Canada’s official currency is the Canadian dollar ($). There are 100 cents (¢) in a dollar. Coins have different sizes, shapes and colours. They have nicknames that Canadians use in everyday life. These include:

dollar or “loonie”
two dollars or “toonie”

The Bank of Canada prints all paper money. Each bill is the same size but a different colour. The most common paper bills are:


Exchanging foreign money into Canadian money

Before you come to Canada, it’s a good idea to change some money from your home country into Canadian dollars. You can also exchange money after you arrive.

Most airports have foreign exchange offices. You can also use a foreign debit or credit card to get cash from automated banking machines (ABMs), also known as automated tellers.

Sending money

If you send money through the mail, don’t send cash. Instead:

  • use a cheque or money order
    • buy a money order at the post office or your bank
  • directly transfer money to another account at the bank
  • wire money through private money order or transfer services

Some of these transactions cost money. Make sure that you know the cost before you transfer money.

For more information, ask an immigrant-serving organization in your area.

Cost of living

The cost of living varies a lot in Canada, depending on the province, territory or city where you live.


A tip is extra money you pay to reward the person serving you for their good work and courteous service. The standard amount for a tip is usually 15 per cent of the bill.

Giving a tip for good service is often done in:

  • bars
  • taxis
  • hotels
  • restaurants
  • certain other situations


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