There are some general living expenses a student should get familiar with when planning to study in Canada. More information is also available on the Study Canada website.
Cell Phones (Mobile Phones)
You can use a Pay-As-You-Go (prepaid) service or sign a one, two or three year contract with a monthly fee. There may be additional service charges that you don't expect. There are several companies to choose from, but be aware that some companies do not use SIM cards (Smart Cards).
Before signing with a new cell phone company make sure to check:
- rates and plans
- if you can use your own phone on their network
If you are bringing an unlocked phone that uses a SIM card, you can buy a Canadian SIM card for use with your own phone.
Alberta does not have a provincial sales tax, although the federal Goods and Service Tax (GST) of 5% is applied to most purchases.
Money and Banking
Canada uses various payment methods:
- traveller's cheques
- personal cheques (note: not all businesses take personal cheques)
- debit cards
- credit cards (you can buy prepaid credit cards at most banks and credit unions, and some grocery stores)
You should bring enough funds in traveller’s cheques and cash to support yourself for the first few days until you can open a bank account.
You should open a bank account as soon as possible after arriving in Edmonton. Once you have an account, you can get a debit card to access the many Automated Teller Machines (ATM) around the city.
Service charges may apply when withdrawing funds from an ATM.
Knowing Canadian Currency
1 cent = Penny
5 cents = Nickel
10 cents = Dime
$1 = Loonie
$2 = Toonie
There are also notes or bills available in $5, $10, $20, $50, $100.