Québec City has a favourable and competitive cost of living compared to other big cities of similar size in North America.
The budget needed varies based on each family’s consumption habits. For example, you will have to consider your expenses for accommodations, food, phone, transportation and leisure.
Plan your family’s budget in advance! Here are some tools that can help you plan your budget:
You can also check out this article to get an idea of the budget you will need
The most important steps are:
In order to be able to work in Canada, you first need to go to a Services Canada office and apply for a social insurance number (SIN).
The SIN is an identification number that has several uses in Canada. Your employer will use it for payroll purposes, your bank will use it to confirm your identity in Canada, and you may need to provide it whenever you interact with government authorities, for example when you file your income tax return.
Click here to find a point of service and learn about the required documents to apply for an SIN.
What is it? This is the card that you will need to access health care services in the province of Quebec.
Can I get it as soon as I arrive in Quebec?
That depends on your country of origin:
• People from countries that have reciprocal social security agreements with the province of Quebec can get their health insurance card right away (click here to see the list of signatory countries)
You can find the form at your local government office to avoid a three-month delay.
• If your country of origin does not have an agreement with the province of Quebec:
In that case, you will probably not be covered by the Quebec health insurance plan when you arrive. The delay is around three months. Consider getting a private health insurance policy for that period!
Learn more about the eligibility conditions and the Quebec health insurance plan on the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec website.
To make your financial transactions easier in Quebec, you will need to open a bank account at a financial institution. For this, you will need to prove your identity to meet the requirements of the Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations of the Bank Act.
For more information on the Canadian banking system and the services offered to newcomers, visit the Canadian Bankers Association website.
You may have more questions about taking up residence in Quebec, including:
• How to get a driver’s licence?
• How to enrol your kids in school?
• How to get a bus pass?
Our partner, Reloc Québec, can guide you to ensure a successful relocation process!
There are several ways you can find an apartment in Quebec. Internet is your best friend! Most real estate management companies have their own website where you can find a lot of information about places available for rent, including pictures, detailed floor plans, maps of nearby services, etc. However, if you want to access apartment listings from more than one real estate company and independent owners, consider consulting Web directories. These websites will allow you to view listings from many lessors on one platform.
The most popular are:
You can also search based on various variables such as size, price, sector, etc. These sites are an excellent place to start searching for an apartment, especially if you are abroad.
You can also check out the classified ads section in local weekly and daily newspapers. This section is normally located at the end of newspapers. These ads are often shorter and less detailed but remain a source of local information to consider, especially if you do not have an Internet access when you arrive. Newspapers are typically sold in grocery stores and convenience stores, or “dépanneurs”. You can also read them online, for free, on newspaper websites.
If you already know which neighbourhood you want to live in, you can go there directly to get a feel for the area and spot unlisted apartments for rent. By driving, biking or walking down the streets, you will notice that several owners advertise their available apartments outside their buildings. If you see a place that seems to suit your needs, call the number on the ad to ask for more information.
Furthermore, our partner Logisco offers personalized support in your apartment hunting so you can find the perfect place for you. To access this service, simply fill out the short form at www.logisco.com/nouvel-arrivant. After receiving your request, a representative will contact you to help you with your search.
For more information about Logisco’s services, visit their website at logisco.com.
Apartment listings often use terms or abbreviations that may be hard to understand for newcomers, especially if French is not your first language. Here are some examples, with a description of the most common abbreviations used in Quebec:
1. A/C, Climatisé: The apartment has air conditioning.
2. Serv.: Stands for “services”, or “utilities”. Those refer to electricity, heating, cable television, phone and hot water.
These may be included in the price of rent, but make sure to confirm with the lessor!
3. Électros: Stands for “électroménagers”, or “home appliances”, including fridge (réfrigérateur or frigo), stove (cuisinière or poêle), dishwasher (lave-vaisselle), washing machine (laveuse) and clothes dryer (sécheuse).
