Canada is one of the most popular study destinations for international students, offering diverse multiculturalism, top-class living standard, and vibrant campus life, as well as possibilities to immigrate. If you are planning to study abroad in Canada, the upside is that studying in Canadian institutions is more affordable than schools in other popular countries such as Australia, the US and UK.
However, the total costs of studying in Canada vary a lot based on the type of institutions (university, college, language school, high school, etc.), programs of study, province and housing. Also, on average, international students pay at least four times more tuition fees than domestic students with Canadian citizenship or permanent residency.
Tuition Fees in Canada
The short answer is $29,714 on average for international students.
Tuition fees in Canadian education institutions vary across provinces, programs, and student’s status (international or domestic students). The latest report from Statistics Canada claims that, in 2019/2020, the average tuition fees for undergraduate programs in Canada dropped by 5.3% to $7,056 for domestic students while rising by 7.6% to $29,714 for international students. So, we were not kidding! Tuitions fees for international students are, on average, more than 400% higher than those for home students.
As a graduate from the University of Toronto, I have to call attention to students who have put U of T in their list of destinations. U of T ranks among the #1 university in Canada in terms of many aspects, including tuition fees. International students at engineering programs have to pay over $60,000 for tuitions, for which I have no comment…
Living Costs in Canada
The short answer is at least $12,000 per year.
Nearly all universities have options for on-campus residence for students. Students must apply separately for on-campus housing in addition to the programs, and its cost varies across institutions, type of room and meal plan.
In general, the on-campus residence costs range from $6,000 to $10,000 for an academic year, and the meal plan will cost $3,000 to $5,000 for an academic year. Also, the University of Ottawa, McMaster University and a lot more universities now have guaranteed residence for first-year students.
Students can also choose to live off-campus in a private apartment, the rent of which varies considerably depending on the location and type of accommodation. For example, rent for a typical bachelor studio in downtown Toronto ranges from $1,600 to $2,000 per month. The average rent of a one-bedroom unit in downtown Toronto was $2,314 per month as of November 2019. As a renter, you also need to make two months of rent as deposits and to pay monthly utility fees such as electricity, Internet and cable television, as well as tenant insurance. You can also share apartments or entire houses for lower costs per person.
Here are some examples of average living costs in Canada, taken from Numbeo in October 2019:
- Eating out at a restaurant: CA$16 per person
- One-way ticket on local public transport: CA$3
- Loaf of bread: CA$2.86
- Cinema ticket: CA$13.50
- Monthly gym fee: CA$48.25
In addition, it mandates that students purchase basic health insurance while studying in Canada, which will cost $864 per year under the BC Health Plan at the University of British Columbia.
Now let’s take a look at the cost of living given by some universities on their websites. We can conclude that the living costs for studying in Canada are conservatively at least $12,000 per year.
University of Toronto
Source: Cost of living presented by UofT Scarborough
University of British Columbia
Source: Cost of living presented by UBC
University of Alberta
Source: Cost Calculator for an international student at University of Alberta
Being an international student, you and your family need to finance at over $42,000 for tuition fees and costs of living together. It is a big number for many families. Still, compared to other countries like the Us and the UK, Canada is definitely less expensive to study and live in.