With a sophisticated and safe system, it's easy to handle banking, money and taxes in Canada. 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, TD Canada Trust, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. 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, Citibank and Bank of America 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.

Taxes in Canada

Paying Canadian income tax depends on a number of factors, one of which is residency. An individual is considered a tax 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 tax residents will only be required to pay income tax on money earned in the country.

There are two systems in place in Canada: provincial taxation and federal taxation.

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

Expat tax matters can be complex, so it's always best to consult a local tax practitioner who has experience working with expats.