Cost of Living
in Canada

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Note: The education loan information on this page is provided only for the information of the website users, digibank by DBS doesn’t offer this product at the moment.

Key Takeaways

  • Canada is fast becoming the most popular study abroad destination among Indian students.
  • As an international student, you must consider the costs associated with accommodation, transportation, school fees, food expenses, and health care.
  • You have the option to live on or off-campus or with host families.
  • You can get free health insurance as an international student if your school is in certain, specific provinces.
  • You must also consider miscellaneous costs such as internet, mobile phone, entertainment expenses, doctor visits etc., while computing the cost of living in Canada.

All You Need To Know About The Cost of Living in Canada

Are you an ambitious student with dreams of going abroad? If you are, you will find there are several options ahead of you. And while it can be pretty exciting to prepare for your future, it can be equally intimidating to select a destination to study abroad. Off late, Canada is becoming the top international destination for students looking to broaden their horizons in a foreign country. This bilingual country offers you a chance to seek a world-class education and have an enriching cultural experience. If you have made up your mind to study here, you should know about the cost of living in Canada. Here is everything you should know.

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Average Cost of Living in Canada

In terms of area, Canada is the second-largest country globally, so the expenses can vary significantly, based on where you live. The national average monthly cost of living in Canada for a single person is estimated to be $2370 (Canadian Dollars). Living in cities like Vancouver and Toronto is more expensive than living in Winnipeg or Quebec. Cities in British Columbia, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island are considered more affordable. As an international student, you must select your city and school after calculating the average living expenses in Canada. You will find that Quebec has just as many good schools as does Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa.

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Necessary Expenses

While calculating the cost of living in Canada for Indian and international students, you must account for five basic types of expenses. They are as under:

  1. Accommodation

    Most first-year students commonly choose to live on-campus, in halls of residence or dormitories. The dormitories generally feature shared facilities, including a kitchen, foyer, and laundry area. On average, it can cost you around CAD 3000-7000 per annum for on-campus accommodation, depending on the city where your university is located. You can also share an apartment off-campus with your friends and split the costs. In Canada, average rent in off-campus locations in Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary is higher than most other cities and can cost you anywhere from CAD 750-2200 per month. International students can also use the homestay option and live with a host family in Canada. If you choose this option, you have to pay an initial placement fee of CAD 200, along with a monthly fee in the range of CAD750-950, which includes a room and all meals.

  2. Transportation

    Canada has an extensive transportation network featuring trains, buses, and taxis. As a student, you can buy monthly bus and train passes at special discounts by providing a copy of your valid college ID. In general, it can cost you anywhere from $80 to $120 in transportation expenses each month. While calculating your transportation costs, remember to factor in the flight tickets to and from India, as it is a significant expense.

  3. Food

    Another crucial thing to consider while calculating the cost of living in Canada is food expenses. These will vary significantly based on whether you choose to stay on-campus or off-campus in privately rented accommodations. Most universities offer meal plans to students who live on campus. Depending on your university, it can cost you around CAD 769 – 1,200 per annum for on-campus meal plans. The food expenses for students who choose to stay in privately rented facilities vary greatly based on their preferences and tastes. You can reduce costs by cooking at home and shopping for groceries at supermarkets. For instance, you can show your college ID card to get 15% off your purchases at Banana Republic stores across Canada.

  4. Schools

    On average, you will need CAD 20,000 to CAD 30,000 to cover your annual tuition fees for undergraduate and graduate programs. This is an average range and will vary based on the university you choose to attend and the course you intend to study. Tuition fees for courses in medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, etc., are higher and can go up to CAD 56,000. Besides the course fees, you also need to consider the costs associated with buying books, study materials, and instruments. Typically, you will need CAD 1,000 to 1,200 for these expenses.

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  5. Healthcare

    As an international student, it is mandatory for you to have a health insurance policy if you intend to study in Canada. The coverage you get against the insurance policy will depend on the province where you are based. You will be covered under the provincial health plan if your school is in regions like Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, Labrador, Manitoba, Newfoundland, and Saskatchewan. If you choose to study in other parts of the country, you will need to arrange your private health insurance policy. You can consult your school for the same at the time of admissions.

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Other Costs

The living expenses in Canada are not limited to the costs mentioned above. As a student, you will want a fully rounded social life to appreciate the country you have chosen to study in. As such, your expenses will increase considerably. For instance, you will have to calculate the cost of entertainment, grocery and toiletry shopping, mobile phone and internet expenses, and so on. Here are the other additional expenses you must consider while calculating Canada life cost.


Average Cost in CAD

Cell phone package with unlimited data

$40 per month

Wi-Fi internet connection (8 Mbps)

$53 per month

Cable television

$25 per month

Groceries for 1 person

$200-$300 per month

Combo Meal at a fast-food restaurant

$11 per person

Meal at a mid-range restaurant

$19 per person

Movie tickets

$14 per person

Utility bills for 1 month in a 480 square feet apartment

$108 per person

Utility bills for 1 month in a 900 square feet apartment

$165 for two people

Short visit to a private doctor


Toiletries (deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper)


Fitness club/gymnasium membership

$59 per month

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Frequently Asked Questions

To manage my living expenses in Canada, can I work while I am on a student visa? What are the requirements and conditions for the same?

Yes, you are allowed to work while you are studying in Canada on a student visa. To be eligible to work, you should be enrolled in a full-time programme at a Designated Learning Institution and have a valid study permit.

How many hours a week can I work on a student visa? Am I allowed to work full time?

As an international student in Canada, you may work for up to 20 hours per week while your college/university academic sessions. You may however; work full-time during school breaks and holidays. Also, You may work on or off-campus, but you need to obtain a study permit authorised by a visa officer for the latter.

How can I reduce my living expenses in Canada as an international student?

International students can reduce their living expenses in Canada by opting for on-campus residence facilities in dormitories or Halls of Residences, where rooms are available on a twin or quad-sharing basis. On-campus accommodation sometimes includes the cost of 2-3 meals a day. You may also reduce your expenses by living with host families.