Prices are high in Winnipeg

Cost of Living in Canada

Before you embark on the adventure of studying abroad in Canada, you should not fail to find out what the costs will be. Because in addition to the travel costs and the tuition fees, you also have to pay the cost of living. For one "Representative shopping cart" you have to pay around 14% more in Canada than in Germany. But: Your cost of living in Canada does not necessarily have to be higher.

As everywhere in the world, expenses for accommodation, food and leisure depend on the country individual lifestyle now and then, where you study and live. It is obvious that it is much more expensive in Vancouver or Toronto than in Winnipeg or Antigonish, for example. In order to avoid nasty surprises, you should get an idea of ​​what additional costs you will have to face and how you can reduce your expenses before you leave.

Rent and housing costs in Canada

The biggest cost of living in Canada is of course rent. As in Germany, there is fierce competition for apartments in metropolitan areas and rents are therefore particularly high. If you want to live downtown, you have to dig much deeper for your accommodation than for an equivalent on the outskirts. Rents on the Pacific coast are sometimes twice as high as in other parts of the country. Those who live in a small town or even in the country pays the least, but may have to spend more money on transport costs. By the way, Canadians spend 35 to 50 percent of their income on living and ancillary costs (water, electricity, telephone, etc.). In particular, heating costs can be very high in view of the long and icy winters.

Most students in Canada come from either On campus in hall of residence or small apartments or Off-campus in host families or private shared apartments. Which variant is the cheapest depends on the respective circumstances and your own requirements.


Many students prefer to live on-campus while studying abroad: the distances are short and contacts can be made quickly. Another advantage: Additional costs, like electricity, water and internet mostly included in the rent. However, living in a student residence is not necessarily the cheapest option. Not infrequently there is no cooking facility in the dormitories and the students in the dormitories are therefore obliged to use a so-called Meal plan to book. This costs between CAD 400 and CAD 600 in the month.

host family

Many international students look for a host family in Canada to stay with for their semester abroad (Homestay). This is often the cheapest option, especially since everyone here Additional costs and partly also that Meals included are. Here, however, you could possibly face higher transport costs, depending on how far you are from the home of the host family to the university.

Shared apartment

A very popular and usually inexpensive option is living in a shared apartment (Shared house / shared apartment). Here you should of course make sure that the room offered is furnished. You share the additional costs with your roommates.

You can find one below Overview of the different options for accommodation in Canada and the average cost:

Average monthly rental costsAverage monthly electricity and gas costsAverage monthly internet costs (flat rate)
On campus without a meal planCAD 400 to CAD 1100Usually includedUsually included
HomestayCAD 400 to CAD 1000Usually includedUsually included
Shared roomCAD 250 to CAD 700Share of the total amount averaging CAD 150 (85 m²)Share of the total amount of an average of CAD 50 to CAD 60

The rent for accommodation in Dorm and the cost of the Meal Plan is in most cases given for the entire academic year. You have to pay the amount for a semester or for an academic year, in advance pay. The costs for a homestay or a room in a shared apartment are mainly given per month, but sometimes also per week. You should definitely pay attention to this in your search.

Food costs in Canada

Those who have not booked the university's meal plan have to cater for themselves. Even if the basic food in Canada is more expensive than in Germany: The cost of living for studying in Canada is included Self-sufficiency yet lower than when going to the canteen every day. Dairy products are particularly expensive in Canada, due to the fact that milk prices are controlled by the government to support dairy farmers. The groceries in the market (Farmer’s Market) are not more expensive than in the supermarket, by the way. At certain times you can even get the fresh fruit and vegetables for half the price. The Food prices in Canada fluctuate widely and it pays to keep an eye out for the latest offers. Many supermarkets offer discounts if you have a customer card.

You can find one below List of certain foods and their average prices:

productAverage price in CAD
Milk (1 liter)2.47
Eggs (12 pieces)3.33
Bread (675 grams)2.99
Water (1.5 liters)2.16
Cornflakes (675 grams)5.00
Bananas (1 kilo)1.69
Maple syrup (0.5 liter)15.99
Root Beer (2 liters)1.25
Pizza (takeaway)9.90

Warning: unlike in Germany, the Prices in Canada expressed in net terms. This means that this is the price excluding VAT. In Canada there is a total of three different taxes on products:

  • GST: Goods and Services Tax (5%, levied by the government)
  • PST: Provincial Sales Tax (5% to 10%, levied by the provinces / territories)
  • HST: Harmonized Sales Tax (merging of GST and PST)

Since the higher the PST in the individual provinces different levels and some provinces do not even levy a PST at all, there are correspondingly significant fluctuations in gross prices.

