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Cost of Living in Canada for International Students

by Anup chowdhury
Cost of Living in Canada 2020

Cost of Living in Canada- Canada has always been amongst the top countries to study abroad for international students. With institutions like the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia and McGill University, Canada provides cost-effective education to Indian students. The quality of higher education and the affordability of living cost in Canada are among the top reasons for which international students prioritize Canada over other destinations.

Cost of Living in Canada is considerably low as compared to other countries like US and UK. Moreover, a lot of the highly reputed universities in the country are funded by the government which works out in the favor of the students. However, the cost of living in Canada can fluctuate depending on the university locations.Ottawa, Vancouver, and Toronto are considered to be amongst the most expensive cities in Canada. The aspiring international studentsmust beware ofstudent permit regulations of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) department. This permit can be claimed by the declaring the sufficientproof of funds to study in Canada.

This article is a brief guide to walk you through every significant detail about the cost of living in Canada for International Students. These details will help you get acquainted with student finance concerns of all 6 time zones of Canada and plan remedies for any financial qualms.

Cost of Living in Canada – Housing & Accommodation

The housing costs should be at the top of the list for any international student when considering the complete cost of living in Canada. The university location and it’s province (urban or suburban area) influences a great deal of the living cost in Canada. Majority of students opt to live on-campus also known as the ‘Halls of Residence’.Average cost of accommodation at the Halls of residence in Canada falls close toCAD 4000-8000 per year. As,an admission in any Canadian University does not ensureuniversity accommodation for any of thestudents, they should also go for an alternative option of separate on-campus housing. The usual cost of such accommodation service will depend on the institution of studies, and whether the student chooses a meal plan or a private room.

And then there is the option of renting an off-campus apartment which many students are more comfortable with. To go ahead with this option the students should be aware of the average rent and the living cost of Canada in its different cities. Given below is a table presenting the average rent of accommodation in different provinces across Canada.

Average monthly rent in different states of Canada
Sr. No.
Name of the Canadian State
Average Monthly Rent for 1 BHK (in CAD)
1. Ontario CAD 800-1000
2. British Columbia CAD 1500-2000
3. Quebec CAD 800-1300
4. Alberta CAD 950-1300
5. Nova Scotia CAD 500-750
6. Saskatchewan CAD 500-700
7. Manitoba CAD 700-1000
8. New Brunswick CAD 650-1100
9. Newfoundland and Labrador CAD 735-905
10. Prince Edward Island CAD 550-750

* The monthly rents indicated above are tentative. The prices can change as per the inflation/deflation rates in the area

Yet another option of accommodation is looking for a home-stay, wherein a host family offers the student to live with them. A monthly fee of about CAD 750-950 is borne by an average international student to pay for the meals and the room provided by the family in their home.

There are some other factors that the students should consider while researching for the living cost in Canada, like transportation, books and other study material, personal leisure, etc. These have been explained here-under.

Also Read: Study Loan for Canada- All You Need to Know

Living Cost in Canada – Other Expenditures

Apart from the cost of living in Canada, there are other expenditures that international students should keep in mind while preparing for studies abroad. As mentioned above the tuition cost for the Canadian universities is lower as compared to countries like the US and UK. Still, the students should factor in essential expenses like health insurance, food, travel expenses too, when considering expenses to study in Canada.

Here is a list of all the components of non-academic expenses incurred by an Indians studying in Canada. Keep reading for further information!

Cost of Living in Canada – Food

In terms of financial priorities for an international student in Canada,expenses of food and health services featureright next to the accommodation expenses. The food costs fluctuate extremely depending on the eating habits and preference of cuisine for anystudent. An average meal in a Canadian restaurant costs about CAD 10-15 for an individual. However, if a student prefers to eat a home-cooked meal, it will help him/her to maintain a stabilized budget. On an average, a student spends about CAD 1500-3000 per annum on food,considering the evident fluctuations of nutrition costs.

