Cost of Living in Vancouver

Vancouver is the largest city on the West Coast of Canada. Set in idyllic natural surroundings that take full advantage of British Columbia’s Coastal mountain range and the Pacific Ocean, residents of the city are spoilt for choice when it comes to raw and inspirational landscapes. It is ranked top 5 as one of the world’s most liveable cities.

Cost of Living in Vancouver 

Rent for a room

$700 – $1800


$95 – $177

Health Insurance (Medical Service Plan)


Leisure Activities

$150 – $200

Mobile Phone Plan

$45 – $120


$300 – $700


Living in Downtown Vancouver may cost up to 1800CAD for a one-bedroom apartment. Most people rent a room in a house or apartment to lower the cost of bills. 

Rent in a nearby suburb such as Burnaby or Surrey is more affordable. Rent for a room with bills and internet included can cost between 700CAD – 900CAD.  

CIRA College has partnered with Vanmates to offer students a variety of housing and affordable rooms for rent around the college campus and Greater Vancouver.


Transportation in Vancouver is safe and easy to navigate. We recommend students to purchase a monthly pass, which will cost between 95CAD (1 zone) – 177CAD (3 zones). You can also buy a single fare, which is valid for a 90-minute journey on the Skytrain, bus, and SeaBus. 

 Here is the full information about costs and zones.

Mobile Phone plan

You can customize your phone plan in Vancouver, Canada. You can decide if you want to make/receive phone calls within Metro Vancouver, BC, Canada, and/or the United States. In your phone plan, there are 3 main things: Incoming/Outcoming phone calls (unlimited or per minute), Text messages (unlimited or a certain number of texts) and data (how much internet you want to use: 500Mb, 1GB, 4GB etc). Mobile Phone Plans with internet data can range from $45CAD – $120 CAD. It all depends on how you want to customize it. 

Here are three types of account:

Prepaid: You are bringing your own unlocked phone from your country so you can use any type of SIM card. You can decide what kind of plan you want. In this type of account, if you do not pay, your plan will be terminated.

Contract: You will pay a monthly plan for 2 years; it usually includes a free device (phone) and a plan. You usually need a Passport or any Canadian Government-issued ID (like BCID). 

Monthly plan: In between prepaid and contract plans, you can stop paying any time you want. You need the same terms and conditions as the contract to get this kind of plans.

Wireless Carrier Companies in Vancouver:



 BC Medical Services Plan (BC MSP)

 Canadian Healthcare is safe and accessible.

 If you live and work in Vancouver for 6 months or more, then you must apply for BC MSP and this isn’t optional.

 It is easy to apply and you pay every month for access to hospitals, emergency services, doctor appointments, and more.

 It costs $75 CAD per month for international students in Vancouver. 

 For more information about the BC MSP, check out this blog post


An average meal in a Canadian restaurant costs about $10-15 CAD for an individual. However, if a student prefers home-cooked food, you’ll have to spend about $350-800 CAD per month on groceries.

If you are living on your own (ex. Not in homestay), it is more affordable to purchase your own groceries and cook for yourself. The average spending on groceries can cost up to $300-$700 per month.

  • Supermarkets – largest variety of foods, distributed throughout a city and in all towns with more than a few thousand people. You can likely meet most of your grocery shopping needs at these stores.
  • Corner and Convenience stores – small family-owned businesses or national chains located on street corners.  Relatively expensive, but convenient.
  • Bulk & Discount stores – the least expensive shopping alternative, but a membership fee may be required. Shoppers are required to buy large quantities of individual items.

Some supermarkets or grocery stores located in or near Vancouver are:

*These are estimated values of current market prices which are subject to change. The aim is to provide students with an estimate to plan their expenses accordingly when investing in their education. 

The B.C. Newcomers’ Guide has written information and videos in a variety of languages.  The topics covered include: The First Few Days, Transportation, Finding a Place to Live, Money and Banking, Health Care, and more.



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