New study picks the best Canadian cities for women

Where's the best city in Canada to be a woman these days? A new study from a Canadian think-tank has some answers.

Quebec cities lead the way while Alberta cities fare worse

Where do women fare best in Canada? Quebec, a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says. (Randy Fiedler/Canadian Press)

The best place to be a woman in Canada in terms of quality of life is Quebec City, according to a new study by a Canadian think-tank.

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) senior researcher Kate McInturff authored the report with the goal of “mapping the gaps” of gender inequality in Canada while also factoring in issues like rates of sexual assault and domestic violence against women that big economic measurements like Gross Domestic Product miss.

Some of the other measurements included: how many women held political office, what levels of education women attained, and how much money they made in relation to men.

According to the study, the top five cities among the 20 it looked at are:

  • Quebec City.
  • Saskatoon, Sask.
  • St. John's.
  • Montreal.
  • Victoria, B.C.

Overall, Quebec fared the best in the study, with three of its cities cracking the top 10. Vancouver, considered one of the world's top cities to live in, slipped to 13th place overall, though women there still have the longest life spans.

If you're a woman who wants to make the same money as your male colleagues, the CCPA recommends Hamilton (10th), where women make 77 cents for every “male dollar.” Edmonton, on the other hand, had the highest median income among the cities studied, but also has the biggest gap between women and men.

What were the bottom five — cities 16 to 20?

  • Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Ont.
  • Calgary.
  • Windsor, Ont.
  • Oshawa, Ont.
  • Edmonton

Calgary's spot on that list may come as a surprise considering it recently climbed into The Economist's list of the globe's top 5 liveable cities and the CCPA study found women there had the lowest level of poverty.

Calgary lost points, the study said, because of a huge gap in who is employed. An estimated 77 per cent of Calgary men are employed, but just 65 per cent of women have jobs.  

In other negative notes, the CCPA found women in Kitchener-Waterloo experienced the highest stress levels among Canadian women.

The study did not examine smaller cities or rural towns due to lack of data.

The report also stressed its comparison is not meant to be a competition. “Canadian communities have much to learn from one another,” the report says, adding it hopes all of the cities will eventually be equal.


  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed Toronto as fifth on the list of best Canadian cities in which to be a woman. In fact, Victoria ranked fifth, and Toronto was sixth on the list.
    Apr 23, 2014 8:51 PM ET