The two biggest differences: Language and Taxes
Quebec’s daycare system is the envy of every province in Canada with provincially-subsidized rates beginning at $8.35 per day although the rate is tied to your income so it will be higher if you make more money. Even if you choose to place your child in a private daycare, the province offers a generous tax credit for childcare expenses that offsets the fees you would pay. The province offers an online calculator for you to estimate your childcare expenses. At $7 per day versus $35-40 per day in Ottawa, that difference alone can be enough to tip the scales. However, the waiting list for public daycare in Gatineau is years-long, so after one year of parental leave, you’re still looking at the same cost for daycare, if not more than in Ottawa. Private daycares in Gatineau can’t compete with the $7 subsidized rate so they don’t and their rates are the same or higher than in Ottawa.
Quebec’s income taxes and consumption taxes are higher than in Ontario, but not by as much as you would imagine. It depends on which tax bracket you fall into, but the marginal rate difference between the two provinces is generally between 2-5%. As for the Quebec Sales Tax and the Harmonized Sales Tax, the difference is less than two per cent with HST being 13 per cent and HST being 14.975 per cent. If you work in Ottawa and live in Gatineau, you will pay higher taxes to the tune of 5-10% depending on your income bracket.
Does this make up for the gap between real estate prices? Over time, yes. Shorter term no and from a service perspective overall you get better value in Ottawa.
The education system
To be eligible for an English education in Quebec, one of the child’s two parents must have spent the majority of their education in English somewhere in Canada or the children or an older sibling must have already been educated in an English system in another Canadian province.
- Is that the only requirement?
- Funding french vs english
- Ratings of english schools vs ontario english
- Rating of fren school vs ontario french
Property tax is a tax on land and property. It is based on the assessed value of a property. If you own a property, you will have to pay property tax. It is used to pay for city services such as police, the fire department, and public transit as well as elementary and secondary education. Being a small community, Gatineau’s property taxes are lower than in Ottawa. Part of that is because Quebec residents have to pay an annual school tax that is normally factored into municipal taxes in Ontario, but even when the taxes are combined, they are lower in Gatineau.
Property Taxes in Quebec
- There are two main parts to property taxes in Québec: A municipal tax that depends on the borough of the property
- An education tax set by the province that is the same throughout Quebec
The breakdown of the municipal tax rate will differ across boroughs within municipalities. In general, the municipal tax will consist of a base tax and other special taxes depending on the borough. These special taxes may fund water services, roads, and other services.
Ottawa Property Taxes
Property tax is a tax based on the assessed value of a property. If you own a property or parcel of land, you will have to pay property tax. It is used to pay for city services such as police, the fire department, and public transit as well as elementary and secondary education.
There are two main parts to a property tax:
- A municipal tax that depends on the municipality of the property
- An education tax that is the same throughout Ontario.
Some cities may add additional taxes. For example, the City of Toronto has a City Building Fund Levy that is used for public transit and housing projects in the city.
Property tax rates also depend on the type of property. Common major categories are Residential, Multi-Residential, Commercial, Industrial and Farmland. Almost all homes will apply under Residential property tax rates.
What is a Bourough? A borough is a sub-municipal entity that has its own mayor and governing council. It is responsible for providing a number of local services including garbage and waste collection, permits, and fire prevention. Boroughs have their own property tax rates and are set on the provincial level.
There are multiple municipalities surrounding Gatineau, how do those compare?
MRC Vallée de la Gatineau: https://app.geocentriq.com/mrc/vallee-de-la-gatineau
Mulgrave & Derry: https://www.goazimut.com/GOnet6/index.html?m=80085
Natural gas prices are similar in both provinces and gasoline is more expensive in Quebec because of additional taxes, but you can commute to Ottawa on a daily basis and choose to fill up your vehicles for less money in Ontario. Where the savings really kick in are on electricity rates where Quebecers, who pay the cheapest rates in all of North America, pay as much as 40 per cent less than their neighbours across the river.
Fuel: The price difference is usually only 1-3 cents, so it isn’t a big deal. If you use GasBuddy you will see the lowest prices are in Ottawa (at a few stations), even though the average is lower in Gatineau. Gas prices always fluctuate higher and lower between Gatineau and Ottawa.
Electricity: Quebec – Like everywhere else in Québec, electricity in Gatineau is regulated and provided by Hydro-Québec. All of the electric utility’s rates are also regulated by the Régie de l’énergie.
Natural Gas: (Gatineau) Gatineau is one of the few main cities in Québec where natural gas is distributed by Gazifère, one of the two natural gas distributors in the province. Gazifère natural gas rates are regulated by the Régie de l’énergie, Québec’s energy regulator. However, consumers in the province have the freedom to choose their natural gas provider, whether residential or commercial.
Health care is significantly less available in Gatineau, which is why so many residents retain or seek Ottawa services. This extends to emergency services so while you may take small comfort in the fact that getting a family doctor in Ottawa is equally challenging, the number of clinics and emergency services in Ottawa can capably meet residents’ needs, while also handling the significant and somewhat terrifying overflow from Gatineau. Asking the scary question of how much your health care is worth to you must factor into any decision to move to Gatineau.
- Can QC residents have ontario doctors (dentist, hospital services, family doctors. Has a setup FAQ’s at the end of this paragraph.
Monfort FAQs: https://hopitalmontfort.com/en/information-quebec-residents-visiting-emergency
One of the great advantages of living in a small community with access to the great outdoors is that you also have easy access to a big city like Ottawa and The commute is a mere 12 minutes to downtown which is a lot faster than driving from neighbourhoods in Kanata or Orléans.
The housing market
To buy a house in Ottawa that is a similar distance from downtown, you could easily spend $150,000 to $200,000 more, but it will likely be smaller and not a new construction. Even during the coronavirus lockdown, interest in the project remains high and they’ve sold houses to people who’ve only visited virtually.
If you are military and you need to sell your house quickly, Ottawa is the clear winner here. The market is more expensive but has historically always had quicker resale and stronger demand. For military clients this is a huge consideration.
- Bussing cost comparison
- Cost Licensing for vehicles
- Cost Insurance for vehicles
Quebec’s regular fee for an automobile driver’s license is $87.28. https://saaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/
Ontario’s regular fee for an automobile driver’s license is $120 https://www.ontario.ca/page/drivers-licence
STO Bus Fares: http://m.sto.ca/en/fares/basic-fares/
OC Transpo Fares: https://www.octranspo.com/en/fares/costs/
QC Vehicle Insurance: https://educaloi.qc.ca/en/capsules/car-insurance-what-you-need-to-know/