Top 15 Safest Cities in Canada (2023)

Top 15 Safest Cities in Canada (2023)
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  • tvine
| Feb 28, 2023
Reviewed, Jun 7, 2023

Table of contents

    When it comes to finding the safest cities in Canada, there are a lot of factors to consider. From crime rates to neighbourhood demographics, there are many variables that can impact the safety of a city. However, with careful research and analysis, it is possible to identify the cities that offer the best combination of safety, livability, and community.

    We will be highlighting the top 15 safest cities in Canada, based on a range of factors including crime statistics, community amenities, and overall quality of life. Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to raise a family or a vibrant urban centre, these cities offer something for everyone.

    Key Highlights

    • Overall, Canada is regarded as a safe place to live no matter where you decide to settle.
    • The country’s Crime Severity Index is low across the country, with many large, metropolitan cities below the national average.
    • Some of Canada’s safest cities are found in Ontario and Quebec but there are plenty of safe cities across the country.

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    Using the Crime Severity Index to Rank Canada’s Safest Cities

    The Canadian Crime Severity Index (CSI) monitors the severity of crimes reported by law enforcement, taking into account both the frequency and degree of offences to evaluate the overall level of seriousness from one year to the next. 

    This helps in understanding how crime impacts individuals, families, and the community as a whole. Research shows that elevated crime severity levels substantially negatively impact both personal and communal well-being, making a low CSI score an indication of a thriving community.

    In the graph below, we look at the CSI percentage of cities with a minimum population of 100,000 from 1994 to 2014 (sourced from Statistics Canada and the University of Waterloo).

    As you can see, the CSI percentage has generally dropped year-to-year in Canada from 1994 to 2014. In recent years, however, the CSI has somewhat increased, hovering between 79.75 to 73.68 from 2019 to 2021 according to Statistics Canada.

    Top 15 Safest Cities in Canada

    Québec City

    Crime Severity Index (CSI): 48.6

    Population: 733,156

    Median Home Price: $483,500

    Average Rent for 1 Bedroom: $1,077

    One of the country’s most aesthetically beautiful cities is also one of its safest. The city has a relatively low CSI score compared to other cities in Canada. This can be attributed to the efficient and effective law enforcement and the justice system in the city.

    Quebec City has a diverse population, with a mix of ages, ethnicities, and cultures. The city’s population is generally well-educated, with a high proportion of residents holding post-secondary degrees. 

    Quebec City has several residential areas that are considered safe and desirable places to live. Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge is a popular neighbourhood that is known for its quiet and family-friendly environment and excellent schools. Montcalm, meanwhile, is a trendy area that is home to many professionals and young families. Montcalm is known for its beautiful historic buildings, great restaurants, and boutique shops.


    Crime Severity Index (CSI): 50.2

    Population: 1,017,449

    Median Home Price: $780,000

    Average Rent for 1 Bedroom: $1,700

    Ottawa is regarded as a secure city to call home. The Crime Severity Index identifies Ottawa as one of the safest cities in Canada, with a crime rate significantly lower than the country as a whole. With a mix of ages, nationalities, and cultures, Ottawa is a diversified and highly educated city. With residents who are typically law-abiding and courteous of one another, this demographic mix contributes to the development of a tranquil and pleasant community.

    One of the most well-liked Ottawa neighbourhoods is Westboro, which is renowned for its chic stores, eateries, and cafes as well as its lovely parks and outdoor areas. Young families will find Westboro to be the perfect area to live in because it is a community that values families, has a low crime rate, and has excellent schools.

    The Glebe, another well-liked Ottawa district, is close to the city’s centre and is renowned for its historic elegance. The Glebe is a highly sought-after neighbourhood for young, trendy professionals and students because it offers superb vibes, lovely parks, and is close to universities.


    Crime Severity Index (CSI): 52.3

    Population: 128,057

    Median Home Price: $308,000

    Average Rent for 1 Bedroom: $445

    According to the Crime Severity Index, Trois-Rivières has a lower crime rate than other Canadian communities of a similar size. Residents can feel comfortable in Trois-Rivieres since the police force is well-trained and prepared to deal with criminal activity.

