Cost of Living
"Cost of Living" refers to the average amount of money an individual or family can expect to spend on food, clothing, housing, heat, utilities, transportation and other basic expenses. In Canada, the cost of living varies from one community to another and is difficult to estimate with absolute accuracy. Every family encounters unexpected expenses, whether or not they are newcomers. The cost of food and other items also fluctuates.
Typical household costs in Canada are: housing, heat, electricity, water, food, clothing and transportation. Newcomers must also pay for health insurance during their first three months in Canada. Visits to the dentist, prescription medicines, some school expenses and long-distance telephone calls are other expenses common to many households.
If you have a job, your take-home pay will be reduced by mandatory deductions for income tax, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and employment insurance (EI). Some workers also pay union dues, medical and dental insurance or contribute money into a retirement savings plan, which further reduce the amount of money they take home.
Canadians are required to pay taxes on their purchases. The federal government collects a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) of 13% on the sale of most goods and services, though some are exempt.
For More Information
A guide to determining how much it costs to live in Canada and how much money to bring into the country. Links to a list of typical costs for some common items and services across the country.
Tips for newcomers on how to calculate their monthly expenses in Canada, the need to budget and manage money, and where to get help. Available in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), French, Gujarati, Pilipino (Tagalog), Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tamil, and Urdu.
Information to help Queen’s University faculty and staff calculate the cost of living in the Kingston community.
A sample budget to help students at Queen’s University estimate the cost of living and studying in Kingston for eight months. Includes information useful to non-students.
Comparison data for major cities internationally. Kingston compares favorably to Toronto and Ottawa for quality of life, which are themselves ranked among the top 50 worldwide.