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The basics
Canada: Student Finances - Must read

Student living costs in Canada

This guide looks at the cost of living in Canada for international students with information on accommodation costs, transport, health insurance and more.

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While Canada lies among the most expensive countries in the world, if you were to compare the day-to-day living costs to cities like London and New York, Canada would still come out on top for affordability. If you’re considering Canada for your studies, it’s important that you are aware of the everyday living costs before you enter the country. This way you can see how affordable Canada would be for your studies. Take a look at our breakdown of what you can expect to pay if you live in Canada:


Accommodation costs in Canada

It’s common for most students to live on-campus in their first year; these are referred to as your halls of residence. You will usually share a dormitory (or ‘dorm’) with another roommate, sharing facilities like a kitchen, social area and laundry room with other students. It’s suggested that you budget between CAD 3000-7500 per year for on-campus accommodation in Canada, although this will depend on which region you choose.


Need help choosing accommodation in Canada?


After first year of university, students will usually share a house or apartment with their peers to split the cost. Here you’ll rent a room and share a kitchen, bathroom and social area. Rent prices will vary from city to city with larger areas like Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver being most expensive (though considerably less expensive than the likes of New York City or London, on average). It’s suggested you budget CAD 750-2200 per month for renting off-campus accommodation.


There is also the option to live as part of a homestay where you stay with a host family in Canada. On top of an initial placement fee of CAD 200, students can expect to pay a monthly fee of CAD 750 - 950 per month in return for meals and a room. However, you’ll also be participating in activities with the host, improving your English and learning about the culture, all of which are valuable experiences.


Need advice about how to survive on a student budget?


Transport costs in Canada

There are many forms of transport in Canada including trains, buses and taxis but alternatively you could cycle and walk to save money and stay healthy. Although, these options will depend on the weather as you don’t want to be walking long distances in the snow.


In Toronto, the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) is a dual bus and subway network which spans the whole city. In Montreal, the STM (Société de transport de Montréal) is a 4-line subway network which covers the city fairly comfortably. Vancouver has a particularly great railway system known as the SkyTrain which is affordable at just CAD 9 for a day pass which allows you to travel as much as you like within a 24-hour period.


Phone contract cost in Canada

Bell is one of the biggest internet providers in Canada. Their packages range from CAD 50-115 per month. You can find a phone plan at Informr according to your preferences. The average cost is around CAD 20 per month.


Health insurance costs in Canada

All international students are required to have health insurance, but coverage will vary depending on the province you’re studying in. If you choose to move to either Alberta, Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Labrador or Saskatchewan, you will be covered under their provincial health plans depending on the length of your stay. However, in other provinces, you will have to arrange private health insurance.


Study permit cost in Canada

Before you enter the country, you will also need to factor in the cost of a study permit. You will pay a fee of CAD 150 as an international student. Find out more about applying for a student visa in Canada.


Part-time jobs in Canada

If you’re worried about the costs of living in Canada, you might want to consider working part-time to support yourself. In Canada, international students can work up to 20 hours per week during term time. Make sure that you aren’t working for any longer as this is a breach of your study permit which could cost you your student status.




In addition to living costs, make sure you know what you can expect from tuition fees in Canada. Or alternatively, you could look into your options for scholarships in Canada to help with the costs.


Check out our infographic for more infromation about living costs in Canada:


infographic of living costs in Canada