Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto among top 10 most ‘liveable’ cities in the world

Shelby Thevenot
Published: September 5, 2019

Three of Canada’s biggest cities are among the 10 most liveable in the world, according to the latest Economist Intelligence Unit Global Liveability Index.

Calgary, Alberta, was the highest-ranked Canadian city on the annual index, placing fifth out of the 140 cities surveyed.

Vancouver and Toronto held on to their rankings from last year, ranking sixth and seventh, respectively.

The most liveable city in the world was Vienna, Austria, for the second year in a row.

The Economist Intelligence Unit is a division of The Economist Group, which operates the popular magazine The Economist.

The 140 cities reviewed received a liveability score based on qualitative and quantitative factors under each of the following five categories:

  • Stability: This category examines the prevalence of crime and the threat of terror, military conflict or civil unrest.
  • Healthcare: This category focuses on the availability and quality of private and public healthcare, over-the-counter drugs and other general healthcare indicators.
  • Culture and Environment: This category looks at temperature rating; climate; the level of corruption; social or religious restrictions; food and drink; and other social components.
  • Education: This category covers the availability and quality of private and public education.
  • Infrastructure: An assessment of the quality of roads, public transportation, availability of housing, and other elements.

If a city gets a rating of 100 in a specific category it means the conditions are ideal, whereas a rating of 1 is considered intolerable.

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How Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto fared

Calgary’s overall liveability score was 97.5, aided by perfect scores in four of the five categories; only its Culture and Environment score came up short at 90 out of 100.

Vancouver was the only city in the top 10 to receive a perfect score in the Culture and Environment category and also scored 100 in both Healthcare and Education. However, it came up short in the Infrastructure and Stability categories with scores of 92.9 and 95, respectively.

Toronto earned perfect scores in Stability, Healthcare and Education, but was the lowest-ranked in the top 10 for Infrastructure at 89.3. Its score in Culture and Environment was 97.2.

City Rank Overall Rating Stability Healthcare Culture & Environment Education Infrastructure
Calgary, Alberta 5 97.5 100 100 90 100 100
Vancouver, British Columbia 6 97.3 95 100 100 100 92.9
Toronto, Ontario 7 97.2 100 100 97.2 100 89.3

Calgary for newcomers

Calgary is a top destination for the oil and gas industry.

It is the largest city in Alberta, and the fourth-largest in Canada at 1.2 million people.

Data from the 2016 StatsCan census profile shows that Calgary gained more immigrants compared to the rest of the province between 2011 and 2016.

During this period 46 per cent of all immigrants to Alberta moved to Calgary.

The Government of Alberta offers several options for foreigners interested in immigrating to Alberta through the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP).

Currently, the AINP has three streams:

  • Alberta Opportunity Stream — This stream is for eligible candidates in specific in-demand occupations.
  • Alberta Self-Employed Farmer Stream — This option is for international farmers who want to own and operate a farm in Alberta.
  • Alberta Express Entry Stream — The Express Entry system is the Canadian Government’s main source of skilled foreign talent. Alberta’s Express Entry Stream allows the province to search the Express Entry pool for candidates who match its economic development priorities.

Find out if you are eligible for Express Entry

Vancouver, Hollywood North

Vancouver, British Columbia, is Canada’s third most populous city, home to over 2.4 million people. Many films and TV shows are produced in Vancouver, which is the third-largest film production location in North America.

More than 142,000 immigrants came to Vancouver between 2011 and 2016, accounting for 81 per cent of all immigrants to B.C.

There are two main immigration streams under the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP):

Toronto tech hub

Canada’s largest city, Toronto, Ontario, has a technology sector that is directly competing with Silicon Valley and Seattle. It’s estimated that 80,100 tech jobs have been created in Toronto since 2013.

Around 76 per cent of immigrants who moved to Ontario between 2011 and 2016 chose Toronto as their new home. Of the 6.4 million people who call the Greater Toronto Area home, 46 per cent are immigrants.

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) accepts applications under three immigration categories:

  • Human Capital Category — This category has five immigration streams, including three that are linked to Canada’s Express Entry system. One of these, the Human Capital Priorities Stream, now holds occasional draws targeting Express Entry candidates with work experience in specific tech occupations.
  • Employer Job Offer Category — Foreign workers and international students with an eligible job offer from an Ontario employer may be eligible under one of this category’s three streams.
  • Business Category — Foreign entrepreneurs who want to establish or buy a business in Ontario can express their interest to the OINP under this category.

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs

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