Banking, Money and Taxes in Canada

Banking, money and taxes in Canada are sophisticated and safe. Connecting to overseas bank accounts is common and paying for goods with local and international credit or debit cards is standard practice.


Money in Canada

The official currency in Canada is the Canadian Dollar, which is divided into 100 cents and is abbreviated either as CAD or C$.

  • Notes: 5 CAD,10 CAD, 20 CAD, 50 CAD, 100 CAD

  • Coins: 5 cents (nickel), 10 cents (dime), 25 cents (quarter), 1 CAD (loonie) and 2 CAD (toonie)


Banking in Canada

The five largest Canadian banks are Royal Bank of Canada (RBC Royal Bank), Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). These all offer easy access to accounts, a robust network of ATMs, internet banking services and branches in most major Canadian towns and cities. International banking options are also available, with foreign banks such as HSBC, Bank of America and Bank of China all having a presence in Canada.

Opening a bank account

It is important for expats to open a bank account as soon as possible to facilitate any transactions from their home country and to get established in Canada.

Most banks require a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to open up an account. In some situations, expats may want to open an account before they receive their SIN. In order to do this, expats should contact a banking representative who will explain the various types of accounts and transactions and determine a package suited to their individual needs.

When visiting a bank to open an account, expats should bring the following: 

  • Passport and work permit or confirmation of permanent residence

  • Letter from the employer verifying income and stating the terms of the applicant's contract

  • Driver’s licence

  • Letters of reference from banks in the expat's home country


Taxes in Canada

Paying Canadian income tax depends on a number of factors, one of which is residency. An individual is considered a resident of Canada if they are in the country for longer than 183 days in a year. Expats who are resident in Canada will be taxed on money earned anywhere in the world. Those who are not considered to be residents will only be required to pay income tax on money earned in the country.

There are two systems in place within Canada – provincial taxation and federal taxation. When submitting a tax return both types can be calculated on one form, unless living in Quebec. 

Taxation is based on income brackets. Those in a higher bracket pay higher taxes and those in a lower bracket pay a lower percentage.

Canadian income tax returns must be submitted for each tax year by the end of April.