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:

penny (the penny was removed from circulation in 2012)
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 coming to Canada, it is 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 get cash from automated banking machines (ABMs are also known as automated teller machines) using a foreign debit or credit card.

Sending money

If you send money through the mail, do not send cash. To send money, you may:

  • Use a cheque or money order.
  • Directly transfer money to another account at the bank. Buy a money order at the post office.
  • Wire money through private money order or transfer services (ask an immigrant-serving organization).

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

Cost of living

The cost of living varies greatly in Canada, depending on the province, territory or city where you settle.


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 percent of the bill.

Giving a “tip” for good service is often done in:

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

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