    Trois-Rivières has many families and retirees and the city has a comparatively low population density as opposed to other cities in Quebec. It’s a relatively quiet town with plenty of charm.

    Trois-Rivieres has a number of residential neighbourhoods that are regarded as safe and ideal locations to live in. For instance, the Saint-Louis-de-France area is renowned for its historic appeal and welcoming atmosphere. Cap-de-la-Madeleine, which is situated on the St. Lawrence River’s southern shore, is another well-known neighbourhood. This area is renowned for both its low crime rate and lovely waterfront and natural landscape views. Family-friendly Cap-de-la-Madeleine has excellent schools and a strong sense of community. 


    Crime Severity Index (CSI): 52.6

    Population: 151,157

    Median Home Price: $320,000

    Average Rent for 1 Bedroom: $880

    Sherbrooke is considered a relatively safe place to live due to several factors. One reason is the city’s low Crime Severity Index score, which is lower than the national average in Canada. While a smaller city compared to the rest of Canada, Sherbrooke’s demographic mix creates a sense of community and fosters social cohesion, helping to deter crime.

    Lennoxville is a popular neighbourhood in Sherbrooke. The neighbourhood is home to Bishop’s University, a small liberal arts college, which attracts many young people to the area. The neighbourhood has a lively arts scene and a variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops. It is considered a safe area, making it an attractive place for young people to live and study.


    Crime Severity Index (CSI): 53.3

    Population: 291,041

    Median Home Price: $508,000

    Average Rent for 1 Bedroom: $1,550

    Gatineau is regarded as a relatively safe city to live in. The city’s low score on the Crime Severity Index is lower than the Canadian average, for instance. Gatineau also has a diversified population that spans a range of ages, races, and cultural backgrounds thanks to its proximity to Montreal and Ottawa. It’s also relatively less expensive to live in Gatineau compared to the larger cities in the area.

    The Aylmer neighbourhood is a well-liked option and has a family-friendly atmosphere. In comparison to other Gatineau areas, Aylmer has a lower crime rate and is regarded as a safe neighbourhood. In Gatineau, Hull is a well-liked area among young people. It’s in the centre of the city and popular for its restaurants, nightlife, and cultural events. Hull is a desirable spot for young people to live since it has a mix of inexpensive apartments and hip condos.


    Crime Severity Index (CSI): 56.7

    Population: 2,794,396

    Median Home Price: $1,340,000

    Average Rent for 1 Bedroom: $2,350

    Canada’s largest city is also, paradoxically, one of its safest. With a low Crime Severity Index compared to other large cities like Montreal and Calgary, Toronto is perhaps the safest large city in the country. 

    Toronto is also known for its diverse demographics, making it a welcoming and inclusive city for people from all walks of life. Families looking for a safe and friendly environment can find it in neighbourhoods like North York, Scarborough, and Etobicoke. These areas are home to excellent schools, parks, and community centers, providing families with everything they need to thrive.

    Young professionals and students flock to neighbourhoods like Downtown, Queen West, and the Annex. These areas are known for their trendy restaurants, bars, and nightlife, making them perfect for young people who want to live in the heart of the action. Despite the bustling atmosphere, these neighbourhoods remain safe and secure.


    Crime Severity Index (CSI): 57.7

    Population: 154,676

    Median Home Price: $814,500

    Average Rent for 1 Bedroom: $1,875

    As a much quieter city than Toronto and only 90 kilometres away, Barrie is an excellent, safe option for many. The Crime Severity Index (CSI) in Barrie is lower than the national average in Canada. That means you won’t have to be stressing out about your safety.

    The neighbourhoods of Allandale, Holly, and Painswick are popular with families, offering great schools, parks, and community centers. These areas have a friendly community feel and are perfect for raising a family. For young people, downtown Barrie is where it’s at. This area is home to trendy bars, restaurants, and shops, making it a great place to socialize and hang out.


