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Canada FAQS

FAQS "Frequently Asked Questions" Basic information for Canada 2023

For a list of additional questions that every international ESL student should ask their education agent or English school representative go below to Questions to ask. 

Scroll down for specific topic blogs which contain additional information.

Budgeting for 2023 Expenses

Average Toronto, Vancouver Budget for Accommodation, Utilities and Food.

University Residence
$750 per month and up
$600 per month and up
Room and Board
$900 per month and up
Bachelor Apartments
$1,000 per month and up
1 Bedroom Apartments
$1500 per month and up
2 Bedroom Apartments
$1800 per month and up
3 Bedroom Apartments
$2000 per month and up
$3000 per month and up, utilities can be 400 per month with winter heating costs
$85 and up per week -self prepared meals are less expensive
Ranges from $75 and up per month
installation charge $65, monthly rate $30, long distance extra
TV Cable
installation charge around $75, monthly rate $45 for basic service
Other costs
Your life-style, entertainment, activities and tours determine other expenses

Toronto & Vancouver Real Estate Bubbles have Raised Prices

Prices in the other Canadian cities have not jumped up 50% over the last 2 years because of the real estate market price bubble. Both BC and Ontario provincial governments have placed restrictive taxes to reduce real estate speculation. Students should research prices and budgets before commiting to a long term study contract in either city.

Link to Ontario's new standard lease form and legislation

Canada -- USA Comparisons

Is it less expensive to study in Canada than the USA?

YES !! The Canadian dollar is about 80% of the US dollar so far during 2022. Since life costs are virtually the same in dollar terms between Canada and the USA students will save 20% by studying in Canada.


Do Canadians have experience with foreign nationals?

YES !! Canada is truly a multi-cultural country as almost every language and culture is represented. You will be able to find food, products, services, entertainment from almost every country, region or culture.

In addition to expatriats from 189 countries you can experience unique Canadian life-styles and activities, and experience the international flavor of a truly multi-cultural nation. You can learn English and sample all the styles of pronunciation, Canadian, British, American, Australian, and South African right here in Canada.


  • The ISIC card provides Canada travel and accommodation discounts.
  • Special internet "Groupon - Living Social & WagJag prices are posted daily.
  • Charities offer coupon books to raise money offering excellent discounts for meals and activities.
  • Food coupons provide excellent discounts. Link to how to buy food info
  • Special discounts for small groups is often available.


When is Homestay the best option for ESL students staying in Canada?

Homestay is the best option for short stay students (under 10 weeks) and for students under the age of 21 years, or students who have never travelled or lived on their own, students at a beginner English level not confident of their language skills.

Do I have to pay all my homestay fees in advance?

No !! You can pay for the first month, then choose month by month.

What percentage of students want to change their homestay after 1 month?

Of the students we talked to over the years over 60%.


Do I require Medical Insurance to enter Canada as a student?

YES !! Medical insurance is regulated by each of the Provinces in Canada.

What is the cost of medical insurance in Canada?

Prices start at 2.75 per day.

Can I buy insurance in Canada and have the coverage information sent to me so I can use it to show immigration upon entry into Canada?

YES !! This is the best method, the insurance services are excellent and less expensive in Canada.


Which rules are used if there is a dispute between me and the school or homestay?

The rules of the school in Canada are usually followed. Most schools have a contract with the homestay family to provide services. Students can ask schools to provide contract copies or service lists.

Do foreign contracts or verbal presentations have any validity in Canadian courts?

Usually only written contracts signed and agreed to under the laws of Canada are enforceable.

Do agents have the ability to change the rules of the schools in Canada?

Most school's contracts state very clearly the school rules cannot be changed by anyone.

What can I do if my agent does not pay the school?

The usual process is to contact your local police and lawyers to initiate action to collect your funds from the agent.

If the school is bad and will not refund my tuition what can I do?

You have several options. If you believe fraud has been committed then you can go to a Justice of the Peace and file criminal charges. You can file a civil action in small claims court for amounts that total less than $25000.CDN. For larger civil actions a lawyer and upper court may be required. Each Province has a Ministry of Education that may have some jurisdiction and can assist you . The school may be a member of local business or education organizations that may have membership rules and regulations. You can complain and request assistance from local consumer protection organizations.

Go to blog post  "Can your Agent honestly help you!" for additional information


Do I have to pay 3 or 6 months tuition to get a letter of acceptance from a school?

NO !! You can pay month by month. (Good schools are confident you will stay)


What is the best formula for calculating the prices of the different schools?

We have found that the cost per instructional hour is an excellent method. We add the registration fees, plus the monthly fees and divide by the actual number of hours in class with an ESL teacher.

What are the price ranges for ESL schools in Canada?

Prices range from $9.50 to $22.00 per instructional hour, so it is wise to shop around.

Can I change schools after only one month in Canada?

Yes, apply to change your visa and change schools if you find your school is inadequate.

Can I go to more than one school at the same time?

Yes - read your visa to see exactly what is allowed!!
We have several students taking music, computers and other content courses.


Is it mandatory to use the airport pick-up service offered by the schools?

NO !! The cost of a luxury limousine in Toronto and Vancouver is $60 to $90, less than half the school fees. 

The airport services have licenses and insurance for public cartage. We recommend that students use licensed insured carriers. 

If you use UBER be careful as they are in dispute in many cities . If you use public transportation the cost is even less.


Can I apply to the Government and obtain a VISA myself?

YES !! We recommend that students apply for visas themselves. This is a good learning experience.

Can I download the VISA forms from the internet for free?