4. Semi-meublé: This apartment includes home appliances. Meublé: This apartment in fully furnished. A furnished apartment typically includes beds, bedding, chairs, lamps, curtains, fridge, stove and basic kitchen utensils.
Tout inclus: The apartment is “all included”, meaning that it is fully furnished and that utilities are included in the price.
5. Buanderie: A washing machine and a clothes dryer are available in the building. This type of service is normally provided when there are no washer or dryer hookups in the apartment.
6. Bois franc, bois flottant: The apartment has hard flooring or floating wood flooring (no carpets).
7. P.C.: Stands for ”pieds carrés”, or “square feet”. One square metre (mètre carré) is about ten square feet. To convert square feet to square metres: 1 m2 = 10.76 ft2, therefore 50 m2 = 538 ft2.
8. Apartment sizes:
o 2½ / Studio: Bedroom/living room (1 room), kitchen/dining room (1 room), bathroom (½ room);
o 3½ / T2: Bedroom (1 room), living room (1 room), kitchen/dining room (1 room), bathroom (½ room);
o 4½ / T3: 2 bedrooms (2 rooms), living room (1 room), kitchen/dining room (1 room), bathroom (½ room);
o 5½ / T4: 3 bedrooms (3 rooms), living room (1 room), kitchen/dining room (1 room), bathroom (½ room).
9. Stat.: Stands for “stationnement”, or “parking”. The apartment includes a parking spot. When there is underground parking, the abbreviation used it “stat. int.” (stationnement intérieur). The cost of the parking spot is not always included in the listed price.
10. C.C. or Ch.: Stands for “chambre à coucher”, or “bedroom”. The size of the apartment is based on the number of bedrooms (closed rooms).
In Quebec, a lease is a written contract between a landlord and a tenant that lists the obligations of both parties regarding a rental unit. The lease generally lasts 12 months from July 1st to June 30 the next year. Many lease agreements are signed outside of that period, but most apartments become available on July 1st. If you have different needs, it is possible to act outside of this frame, although you must know that the choice of rental units may be more limited.
It is highly recommended to sign a lease issued by the Régie du logement (the government agency that governs leases), whether you are renting a room, an apartment, a condo or a house.
That document protects your rights and states your obligations as a tenant. Some landlords may not ask you to sign one, but this would make it more difficult to prove your rights if problems arise.
It is important to understand all the terms and conditions before you sign. When signing a lease in Quebec, it is illegal for the landlord to request a security deposit. The first payment is made on the first day of the renting month, and not at the moment of signing the lease. You can pay your rent using post-dated cheques. In this case, the date on the cheque must match the first day of rent.
You may be asked to provide personal information, including documents to confirm your identity, your behaviour as a tenant, your payment habits and your financial capacity. The landlord may ask for your first and last name as well as your current address in full. To confirm this information, they may also ask you to provide an ID (with or without photo).
To verify your payment habits, the landlord may collect information from your past landlords and conduct a credit check. A credit report from your banking institution or a proof of employment in Quebec (employment letter) may be required. This process can be done remotely.
In summary, you will need the following documents to sign your lease:
• A colour photocopy of your passport
• A photocopy of your work or study visa
• A letter of employment or a proof from your banking institution that you have enough money available to cover the first three months of rent.
Can I buy a home as soon as I arrive in Quebec?
Under the applicable laws of the Civil Code of Québec, non-residents and those who have not yet obtained permanent residence can purchase a building.
If you wish to buy a house, we recommend that you start by renting a place as you get settled. For instance, you could live in the region for six months and explore the different sectors before you choose where you want to live long-term.
For more information regarding the legal process, financing and the selling price of properties, visit Quebec.ca.
The Quebec health insurance plan does not necessarily cover related services such as dental or optometric services. Exceptions may apply, for example with children and seniors.
Visit the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec website to learn more about health coverage and the services offered.
Quebec’s health and social services system is founded on the principles of universality and free care. Medical insurance coverage is mandatory, meaning that you must be covered either through a group plan offered by an employer or through the public plan offered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ).
