10 Safest Cities in Canada

Canada is generally considered a safe and secure country. However, “safety” varies depending on the city or region you choose to live in. Whether you’re starting a family, considering a relocation, or want to ensure you have security in your life, you can discover the optimal safe location for you and your loved ones.

safest cities in Canada

When searching for a suitable city that’s safe for you and your loved ones, various factors come into play. Some of which include crime rates and neighborhood demographics. Regardless, it is quite possible to find cities that provide the finest balance of safety, livability, and community. Here we will discuss the top 10 safest cities in Canada and what makes these cities stand out. Keep reading to learn more!

Related Reading: Best Monthly Dividend Stocks in Canada for 2023

What defines a “safe city” in Canada?

Safety is key when choosing a city to call home, but how can you be certain a city is safe? The safest cities in Canada are assessed through the Crime Severity Index (CSI). The Crime Severity Index measures how serious a crime is. It takes into account violent and non-violent crimes reported to the police. Studies show that higher levels of crime severity have a greater effect on both individual and community well-being, making a low CSI score a sign of a safe city. Ultimately, the more crime there is in a particular area, the less safe it is.

Here’s how the Crime Severity Index (CSI) is calculated. The criminal court assigns a weight to each crime. For every offense reported to the police, it’s multiplied by the assigned weight. These weighted values are summed and divided by the total population. More severe crimes receive higher weight, while less severe crimes receive lower weight. For instance, homicides would be ranked higher than burglaries. Cities with a CSI below 60 are considered the safest cities in Canada.

From 2018 to 2022, the Crime Severity Index in all of Canada increased from 75.61 to 78.10. Understanding how to calculate the CSI allows you to track changes in the severity of police-reported crime. This further addresses the loopholes of the traditional crime rate.

Related Reading: Best Gold ETFs in Canada for 2023

What are the safest cities in Canada?

Canada has 8,016 cities in total and the list below shows the 10 safest cities in Canada:

1. Quebec City

Crime Severity Index: 42.5

Population: 550,000

Average Home Price: $483,500

Average Rent Price: $1,100

Quebec City has the lowest crime rates in Canada. The region is a beautiful city well-known for its artistic stone buildings and cobblestone streets. It ranks among the safest cities in Canada, and provides a high quality of life for its residents, with a low housing cost. Unlike other English-speaking Canadian cities, Quebec natives speak French. However, it has a diverse population, of ethnicities, cultures, and ages. Not only is it a great place to live if you’re looking for a low-crime rate city, but it is also an excellent place to visit as a tourist.

2. Ottawa

Crime Severity Index: 54.67

Population: 1,017,449

Average Home Price: $649,800

Average Rent Price: $1,950

The name Ottawa means to trade. Ottawa has always been a center for business and government affairs. Its population includes people of different races in large numbers. This diversity broods racial tolerance and inclusion, thereby reducing the crime rate to the least. When compared with other cities, Ottawa has a lower crime rate with a CSI rating of just over 54, and ranks the second safest city to live in Canada. There is also a lower rate of robberies on the streets of Ottawa. Being the capital city of Canada, the serene and welcoming nature of Ottawa is commendable. Some unique features of Ottawa include the Rideau Canal in downtown Ottawa which has the largest ice skating rink in the world. Plus, Ottawa holds the famous yearly Canadian Tulip Festival every May.

3. Barrie

Crime Severity Index: 47.09

Population: 154,676

Average Home Price: $729,924

Average Rent Price: $1,875

Located along the shores of Kempenfelt Bay, some kilometers north of Toronto, Barrie is one of the safest cities in Canada. The city is friendly and vibrant, and houses various performing and fine arts scenes. The city is somewhat old too. Yet it is considered one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada due to its tech industry exposure. Furthermore, Barrie is a great option for individuals who are not willing to pay a premium price to live in Toronto. The city houses the famous MacLaren Art Centre which inspired the innovative Art City project.

4. St. Catharines 

Crime Severity Index: 56.87

Population: 140,370

Average Home Price: $690,700

Average Rent Price: $1,500

Located along the shorelines of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, St. Catharines is one of the iconic and safest cities in Canada. Niagara region is home to communities rich in both character and history. It offers affordable housing rates in a city so friendly and welcoming. 

St. Catharines offers a robust sense of community and care. It is an excellent option for both families and young individuals. The chance of becoming a victim of property crime is quite low. Crimes such as assault and armed robbery are 37.11, which is also low. It also records a 76.32 rating for safety walking alone during daylight, and a 47.91 rating for safety walking alone at night. Young people would prefer areas like St. Paul Street and Downtown St. Catharines. This is because these areas have a thriving nightlife, restaurants, and entertainment locations. 

5. Guelph

Crime Severity Index: 60.06

Population: 144,356

Average Home Price: $757,000

Average Rent Price: $1,960

With the way the city is built, you’d think it’s an European city. Guelph surely passes for part of the safest cities in Canada. Crime rates are very low and it has a Crime Severity Index (CSI) that’s lower than the national average.

Guelph has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada. With a diverse population, there is something for everyone. The city has the perfect outdoor activities for those seeking some exciting retreats and adventures and is home to the prestigious University of Guelph. If you’re young, looking for a safe city in Canada to call home, or you’re starting out and in need of an apartment or condo, Guelph will be a great option for you.

