A lot of people live off the grid in Canada, although this doesn’t mean that Canada is excellent for off grid living, there are some good places to live off the grid in this country but not a lot of them. Canada’s has a couple of problems when it comes to living off the grid, most of the provinces and territories have an extremely low population density, and some areas are so remote that the only access to them is by planes.
The best places to live off the grid in Canada are Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. The worst places to live off the grid in Canada are Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario and Newfoundland, and Labrador.
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Most people who live off the grid in Canada have simply no other alternative but to live off the grid, however living off the grid here is a lot more difficult than living off the grid in the US, mostly due to the local climate. Some areas in Canada are great for growing crops, although you are still limited to what you can grow and by the short growing period. In some areas generating power is extremely difficult, and some people and communities simply don’t even bother.
Canada has several Inuit communities, and most of them do live off the grid, some of them have embraced modern theologies while others are living like their forefathers. Generally speaking provinces with low population density are the best for living off the grid, but there is such a thing as way too low population density which makes everyday life extremely expensive and hard in most cases.
The Northwest Territories, for example, has a population of only around 45k people, yet the size of this province is at least 6 times larger than Texas. Canada is also prone to having arctic winds which in a matter of only a couple of hours can lower to temperatures of around -40°F ( -40°C ). If you want to know which states in the US are the best, then check out my recent article Best states for off grid living ( 1-50 Best to Worst ).
1. Living off the grid in Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is the best province in Canada for off grid living, the local population density is not that low and the climate is fairly mild when you compare it to the other provinces in Canada. Prince Edward Island is also known as the Million Acre Farm, the local lands tend to be excellent for farming different types of crops, and the growing period tends to be somewhat longer than in the northern parts of the country.
Some would consider Prince Edward Island as being way too expensive for off grid living, however, there are plenty of areas where living off the grid is not that expensive. The cost of living in most provinces and territories tend to be expensive, but not because the provinces have a strong economy and a high population density but because some provinces have such a low population density that communities live far away from each other and everything has to be flown in.
This province also offers generous incentives for renewable energy, and this is one of the better provinces to generate power with wind turbines and solar panels. There are plenty of areas in the country where setting up a wind turbine is not economically viable and in some areas, you will be extremely limited by how much power you can generate with solar panels due to how short the days are. If you want to know more about this province then check out my recent article Off grid living in Prince Edward Island ( Million Acre Farm ).
2. Living off the grid in Nova Scotia
When it comes to living off the grid, Nova Scotia is extremely similar to Prince Edward Island, although with some differences. The population density is higher than in Prince Edward Island, as Nova Scotia has around 1 million residents, the good news is that more than half of the local population is not concentrated in one area. Nova Scotia is a peninsula and all around the coast there are smaller towns and cities, and some of them live completely off the grid.
You have also the possibility to grow different types of crops, although if you want to set up a small vegetable garden then you probably should use a greenhouse. The cost of living and the cost of housing is around the same level as the national average. This province also offers several incentive programs for renewable energy systems. If you want more information about this province then check out my recent article Off grid living in Nova Scotia ( The Sea Bound Coast ).
3. Living off the grid in New Brunswick
New Brunswick is another fairly good province if you want to live off the grid, for the most part, the population density is fairly low and the southern areas are excellent for growing crops. The local population is growing every year as more and more people come to this province from Canada’s largest cities. The cost of living and the cost of property, for the most part, is below the national average.
The local economy is one of the more stable ones in Canada, and the local authorities offer several rebates and incentives when it comes to renewable energy. Some areas near the coast can get somewhat expensive, although this province is fairly large and you will have no problem finding housing with a price below the market average.
4. Living off the grid in Quebec
Quebec, for the most part, is fairly good for living off the grid, the local climate is mild enough to grow different types of crops and you shouldn’t have any problems generating power. Although Quebec has a couple of problems when it comes to off grid living, the cost of living and the cost of property is higher than the national average. The cost of property in the northern parts of the province is a lot lower, but the further you go north the higher the cost of living gets.
Quebec is an economic powerhouse, the standard of living tends to be a lot higher than the national average although the cost of living is also a lot higher. Generally speaking, the southern parts of the province are the best for off grid living, although the cost of property is the highest in these parts. This province also offers several incentives for renewable energy like the RenoVert Tax Credit and the Heating with Green Power program.
5. Living off the grid in Manitoba
If you want to live off the grid and live off the land then Manitoba is the province for you. When it comes to natural resources this province is fairly similar to Ontario, but with a lower population density, lower cost of living, and a lower cost for housing. If you want to grow your own crops then in the southern parts of the province the climate is suitable for growing crops. You can also live completely off the land, as this province has a lot of lakes and rivers.
