Calculating the Cost of Living

Settling in Canada may cost more than you think. Citizenship and Immigration Canada asks you to show “proof of funds” when you arrive. The government wants you to prove that you have enough money to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada.

However, the amount of money the government requires you to have may not be enough for you to have a life like the one you had in your country. Many newcomers do not find a job for many months. It will take time for you to make your new life here the way you want it.

For example, if you rent an apartment, you must pay the first and the last month’s rent before you move in. Some apartments have furniture, but most do not. You may have to buy furniture for your apartment. You have to pay for transportation, food, medicines, telephone, other utilities (like electricity or gas) and entertainment. You may also have to buy winter clothes or school supplies for your children.

Consider this example of the cost of living for a family of three people. Keep it in mind when doing your research on job compensation in our Working in Tourism in Canada section. You should also use the Internet to do more research on the cost of living in Canada.

Living expense

Cost per month (in Canadian dollars)

Housing (most people rent when they arrive)


$750 – 1,500 (rent for a one or two bedroom apartment)



$20 – 30


  • heating oil or natural gas
  • electricity
  • cable television
  • telephone

(some might be included in your rent)

  • $50 – 100
  • $30 – 50
  • $30
  • regular service $30, plus long distance $20(depending on usage)



$300 – 500

Clothing (depending on what you have now)


$100 – 200 (If you need winter clothing you will spend more at that time of year)

Household incidentals (newspapers, bank service charges, etc.)


$40 – 50

Public transportation


$90 per adult

Other expenses and entertainment





$1,650 – 2,310