the demands placed upon the systems, an average home may incur gas bills between $90 and $160 per month and electrical bills of $70 to $160 per month (seasonal fluctuation). Basic water/ sewer/ garbage services in High Level are a minimum of $67 per month.
Transit / Transportation
The REDI Region covers 80,527 square kilometers and most residents own their own vehicles. Although no municipal transit system exists, passenger and freight bus service connects many of the communities to each other as well as to Hay River in the north and Edmonton in the south. Taxi service, vehicle rental, and air travel are also available.
Transportation Costs (as of June 2010)
Costs Involved in Driving your own Vehicle:
Obtaining a learner’s driver’s license costs $17.60 and the driving test cost $68. Vehicle Insurance is mandatory. Costs can vary but studies show an average of $1,700.00 per year. Fuel prices fluctuate however REDI region fuel prices are comparable with other northern regions and are slightly higher than in larger centres.
Round trip bus ticket from High Level to Edmonton for one adult $262.00.
Round trip plane ticket from High Level to Edmonton for one adult $777.00
Vehicle Rental Fees:
Dependant upon the type of vehicle; may cost between $47 – $85 per day to rent a car or truck.
Fees for Services
The REDI region boasts many and varied recreational and cultural opportunities, many of which are free or substantially less expensive than similar activities in large centres. Compared to larger cities, like Edmonton, costs like swimming pool admission or children’s summer day camp can be 40 to 60% less. These savings carry over to many adult recreational activities as well.
There is no provincial sales tax in Alberta. This compares very favourably with the rest of Canada, where provincial sales tax can range from 5 to 10%.
The federal Good and Services Tax (GST) is charged throughout Canada at a rate of 5%. In some provinces it is combined, or ‘harmonized’, with the provincial sales tax and referred to as HST (Harmonized Sales Tax).
Food Options & Costs
The Communities of the REDI Region are served by several grocery stores which offer fresh, high quality produce, dairy, and meat as well as a good selection of international foodstuffs. Although the growing season in the REDI Region may be shorter when calculated in days, it is much longer when you consider it in terms of daylight hours. This makes gardening quite successful. Many people enjoy the benefits of growing personal fruit and vegetable gardens. With the agricultural nature of the area it is not difficult to locate fresh meat and other farm produce.
Comparing basic food costs with larger Alberta centres and other, similar sized, northern communities, the REDI Region compares very favourably. Price fluctuations were minimal and often prices on basic commodities like bread and some produce were slightly lower.