Living Expenses

Creating your new life in Canada

Canada is a very large country, so costs can vary significantly depending on where you live and may be different from those you are familiar with. Learn more about getting settled in Canada.


Whether you plan to rent or buy, it's important to learn about the varying costs in the specific city and province where you will settle. Remember that your expenses are more than the rent or purchase price. Related costs include paying a rental deposit, on top of first month's rent, or monthly utilities and cable fees. Homebuyers face other costs such as legal and house inspection fees, taxes and insurance.

Buying Your First Home

Even if you feel that home-ownership is a distant dream, a knowledgeable Scotiabank advisor can advise you about home ownership and help you start saving to reach your goals. You could own your first home with a hassle-free mortgage designed specifically for Newcomers to Canada. Try Scotiabank's mortgage tools to discover what you can afford and how you can be mortgage-free faster.

Canadian Government Resources

The Federal and Provincial governments have created several programs to assist newcomers.


Education is important to Canadians, and attendance is mandatory for children between the ages of six and 16. In Canada, children are eligible to receive free elementary and high school education through the government-funded public education system. Budget for additional expenses such as school supplies, some books, sports equipment and musical instruments.

Since post-secondary education is a costly but important part of your children's success, many families start saving while their children are young. Newcomers can do so by choosing a financial institution with helpful savings programs. A Registered Scotiabank Education Savings Plan (RESP) will help you to provide for your child's post-secondary education, especially when you invest early and regularly.

Learn more about attending school in Canada


Canadians enjoy many government-funded benefits, such as healthcare, education systems, interconnecting highways, clean drinking water and sanitation systems. Canadians pay a variety of taxes to the federal and provincial governments to support these benefits.

Sales Taxes

When you purchase an item or a service one or more types of tax may be added to the purchase price:

  • Goods and Services Tax (GST) - A 5% federal tax applies to most goods and services sold in Canada.

  • Provincial Sales Tax (PST) - With the exception of Alberta, the provinces also tax many new and used items (but not services). The rate varies by province.

  • Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) - In New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, the GST and PST are combined into a single tax - the HST which is added to the cost of the goods or services for the final
    total price.

Income Tax

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) manages the submission and payment of income tax for Canadians. Each year you will submit an income tax return, which will determine your tax obligation based on your income and deductions, federal, provincial or territorial taxes. Your income tax return will indicate whether you have a balance of tax owing for the year, or if you are entitled to a refund of a portion of the tax deducted from your income during the year. Learn more about Canadian income tax rates or watch CRA's video series explaining the income tax process.

Payroll Deductions

Your employer will arrange for the deductions to be automatically withdrawn from your paycheque, before you receive your pay. Depending on your income bracket, these deductions could reduce your pay by as much as 25% to 35% of your total income. The following deductions are standard for most employees in Canada and the first three are set by the Canada Revenue Agency.

  • Income Tax
  • Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan
  • Employment Insurance
  • Union Dues - if you belong to a union
  • Contributions to a Retirement or Pension Plan

If you plan to live in a city and will not have a car, you may need to budget for public transportation. Public transportation in Canada is safe, reliable and reasonably priced. Your community will have a wealth of information to help you explore transportation options, including transit schedules and route maps.

Buying a Car

When newcomers first arrive in Canada, buying a car is a major purchase for many. The Scotiabank StartRight® Auto Finance Program provides auto financing solutions for landed immigrants and Foreign Workers who have been in Canada for three years or less. Ask about the Scotiabank StartRight Auto Finance Program when you visit your chosen automotive dealership.