Expenses in Canada

Scotiabank at Queen Street West and McCaul Str...Image via Wikipedia
When you move to Canada, your expenses may be different from those you are used to. Canada is a very large country, and costs can vary significantly depending on where you live. When you move to Canada, it's helpful to know a little about the money that you'll be using when you get there.
Coins come in six denominations. Each is a distinct size, shape and color for easy identification.
  • penny = 1¢
  • nickel = 5¢
  • dime = 10¢
  • quarter = 25¢
  • dollar = $1.00 (known as the "loonie")
  • two dollar = $2.00 (known as the "toonie")
Paper money is all the same size, but each bill is different in color.
  • $5 - blue
  • $10 - purple
  • $20 - green
  • $50 - red
  • $100 - brown
It's a good idea to exchange some of your money into Canadian currency before you leave your home country, so that you have cash on hand for small purchases as soon as you arrive. Once you're here, there are several ways to exchange your money for Canadian currency.
Financial institutions - Scotiabank offers competitive exchange rates. By visiting a branch, you can exchange money from just about anywhere in the world.
Foreign exchange outlets - you can find foreign exchange outlets in select locations across Canada, including airports and tourist attractions.


You've arrived in Canada. One of the most important tasks ahead of you is finding a place to live. This is likely to be one of your biggest expenses.
Many people rent their home for their first few years in Canada, which usually costs less than buying a home.

Did you know that you can own your first home with a hassle-free mortgage designed specifically for Newcomers to Canada? Find out more

Generally speaking, housing is less expensive outside of cities, whether you rent or buy.
Average Cost of a house in Canada and Renting in Canada

Avg. Cost of House*Avg. Monthly Rent for 2 Bedroom**
British Columbia$ 461,931$ 1,045
Alberta$ 346,955$ 884
Saskatchewan$ 234,655$ 613
Manitoba$ 204,465$ 709
Ontario$ 325,364$ 931
Quebec$ 228,184$ 738
New Brunswick$ 160,400$ 637
Prince Edward Island$ 148,885$ 642
Nova Scotia$ 203,725$ 799
Newfoundland and Labrador$ 211,844$ 651
Yukon$ 281,420$ 556
Northwest Territories$ 331,696$ 1,365
Source: June 2009 The Canadian Real Estate Association
** Source: Study in Canada


You will need to set aside money in your budget to cover these essential services.
  • Heat - most homes in Canada are heated by natural gas, oil or electricity.
  • Electricity - your home will also require electricity to power lights, electronic equipment, appliances and air conditioning units.
  • Water - if you live in or near a city, the municipality will charge a fee for providing water and sewage services.
Average Cost of Living in Canada
Utilities (Monthly)$20 - $100
Phone (Monthly)$20 - $40
Cell Phone (Monthly)$40
Cable (Monthly)$25 - $50
Internet (Monthly)$40
Groceries(1-2 Person Monthly)$200-$300
Transportation (One way)$2.75
Fast Food Meal (1 Person)$4 - $6
Average Restaurant Meal (1 Person)$10 - $25
Gas$1.15 - $1.50 / Liter
Entertainment (Movie)$11.50 - $13
*** Source: Study in Canada

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