34 Pros and Cons of Living in Quebec, Canada

The decision to move out to a new country, city, or town can’t be taken lightly. If you find yourself considering relocating to Quebec, there is a lot you should know about the place.

For starters, Quebec is among the top provinces in Canada. And like many provinces in Canada, it has a rich culture with excellent living conditions.

The overall setting is urban, though there are also rural areas. Over 80% of the residents are French speakers. However, most people can also talk and understand English.

Quebec has a population of about 8,575,000, making it the second-most populous province in Canada.

If you are thinking of shifting to Quebec, expect to adjust some aspects of your lifestyle to fit your new surroundings. Below are the 17 pros and cons of living in Quebec.

A picture of the blue and white Quebec flag waving against a blue cloudy sky

17 Advantages of living in Quebec

Below are the reasons why you should head to Quebec.

1.   Rich in Natural Beauty

Quebec’s natural beauty makes it among the top tourist hotspots in Canada. There are plenty of picturesque landscapes, including lakes, mountains, and parks.

There are about 24 national parks in Quebec. Some of the most extraordinary parks include La Maurice, Mingan Archipelago,  Grands-Jardins, Jacques-Cartier, Bic, and Forillon. Here, you can enjoy fun activities like camping, wildlife observation, and hiking.

2. Affordable Electricity

Quebec offers the most affordable electricity compared to any province in Canada. Expect to pay lower energy bills (electric and natural gas) if you move to this province.

Assuming you consume 1000 kWh in a month, your average electricity bill will be only $73. The low cost is because Quebec generates its electricity from hydroelectric dams and renewable sources.

3. Affordable Housing

The entire Quebec province has affordable housing regardless of whether you live in a rural or urban area. You can find and rent an apartment in the heart of the city center for an average cost of $877.

4. Outdoor Activities and Entertainment

If you love spending time outdoors, then Quebec is the place to live. There are many entertainment hubs and activities you can enjoy with your family.

During summer, you can go cycling, hiking, and kayaking. Winter activities include dog sledding, snowboarding, skiing, and outdoor hockey.  

5. Water Bodies

A large waterfall in Quebec, white waters pouring into a flat blue lake

Beautiful water bodies surround Quebec. You can enjoy scenic sunsets on lakes and rivers like the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, Labrador, Ungava Bay, Lake Memphremagog, Pink Lake, Bonaventure River, Rivière Saint-Pierre, and Lake of Two Mountains.

6. Access to Local Shops

Quebec has enough local shops where you can shop for groceries, equipment, beer, and other essentials. You don’t have to travel long distances to get your supplies.

7. Cycling Lanes and Parks

Despite Quebec being a populous province, it has relatively excellent mobility. On the roads, separate cycling lanes connect the many cities in Quebec.  Additionally, you can enjoy walks and relaxing moments in the many parks available. Fun activities include picnics, yoga, cycling, and other sports.

8. Artistic and Cultural Hub

Artistry is a common occupation in Quebec. There is a relaxed attitude to support artists who rely on peaceful surroundings to create their best work.

Budding talents have several opportunities to bloom within the many cities of Quebec. You can venture into photography, painting, modeling art pieces, among other options.

9. Several Means of Transport

Getting to the cities of Quebec is easy and fast depending on the means of transport you choose. The Metro railway connects to many cities at affordable prices.

There is a great road network with modern highways that connects different areas.  Also, there are over 40 airports in Quebec, and you can fly anywhere with ease.

10. Optimum Location

Quebec is strategically located, making it affordable to visit other provinces within Canada. You can explore Canada by catching regular trains, buses, or flights at low prices.

11. Student-Friendly

If you are worried about education in Quebec, you need not. Education costs are cheaper here than in other provinces in Canada. You will also find students from all cultures in Quebec. 

Some of the leading universities include:

●     McGill University

●     Concordia University

●     Université de Montréal

●     Université Laval

●     Université du Québec

●     HEC Montréal

●     Bishop’s University

12. Religion

The largest religion in Quebec is Christianity. It accounts for over 82% of the population.  Most of the residents are Catholic, followed by Protestants.

There is the freedom to worship, and there is no discrimination against people of other religions. However, Bill 21 prevents civil servants like teachers, police, judges, and other public servants from wearing religious symbols to work.

Examples of religious symbols are hijab, turbans, kippah, among others. 

13. Historical Monuments

A picture of a castle in Quebec. There is a boardwalk next to the castle with people walking on it

Relocating to Quebec means getting to understand the history of the people who live there. There are many places you can visit to know more. These include galleries, museums, theaters, and natural sites.

Standout attractions include Plains of Abraham, Fortifications of Québec, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine, Île d’Orléans, L’Îlot des Palais, and Old Québec. Quebecers are also friendly and will give you an insight into what their province has to offer.

14.  Climate

Quebec has four seasons and mostly enjoys a humid climate all through the year. You will find the most comfort during the summer season, but you should brace yourself for the winter.

15. Economy

The services and manufacturing sector dominates Quebec’s economy. But many other resources also play significant roles.

For example, Quebec has the largest freshwater source in the world. It harbors about 3% of the world’s freshwater reserves.

The economy is also supported by sustainable fishing, natural resources, timber, tourism, and agriculture.

16. Affordable Insurance

Car insurance in Quebec is cheaper compared to other provinces within Canada. According to insurance reports, the average car insurance cost in Quebec is $717 per year.

In neighboring Ontario, car insurance averages $1,505 per year, and people living in British Columbia pay up to $1,832 per year.

