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Planning for a 1, 2 or even 3-year journey across the world might seem challenging and when it comes to budgeting, your stress level might go up a notch. But it doesn't have to be a stressful, solo journey to apply for a visa to your new life. 鶹ӳý's goal is to guide you through the whole preparation of your trip and in this article, we'll tackle the big question: how much will the IEC program cost you in total?

This guide is meant to help you with the financial aspect of applying to IEC, ensuring you’re ready for what’s ahead. We’ve laid out all the key costs, from the application fees to the utility cost of the city you’ll choose to settle in. We’re here to help you turn your Canadian dream into reality and knowing the ins and outs of these expenses is key, no matter if you’re eyeing the Working Holiday, Young Professionals, or International Co-Op program.

What costs to consider when applying for IEC?

Let us break down very simply what you need to budget for as you get ready for your move to Canada via IEC.

How much does it cost to apply for IEC?

At least CAD$172 + 100.

The most obvious of all, paying for your application.

You . However, once you receive your Invitation To Apply (ITA), some fees will apply.

All IEC participants are required to pay them but they will vary depending on the program you choose.


Program IEC basic fee Open Work Permit fee Employer’s fee
Working Holiday CAD$172 CAD$100
Young Professionals CAD$172 CAD$100 CAD$230
International Co-Op CAD$172 CAD$100 CAD$230

Note: Payment is made via credit/debit card and you will need to consider a currency conversion fee, which will be automatically applied. You will receive a receipt for your records but you won’t need to sign anything.

Health Insurance: what budget should you plan

Consider around CAD$1,000 for your IEC Health Insurance.

As you’ve learned in our guide for IEC Health Insurance, this one is a must. You can’t escape it.

Your health insurance WILL DETERMINE the duration of your stay in Canada. If you are eligible for a 2-year permit but only have insurance covering 8 months, then you will only be able to stay in Canada for 8 months. Don’t play with this.

The cost of your insurance will depend on the provider and the total coverage you choose. But keep in mind that it MUST cover the following:

  • Medical care
  • Hospitalization
  • Repatriation

Example of an IEC health coverage calculation:

For a 28-year-old planning to stay 2 years in Canada with a CAD$100,000 coverage and a CAD$250 deductible, without pre-existing medical conditions or winter sports coverage, the total cost of their insurance is quoted at CAD$1,087.36.

To get a precise quotation of your own coverage, will provide you with a detailed simulation.

Biometrics: how much do they cost?

Between CAD$85 and CAD$255 depending on your application.

As a work permit applicant, you will be required to (fingerprints and photos).

This part of the application process has already caused some confusion to many travellers so make sure you go through our detailed guide on biometrics.

What you need to remember is that they will cost you:

  • CAD$85 if you apply as an individual
  • CAD$170 for family applications
  • CAD$255 for groups of 3 or more performing artists and their staff

Biometrics for your immigration application to Canada

Police Certificates: do you need to pay for one?

Depending on the country you’re asking, it could be free!

Also known as police clearance certificates, good conduct certificates, or judicial record extracts, you will need one from all the countries and territories you have lived in for at least 6 months in the past 10 years or since you were 18.

Some countries deliver it for free, like , and others like .

Canada needs you to prove that you aren’t a criminal before accepting you on its soil. This is no joke: applicants with histories of criminal activities will most likely see their applications rejected due to criminal inadmissibility.

Flights: how expensive is it to fly to Canada?

This one may be the most variable cost.

Have you ever tried to book a ticket to your dream beach destination on the other side of the globe, in the middle of July, and one week before take-off? That’s right, it wouldn’t be the most affordable thing to do.

The season, country of departure, and how far in advance you book your ticket to your new life in Canada will determine how much you will pay for it.

For example, a flight from London to Toronto could range from CAD$350 in the low season to over CAD$1,000 in the high season.

Keep in mind that the summer and the winter holiday season will be the most expensive times of the year, while fall is much more affordable. The colourful leaves of autumn are even more enjoyable when you don’t break the bank to get to them.

flights to canada,

Back up funds

Can you afford a flight to Canada? Wonderful! Now you must prove that you have enough resources to buy a return ticket at the end of your visa. Or that you have already purchased it.

This is one isn’t an actual direct fee you will need to pay, but keep in mind that you will be asked to prove you have enough funds to cover your expenses while in Canada. If you can demonstrate that you have at least CAD$2,500 at your disposal, you’ll be considered good to go.

What could be some possible extra costs to consider when moving to Canada?

Once the above are covered, remember that your profile or the nature of your application may require you to consider additional fees.

Document Translation

For your IEC application, as well as any other Canadian immigration application, your documents will need to be either in English or French. If their original versions are in a different language, they must be accompanied by an official translation. You should plan a budget that covers these costs.

The translations must be certified and delivered by an officially recognized translator in the country where the translation is being done. Depending on the organization performing the translation, the price may vary from a few cents per word to hundreds of dollars for extensive documents.

We recommend that you get a few quotes from several providers to compare prices and services. You should also make sure that the translations

Medical Exam: who needs one and how much is it?

Several conditions may require you to pass a medical exam as part of your IEC application:

  • If you have lived or travelled for at least 6 months in certain countries or territories () within the year before you land in Canada
  • If you plan on working with children, in healthcare or as a caregiver
  • If you’re applying for a parent or grandparent super visa

Here again, the cost will vary depending on several factors such as the physician that will need to examine you or the country where you’re undergoing the exam.

In Canada, the cost of a medical exam is around CAD$200.

upfront medical exam

International Driving Permit

You are not required to have a driving license to apply for IEC. However, if you want to drive in Canada, your foreign license allows you between 60 and 120 days of freedom on the road, depending on the province.

Like your application documents, your license must be in English or French. If it’s not, you will need an International Driving Permit (IDP) before you can get a local license.

The cost of an IDP varies by country; for instance, it costs about €15 in Germany and CLP$41,990 in Chile.

Recognized Organizations: how much do they charge?

ROs can charge their services up to CAD$4,000.

Recognized organizations can support IEC candidates with their application process. These services are usually used by applicants from countries that do not have a youth mobility agreement with Canada.

You can see the list of all IEC participating countries here.

IEC permit holders who want to participate again in the program can also find help with ROs. However, these services can be seen as quite expensive considering that all the information you need to navigate your application journey is available for free.

What costs should you consider once you land in Canada?

While pre-arrival costs largely depend on the country you’re applying from or specific aspects of your IEC application, the budget needed upon arriving in Canada will vary based on the province or city you choose for your stay. Costs for rent, living expenses, and transportation will differ from one region to another.

Here is an average breakdown to help you plan your move effectively. Consider also reading our guide on the top cities in Canada for newcomers for some more inspiration on where to spend your time in Canada.

How much should you budget for accommodation in Canada?

Before landing in Canada, make sure to have at least your first few days or weeks secured in terms of accommodation. Before you start looking for an apartment to rent, the option of a hotel or hostel can be a smart one as most cities host many of them.

You may want to book well in advance to ensure you have the widest choice of accommodation available.

Keep in mind that renting in Canada might be challenging, especially when moving from another country.

When you start budgeting for rent, make sure that you:

  • Consider your monthly income to determine how much you can afford for rent. It is usually advised to budget around 30% of your net income on housing
  • Understand what’s included in the rent. Will you pay only for a bedroom or utilities, parking, appliances or furnitures?
  • Get familiar with the different types of accommodations available. What would you prefer renting between a house, a townhouse, an apartment or a condo? Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

For more details, here is all you need to know about renting in Canada.

The cost of your rent will also depend on the area where you decide to live. Quebec will offer you the most affordable rates, while Ontario on the contrary, hosts accommodations with much higher rent. See our guide on the best cities to rent or own a home in Canada.

Finding accommodation in Canada

How much does it cost to rent in Vancouver?

For a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver, you should budget .

Yes, Vancouver is among the most expensive cities in Canada. But also one with the most competitive salaries!

Luckily, there are many ways to navigate the expensive life of the city. You can find a few tricks in our dedicated article.

How much is rent in Toronto?

