International Students, Our Publications, Personal Immigration


Apart from the tuition fees, students have to manage their everyday living expenses in Canada, which usually vary depending on the region. For instance, living in certain Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver is going to cost more than other cities.

While Canada is among highly developed countries, the tuition fees and living costs in the country are lower compared to the USA and Australia. This is one of the primary reasons why many international students choose Canada to get higher education.

Additionally, beautiful landscapes, multiculturalism, safety for international students, and being home to many world-renowned educational institutions make Canada a perfect destination for students.

In this blog, we are going to discuss the average cost of living in Canada for international students. We will break down the expenses across several major categories, such as accommodation, transportation, insurance, and food.

So, if you want to study in Canada and are looking to plan your budget effectively, gaining knowledge about the living expenses in Canada will benefit you.

Basic Living Expenses in Canada for International Students

There are different types of expenses that contribute to the total cost of living in Canada for international students. Below, we have discussed all the major expenses that you have to consider while planning your study abroad budget.

  1. Accommodation

Just like in most countries, accommodation expenses contribute significantly to the total cost of living in Canada. As an international student, you get different accommodation options to choose from, namely on-campus, private-rented apartments, shared apartments, and homestays.

The accommodation costs vary depending on the type of accommodation you choose. In general, on-campus accommodation can cost you anywhere between CA$250 – CA$600. On the other hand, off-campus accommodation costs around CA$750 – CA$1600.

  1. Food

While living on campus, you usually get the option to choose a meal plan. You no longer need to worry about buying groceries and cooking meals on your own.

On the contrary, if you want to live in private accommodation, you need to plan your food expenses as well. In general, the monthly grocery bill for students living in Canada is around CA$300. However, if you want to eat out at a restaurant frequently, your monthly food expense will likely be around CA$1000.

Following is a list of essential grocery items along with their average prices.

ItemQuantityAverage Price
Milk (Whole Fat)1 LiterCA$3.40
Eggs1 DozenCA$3.60
Rice1 KgCA$3.50
Bread675 GramsCA$2.80
Apples1 KgCA$4.20
Bananas1 KgCA$1.50
Sugar2 KgCA$2.50
Cooking Oil1 LiterCA$3.00
Onions1 KgCA$2.20
Potatoes1 KgCA$2.30
  1. Insurance

Healthcare services in Canada are expensive and you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars to treat an illness. You can opt for health coverage either through provincial health insurance or private insurance.

Provincial health insurance provides you a publicly-funded medical coverage either for free or at a premium. The area where you live determines if you are eligible for provincial health insurance. In case you can’t avail provincial health insurance, you have to go for private insurance.

The health insurance premium depends on the insurance provider and the plan you have opted for. Nonetheless, you can expect a monthly expense of CA$35 – CA$65.

  1. Transportation

The public transportation system in Canada is efficient. Especially, if you are living within city limits, you can use public transportation to cut your travel expenses.

The most popular and affordable means of commuting in Canada are buses. Subways and trains are also good options for students as they are economical too. Students can even get monthly transport passes at discounted rates.

For international students living near their educational institution, walking and biking emerge as the best ways for commuting.

On average, you may have to spend around CA$80 – CA$120 per month for commuting.

  1. Entertainment

While living in Canada as an international student, you may want to entertain yourself by engaging in various activities. From watching a movie to experiencing outdoor activities, there are plenty of entertainment options in Canada.

Here are some of the popular entertainment activities along with their average costs.

  • Watch a movie in a theater – CA$15
  • Lunch or dinner at a restaurant – CA$20
  • Ice-skating outdoors – CA$12
  1. Other Expenses

Apart from the expenses mentioned above, there are many other expenses that you need to consider while planning to study in Canada. For instance, you will need at least a basic cell phone plan to stay connected with your friends and family.

Following are some additional monthly expenses that you need to consider.

  • Cell Phone Plan (Basic) – CA$30
  • Internet – CA$40
  • Clothes – CA$60
  • Personal – CA$70

Now, let’s estimate the total monthly and yearly expenses for you as an international student in Canada.


Living Costs in Canada for International Students Based on Cities

As mentioned earlier, the cost of living varies depending on the city you are living in. Usually, living in a metropolitan area will be much more expensive than living in a non-metropolitan area. The following table highlights the average cost of living for international students across the major Canadian cities.

CityAverage Cost of Living (Per Year)

Leave a Reply