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Personal finance

Immigrating to Canada: How much does it cost?

November 1, 2021

Immigrating to Canada is an exciting lifetime dream, but it requires being well informed and aware of certain costs. Here are some practical tips to help you prepare for and facilitate your arrival in Canada.

Planning budget: The gateway to peace of mind

Making a budget is an essential part of any project. Before you immigrate to Canada, it’s wise to get an accurate picture of your financial situation and capacity. The amounts to plan for are detailed below.

lanning budget for a couple and family

Here’s an example of the projected budget for a couple and a family of 4.

Budget: Settling and monthly living expenses1

  • Average cost of settling (Quebec)
    • 2 adults: CAN$11,000
    • 2 adults + 2 children: CAN$16,000
  • Average monthly budget (Quebec)
    • 2 adults: CAN$2,500-CAN$5,000
    • 2 adults + 2 children: CAN$3,500-CAN$6,000

Government applications and requirements must also be considered in your budgeting. The budget required will vary depending on the application, so whether it’s for a working holiday visa holder, a foreign worker, an international student or a permanent resident.

Some application assessments require a demonstration of the applicant’s financial ability to support themselves and their family, known as “proof of funds.” You may be required to provide this in your application.

Government requirements and proof of funds

Canada application for working holiday visa: CAN$2,500

Quebec application for permanent resident visa

  • 1 adult: CAN$3,300
  • 2 adults + 2 children: CAN$5,900

Quebec application for skilled worker visa

  • 1 adult: CAN$13,200
  • 2 adults: CAN$16,500

Quebec application for international study permit

  • 1 airline ticket (round trip) + CAN$13,200/year (living expenses)
  • + CAN$500 (installation) + tuition fees

Expenses to consider

Before you immigrate, consider this list of expenses2 to reduce the financial surprises involved in preparing your move to Canada.

Reconnaissance trip: CAN$2,000 or more
Quebec and/or Canadian immigration fees: depending on the permit or visa, CAN$156 to CAN$2,075
Biometric data: CA$85
Language tests: CAN$250-CAN$350
Equivalency of educational credentials: CAN$200-CAN$300
Medical visit: CAN$300
Immigration lawyer: depends on your situation

The reconnaissance trip is optional, but recommended. It will give you the opportunity to test your impressions of the life and city that await you in Canada.

Before you leave: Airfare

You’ll need to calculate the cost of the plane ticket per person, as well as the costs of getting to the airport. Depending on the time of year and your departure location, this could total anywhere from $975 to $1,500 per person.

When you arrive: Settling in costs

Housing, clothing, telephone, internet: Take the time to do some research to find out the cost of these budget items, based on your family situation and the Canadian province and city you wish to settle in.

Plan between CAN$450 and CAN$900 for winter clothes, accessories and boots to brave the cold.

Telephone, internet and TV services will cost you between CAN$95 and CAN$250 per month.

Housing in Canada: What are the monthly costs?

The city, neighbourhood, type and number of rooms affect the monthly cost of housing in Canada. As a guide, here’s an approximate average cost for comparable units in 4 Canadian cities.

Average cost of housing3

Vancouver: CAN$1,824/month

Toronto: CAN$1,666/month

Montreal: CAN$932/month

Quebec City: CAN$945/month

Good to know

Health insurance: Better to plan ahead and prevent

Quebec has social security agreements with certain countries. If you arrive in Quebec from a country that is not part of these agreements, you should take out private insurance to cover the waiting period, which can be up to 3 months after you register for Quebec health insurance. The cost of private insurance could range from $650 to $1,000 per year per person.

Wages in Canada: Variations from one province to another

Average wages vary considerably depending on the province and region you work in.

Gross minimum wage in Canada in 2022

Quebec: Minimum wage: CAN$14.25/hour

Ontario: Minimum wage: CAN$15.00/hour

British Columbia: Minimum wage: CAN$15.65/hour

As its name suggests, minimum wage is the minimum hourly rate set by the government that an employer must pay to an employee.

Average gross wages per year in Canada in 20214

Quebec: $55,706,56

Ontario: $60,667,88

British Columbia: $59,108,92

International transfers

Note that Desjardins offers the possibility of making international transfers. You can send money quickly and securely to most international destinations, in Canada, the United States and many other countries. For more details, click here.

1. Source: Immigrant Québec

2. Source: Government of Canada

3. SCHL, Rentral Market Report, date released - February 2022

4. Source: