Student Guide and Resources
NIC prepared extensive information to assist you navigate your academic life, prepare for living in Vancouver and have a better understanding of Canadian culture. Access these resources through the topics below:
In Canada, we use the Canadian Dollar. This is not to be confused with the America Dollar, as they do not have the same value and have different exchange rates. The currency converter can be found on the Bank of Canada website: https://www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/exchange/currency-converter/ Check exchange rates with your country’s currency.
Coins come in the following denominations:
- 5¢ (five cents), called a nickel
- 10¢ (ten cents), called a dime
- 25¢ (twenty-five cents), called a quarter
- $1 (one dollar), called a loonie
- $2 (two dollars), called a toonie
If you are paying with cash, your total will be rounded to the nearest five-cent amount (for example, a total of $5.01 will be rounded to $5.00). However, if you are paying electronically with a debit card or credit card, rounding does not apply and transactions are settled to the cent (in our example, the final payment will be $5.01).
Paper bills or notes commonly come in the following denominations $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100.
GST and PST
British Columbia is one of the provinces in Canada that charges separate 7% Provincial Sales Tax (PST) and 5% federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). Most goods and services are charged both taxes, with several exceptions such as basic groceries, prescription drugs, etc.
In most cases, unless otherwise indicated the GST and PST will not be included in the listed price of an item but will be included in the total cost of your purchase. For example, the price of an item is $34. The actual cost of the transaction will be $38.08 (PST $2.38 + GST $1.70).
There are many banks in Vancouver. You will want to open a bank account as soon as you arrive. Several banks in Canada offer special newcomers to Canada/students options which you can read about it through their websites. These accounts can provide great services and benefits such as lower fees, free transactions, ease of use for international transfer, and even rewards for usage such as travel miles, points, cashback, among others.
Typical structures for Canadian accounts are Chequing Accounts (similar or identical to debit cards/accounts elsewhere), Savings Accounts, and Credit Cards. Depending on the type of account being used, you may have to pay monthly fees, or you could be exempt from them for a limited period.
Be sure to always ask about specific account’s fees should you choose to open an account and compare and contrast between the bans as they all have different options that may benefit you more or less depending on your specific needs.
Some of the more popular or larges banks in Canada are:
- RBC (Royal Bank of Canada)
- TD (Canada Trust)
- CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)
- HSBS (Hong Kong Shanghai Bank of Commerce)
To open a bank account, you will need to go to a bank. It is a good idea to call ahead to make an appointment. You will need these documents:
- Your passport.
- Your study permit.
Additionally, you may need to provide:
- Your Letter of Acceptance
from New Image College.
- Proof of your address in Canada.
- A secondary piece of identification.
- Your Student ID number (if applying for a student account)
Questions to consider when opening a bank account:
- Are there monthly fees?
- Is there a fee to withdraw money or use my debit card?
- Is there a fee to use ATMs at other banks?
- Am I eligible for a student account?
- Does the bank offer any incentives to students or people new to Canada?
- Will I have access to online banking? Does the bank have an app that I can use from my smartphone?
- What is the daily withdrawal limit?
(Important for paying tuition)
- Am I eligible to apply for a credit card?