In the northern parts of the province, the cost of living is somewhat higher, mostly because everything has to be flown in. Although with some money management skills you can reduce the cost of living, especially if you can hunt and fish. This province also offers several incentives for renewable energy, the most commonly used program is the Manitoba Hydro Solar Rebate Program.
6. Living off the grid in Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is excellent for living off the grid, the climate is fairly mild and you have plenty of options when it comes to growing crops. The cost of living and the cost of property is around the same level as the national average. Most provinces have problems with road access, but this province has the most roads in the entire country. This means that the cost of living is not inflated by the cost of transport as it is in most of the provinces.
This province also has plenty of lakes and rivers so you can easily live off the land if you can fish. This province gets plenty of sunshine throughout the year so you will have no problem generating power with solar panels. The local renewable energy program is called SaskPower Solar Rebate, which means that you get paid for the excess power you generate if you sell it back to the grid which is around $0.61/Watt.
7. Living off the grid in Alberta
This province is also excellent for living off the grid, there are plenty of lands suitable for growing crops, the cost of living and the cost of property are both below the national average. The population is around 4.37 million, although the areas with the highest population density area in the southern parts of the province. Some areas in the north can be only accessed by plane, although there are plenty of people living off the grid in the northern areas also.
The only problem with Alberta is that it has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and you will simply not find a job in certain industries. Alberta has probably the most generous rebate for solar power, the program is called Alberta Municipal Solar Program and it pays $0.90/kW.
8. Living off the grid in British Columbia
British Columbia is one of the better provinces for living off the grid. For the most part, the local climate is not that harsh, in the southern regions the climate is a lot milder than in the north. You also have the possibility to grow crops, although the best lands for growing crops are in the southern regions. The population density is fairly low due to the huge size of the province. The cost of living and the cost of property tend to be lower than the national average, although you should probably stay away from Vancouver.
9. Living off the grid in the Northwest Territories
The Northwest Territories has a lot of problems when it comes to living off the grid, although most of the population does live off the grid, but not because they are choosing to do so but because they simply have no other option. The climate is extremely cold, summers tend to be short and winters tend to be long and cold. You also have a very limited window of time when it comes to growing crops, and not that many types of crops can actually grow here.
10. Living off the grid in Yukon
When it comes to living off the grid Yukon is fairly similar to Alaska, although with a lot lower population density which complicates living off the grid. This province is probably one of the most beautiful ones in the country. There is a certain type of person who can simply thrive by living off the grid here. But for the vast majority of people who want to live off the grid, it will be extremely hard.
Although there are several communities living off the grid in Nunavut, but this is not a good province for living off the grid. For the most part, growing crops will be extremely difficult, even with a greenhouse, in the northern parts of the province you have no possibility of growing crops. This province has often arctic winds blowing from the north which lower the temperatures significantly, and oftentimes these can last for several weeks.
The population density is extremely low, and only a few cities and towns have road access, although most roads are not usable during the wintertime due to the large amount of snowfall. The cost of living is one of the highest in the country, and by that, you might end up paying $13 for an orange juice. Most people have to order everything online, and they tend to pay more for the cost of transport than for the actual product.
12. Living off the grid in Ontario
Ontario has everything that you would need for living off the grid, however, the price for it will be extremely high. Ontario has a massive problem with housing prices, there are so high that the average Canadian can barely afford to get a house or even a small apartment. The main problem comes from foreign “investors” which have bought every real estate they could get their hands on.
If you already own a small house in Ontario then you probably have no problems living off the grid. On the other hand, if you want to buy a piece of land and build a homestead you will probably have to look to the northern parts of the province, which aren’t ideal for living off the grid. The cost of living is also a lot higher than the national average. Currently, this province doesn’t offer any kind of incentives when it comes to renewable energy, although you can still apply for the Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) Renewable Energy, which is an incentive program on the federal level.
13. Living off the grid in Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador are not ideal for living off the grid, it has a population of around 512k residents but most of the population is living in smaller towns and cities. The size of the province is fairly large and there are several communities that only can be accessed by plane or by boat. For the most part, the cost of living and the cost of property is around the national average, although in communities without road access the cost of living tends to be fairly high.
In the northern part of the province, you will have an extremely hard time growing crops and even generating power due to the short days. Winters also tend to be brutal in the northern parts. If you want to move to this province to live off the grid then stick to Newfoundland as the climate is a lot milder and you can also grow some crops. This province also offers several incentives for renewable energy lite the TakeCharge Program.
Canada has several provinces that are good for living off the grid, generally speaking, the northern provinces are not the best for living off the grid. Living off the grid in the northern parts is possible although not ideal, and there is a big difference between living off the grid in the south and in the northern parts of the country.