Canada among 50 best places to retire, according to travel report

Canada has been named one of the 50 places in the world to retire, according to a report from a European travel website.

The list was recently compiled by Enjoy Travel, a U.K.-based car rental rate comparison site, taking into account a variety of priorities for retirees, including those trying to retire early.

To determine the rankings, Enjoy Travel analyzed the factors like cost of living, quality of life, ease of getting a visa or residency permit, and the costs of entertainment and rent. Good weather, health care, hospitality and language barriers for English speakers were also part of the analysis.

Canada ranked 22 in the world, thanks to what Enjoy Travel called easy access to visas and residency permits and high quality of living.

Recently released census data shows immigrants made up nearly a quarter of all people living in Canada in 2021, and are projected to represent a third of the population in 20 years.

The proportion of immigrants is the largest it’s ever been in Canada, and the highest among G7 countries.

But Canada wasn’t in the top 10, or even the top 20, based on one factor: cost of living.

Specifically, the report warned of the costs associated with rent and eating at restaurants, saying the prices for both are at the higher than in many of the other top 50 countries.

According to the most recent National Rent Report from Rentals.ca, the price for rental housing in Canada was up 15.4 per cent year over year in September, hitting an average of $2,043 for all home types. It’s the highest year-over-year increase in the average rent since April 2019, according to the report. 

Countries that fared better than Canada in the ranking include Slovenia, which managed to score the first spot because of its low cost of living, high quality of life, low visa and residency permit barriers and mild temperatures, and because English is widely spoken.

Portugal came second thanks to affordability, “extremely” high quality of life and access to a range of visas and residency permits. The report also praised its “sunny climate, excellent restaurants and laid-back culture.”

Following Portugal, Estonia ranked third. Low living costs, high quality of life, easy access to visas and residency permits and English being widely spoken are cited as the biggest factors for Estonia, as well as cleanliness and safety.

Noticeably absent from this list is Canada’s neighbour to the south. The U.S. didn’t make the cut for the top 50, but is mentioned as having a higher cost of living, including rent, entertainment and other expenses.

Those behind the list said counties needed to offer a “mixture of everything,” saying, as an example, if a country ranks high in terms of quality of life but a retiree’s chance of getting a visa is near-zero, it wouldn’t be included.

Enjoy Travel did not say whether that is what excluded the U.S.

Reporting for this story was paid for through The Afghan Journalists in Residence Project funded by Meta.

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