Cost of Living in Canada

Cost of Living in Canada: A popular destination for international students, Canada offers high-quality education and an opportunity to remain in the country after graduation. It also offers cheaper tuition fees than other English-speaking countries, such as America, Australia, and the UK. However, the cost of tuition in Canada is still relatively high in comparison to many other countries around the world.

Cost of Living in Canada Details

The tuition fee at Universities in Canada may vary on the basis of study programs and education level. For the undergraduate programs, the fee can be more expensive than the post-graduate program and it also depends on your subject specialization. Every Canadian University has set its own fee package which can be known from the international student’s office of the University.

Cost Of Study In Canada

Universities in Canada are allowed to set their own cost for tuition. There is, therefore, a broad range in the fees depending on the institution you wish to study at. The cost also depends on the program of study that you choose the level of study (undergraduate or postgraduate) and the city and province where the university is located in.

In a recent report, it was stated that tuition fees rose by 6.3% for international students looking to start an undergraduate program of study in the 2018/19 academic year. There are also manly financial support options for international students in Canada. The University of British Columbia, for example, provides over 15 million US dollars in financial assistance for international students.

Tuition Fees for Undergraduate Students

The average tuition fee in Canada for an international student in 2018/19 is estimated to be approximately US$20,000 per year. This means a total of US$60,000 for a three-year degree program and $80,000 for four years of study.

If you are looking to study arts or humanities subjects, such as Geography, Philosophy, English, or Social Sciences, the tuition fee is likely to be slightly lower. Business courses are also in line with the national average in general, with fees close to US$20,000 per year.

To become a Bachelor of Science, in a subject such as medicine or engineering, is the most expensive tuition fee option. Fees for these subjects are estimated to be approximately US$30,000 per year. Medical programs are four years long, meaning a total of $120,000 in tuition fees for the full degree. This is something that must be carefully considered in advance of choosing the program and location of study. Tuition fees are generally set by universities in the spring term before the new academic year starts. Generally, costs rise minimally year on year, so it is useful to use the previous year’s amounts as a guide.

Tuition Fees for Postgraduate Students

Postgraduate study tuition fees are generally lower than fees for undergraduate study in Canada. As with undergraduate studies, however, it will depend on the institution at which you are studying and the course on which you are enrolled.

The average tuition fee for postgraduate study is estimated to be approximately US$12,500 for the 2018/19 academic year of study. This is only a 1% increase from the previous year. Tuition fees for the 2019/2020 year of study would be US$12,625 if fees were to again increase by only 1%. However, the University of British Columbia claims that fees for continuing international students rise on average 2-5% per year of study.

The tuition fees for most Master’s programs are approximately US$23,000. If, however, you are looking to study an MBA program, be prepared to pay a higher fee. This is common in universities across the globe. Tuition fees for international students studying on an MBA program in Canada are estimated at US$38,000.

Living Costs In Canada

Although Canadian student visa requirements say you must have at least CA$10,000 (~US$7,570) (or CA$11,000/~US$8,300 if studying in Quebec) on top of your tuition fees, you’ll likely need to budget much more than this for your living expenses. Your living costs will vary considerably depending on your location and spending habits, with large cities generally more expensive to live in.

The Université de Montréal estimates students will need a total of CA$14,700 per year including housing, food, accommodation, books and course supplies, phone costs, and miscellaneous expenses. Similarly, the University of British Columbia, located in Vancouver, estimates living costs of CA$15,500 per year, not including mandatory health insurance, which is CA$864 per year under the BC Health Plan. According to the 2019 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Toronto was the most expensive Canadian city to live in, closely followed by Vancouver, with rent particularly high in both cities.

The three main types of student accommodation (homestay, university accommodation, and private accommodation) vary considerably in costs, with students paying around CA$3,000-7,500 (~US$2,271 – 5,680) for on-campus accommodation each year. Private shared accommodation can cost around CA$8,400 (~US$6,361) per year plus bills. University accommodation is often cheaper, with some universities offering meal plans to allow you to purchase food from the university’s food outlets.

Food Expenses

In terms of financial priorities for an international student in Canada, expenses for food and health services feature right next to accommodation expenses. The food costs fluctuate extremely depending on the eating habits and preference of cuisine of any student. 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 average, a student spends about CAD 1500-3000 per annum on food, considering the evident fluctuations in nutrition costs.

Books & Other Study Material

The cost of living in Canada includes the expenses for books, instruments, and other study materials required during the term of the course. These costs are 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.

Clothing and Other Expenses

International students, while estimating the cost 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.

Health Insurance

It is necessary for international students to 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.