Cost of Living in Canada – Travelling

An important aspect of student life anywhere is travelling, between campuses, between cities, study tours and local transit. Students obviously need to factor in the cost of travelling and commute while stipulating the cost of living in Canada. Depending on where the student lives he/she can walk or use a bike for traveling to their university campus. In large cities, public transports such as buses and metros are commonly used for regular traveling to refrain from spending too much. A monthly commute pass ranges from CAD 80-110 and there are various special discounts provided specifically to international students.

About CAD 980 per annum is spent on regular traveling which is a considerable cost for any student. Apart from this students tend to shop when they go abroad to study in pursuit of possessions which they wont easily come across in their home country. Some other expenses have been mentioned below in the article along with the tuition fee of the top-ranked institutions in Canada.

Living Cost in Canada – Books and other study material

Thecost of living in Canada includes theexpenses forbooks, instruments and other study materials required during the term of the course.Theses costsare borne solely by the international student in Canada. An individual student spends about CAD 1000-2000 per annum on books and other educational material. This cost can reduce if the student opts for cost-effective study methods like the university library, online PDFs, eBooks, etc.

Cost of Living in Canada – Clothing and Miscellaneous Expenses

International students, while estimating thecost of living in Canada should also set aside some amount for clothing and other miscellaneous expenses. Since Canada is a very cold country, students require essential clothing supplies. The temperature difference can adversely affect the student and their studies. Thus, about CAD 900-1100 is usually spent on clothing in Canada.
There are yet other miscellaneous expenses the students need to keep in mind, like personal leisure, watching movies, taking part in various activities, etc.
About CAD 1000-2000 per annum is often spent by international students on miscellaneous expenses and should be considered if the precise living cost in Canada is to be calculated.

Also Read: MIT Scholarships – All You Need to Know

Cost of Living in Canada – Health Insurance

It is necessary for international studentsto be covered by health insurance in Canada. Thus, international students should consider health insurance expenditures as well. In provinces like Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the province extends health insurance to cover the foreign candidates, whereas, in other provinces like Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick do not provide this facility. In these provinces, the students have to take care of their health insurance at personal expense. The cost of health insurance however, may vary from region to region.

Cost of Living in Canada – Tuition Fees

The living cost in Canada should be calculated after ascertaining the cost of tuition at the universities in Canada. The cost of tuition is lower in Canada as compared to other developed countries. A list of the minimum tuition of the top 10 universities in Canada is mentioned below:

Sr. No. Name of the University Minimum Tuition (In CAD)
1. University of Toronto 27,240
2. University of British Columbia 22,578
3. University of Waterloo 20,860
4. Queens University 23,621
5. University of Calgary 18,338
6. York University 12,780
7. McGill University 15,348
8. University of Victoria 16,693
9. University of Alberta 21,590
10. Ecole Polytechnique 17,127

Cost of Living in Canada- Canada Connection of Indian Students

Studying in Canada can be a beneficial choice for any individual in terms of having exposure to a high-quality education, diversified and multicultural crowd and a globally recognized degree from a reputable university. There are various reasons why Canada is considered one of the favorite countries of the international students in India. Indians preferCanada because of the huge Indian diaspora in Canada, with many influential government offices held by people of Indian origins.This makes the international students from India feel homely in Canada. Along with that, Canada provides various other benefits to foreign students whochooseto stay longer in the country after completing their education. Atlantic Canada conducts a retention program for international students, also students are eligible to work part-time off and on-campus during their studies.


Here is an overview of the total estimate of annual living cost in Canada (non-academic costs):

Sr. No Particulars Estimate Annual Expenditure (In CAD)
1. Accommodation and Housing 40000-80000
2. Groceries 1100
3. Basic house costs (Electricity, Water, Heating/ Cooling, Garbage, etc.) 1800
4. 1 minute of prepaid mobile tariff local 0.33
5. Internet (60 Mbps or more, Cable/ADSL, Unlimited data) 1800
6. Transportation 1000 (Commutation through public transport)
7. Books and other study material 800
8. Clothing 1800
9. Entertainment 600
10. Restaurants and outside eating 1200
11. Basic Health Insurance 600

If youre a student aspiring to study abroad and specifically in Canada, you should review the points and costs mentioned above vividly to calculate an estimated ‘Cost of Living in Canada’.

Also Read: Living Cost in USA for International Students- All You Need to Know
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