Costs for activities / leisure time in Canada

Canada is primarily a paradise for outdoor fans. But the country also has a lot to offer in cultural and culinary terms, and there are just so many endless possibilities for leisure activities. How much the various activities will cost you in the end depends on what you are doing and, of course, where. Here, too, it can be worthwhile to look out for various promotions. Almost everywhere there are reduced admission for students and many museums do not take entry at all on certain days. In addition, it is recommended that you have an international student ID card, as this will also give you many discounts in Canada.

Here are a few Prices for typical activities in Canada:

CompanyAverage price in CAD
Eat in an inexpensive restaurant15.00
Canadian beer (0.5 liters)5.50
Movie ticket12.50
Card for an ice hockey game25.00
Museum visit8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Ice scatingMostly free of charge (skate rental: 5.00)

Tips in Canada

If you don't want to be stingy, you should ask the waitress when paying the bill 15 to 20 percent Give a tip (tip, gratuity). This is because the waitresses in a restaurant receive a lower minimum wage. In fast food restaurants where you are not served at the table and you get your own food, you don't have to pay a tip. Taxi drivers, tour guides and other service providers also usually receive tips.

Transportation costs in Canada

Especially in metropolitan areas is the Infrastructure in Canada very well developed and it is not difficult to get from A to B. In addition to the bus, tram, subway and train, the ferry is also a popular form of transport, such as the SeaBus in Vancouver. A One-way ticket in local public transport costs average CAD 3.00, a Monthly ticket CAD 90.00. At some universities, the costs for local transport are completely or partially included in the tuition fees.

The acquisition of one own cars It is only worthwhile if you are staying in Canada for a long time and will be using it a lot during this time. It is true petrol with average CAD 1.12 cheaper than in Germany, but you should not underestimate the maintenance costs. Because even in Canada there is an obligation to have one Motor vehicle liability insurance and this is much more expensive than in Germany or the USA. In addition, it is very difficult at all for drivers under the age of 25 to get insurance.

Travel in Canada

If you want to travel through Canada or the USA alongside, before or after your studies, it is best to do so by plane, because the distances are sometimes huge. The leading airline is Air Canada. There are also a number of airlines that cheap flights such as WestJet. A return flight from Winnipeg to Toronto costs around CAD 350, from Vancouver to Toronto around CAD 450. Depending on the booking period and the airline prices fluctuate greatly. It is usually cheaper if you already book all flights from Germany together with your transatlantic flight.

For shorter journeys within Canada, it is usually cheaper to take the train. The cheapest, if not necessarily the most comfortable, is that Travel by long-distance buses, such as Greyhound. For example, you would pay just under CAD 70 for a trip from Regina to Winnipeg.

Telecommunication costs in Canada

Of course, the cost of living in Canada also includes telecommunications expenses. Around high roaming charges to avoid, it is generally advisable to get a prepaid SIM card from a Canadian telephone provider for your studies in Canada. It should be noted that there is no nationwide mobile operators and the choice depends on the province in which you are studying. The largest provider in British Columbia and Alberta is Telus Mobility, in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Aliant. The providers usually have a selection of different prepaid cards and a comparison is worthwhile.

On the following Special features regarding telephoning in Canada you should pay attention:

  • There are two Standards for cellular networksincompatible with each other: CDMA and GSM. While GSM is mainly used in Europe, including Germany, CDMA is used in Canada. So far there are very few cellular operators in Canada that offer GSM. The frequency of your cell phone must then also match the standard in Canada (tri-band or quad-band cell phone). If this is not the case, you may need another cell phone.
  • Cellular networks in Canada do not have their own area code, but rather normal landline numbers. Anyone who calls a cell phone from a landline in Canada therefore also pays the landline price. However, since a forwarding takes place in the cellular network, arise additional costsworn by the called party.

tip: If you have WiFi available, use the option to Voice over IP telephony, like Skype and WhatsApp. You can save a lot of money this way.

Health care costs in Canada

Health care expenses should also be included when calculating the cost of living in Canada. If you have a cold or a mild flu, you have it in a drugstore or in the supermarket in the Pharmacy-Department has a huge selection of over-the-counter drugs. The Drug prices vary widely and depend on whether it is the original product or generic. For example, a pack of original Aspirin (Beyer) costs CAD 5.99 (50 pieces).

In Canada, health insurance is compulsory also for international students applies. Most Canadian colleges have one Health Insurance Planwhich may also be compulsory for visit students. It is not always possible to replace it with a German international health insurance. The University Health Insurance Plan costs annual average CAD 684. However, this is only a basic supply. You should definitely either Extended Health Insurance Plan the Canadian university or take out additional insurance here in Germany.