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Dubai or Canada – The Best Choice for Expats Revealed

Dubai or Canada - Where is Better for Expats? | The Vacation Builder

If we consider the best countries and cities for expats to move to, Dubai and Canada have to be on the list. Thousands of miles apart from each other and featuring two very different cultures; but both the places are known to offer lucrative career opportunities paired with fantastic living standards.

If you are thinking of taking that big leap to move out your native place for a better job opportunity and future plans, it is important to brainstorm a bunch of factors to take the right decision. Dubai or Canada – Which place is better for expats? If this is what bothering you, then you’ve come to the right place.

In our head to head of Dubai vs Canada, we compared Location, Topography, Weather, Cost of Living, Salaries, Career Opportunities, Things To Do, Crime Rate, Education, Population Density and Public Transport. Overall we found Dubai to offer the best choice to expats, but it was extremely close.

Reading the comparison below will help you decide which factors are the most important to you so you can make your ultimate decision.


Dubai or Canada - Which is Better for Expats? Locations - Canada | The Vacation Builder

In order to cover the whole country and to connect it to all major international destinations, Canada has established a series of international airports across its vast land while Dubai comes with just two international airports. Don’t forget that travelling across Dubai is much quicker compared to Canada.

Travelling to Canada from any part of USA is super easy but if you’re a native of Europe, Africa or Asia, then travelling can be a lengthy affair. On the other hand, Dubai sits in close proximity to several countries from Europe, Africa and Asia. Travelling to/from Dubai doesn’t force you to spend long hours in flight unless your destination lies somewhere in Australia or America.

Both locations offer fantastic transport links either to the rest of the America’s from Canada, or to Asia, Africa and Europe if you fly from Dubai.

Verdict – Tie


Dubai or Canada - Which is Better for Expats - Topography, Lake Louise, Canada | The Vacation Builder
Lake Louise – Banff National Park – Canada

If you take a look at the world map, it is not hard to spot Canada. Thanks to its massive landmass, Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia. This North American country is made of 10 provinces and 3 territories. The country extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the East to the Pacific Ocean in West.

Canada features a varied landscape ranging from imposing mountains to frosted valleys, from rolling pastures to stunning lakes and gushing rivers. The Canadian Shield, a hilly region of pristine swamps and rippling lakes, makes up the most of its northern part.

On the other hand, Dubai showcases more or less flat topography. Situated on the banks of the azure blue Persian Gulf, the city offers you the pleasure of exploring multiple beaches as well as expansive horizons of the Arabian Desert and Desert Mountains.

Dubai looks extremely urban and lacks much of greenery, however, once you leave the city’s boundary, you will be amazed to spot those rustic yet scenic terrains of Al Hajar Mountains.

Although Dubai does offer some fantastic scenery outside of the city, there aren’t many places in the world that will rival Canada for the free, natural, beautiful landscape.

Verdict – Canada

Dubai vs Canada – Weather

When it comes to climatic conditions, these two places are completely opposite to each other. In fact, you can say Dubai and Canada represent opposite extremes of the spectrum. Dubai predominantly sports hot and dry weather whereas Canada is known for its chilly winters and short summers. 

January is the coolest month in Dubai when average high temperatures hover around 23°C. July and August experience the maximum average high temperature between 40°C to 41°C. These two months are the most uncomfortable months of the year because of the unpleasant combo of high temperatures and moderate humidity.

Located on the Northern Hemisphere, Canada is the country that doesn’t receive too much heat throughout the year. Northern territories are extremely cold with a summer of less than three months. Take a look at the Southern provinces bordering USA and you can see warmer weather. Summers here are not that short but more or less warm and a little bit humid.

Canada is a vast country with a wide variety in topography so for this exercise we have chosen the average weather in Toronto.

“Monthly Average High Temperatures in Dubai and Toronto – Canada”

The best place for weather here is hard to decide and is very much down to personal preference. On one hand you have Toronto with extremely cold winters and the other hand you have Dubai with extremely hot summers. Both places are on the extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to hot and cold.

Verdict – Tie

Cost of Living

Dubai vs Canada - Cost of Living | The Vacation Builder
Dubai Marina

There is no denying the fact that most people shift their base to a foreign land to have a better life.

