Skip to main content

What’s the Best City in Canada for Youth to Live and Work?


Published April 16, 2019 • 3 Min Read

The world of work is changing, and the jobs of the future will be vastly different than today’s. With robotics, automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence, the changes to the job market may require young people to prepare differently than previous generations.

“Sadly, one facet of work has not changed,” says Robert Barnard, co-founder of YouthfulCities, “Canada’s acceptance of a youth unemployment rate that is double the national average.”

The Urban Work Index

In order to understand what the youth work landscape looks like right now, YouthfulCities created the first-ever Urban Work Index. The index is a research-driven report pooling insights on the employment, education, affordability, and entrepreneurship landscapes in 21 Canadian cities.

“We consulted 170 young people across Canada to see what was important to them about work in cities,” says Barnard in his introduction to the Urban Work Index.

“Research like the Urban Work Index is important not only for engaging dialogue in the public arena and between generations,” says Caitlin Mcauliffe, an Urban Decoder from Sudbury, ON who worked on the index. “But also to inform, aid and provide insight for planners, policy makers and local decision makers with the goal of improving cities and urban work for youth.”

“Youth clearly want more affordable housing, less student debt, good jobs and cities that really support entrepreneurs. Overall we landed on 16 unique attributes that make or break a city as a great place to work for youth,” Barnard says.

“To be clear, the Index is not a list of winners and losers,” says Valerie Chort, vice president of RBC Corporate Citizenship. “Instead it provides a closer look at the opportunities that exist within our urban centres.”

Best Cities for Canadian Youth to Live and Work:

  • Edmonton

  • Montreal

  • Ottawa

  • Sudbury

  • Kitchener/Waterloo

  • Hamilton

  • Quebec City

  • Mississauga

  • Victoria

  • Toronto

Work and Employment in Canada

One important takeaway from this research is the expansive understanding of what ‘work’ truly means. Straightforward employment and unemployment measures are important, but to understand the ‘why’ behind these measures, researchers decided to broaden their understanding of what factors into ‘work.’

Work and employment do not operate in silos, but are deeply connected to indicators such as: access to education, government attitudes toward entrepreneurship, work integrated learning, and affordable housing. Creating a great city for young people to work in means broadening the definition of ‘work’ itself.

A version of this story originally appeared on RBCnet.

[RBC Future Launch partnered with YouthfulCities to create the Urban Work Index. RBC Future Launch is committed to empowering Canadian youth for the jobs of tomorrow.]

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

Share This Article


Career Planning & Development Community