Related Reading: Best Places to Retire in Ontario

6. Sherbrooke

Crime Severity Index: 51.15

Population: 173,000

Average Home Price: $280,030

Average Rent Price: $1,167

Sherbrooke ranks among the safest cities in Canada. It has a rich cultural and communal arrangement which earned it the title “Queen of the Eastern Townships”. Little wonder why the spirit of community is felt throughout the length and breadth of Sherbrooke. The city is home to many industries, museums, and theaters. These aesthetics attract tourists from across the world. The city also ranks first among the best academic cities in Canada in 2021, a center for technology and innovation.

7. Saint John

Crime Severity Index: 51.15

Population: 173,000

Average Home Price: $280,030

Average Rent Price: $1,167

Next on our list is Saint John, a coastal city at the mouth of Saint John River. The city is a rich and lively urban center surrounded by nature and architectural structures. Although the cost of living in Saint John is high, it ranks as one of the safest cities in Canada. The index rates for vandalism, theft, assault, and robbery are also low. Whether you live in or visit Canada, you’re sure to get caught up in Saint John’s historic architecture, eclectic restaurants, rich arts, and cultural experiences. Nestled at the powerful Bay of Fundy, the city is home to the second-largest oil refinery in Canada. 

8. Levis

Crime Severity Index: 26.77

Population: 154,775

Average Home Price: $263,554 

Average Rent Price: $1,433

Situated across Quebec City, on the southern bank of the St. Lawrence River is Levis, one of the safest cities in Canada. The city is known for its economic and social vibrancy. It takes its name from François Gaston, known as Duke de Lévis, a commander of the French forces in Canada during Wolfe’s siege. Levis crime index is lower than many other Canadian cities. Incidents of both violent and property crimes are rare, contributing to the city’s reputation for safety. Moreover, it enjoys a high standard of living. Levis also has an extraordinary panoramic view and is a hub for arts, commerce, and social engagement.

9. Halifax

Crime Severity Index: 63.8

Population: 420,000

Average Home Price: $490,700

Average Rent Price: $1,700

One of the great places and safest cities to live in Canada for many reasons is Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia. Halifax makes our list of safest cities to live in Canada with a CSI that’s slightly below the national average. 

The city is home to a large number of privately owned companies and government offices. The city may not have a bubbling lifestyle like most busy cities. However, its cost of living is lower and the quality of living is high. People in neighborhoods with diverse populations of ages and races look out for each other and cooperate to maintain safety. Moreover, worries about car theft, and other robberies and assaults are at a minimum in Halifax. Additionally, the city is home to the oldest active lighthouse – The Sambro Lighthouse.

10. Hamilton

Crime Severity Index: 57.65

Population: 781,000

Average Home Price: $750,529

Average Rent Price: $1,700

Hamilton or “The Hammer” as some would call it, is a great place to call home. It is safe and has a CSI that’s below the national average. Neighborhoods such as Westdale, Dundas, Corktown, and Ottawa Street, are great places to live. These neighborhoods have great schools and parks, for families to enjoy. 

Young and vibrant people aren’t left out. Neighborhoods like James Street North, Locke Street South, and Hess Village are popular choices. These locations have many bars and restaurants. They are close to downtown Hamilton, its universities, and trade schools, making them ideal for students and young professionals. In all, Hamilton is a great city and makes our list of the safest cities to live in Canada.

Related Reading: Best Places to Retire in Canada and Why

Which Canadian city has the lowest crime rate?

Canada may not be the safest country in the world, but it’s pretty close. There are several safe cities in Canada with low crime rates. Overall, the city with the lowest crime rate, which is also referred to as the safest city in Canada, is Quebec City. Violent crimes such as assault and armed robbery are very low. The province is quite different from many other provinces in Canada and its residents experience a high quality of life. Although it’s not an entirely large city compared to other cities in Canada, it records a CSI of 42.5, the lowest crime rate in Canada by a large margin.

What province in Canada has the worst crime rate?

According to statistics, Saskatchewan records the worst crime rate, with a CSI of 152.46, with Manitoba following close with a crime rate of 146.49. These cities are the most dangerous provinces to live in. Saskatchewan also recorded a rise in Crime Severity in three consecutive years.

Is Canada a low crime rate country?

Absolutely! Canada is a beautiful place to live in and is generally perceived to be a safe place overall. It is the 4th safest country in the world. According to statistics, the country’s crime rate has significantly decreased over the past decade. It records a lower homicide rate than many other developed countries. 

Canada also offers a quality healthcare system to its citizens and a high standard of living. It also offers a high employment rate, friendly and welcoming communities, standard education and so much more. Rest assured, Canada is one of the safest countries to live in, regardless of which city you choose!

Read More: Cheapest Place to Live in Canada

You’re in the right place for financial advice.

Getting started is easy, fast and free. Match to your perfect advisor now.

Get 12 Smart Questions Everyone Should Ask Their Financial Advisor

Download these questions plus more with the Advisorsavvy community newsletter – subscribe now and enjoy a wealth of knowledge.

Subscribe now and get 12 Smart Questions Everyone Should Ask Their Financial Advisor