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Student living costs in Canada

Read our guide to the cost of living in Canada for international students...

Student living costs in Canada

Despite being home to several modern cities, the cost of living in Canada is relatively cheap if you’re an international student, especially if you were to compare the day-to-day costs to cities like London and New York. Take a look below at our breakdown of what you can expect to pay if you lived in Canada:



Note: £1 = US$1.39 = CAD$1.79 (March 2018)




It’s common for most students to live in on-campus halls in their first year; these are referred to as ‘residence’ or simply ‘rez’ for short. 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.


After first year, students will usually share a house or apartment with other students 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$250-700 per month for renting off-campus accommodation.


Below are the approximate living costs for 3 bedroom apartments in different Canadian cities:


Toronto – CAD$1,900 

Vancouver – CAD$1,950 

Ottawa – CAD$1,300 

Montreal – CAD$1,050 

Edmonton – CAD$1,500 

Calgary – CAD$1,600



There is also the option to live as part of a homestay where you live 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$400-800 per month in return for meals and a room in that family’s home. However you’ll also be participating in activities with that host, improving your English and learning about the culture, all of which are valuable experiences.




In Toronto, the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) is a dual bus and subway network which spans the whole city. Below are some rough costs for various TTC passes:


Monthly pass – CAD$99.75 per month

Annual pass – CAD$ 91.50 when purchased per month

Day pass – CAD$8.50

Single (one trip) – CAD$2.50

Read more about TTC fares and passes on the official TTC website


In Montreal, the STM (Société de transport de Montréal) is a 4 line subway network which covers the city fairly comfortably. Here is a breakdown of the prices for various fares:

  • MonthlyPass – CAD$65.00
  • WeeklyPass – CAD$19.00
  • Single (one trip) – CAD$2.75

Read more about STM fares and passes on the official STM website

Read more about public transport costs in Canada at Just Landed




Here is a breakdown of the costs for some popular grocery items in Canada (courtesy of Numbeo):

  • Milk (1L) – CAD$1.77
  • Loaf of bread – CAD$2.57
  • Rice (1kg bag) – CAD$3.07
  • 12 eggs – CAD$3.17
  • Boneless chicken breasts (1Kg) – CAD$12.47
  • Potatoes (1Kg bag) – CAD$1.98
  • Water (1L bottle) –CAD$1.63




Bell are one of the most biggest internet providers in Canada. Their packages range from CAD$55-95 per month.


You can find a phone plan at Informr by choosing according to your preferences. The average cost is around CAD$20 per month.


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


You can consult the Canadian Immigrant website for more information on living costs in Canada.



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Student living costs in Canada

Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.