Both Canada and Dubai promise a lot when it comes to living standards. Leading a good life at any of these destinations is possible only when you have the capability to cover living expenses. We are going to furnish you here with a few of our observations to help you decide which place is better for expats to live based on cost of living.

Dubai is globally acclaimed for its top-notch technology and swanky lifestyle. However, the surprising fact is all this glamour and sparkle doesn’t make it an expensive city like New York, London or Sydney.

When you are living in Dubai, you have to manage an average monthly expense of 17,000AED / $4,628 to lead a decent life. When living in Toronto, your monthly average expense will rise a little and it will be around 18,900 AED / $5,145 to maintain a similar standard of living. These costs are inclusive of rental charges.

For a comparative analysis of Cost of Living in Canada, we are considering the living expenses from Toronto, the most populous city from the country. Rent Prices in Dubai are around 4% less than in Toronto. Both Grocery Prices and Restaurant Prices are also lower (28.80% and 3.20% lower respectively) in Dubai than in Toronto.

Now comes the Local Purchasing Power Index for both the cities. This index is 92.69% for Dubai and 77.63 % for Toronto. It is evident from this data that living in Toronto will cost you more than Dubai.

Dubai’s Income Tax Free earning also helps expats a lot to save more money. Therefore, it has to be Dubai if you are looking for an excellent living condition along with ploughing more into your savings account.

Check out the full cost of living comparison here.

Verdict – Dubai


One of most alluring factors to move to a different country/city far away from your native place is the scope of securing a better salary package. Money matters and it matters the most when someone is aiming to settle in a foreign land.

Both Dubai and Canada offer immense opportunity for expats to secure a variety of job positions backed by handsome salary packages. These two places are strongly valued by skilled professionals across the world to build a great portfolio. However, you will need to evaluate your educational qualification and work experience to choose the right field of work.

Expats working in Dubai are exempt from paying any income tax. This sounds sweet, right? No income tax policy in Dubai is one of the major reasons why foreign professionals come here. Canada’s tax policy doesn’t have any provision for expats to escape income tax.

Below are the average annual salaries (after tax deduction) for a hoard of sought-after professions from Dubai and Canada.

Civil Engineer$57,240$62,567
Electrical Engineer$65,340$64,706
Business Development Manager$100,170$96,775
Administrative Assistant$32,670$39,448
Graphic Designer$39,960$44,461
Air Traffic Controller$67,230$74,027
HR Manager$100,440$91,437
Petroleum Engineer$63,450$70,971
Hair Stylist$26,957$32,572
Occupational Therapist$80,460$83,133
Bar Manager$42,444$46,927
Real Estate Agent$57,672$59,359
Web Developer$57,996$57,343

Salary packages in any job sector majorly depends on the market demand, work experience and qualification of the candidate. This table only includes the average salaries which may fluctuate intensely due to other factors. Data are sourced from Salaryexplorer.com.

Verdict – Canada

Career Opportunities

Whether it’s Canada or Dubai, you can explore a wide range of career opportunities in both places. Canada and Dubai have implemented special immigration policies to bring in more skilled professionals.

Job opportunities in a country depends on several factors but Unemployment Rate & Jobs Created Per Person is a good stick to gauge the overall situation in the job market. Here are the Unemployment Rates & New Jobs Created for Dubai and Canada.

Unemployment Rate DubaiCanada
20192.35%5.73 %
Jobs Created
Jobs Created Per Person

It is clear from the data that job market in Canada was more severely hit by COVID-19 pandemic situation than in Dubai. Figures from 2019 are more realistic and not affected by COVID-19.

Even though the amount of jobs created in Toronto was higher, the extremely low unemployment rate and steady addition of new jobs across the city make Dubai a more consistent place to choose for career opportunities.

Verdict – Dubai

Things To Do & See

Dubai vs Canada - Things to do & see - Hatta Dam - Dubai | The Vacation Builder
Hatta Dam – A Couple of Hours from Dubai

Moving to a foreign location can easily make one homesick. The best way to beat the boredom is by exploring the country, its culture and tourist attractions. Be it Dubai or Canada, there is no dearth of things to do & see from a traveller’s perspective.

Dubai is the land of spectacular beaches, imposing sand dunes and stunning urban attractions but it lacks in greenery and natural scenery. Canada is a paradise for nature lovers, but doesn’t offer the same sort of attractions as Dubai.