17. Restaurants and Malls

Quebec has some of the finest restaurants and shopping malls. The numerous malls have famous clothing lines and brands.

When it comes to food, you can enjoy both local and international cuisines. Some of the traditional specialties you should try include cretons, pea soup, poutine, pig’s trotter stew, and poor man’s pudding cake.

17 Disadvantages of Living in Quebec

Below are the cons of living in Quebec.

18. High Income Tax

Despite the affordable accommodation, the income tax you pay to the government is extremely high. The minimum combined Federal & Quebec tax rate for people earning $41,105 is 27.53%.

It means that almost 1/3 of your paycheck is slashed towards government taxes.

19. High Sales Tax

Opening a business in Quebec is a costly undertaking. Similar to the personal income tax, you will also pay two sales taxes. First is the standard 9.975% Quebec sales tax, and the second is the 5% federal goods and services tax charge.

These rates are among the highest in Canada since you pay a combined sales tax of 14.975% for non-exempt goods.

20.  Snow and Cold Winters

A cabin on a mountaintop, with its roof covered in snow, surrounded by land covered in snow

The winter season in Quebec is brutal. Compared to the lively summertime, the city becomes almost dead. In places like Quebec City, snow falls heavily, and it doesn’t melt quickly. Driving becomes risky, and you must put up with unending traffic.

Winter temperatures in Quebec can dip to -20 ˚C. You must prepare adequately for such temperatures. With that said, it’s not all doom and gloom during winter. You can still find plenty of activities to do, including attending popular events like the annual Quebec Winter Festival.

21. Language Barrier

The primary language for Quebecers is French. Over 80% of the locals speak French and acknowledge it as the first language.

Foreigners that are non-French speakers find it challenging to adapt in the early days. Moreover, forms, names of places, shops, and street signs are all written in French.

22. Traffic

It’s frustrating to drive on Quebec highways and intersections. Traffic is usually caused by the state of roads which are pitiful in some areas.

Traffic woes are also plenty in large cities like Montreal. Sections of Highway 40 are infamous for their traffic snarl-ups.

23. Infrastructure

Quebec is a modern and attractive province. However, some parts of the city have water systems that are over 100 years old. These are sometimes prone to recurrent leaks, which can be frustrating.

24. Rising Heating Bills

A lady is standing next to a window, looking out. She is dressed in a sweater, scarf, and drinking a warm drink.

While electricity is cheap, the expenses shoot up during the brutal winter because people use heating machines to keep warm. The alternative is to use gas furnaces, but they are also expensive.

25.  Strict Measures to Buy Hard Liquor

Beer is readily available in Quebec stores. But getting hard liquor requires a lengthy process. To get hard liquor like wines and spirits, you must go to the Societe des Alcools du Québec (SAQ).

SAQ is a distribution network owned and operated by the Canadian government. It gives it a legal monopoly for the wines and spirits sales.

26. Cultural Shock

Quebec is rich in culture, and if you are from other parts of Canada, you can adapt quickly. However, people from Europe and Asia struggle at first, especially if they aren’t French speakers.

27. Safety and Security

According to a 2019 report, Quebec is third in the rate of violent crimes per 100,000 residents by province. It is also among the top provinces marred with political corruption and strong ties to mob organizations.  Some of the most dangerous places include Saint-Roch, Lairet, Vieux-Moulin, Mirabel, Repentigny, Sherbrooke, and Drummondville.

28. Employment Opportunities

Unemployment rates in Quebec tend to be high, but the Covid-19 pandemic has completely wrecked havoc. According to CBC News, the unemployment rate was 17% in 2020. People that don’t have any specific Canadian work experience may struggle to get jobs.

29. Unreliable Public Transport

Quebec is the second-most populous province, and this shows in its transport system. There are occasional service delays for trains that can sometimes halt subway lines for hours.

The bus fleet is old, and most buses are away as they undergo repairs. There are fewer buses, and sometimes you have to let two or three buses pass to find one with enough room.

30. Government Involvement

The government regulations in Canada could be considered extensive and overreaching. Quebec isn’t an exception.

Many locals prefer that there were fewer rules and regulations to follow. For instance, the government regulates how much trans-fat a restaurant meal should have.

31. Access to Modern Resources

Quebec has both rural and urban settlements. Access to amenities in the urban areas isn’t a problem. But certain areas find it challenging to order and receive purchases. For instance, you can order goods online, but the delivery charge will be high because of the additional taxes and tariffs.

32. Health Care

Quebec is obsessed with providing advanced tertiary care rather than primary and secondary care. The hybrid system allows public institutions to work alongside private clinics, leading to the disintegration of health services.

33. Low Disposable Income

Quebec has among the lowest showing of salaries in Canada. It’s a worrisome trend for middle-class families as they can afford only basic needs.

After taxes and bills, there isn’t much left to put in for retirement savings or even a vacation.

34. Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is linked with income. If your household income declines, food insecurity is imminent. Also, food insecurity impacts negatively on the overall health care of Quebec residents.

Related: Pros and Cons of Livving in Ottawa, Canada

Conclusion

Quebec is a welcoming place to visit and settle. Many reasons inspire confidence in both local and foreign residents.

Besides the scenic and natural beauty, anyone can quickly adapt to the Quebec lifestyle. Residents are friendly, and the weather is accommodative. Your kids will also get a good education if you settle in Quebec.

You can expect to find a few challenges. The taxes may be higher, and winters brutal. If you don’t speak French, you might struggle to converse with locals.

If you feel that we have missed some pros and cons of living in Quebec, let us know in the comments.

Related: 13 Pros and Cons of Living In Kitchener, Ontario