    Crime Severity Index (CSI): 58.2

    Population: 144,356

    Median Home Price: $757,000

    Average Rent for 1 Bedroom: $1,979

    Guelph is definitely a safe place to live. Crime isn’t rampant in this city at all, with a Crime Severity Index (CSI) lower than the national average.

    Moreover, Guelph has a diverse population, so there is something for everyone. Check out communities like Westminster Woods, Kortright Hills, or Grange Hill East if you’re a family searching for a safe, welcoming neighbourhood.

    If you’re a young individual looking for a place to call home, living in downtown Guelph will be ideal for you. There are several hip cafes, restaurants, and pubs in this area that are geared toward a younger clientele. Furthermore, it’s a terrific spot to live if you’re just starting out because there are plenty of apartments and condominiums available for rent or purchase.

    St. Catharines

    Crime Severity Index (CSI): 62.1

    Population: 140,370

    Median Home Price: $690,696

    Average Rent for 1 Bedroom: $1,525

    St. Catherines has a lower Crime Severity Index (CSI) than the national average. This index, which assesses the level of crime in a specific location, is crucial when thinking about safety. The city’s CSI is 58.1, which is lower than the 75.1 average for the country, according to Statistics Canada.

    The city is friendly and accepting with a strong sense of community and mutual concern. St. Catherines offers a few excellent choices for both families and young individuals in terms of popular neighbourhoods. Family-friendly neighbourhoods include Glenridge, Facer, and Western Hill. These areas are wonderful for families with kids as they feature excellent schools, parks, and activity centres.

    Young people, on the other hand, prefer to favour areas like Downtown St. Catherines and St. Paul Street. These places have thriving nightlife, hip cafes, restaurants, and entertainment venues galore.


    Crime Severity Index (CSI): 67.4

    Population: 124,579

    Median Home Price: $490,700

    Average Rent for 1 Bedroom: $1,750

    Halifax, the capital city of Nova Scotia, is a great place to live for many reasons. There is much less severe crime in the city, making it a safer place to live. The CSI for Halifax is 67.4, which is well below the national average. This is a reassuring figure that highlights the low level of crime in the area.

    People in neighbourhoods with diverse populations of ages and races watch out for one another and cooperate to maintain safety. This fosters a sense of community and belonging, which raises the general level of safety in the area.

    Halifax features a number of well-liked neighbourhoods that are excellent for families and young people. Areas like Clayton Park, Bedford, and Fairview are popular picks for families. young people tend to gravitate towards neighbourhoods like Downtown Halifax and Halifax North End.


    Crime Severity Index (CSI): 65.7

    Population: 348,634

    Median Home Price: $750,529

    Average Rent for 1 Bedroom: $1,700

    With a CSI well below the national average, Hamilton, or “The Hammer” as some call it, is an excellent city for those looking for a safe and secure place to call home.

    For families in Hamilton, Ancaster, Dundas, and Westdale are among the top neighbourhood choices. These neighbourhoods offer great schools, parks, and recreational activities that families can enjoy together.

    For young people, neighbourhoods like James Street North, Locke Street South, and Hess Village are popular choices. These areas have plenty of bars and restaurants. They’re also within walking distance of downtown Hamilton and its universities and trade schools, which makes them convenient for students and young professionals.

    St. John’s

    Crime Severity Index (CSI): 67.9

    Population: 185,565

    Median Home Price: $316,300

    Average Rent for 1 Bedroom: $895

    With its low Crime Severity Index, diverse demographics, and popular neighbourhoods for both families and young people, St. John’s is the perfect place to settle down and enjoy life. 

    The city is also known for its diverse population, with people from all walks of life calling it home. Whether you’re looking for a vibrant cultural scene, opportunities to meet new people, or simply a friendly and welcoming community, St. John’s has something for everyone.

    If you’re a family looking for a neighbourhood to settle down in, consider areas like East End, West End, or Southlands. These areas are known for their excellent schools, family-friendly amenities, and safe streets. For young people, areas like downtown St. John’s or Churchill Square might be more appealing.


    Crime Severity Index (CSI): 72.0

    Population: 1,762,949

    Median Home Price: $529,020

    Average Rent for 1 Bedroom: $1,540

    Montreal has a relatively low Crime Severity Index, meaning that crime rates in the city are lower compared to many other large urban areas in Canada. But Montreal isn’t just safe, it’s also known for its rich cultural heritage and diversity. With its French and English-speaking communities, Montreal is a melting pot of different cultures and backgrounds, creating a unique and vibrant atmosphere.

    For families, neighbourhoods like Westmount, Cote-des-Neiges, and NDG are popular choices. These areas offer excellent schools and family-friendly amenities. With plenty of green spaces and recreational activities, families can enjoy a high quality of life in Montreal.

    For young people, neighbourhoods like Plateau-Mont-Royal, Mile End, and St-Henri are hotspots for culture, art, and nightlife. These areas offer trendy cafes, bars, and restaurants, as well as a thriving music and arts scene. With plenty of public transportation options, young professionals can easily commute to work and explore all that Montreal has to offer.


    Crime Severity Index (CSI): 72.6

    Population: 132,300

    Median Home Price: $627,000

    Average Rent for 1 Bedroom: $1,425

    Abbotsford is the ideal spot to settle down and enjoy life because of its low Crime Severity Index, diversified population, and well-liked neighbourhoods for both families and young people.

    Consider places like East Abbotsford or Auguston if you’re a family seeking a neighbourhood to call home. These neighbourhoods are ideal for raising children and creating a strong sense of community since they have an abundance of parks, playgrounds, and community centres.

    Young folks could find neighbourhoods like Downtown Abbotsford or Clearbrook more appealing. These areas provide a vibrant social scene. Downtown Abbotsford is a distinctive and exciting location to live, with a blend of modern conveniences and historic buildings.


    Crime Severity Index (CSI): 74.4

    Population: 1,305,550

    Median Home Price: $570,000

    Average Rent for 1 Bedroom: $1,661

    Recent data show that Calgary has a comparatively low Crime Severity Index, which indicates that crime rates there are lower than in many other Canadian cities. This makes it an excellent area to live if your family’s safety is a key priority.

    Families frequently choose neighbourhoods like Mount Royal, Tuscany, and Cranston. These communities include a mix of peaceful residential streets, top-notch educational institutions, and family-friendly facilities including playgrounds, parks, and community centres. 

    Young people frequent areas like Beltline, Kensington, and Inglewood because they are hubs for nightlife, culture, and the arts. These locations have a lively music and arts culture in addition to hip cafes, pubs, and restaurants. 


    Which province in Canada has the lowest crime rate?

    Overall, Quebec is considered the safest province in Canada with the lowest crime rate in the country. 

    Which city in Canada has the lowest crime rate?

    If we consider the CSI as a key indicator, the city of Lasalle, Ontario has the lowest CSI in the country in terms of cities under 50,000 people. Quebec City, meanwhile, has the lowest CSI for cities over 100,000 people. 

    Which is the best city in Canada to live in for foreigners?

    While this is all relative according to an individual’s situation, experts widely consider areas around Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal, and Quebec City as excellent cities for foreigners.

    Finding the Safest City to Live in Canada

    From crime rates to neighbourhood demographics, there are many variables that can impact the safety of a city. Start by researching crime statistics for different cities and neighbourhoods. The Crime Severity Index (CSI) is a good place to start, as it provides an overall measure of crime rates in a given area. You can also look at more specific crime data, such as the number of break-ins, assaults, or thefts in a particular neighbourhood which are all available on Statistics Canada. You can also consult with a real estate agent who specializes in the area you’re interested in or talk to friends and family who live in the area.

    When researching neighbourhoods and cities to live in, it’s also important to consider the demographics of an area. Some neighbourhoods are more diverse than others, and this can impact safety in different ways. For example, areas with a high concentration of elderly residents may have lower crime rates, while neighbourhoods with a lot of young adults may have higher rates of drug-related crime.

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