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Living Cost for International Students in Canada

Here are some typical costs for living in Canada:

Bus Fare One Way (local) $2.00
Local Telephone Call $0.25
Average Restaurant Meal $10.00 - 25.00 per person
Movie $8.50
Letter within Canada $0.46
International Postage (letter) $0.95

Some provinces apply a provincial tax levy to goods and services. All provinces must apply the federal Goods & Services Tax (GST) of seven per cent to most purchases. As a visitor, a portion of the GST may be refunded to you upon your departure from Canada. There are restrictions that apply and you must provide original receipts. Contact Revenue Canada or your school for further information. GST refund forms can be obtained at the information counters at airports and at most shopping malls. 

Note: On an average, an Indian student will need approximately Rs 5 lakhs per year for studying in Canada, depending upon your tuition fees and location

Hostelling is a temporary and inexpensive way to stay in major cities. Accommodation is basic but economical, and primary facilities (toilets, baths and kitchens) are shared. Rates are calculated daily, and costs are less than other accommodation choices.

Average cost of a room in a hostel: $10 - $20 CDN per night.

The YWCA/YMCA hotels are also inexpensive, clean, safe and comfortable. Many of these establishments also have pools and fitness centres. Keep in mind, though, that hostels and YWCA/YMCAs fill up quickly during the summer months, so you should plan ahead. Average cost of a room in a YWCA/YMCA: $24 - $45 CDN per night.


Many schools have accommodation conveniently located on or near their campus. Rooms can vary in size and in quality, and many dormitories have shared kitchens, toilets, showers and laundry facilities. There is usually an option of having either a shared or private room, and dormitories are usually separated by gender. In some cases, there are cafeterias and meal plans that can be included in the cost of the room. Most dormitories come furnished, and are an ideal way to become involved in campus activities and meet other students.

Average cost of residence/dormitory rooms: $3,000 - $7,500 CDN per school year. For more information, contact the school you will be attending.

Home stays
Many Canadian families welcome international students. This may be an effective way for you learn about daily life in Canada, and meet new, friendly people. Home stays also offer a more stable and secure environment for younger people coming to study in Canada. Typically, a home stay consists of a Canadian family hosting a student in their home while the student attends classes in Canada. Meals and a private, furnished room are provided in the home, and the host family welcomes and encourages participation in family and community activities.

Average cost of home stay accommodation: $400 - $800 CDN per month.

Off-Campus Housing
Renting is an option open to students, but price, quality and availability vary greatly. Rents are often quite high in the major cities, and places are not always available. Many students share accommodation to keep costs down and usually find places to meet their needs and preferences. Many schools offer an off-campus housing service, which can provide affordable listings that are near the campus. At this service centre, those seeking shared accommodations can also find roommates. Once on campus, you will often find a variety of postings throughout the campus advertising nearby housing, but it is always best to make arrangements before coming to Canada.

There are different types of places you can rent as an international student. A house is usually too expensive for one student to rent, but many students share or rent suites (a self-contained unit with a kitchen, toilet, bath and bedroom) within a larger home.
Apartments are another option, where one has a kitchen, toilet, bath, and one or two bedrooms. Most rental apartments do not include furniture or meals. Some, however, include the cost of heat and/or electricity in the rent.

Listings of available apartments or homes are published in local newspapers. It is the responsibility of the student to determine suitability as schools do not inspect these places nor can they make any other arrangements. Most landlords require a damage deposit and rent is paid on a monthly basis in cash or by cheque.

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