Average Monthly Living Expenses in Canada

Red Ensign (pre-1965 Canadian flag)
Red Ensign (pre-1965 Canadian flag) (Photo credit: Lone Primate)

  • Telephones - You can buy your own telephone, or rent one from the telephone company. Major home phone companies are: Rogers, Bell, Shaw,Telus and Primus
  • Average Cost of Telephone (Monthly): $20 - $40 plus long distance charges.
  • Cellular phones - Many Canadians have a cellular (cell), or mobile, phone instead of or in addition to a land-line. You will need to purchase a phone and pay for the monthly phone service. Major cell phone retailers are: Rogers, Bell, Fido, Telus, Virgin Mobile, Windmobile, Mobilicity, Publicmobile,  Solo and Koodo.
  • Average Cost of Cell Phone (Monthly): $40 + Cost Initial Cost of Phone
  • Cable or satellite television - you may need to purchase cable or satellite service. There is a monthly fee for such service, and it usually varies depending on the provider, the scope of the package and the options you choose.
  • Average Cost of Cable (Monthly): $25 - $50
  • Internet - Many Canadians subscribe to an Internet service, which allows them to surf the web or send emails from their home computer. You can purchase Internet service from most cable or telephone companies.
  • Average Cost of Internet (Monthly): $20 - $60

About Canada's Health Care

One of the most important things you need to do as soon as you arrive in Canada is to apply for a health insurance card. All members of your family, even newborn babies, must have their own card. You can get an application form from the provincial ministry of health office, any doctor's office, a hospital or a pharmacy.
To apply for a health card, you will need your birth certificate or Confirmation of immigration status in Canada (IMM 5292) and passport. Your Permanent Resident card may also be presented. In most provinces, you will receive coverage as soon as you apply.
Health-care services covered by medicare include:
  • examination and treatment by family doctors;
  • many types of surgery;
  • most treatment by specialists;
  • hospital care;
  • X-rays;
  • many laboratory tests; and
  • most immunizations.
Health-care services not covered by medicare, and for which you will have to pay, include:
  • ambulance services;
  • prescription drugs;
  • dental care; and
  • glasses and contact lenses.

Medical Expenses

Canadian residents enjoy a healthcare system that is publicly funded. Many health services are paid for from taxes and are free to all residents of Canada who hold a provincial health card.
However, not all medical expenses are covered. Depending on the province in which you live, you may have to pay for services such as:
  • Dental care
  • Eye examinations and prescription eye wear
  • Treatment provided by psychologists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, massage therapists, acupuncturists, dietitians and naturopaths
  • Cosmetic or elective surgery

Taxes in Canada

Canadians enjoy many government-funded benefits, such as healthcare, education systems, interconnecting highways, clean drinking water and sanitation systems. Canadians pay a variety of taxes to the federal and provincial governments to support these benefits.
Each year, you determine your final tax obligation. On the return, you list your income and deductions, calculate federal and provincial or territorial tax, and determine if you have a balance of tax owing for the year, or whether you are entitled to a refund of some or all of the tax that was deducted from your income during the year.

Sales Taxes

When you purchase an item or a service one or more types of tax may be added:
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST) - A 5% federal tax applies to most goods and services sold in Canada.
  • Provincial Sales Tax (PST) - With the exception of Alberta, the provinces also tax many new and used items (but not services). The rate varies by province.
  • Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) - In Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador, the GST and PST are combined into a single tax - the HST. The HST is 13% (5% GST plus 8% PST) and is added to the cost of the goods or services for the final total price.
Provincial/Territorial tax rates (combined chart)*
Newfoundland and Labrador7.7% on the first $31,061 of taxable income, + 12.8% on the next $31,060, + 15.5% on the amount over $62,121
Prince Edward Island9.8% on the first $31,984 of taxable income, + 13.8% on the next $31,985, + 16.7% on the amount over $63,969
Nova Scotia8.79% on the first $29,590 of taxable income, + 14.95% on the next $29,590, + 16.67% on the next $33,820 + 17.5% on the amount over $93,000
New Brunswick10.12% on the first $35,707 of taxable income, + 15.48% on the next $35,708, + 16.8% on the next $44,690, + 17.95% on the amount over $116,105
QuebecContact Revenu Québec
Ontario6.05% on the first $36,848 of taxable income, + 9.15% on the next $36,850, + 11.16% on the amount over $73,698
Manitoba10.8% on the first $31,000 of taxable income, + 12.75% on the next $36,000, + 17.4% on the amount over $67,000
Saskatchewan11% on the first $40,113 of taxable income, + 13% on the next $74,497, + 15% on the amount over $114,610
Alberta10% of taxable income
British Columbia5.06% on the first $35,716 of taxable income, + 7.7% on the next $35,717, + 10.5% on the next $10,581, + 12.29% on the next $17,574, + 14.7% on the amount over $99,588
Yukon7.04% on the first $38,832 of taxable income, + 9.68% on the next $38,832, + 11.44% on the next $48,600, + 12.76% on the amount over $126,264
Northwest Territories5.9% on the first $36,885 of taxable income, + 8.6% on the next $36,887, + 12.2% on the next $46,164, + 14.05% on the amount over $119,936
Nunavut4% on the first $38,832 of taxable income, + 7% on the next $38,832, + 9% on the next $48,600, + 11.5% on the amount over $126,264
Source: http://www.cra.gc.ca as of September 18, 2009

Pay Deductions

The following deductions are standard for all employees in Canada. The deductions are automatically taken out from your paycheck before you receive your pay.
  • Income taxes
  • Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan
  • Employment Insurance
  • Union dues - if you belong to a union
  • Contributions to a retirement or pension plan
  • Any other necessary or agreed upon deductions between you and your employer
The above deduction could reduce your pay by as much as 25% to 35% of your total income.

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