As you might have read in my previous blogs, I moved to Edmonton, AB with family in Jan 2017 and after a short stay of 3 months in Edmonton, AB, we moved to Calgary, AB in April, 2017. What I learned during this period is that your expenses may differ significantly based on the city you move within Canada or even within the province. For example, I could get a 3 bedroom detached house in Edmonton for $1,600 whereas in Calgary it was $1,900 in similar neighborhood. Not only that, I saw noticeable differences in fruits, vegetables and transit ticket prices. For example in Edmonton, a bunch of 10 adult tickets costs $25.50 and monthly pass costs $94.25 whereas it costs $32.50 and $101 in Calgary.

This page gives an idea about general expenses for a detached house in Canada. The amounts may vary slightly based on which province / city you move but the numbers would be really close except house rent.

Onetime Expenses:

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Annual Expenses:

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Monthly Expenses:

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These expenses are for a detached house. For apartment, the utilities mentioned above in row 7 would be around $80 because you’ll probably have to pay only electricity charges. Other charges such as water and heating would be part of condo fee (about $200 / month) that your house owner will have to pay.

30 thoughts on “An idea about general expenses in Canada

    1. The utilities mentioned here are for a detached house. For apartment, you’ll have to pay mostly for the electricity. Heating and water is included in the condo fees that owner will have to pay.

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    1. In public schools till 9th grade, you don’t have to pay. From high school onward, in a few schools you may have to pay for some stationery supplies and exam fee which could be up to $1500 -$2000 a year. Private schools are costly

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      1. Thanks Alok. Here in US, the entire schooling(Public) is free, except for supplies. But the College education is very high. Hope the college education is less in Canada

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        1. Yes, the university education is cheaper in Canada than in US and further cheaper for PR holders than for international students. In UoA (University of Alberta), which is one of the top 100 universities in the world, the under-graduate course all-inclusive expenses per year is around $45 K for an international student. It is about $12 K cheaper for PR holders

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    1. Expenses for driving classes are not covered in the link you added. If you don’t have driving experience in North America, you must take driving classes for about 10 hrs that costs about $50 per hour. So, you’ll need to add $500 for that. The instructor will teach you about the lane driving, parallel parking, up / down hill parking, taking precautions on pedestrian crossings and shoulder checks etc. Even though you are a good driver in your country, I’ll suggest you to take driving classes in Canada before going for driving test.

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      1. Dear Sir, thank you for the clarification. It is good to know about this, so that I can prepare the money upfront for all these one-time expenses. Again, my thanks!

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  1. Very useful information, thank you very much! I truly enjoy your blog.

    Can you please share info on taxes/contributions on salaries? E.g. for $60.000/anum, what would be NET salary, how much is tax and how much the rest? (I suppose there is 401k and health/dental/vision provided by the employer? What about the dependent family members?)
    Could you please do a separate blog post on this subject? Thank you in advance!

    I applied for PR 6 months ago and plan to move to Toronto with my family, very soon! I know that Ontario and Alberta have different tax rates, but I would like some clarification on system policies generally.

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      1. Thanks again!

        Two more subjects for blog posts (if you find them interesting) :
        – Did you hire a personal finance adviser to council you about life insurance and investments into pension/scholarship funds?
        – Since this is your first year in Canada, you will be submitting your first Tax application by the end of the year, and I would like to read more on this procedure (who is going to help you for the first time, and some tips & tricks)

        You could easily merge all this subjects into one blog article (taxes and contributions on salaries, insurance and investments, tax application)…

        I find your blog very informative and I had plans myself to write a blog about our process of immigrating to Canada. You inspired me on action, to start doing it, because I continually delayed with it. I wrote my first article yesterday and when I describe the whole process (we are going through Express Entry system), I will post a link to it so your followers can compare the old system with the new one and hopefully soon, to compare Edmonton/Calgary life and prices with Toronto and vicinity.

        Happy Halloween!

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        1. If you are interested in sharing your blog on my page, I can send you invitation to author and you can write your blog on my website. You would be able to answer directly related to the questions people ask, exactly like I do. Please share your email id and I’ll send you the invitation

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    1. Education is completely free only in public schools and that too till grade 9th. In high schools, in a few schools there are some fee that you may have to pay such as for stationery supplies and examination fee. I had to pay about $150 for stationery supplies for my daughter in 10th grade. I had been told, at the time of registration, that there would be some additional fee which was being negotiated between School board and Alberta Government but even after 4 months, I have not been asked to pay anything further. I’ll have to pay examination fee which is about $170 per subject I guess but for that too, the school has not asked so far. I’ll get more clarity once my daughter completes her first academic year in Canada and I’ll post about that on my blogs.

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  2. Hi Alok
    I wanted to know if my driver’s license and DL extract will be accepted by Ontario DMV.

    My Indian DL and extract both show old address which is not current and do not match with my passport address. I will not be able to change my address on time before I travel hence the question.
    I understand I can use my Indian DL and extract to bypass the 1st level for DL.

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  3. Hi Alok ,
    From all the expenses you have mentioned , I gather all in all about 40-45 lakhs INR of savings would be required before we move in there .1 . What is your opinion on this .
    2 . We are planning to start our PR this month , would like to gather the money [visa expenses and stay first ] How did you save this between applying PR and landing a job .

    Also what is the job role you are working for , and what would be approximate pay out we would be getting ( I am a software developer – tech lead in an MNC in Bangalore) with around 10 years of work experience .

    Really appreciate your effort for penning everything down . Your blog is thorough and very useful . Thank you for taking out the time

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    1. 1. After you finally move to Canada with your family, considering around 4-5K expenses per month, you should plan at least 6 months of backup. So you should keep around say $35 – $40K that means about INR 20 Lakhs after moving.
      2. How I saved are based on my circumstances that could be different from yours 🙂
      3. Pay varies a lot depending on your location, type of role you are in and several other factors. Jobs are more in Ontario but hourly rates are less. I have seen offers from $60K – $140K per annum depending on the number of people available in required skill sets. Less availability of people may fetch you better hourly rate / salary. So it is more about domain knowledge. I have seen hourly rates being offered between $30 to $90 per hour.

      Hope this answers your questions…

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  4. Hi Alok

    You mentioned about Fido sim; can you let us know how do we go about getting a sim card on landing. Would they need any documents?

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    1. Generally they require two pieces of ID. One could be your PR Card and other your Indian Passport. You’ll also need to show them your address proof and that could be your bank statement or rental agreement.

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  5. Dear Alok,

    I have been reading your blog with great interest since morning and its very informative to say the least for someone who is seriously thinking of moving to Canada, which is the case with us as well. Am originally from Bangalore but we’ve been living in Dubai as residents since 5 years and as a next move, we have Canada in mind. We did meet few very reliable consultants in Dubai who reasonable did well to allay our fears of moving lock stock and barrel to Canada but we still have plethora of questions lurking in our minds and am writing to you since you have a first hand experience of going through the rigmarole of moving to Canada.

    since i wanted to give you a complete picture and my family background, for privacy reasons i do not intend to publish the same on a public domain, may i request your mail ID for me to write to you.

    Your comments and guidance will be of great help to us and i have left my mail ID in the details below.

    Thanks in advance.

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