Skip to content

These are the top Canadian cities for youth to work in

This Index evaluates 30 cities based on key indicators including climate action, equity, diversity, and inclusion, good youth jobs, digital access, and affordability
Skyline of Toronto in Canada from the lake Ontario

Toronto has ranked as the top city for youth to work in Canada, according to a new ranking from RBC and Youthful Cities.

The ranking is part of the highly anticipated results of the 2023 Urban Work Index, offering valuable insights into the most attractive cities for young professionals to pursue their careers.

Following on Toronto's heels are Montreal and Vancouver, securing second and third place, respectively.

The Urban Work Index, presented by RBC Future Launch, evaluates 30 Canadian cities across a diverse range of categories including Climate Action, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Good Youth Jobs, Education and Training, Digital Access, City Economy, Entrepreneurial Spirit, Affordability, Transportation, and Health.

These findings provide young individuals across Canada with crucial information about the most inclusive and accessible cities to thrive in their professional pursuits. This initiative aims to ignite a nationwide dialogue about the future of urban work and the critical role of youth in shaping it.

"RBC Future Launch is committed to equipping young Canadians with the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow, and choosing where to live is one of the most significant decisions they face at the start of their careers," stated Mark Beckles, Vice President of Social Impact & Innovation at RBC. "Our partnership with Youthful Cities enables us to bring together governments, public and private sector partners, city builders, and young people to explore the topic of urban work – what's working well and what can be improved."

Despite being ranked last in affordability and experiencing the largest loss of youth population, Toronto secured the top spot as the best city for young professionals to work in. It ranked among the top five in seven out of ten categories, claiming the number one position in:

Education and Training – Toronto boasts a dedicated set of scholarships available for BIPOC students, a wide array of post-secondary exchange programs, a robust network of libraries, and a competitive gender enrollment balance in its largest post-secondary institution.

Digital Access – The city is tied for the lowest-cost high-speed broadband internet and access, offering the most free WiFi locations per geographic area, along with multiple internet and mobile service providers.

Entrepreneurial Spirit – Toronto is a thriving hub for startups, with the highest concentration of start-ups, investors (pre-seed and seed stage), and coworking spaces per capita. It also ranks as the third-best city for start-up accelerators.

Montreal secured the second spot, demonstrating impressive scores in Transportation, Education and Training, and Entrepreneurial Spirit. Its public transit system boasts the highest availability per week, a user-friendly transit app, robust safety features including distress buttons and a night stop program, and excellent connectivity to the airport. Montreal also excelled in bike and walk-ability scores.

Vancouver  claimed third place overall and emerged as the champion for climate action. The city boasts strong composting bylaws, including curbside pickup and multi-unit programs, a comprehensive recycling program, and an abundance of nature trails for residents. Additionally, Vancouver ranked third in Entrepreneurial Spirit.

Notably, Charlottetown made its debut in the top four, signalling its emergence as a compelling city for young professionals. With the highest per capita urban health resources such as family doctors, hospitals, and community health clinics, Charlottetown also ranked third in the number of food banks and top five in the availability of mental health professionals.

Here are the top ten cities for young professionals in Canada:

  1. Toronto, ON
  2. Montreal, QC
  3. Vancouver, BC
  4. Charlottetown, PEI
  5. Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
  6. Ottawa-Gatineau, ON
  7. Mississauga, ON 
  8. Quebec City, QC
  9. Laval, QC
  10. Halifax, NS

Also worth noting is that Brampton secured the top spot for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, with the highest concentration of immigrants per capita and a significant population with a non-official first language. The city also boasts robust municipal policies to combat racism and discrimination, alongside accessible public spaces.

You can find the full Youthful Cities 2023 Urban Work Index here.