Consider per month to rent a one-bedroom in Toronto.

Also among the most expensive cities in the country, living in Toronto offers a vibrant, urban lifestyle, but it comes at a cost, especially when it comes to housing. Rent varies based on several factors too, especially the neighbourhood you’ll choose to live in.

Is Montreal really cheaper?

Yes. For a one-bedroom, consider paying around .

One of the best perks of living in Montreal, and Quebec in general, is the affordability of housing and rent. Costs are often lower than in other Canadian regions.

Flat sharing is also another popular option that many IEC travellers choose when looking for accommodation. In addition to saving costs on rent, it’s also a great opportunity to meet people and kick off your social life.

What are the costs of living expenses in Canada?

This will depend on the city you decide to live in and the service providers you’ll choose for your utilities.

Many providers provide good plans dedicated to newcomers. PhoneBox for example offers .

All you need to know about shopping around utilities in Canada is here.


Here is a ballpark estimate of what you could expect to spend per city and common services:

City Phone&Internet Transit Electricity/Heating
Toronto ~ $140/month ~ $150/month ~ $200/month
Vancouver ~ $150/month ~ $140/month ~ $180/month
Montreal ~ $160/month ~$100/month ~ $100/month
Halifax ~ $180/month ~ $80/month ~ $270/month
Calgary ~ $150/month ~ $110/month ~ $330/month


Once you have this information, it’s important to understand how it relates to your possible purchasing power in each city. This is what salary calculators like or can tell us about wages in Canada:

City Minimum Hourly Wage Average Yearly Salary
Toronto $16,55 ~ $58,000
Vancouver $16,75 ~ $68,000
Montreal $15,25 ~ $57,000
Halifax $15 ~ $59,000
Calgary $15 ~ $58,000


Read more: We made a dedicated guide on how to set up your apartment after moving to Canada.

Transportation: How much does it cost to own a car in Canada?

Most cities in Canada offer public transportation, and as seen above, pricing may vary by region.

If you’re looking for more flexibility, some cities like Montreal also offer car-sharing options. Whenever you need a car, you can book one for a few hours or even a few days, and then park it back where you took it from. This is a very cost-effective and eco-friendly option for those not willing to invest in full ownership.

However, not everyone will want to settle in the city. In that case, owning a car can become mandatory for your independence. Many factors come into play when budgeting for a vehicle:

  • Insurance
  • Maintenance
  • Gas
  • Administrative fees
  • Possible parking
  • Possible interest rates

Your choice between a new or used car will also significantly influence your costs.

Following the , some experts advise keeping around 15% of your take-home pay dedicated to your car.

Ratehub conducted a clear breakdown of , estimating the average cost of ownership at around CAD$1,300 per month.

If you decide to buy your own vehicle, make sure to read our step-by-step guide.

Read more: How to prepare for winter driving in Canada.


To wrap up

We hope this guide will offer you a comprehensive look at what it financially takes to move to Canada through the IEC program. From the initial fees to getting settled in your new Canadian life, it’s crucial to understand these costs for a smooth transition. As you start this journey, remember, being well-prepared is what will make your dream of living in Canada come true. For more insights and advice on Canadian life, you can create a free 鶹ӳý profile and get access to more free resources.

You may also like:

All your IEC budget questions answered

How much does IEC cost?

What are the main costs involved in moving to Canada through the IEC program?

How much does it cost to move to Canada?

What budget should I plan for IEC health insurance?

How much do biometrics cost for the IEC application?

Do I need to pay for police certificates for the IEC program?

What is the minimum financial requirement to participate in the IEC program?

Are there any hidden costs when applying for the IEC program?

How can I minimize expenses when moving to Canada through the IEC program?

About the author

Hugo O'Doherty profile picture

Hugo O'Doherty

Canadian Immigration & Integration Specialist
Hugo O’Doherty has over a decade of experience and research in Canadian immigration, establishing him as a recognized authority on immigrant integration and adaptation. His personal and professional experiences with immigration have made him an expert on the practical aspects of successfully moving to and settling in Canada.
Read more about Hugo O'Doherty
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