A few reasons probably, first my buddy's shop is the number one shop in the city. Voted as much 5 years running. They are an all-custom shop, no flash art, and always booked up. Also, until more recently, the Canadian dollar was worth up to 40 cents less than an american dollar. They are at about parity right now but prices don't necessarily change accordingly. Third, we live on an island that is a big tourist/cruise ship desitnation so there is that added demand as well and lastly... well seems like ink is probably just a little more up here. Even back in edmonton, a shitty oil-industry city of a million people that i spent ten years in, ink was 130 - 150/hour in a top shop.
i'm one lucky sob though... being that the owner of the shop is my homeboy, and he's super talented and always otherwise booked, my appointments are 100 bucks be-them 2 hours or 5 hours. Obviously i tip him well too though, i usually pay him 160 - 200 depending on the work he did. About a third of my appointments end with 'no charge, you buy the beers' if on thursdays or saturdays when we generally end up with my girl picking us up from the strip club or otherwise, fully cut.
My place charges 120-150 an hour and they are cheap compared to other places around. Plus they do way better work. CUstom stuff, and some good guys work there. I can't wait to go back and get my shoulder finished...when I have the money...