Newcomers are generally covered by the public plan after a delay of three months following their registration to the RAMQ. The wait period may be waived due to agreements with various countries. Learn more!
To learn everything you need to know about Quebec’s health care system, visit the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l'Intégration (MIFI) website.
Québec City and Lévis both have a bus network with several routes to serve the population and ensure proper links between residential neighbourhoods and activity hubs. The main local boulevards and arteries are also part of the networks.
The higher-frequency bus routes generally use reserved lanes for faster access to activity hubs, and express routes are often added during rush hours. Note that service in some sectors outside of city centres may be less optimal outside of rush hours or in general, such as Saint-Nicolas, Saint-Lambert-de-Lauzon and Sainte-Hélène-de-Breakeyville, on the South shore of the river.
Several plans are available:
The monthly transit pass offers many rides at a cost-effective price. You can also subscribe to the L’abonne BUS Travailleur program if your employer is one of the participating companies. This would give you a discount on your fares.
Note that the Laissez-passer Métropolitain will give you unlimited rides on both the Québec City and Lévis networks, including the Québec City–Lévis ferry as well as the Jacques-Cartier, Côte-de-Beaupré and Île-D’Orléans links.
To view the list of routes, time tables, adapted transport and shuttle services, rates, points of sale and programs, visit the website of the appropriate public transit company:
The second-largest city in the province of Quebec, Québec City is divided into six boroughs, each with its own flavour and unique environment and socio-demographic profile.
Although different, all six boroughs offer diverse services to meet the needs of its population. No matter which neighbourhood you choose, all sorts of services of available, many of which are free!
To learn more about the outreach services available to the population, city infrastructure, sports and recreation activities, neighbourhood celebrations, events calendars and much more, visit the Loisirs et sports and Arrondissements sections of the City of Québec website.
Before finding a school for your child, it is important to understand the Quebec school system. Quebec’s public education network has four levels of education: preschool (kindergarten), primary school, secondary school and college (Cégep). Public education is free from primary school to college for regular programs. Some fees may apply for specialized programs.
Check out these comparison tables between Quebec’s and other countries’ school systems here.
To learn more about Quebec’s school system, visit the Ministère de l’Éducation and Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) websites.
In Quebec, there are both a public and a private school network. Know that both types of educational institutions offer a high quality education that meet the official study programs of the Ministère de l’Éducation.
There are three French-speaking and one English-speaking school boards in the Québec City area. To find a local school for your child, you will need to contact the school board responsible for your area directly.
Click here to learn about the school boards and various educational establishments in the Québec City area.
The labour market is always evolving, and it is difficult to identify the most sought-after jobs and study programs that lead to those jobs.
Check out Emploi-Québec’s online labour market information portal to search for jobs with good prospects in the region.
Most educational establishments use a guide for the certification of studies to check the equivalence between diplomas obtained in Quebec and abroad.
If your program of study is not listed in that guide, then you will need to request a comparative evaluation for studies done outside Quebec from the Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l'Intégration (MIFI).
The cost varies based on the chosen program. Some programs require more elaborate infrastructure or higher levels of supervision.
You should expect to pay anywhere from $800 to $1,200 per month for a vocational training program and between $5,000 and $10,000 per semester for a technical training program.
French students benefit from various agreements between Quebec and France. Tuition is free for vocational training (only additional fees of a few hundred dollars are charged) and around $1,500 to $2,000 per semester for technical training.
Please note: The applicable fees differ for university studies. Be informed!
You need a good level of French to study in Quebec.
Sometimes, internships are included in the training program, and it is important that you can communicate in a French-speaking environment. Some establishments may ask you to provide a Test de Connaissance du Français pour le Québec (TCF-Québec) or any other recognized language test.
Those who have a study permit in Canada can gain work experience while continuing their studies.
Since June 1st, 2014, some students are eligible to work off campus without requiring a work permit. If you are eligible, your study permit will allow you to:
• work up to 20 hours per week during school semesters;
• work full-time during regular school holidays like the winter, spring or summer breaks.
To learn more, visit canada.ca.