Cost of Living in Canada for International Students

A Canadian flag in front of an old building.

The cost of living in Canada is a frequent question for international students, as this is one of the trending destinations for studying abroad.

By knowing more about it, you will be able to organize your money in a more strategic way.

To have a better plan for your study abroad journey, you should first know all about the cost of living in Canada as an international student! You will be able to organize your money more strategically. 😉

There are many aspects to consider when calculating your costs abroad, such as tuition fees, transportation, accommodation, entertainment, etc. 

Let’s take a close look at these expenses together:

Cost of studying in Canada – Tuition Fees

The tuition fees in Canada can vary based on factors such as the university, program, province, size, and location. 

According to the statistics from the Canadian government, here are the tuition fees averages: 


According to Statistics Canada, the average tuition fee for an undergraduate degree in Canada for international students is approximately CAD$36,000  (around  USD$27,000

IMPORTANT:  keep in mind that the fees are significantly higher for programs related to medical fields, like veterinary medicine ($68,000), dentistry ($60,000) and medicine ($59,000).


Good news: the tuition fees for a graduate degree in Canada is generally lower than undergraduate. The average fee for international students is around CAD$21,000, or  USD$16,000.  

MBA (Master of Business Administration)

If you are looking for an MBA in Canada, it’s important to start planning in advance: the tuition fees are much higher. But, don’t give up: the results of your efforts will be extremely rewarding. 😉

For an executive MBA, the average fee is around CAD$77,000 while for the regular MBA it is CAD$41,767. 

Someone holding a calculator and a pen.

Some universities, however, offer lower fees than average, such as: 

  • Memorial University of Newfoundland – CAD$3,200 to $11,400
  • University of Northern British Columbia –  CAD$3,400 to $22,100
  • Simon Fraser University – CAD$3,900 to $29,400
  • University of Saskatchewan – CAD$4,400 to $18,400
  • University of Guelph – CAD$5,600 to $26,700

Cost of living in Canada

Your living expenses in Canada might vary a lot depending on the location and personal spending habits. Living in bigger cities such as Toronto or Vancouver will definitely cost you more than somewhere else, such as Montreal.

Generally, there are five living expenses that you should consider when you move to Canada

#1 Accommodation

The four main types of student accommodation in Canada are living on-campus, shared apartments, private renting and homestay. They all have different costs.

For the on-campus accommodation in Canada, students pay around CA$3,000-7,500/year while the shared accommodation can cost around CA$8,400/year, meaning  that the university residence is often cheaper. Some of them even offer meal plans!

The on-campus and shared accommodations are both similar in terms of lifestyle, as you will be living with other people and won’t have much privacy. 

Looking for more personal space? Well, then you should definitely consider a private renting, but your freedom will come with a cost: the prices can range from CAD$900 to CAD$2,000 monthly.

However, when it comes to private renting, you will be able to enjoy the freedom. But it costs more! In Canada, rent can range anywhere between $900 – $2,000 /month.

Last but not least, you can rent a room in a family’s house. This is called “homestay,” and the costs can range from CAD$400 – $800/ month – with the advantage of integrating yourself into a new culture and meeting new people more quickly than you normally would if living alone.

#2 Utilities

If you are staying on-campus, or in a homestay, you won’t have to worry about paying extra bills such as electricity and water. 

But, this is not always the case when you share an apartment with other students or you rent privately. Depending on the contract, sometimes you will have to pay extra bills on top of your rental costs. 

The average cost for electricity, water, heating and cooling in Canada is $176/month.  

For the internet, the average is $80 – but can be lower depending on the service provider. 

The phone bills in Canada will always be different because it depends on what kind of plan you are on. For instance, how much data do you need per month? The service provider will ask you these types of questions and offer the best plans based on your needs. 

Don’t forget to mention that you are a student; they always give discounts! 

A girl standing in a bus wearing blue and headphones.

#3 Transportation

The best and cheapest way to commute in Canada is using public transportation. The most common =is the bus. 

You can also use a subway or a train. As a student aged between 18 and 25, you are eligible to get some discounts when purchasing the monthly transport pass! 

Usually, it costs about $90/ month, or you can choose only a one-way ticket for $3.25.

Using a taxi is another option, but it will cost more! When possible, people use biking as a way to commute as well; it can get harder during the winters but is definitely a great option to consider. 

#4 Entertainment 

Having fun is a crucial part of your study abroad experience! The costs can vary depending on the city that you choose. But generally, the prices are as follows: 

Gym membership: $22 – $100

Eating out at a restaurant: $15 – $30

Cinema: $12 – $20

Netflix subscription: $10/month

Two women and a man sitting in a cinema and laughing.

#5 Insurance

It is mandatory to have health insurance in Canada. Usually, the cost is included in your university tuition fees and is around $600-800/ year. 

When calculating your expenses, make sure to keep money aside for extra costs such as the student visa (around $150) and application fees for universities (around $100).

If you are worried about finances, check out the 6 funding options to help pay for your study abroad journey here

Ready to start planning your trip abroad? Awesome! Time to share this with your friends so they can know the cost of living in Canada and calculate their expenses as well. 😉


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