Getting Your Finances in Order

Cost of Living Estimate

Single Adult

Two Adults, One Child*

Monthly Annually (September to August) Monthly Annually (September to August)
Housing $900 - $1,200 (one bedroom)
$10,800 - $14,400 $1,400 - $2,000 (3-bedroom house) $16,800 - $24,000
Utilities $240 - $450 $2,880 - $5,400 $240 - $450 $2,880 - $5,400
Internet & mobile phone $170 $2,040 $240 $2,880
Food $200 - $300
$2,400 - $3,600 $550 - $650 $6,600 - $7,800
Clothing - $500 + $200 for winter clothing - $1,500 + $600 for winter clothing
Transportation (Bus) ETS Transit Fares
Child Care and School Fees - - $1,000 $12,000
Recreation** $75 $900 $200 $2,400

~Adapted from the UAlberta FGSR~

Cost of Living Estimate
This estimate is a guideline. Living costs vary greatly based on the type of accommodation, whether you are sharing accommodation with roommates, and your overall standard of living. All figures are in Canadian dollars (CAD).

On campus and off campus accommodation options.

You will likely want to open a bank account while you're here--especially if you are being paid a stipend through the UAlberta.

Normally two pieces of identification must be presented when opening an account. A passport is generally accepted as the first piece of ID and bank branches located near the campus will accept your University of Alberta ONEcard as the second piece. A major credit card, driver's license, Alberta Health Care Insurance card, social insurance card or a birth certificate may also be accepted.

Banks within walking distance from the University:

TD Canada Trust
Scotia Bank
Royal Bank of Canada
Bank of Montreal

Payment of Stipend

If you are receiving your stipend through the University of Alberta payroll system, you will be paid by direct deposit to your bank account on a semi-monthly basis.

You must first set up direct deposit through Bear Tracks, the UAlberta's web-based service system. See the Direct Deposit instructions for details.

To access Bear Tracks you must use your Campus Computing ID (provided by your home department). You will also use Bear Tracks to view your online pay slip and contact information.

Social Insurance Number

A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that is needed to work in Canada or to access government programs benefits.

To apply for a SIN for the first time, you must submit a completed application form and supporting documents to a Service Canada Centre. See How do I apply for SIN.

Income Tax

All postdocs earning an income in Canada are required to pay provincial and federal taxes, whether or not they are Canadian citizens. Each year, you will be required to submit a Canada Customs and Revenue tax return.

Canada has a self-assessment system, which means that each person is required to determine their tax payable for the taxation year (based on the calendar year, January 1 to December 31). The deadline for filing a tax return is April 30 of the following year.

If you are an international postdoc and are paid externally from your country of origin, you will need to complete a Determination of Residency Status (Entering Canada) form to determine whether you will have to pay taxes in Canada. Further information can be found at Canada Revenue Agency website.

Child Tax Benefit

The Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under age 18. Generally to be eligible to receive the CCTB, you have to live with the child and be a resident of Canada for income tax purposes. Other conditions may apply to temporary residents. For more information on whether you meet the conditions to be eligible for CCTB, and information on how the amount is calculated, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website.