Transportation Expenditure In Canada

International or domestic students in Canada mostly avail public transport like buses and trains for day-to-day traveling from university to work and home. The bike is another best option for transport and is famously used in Canada by students. In some cities, ferries are also used for traveling. On average per month pass of public transport will cost $80 to $110. The students are however given discounts on public transportation by Government. If you own a car then Petrol per liter in Canada is 1.25 CAD.

Accommodation Costs In Canada

International students reside in three types of accommodations in Canada which include, homestay, on-campus, and off-campus (private accommodation). The cost of accommodation is different for each type of accommodation. On-campus or university accommodation is the cheapest cost among the other options.

t’s common for most students to live on-campus in their first year; these are referred to as your halls of residence. 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 in Canada, although this will depend on which region you choose.

After the first year of university, students will usually share a house or apartment with their peers 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 the most expensive (though considerably less expensive than the likes of New York City or London, on average). It’s suggested you budget CAD 750-2200 per month for renting off-campus accommodation.

There is also the option to live as part of a homestay where you stay 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 750 – 950 per month in return for meals and a room. However, you’ll also be participating in activities with the host, improving your English, and learning about the culture, all of which are valuable experiences.

On-Campus Accommodation Facility

On-campus, accommodations are the famed and well-known option for international students because of plenty of perks. Above all, it has security and offers a learning atmosphere with the majority of your fellow students living around you under the same roof. You can connect with your university fellows, exchange notes, indulge in group study sessions, and offer each other academic guidance.

Traditional Dorm Rooms: Traditional dorm rooms typically have a single bed, a bathroom, a closet, chair, study desk, lamp, and a mattress. The dorm rooms can be for a single student or shared between two students. Other facilities like kitchen, lounges, laundry in traditional dorm rooms are shared between all students.

Apartments and Suites: It is an independent style of living with a flair for traditional dorm rooms. The apartments and suites are typically shared between 5 to 6 students who can have their own separate rooms or share rooms with two students. The kitchen, laundry room, washroom, living room, microwave, and fridge will be provided. The social benefits will be similar to traditional dorm rooms, information about university events and proximity to the university campus is available. The furniture in the rooms will be similar.

Perks of On-Campus Living and Services
On-campus accommodations have proximity to your Canadian university/college. Traveling costs can be saved and you do not need to rush early to catch a train or bus to attend your classes on time.

-Information about social events happening at the university will be delivered to you firsthand
-University residences typically have a don who will be there to guide you every step of the way for studies and ensure your safety.
-Universities ensure to provide the best possible facilities to meet the diverse needs of students.
-You can have traditional rooms, dorm rooms, apartments, and suites in on-campus accommodation in Canada.
-They are affordable. They are secure and safe.
-You can meet international students belonging from every nook and corner of the world in on-campus accommodations.

Off-Campus Accommodation Facility

Off-Campus accommodations are usually selected by those international students who are little known to Canada or the university students who have stayed in Canada for 1 year at least. Although there are plenty of websites online offering off-campus accommodation details with per month cost. Off-campus accommodation facility includes renting apartments, suites, staying with host families, and subletting houses or apartments from other students.

Subletting Apartments or Suites: Subletting means taking over the lease of a student who is going to be for months or a year. You can start paying the lease on his behalf and live in his apartment/suite or flat. It is common practice in Canada. It has perks like the house will be furnished having facilities of laundry, kitchen, fridge, bed, mattress, closet, and others. Internet and electricity utilities will be included. Sublets housings can vary in time; they can be available for months or for a year or two. Websites are filled with such sublets options and you can choose a sublet based on your duration of stay. It is an easy option for an individual who likes independence and needs privacy for his stay. Students have made Facebook groups for booking sublets. You can get information in detail about sublets’ housing once you enter Canada.

Living in Canada with Host Family: You will get a room in the house of the host family. The room will have a washroom, a bed, mattress, chair, and a study desk. The internet and electricity bills will be divided and your proportion will be told to you in the rental contract. It is a great way to get to know the culture of Canada. A food and laundry facility might be offered but that is an option and is not necessarily included in your contract. Living with a host family will enhance your communication and language skills and by the end of your study program in Canada, you are most likely to be immersed in Canadian culture.

Renting a House/Flat/Apartment/Suite: A group of students from the same university or class rent a house together and share the utility bills cost and enjoy a private housing facility. It is also a most sought-after accommodation option for living in Canada for international students. The cost might vary from one city to another. But estimated rent can be from $500 to $1000+ for each student per month. Toronto and Vancouver are expensive cities and rents can be remarkably lesser in other cities of Canada like Waterloo and London. But the students have to be more cautious when choosing the roommates and the location of the apartment. There can be scams and defrauds. You must know your roommates well enough for sharing space. There is a risk factor and you might end up getting into trouble because of your roommate. The perks can be that by dividing the rents and bills, the per-person cost of living gets low cost.

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