Things to do in Dubai

Things to do in Canada

When choosing to move to Canada, the amount of attractions / natural scenery depends very much on which area you choose to live. However, Canada offers some of the best natural areas in the world as a whole. Dubai does have some scenic places of natural beauty with Jebel Jais and Jebel Hafeet, but mainly prides itself on luxury and exciting things to do in the city, as well as some fantastic beaches. Overall, both places offer much and complete opposite too.

Verdict – Tie

Crime Rates

The decision of shifting your base to a new location is always accompanied by lots of worries and queries. Staying safe and sound is of utmost importance.

When you are dreaming of a peaceful life, Dubai can make your dream come true with an astonishingly low crime rate. Canada is also a safe country to live but crime rates here are generally higher.

Crime Index of Dubai is presently 16.35 and Safety Index is as high as 83.65. For the last three years, increase in the rate of criminal offences in Dubai is about 40.44.

Canada’s Crime Index is 41.96 and Safety Index is 58.04. Criminal offences have increased at a rate of 66.57 (again an alarming signal) over last 3 years. To break this down into Toronto City; the crime rate there is 44.52, higher than the average of Canada overall.

Verdict – Dubai


If you are a responsible parent with a school-goer, then finding a good educational institute becomes your ardent duty in a new city.

Be it Canada or Dubai, the education system is treated with utmost attention so that the respective country can produce intelligent and righteous minds for a better future. Both these places offer private and public schools. As an expat, you will never face the difficulty of getting your child admitted in a good school. The only downside is none of these two countries allow free public schooling for the children of expats or international passport holders.

It is surprisingly true that Dubai is the home to numerous world-class international schools. Some of them can beat any reputed school from any part of the world when it comes to delivering excellent academic opportunities and educational standards. Private schooling for a student comes with an average annual cost of up to 100,000AED $27,224 in Dubai.

Compared to many developed countries, studying in Canada is quite affordable. Public schools are not free to the people of international origin. However, average annual tuition cost ranges between $17,695 / 65,000AED to $24,501 / 90,000 AED per annum but international students can apply for a scholarship or grab a part-time job to cover the tuition fees.

In the global arena, candidates with Canadian education background are often valued enough to secure good salary packages and higher positions. Although the standard of schooling in Dubai is up there with the best in the world, it is extremely expensive.

Verdict – Canada

Population Density

Nobody really prefers to move in to an overcrowded city. Battling with traffic, poor services from local authorities and wasting too much time in queue’s are some of the most dreadful disadvantages of living in a densely populated place.

The good news is neither Dubai nor Canada are densely packed with population. Compared to any major European or American countries, Canada’s Population Density of a mere 4 people per square kilometre will surprise you for sure. Although places like Toronto (4,457 people/sq. km.), Montreal (898 people/sq. km.) and Vancouver (5,400 people/sq. km.) are highly populated.

On the other hand, Dubai’s population density is around 860 people per square kilometre. No wonder why the Dubai government can afford excellent services to all.

Verdict – Dubai

Public Transport

Before finalising your next relocation in a new city, never overlook the accessibility to its public transport system. Getting around an any city or country seamlessly comes with an effective public transportation network.

Dubai is well equipped with several modes of transportation including bus, metro, monorail, taxi, ferry and even water taxis. Thanks to perfect condition of highways, travel time in Dubai is pretty short.

Due to Canada’s large size, people prefer to travel between major cities by air. Trains are another safe and comfortable mean to travel across the country. Local Canadian transportation comprises of bus, ferry, car and taxi.

Another way of comparing the public transport systems is through cost. The average cost of a single public transport ticket in Toronto is $2.31 when compared to that in Dubai of just $1.20.

Thanks to the smaller area, population density and the fact Dubai has some of the best, cheapest and most efficient transport links in the world, it is always quicker and easier to access different parts of Dubai than Canada.

Verdict – Dubai


Although Dubai has beaten Canada in many segments in our comparison, it is your final call which place to settle for as personal preferences are different for each of us.

For more comparisons between Dubai and other major cities, you can read our other articles like London vs Dubai, Dubai vs Sydney, Bahrain vs Dubai, Dubai vs Berlin & Dubai vs Kuwait.

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