YES !! Go to our Visa information page for access to the FREE downloads

To enter Canada what general questions do I have to prove?

In general you need: Accurate identification, Vaccination Certificates, Negative Covid tests, Clean Medical Health, No Criminal violations, School acceptance and registration, Adequate financial resources for the period, proof you will and are able to return home.

What is the Government filing fee to change a Visitor Visa to a Student Visa?

$125. Dollars.


Why do some students from Japan have work permits with their student Visa?

This is the result of a treaty that also allows Canadian students to work while in Japan. See Holiday work visas for more info

Can I work in Canada with a tourist or student Study Visa?

NO you cannot !!!

If you have any further questions you can Email us at:

Proper Questions will Save Time and Money

Students should ask questions to avoid problems and misunderstandings.

How to Choose the best ESL English Language School - students should be able to choose their school based on honest, accurate and current school, program and cost information.

Asking proper questions will help students save money, save time, lessen culture shock, and choose the best school and study program based on their unique student needs and preferences.

You can use the following Example Questions to Ask to confirm ESL School ownership, management, prices, policies, qualifications, operations, facilities, services, programs, terms, instruction, courses and homestay.

Questions should be answered accurately by school representatives or agents. If the answer is different than the printed information in the school contracts then you must get the changes in writing by the agent and confirmed in writing by the school.

Remember if your school contract is not in writing with all the terms and conditions and student rights then you may have no chance to change your school or program or get a refund.

Questions about school ownership

School ownership is important. It is important to know if the school is owned by some fast buck shyster out to make as much as he can as quickly as he can or by professional educators who have invested decades of teaching and educating experience and all the latest educational resources into their well established school.

It is also important to know if you are dealing with local ownership who are directly accountable for the school or is the school a tiny tiny little cog in a huge face-less multi-layer corporation where the managers can hide when there are problems.

  • Who owns the school?
  • Does the owner set school policy and operations?
  • Do the owners have a university degree with education as their major?
  • Are the owners Canadian? or another country?
  • What language do the owners speak

Questions about school management

It is also important to know if you are dealing with local management who are directly accountable for the school or is the school managed by long-distance or even out-of-the-country managers who can hide when there are problems.

  • Who manages the school?
  • Are the managers in Canada or another country?
  • Does the manager set school policy and operations?
  • Do the managers have a university degree with education as their major?
  • What language do the managers speak

Questions about the academic director

  • Does the school have a full time academic director?
  • Does the academic director set academic policy and operations?
  • Does the academic director speak English?
  • Does the academic director have a masters degree with education as the major?
  • Does the academic director have teaching and curriculum development qualifications?
  • Does the academic director design the curriculum for each class?
  • Does the academic director evaluate all students for initial level placement?
  • Does the academic director evaluate all students for ongoing level placements?

Questions about teachers

  • Do all the teachers have University degrees?
  • Do the teachers have a TESL Canada rated certificate?
  • Does the school have senior teachers with Bachelor of Education or Masters Degrees?
  • What are the average years of teaching experience of the teachers?
  • How many years have the teachers taught at this school?
  • Do the Specialty teachers have actual working experience in their specialty?
  • How many teachers instruct full time and how many part time at the school?
  • Can the teachers tutor students outside of class?

Questions about English level testing

  • Are the English skill level standards published for each level in the school?
  • Are international standardized English tests available for evaluations?
  • What happens if one of my English skills is advanced and one skill is at beginner?
  • Does the school have remedial skills programs for students?
  • What can I do if the school keeps me at a lower level without justification?

Questions about school books

  • Are all textbooks and workbooks included in the price?
  • Do I get to keep the textbook and workbooks at the end of each class and level?
  • How many books do I have to buy, and what are the prices?
  • Can I buy the books at discounts from the book stores?
  • Are school library books available free for students to take home to study?
  • How many reference books are in the school library?

Questions about school classes

  • How many students are in the classes? average per class? maximum allowed?
  • How many English levels does the school teach?
  • Are all students in the class at the same level?
  • What happens if there are only a few students for my level?
  • Do classes of different levels get joined together?
  • What happens if there are no classes that I like?
  • What are the age ranges for the classes?
  • What if I am in a class where the students just goof around?
  • What if a student is causing a disturbance?
  • Do the classes have an English only policy?
  • What can I do if the class does not follow the curriculum?

Questions about the school curriculum

  • Does the curriculum follow Ontario Ministry of Education or LINC guidelines?
  • Does the curriculum follow ETS TOEFL test Preparation guidelines?
  • How can I be sure the curriculum meets professional standards?

Questions about instructional performance

  • What is the average increase in TOEFL score after 1 month in class at this school?
  • What is the Pass/Fail ratio for Cambridge students at this school?
  • Does the school evaluate their own teachers?
  • Do the students rate the teachers instructional performance?
  • Are the school or student rankings for the teachers posted?
  • What is the average study time to increase English skills one level?
  • What guarantees will I receive about the quality of English instruction?

Questions about health insurance

  1. Can I buy my Health Insurance directly from a Company in Canada?
  2. If not a Canadian Company who performs the insurance services in Canada?
  3. Is the Insurance Company licensed in Canada?

Questions about homestay

  1. Do I receive a written copy of the rules and responsibilities of the homestay?
  2. Is my homestay contract with the family, homestay contractor or the school?
  3. If there is a problem, who do I complain to or ask for a refund?
  4. If my homestay is inadequate, is seven days notice enough to change?
  5. Where is the homestay located? Is commuting time less than 30 minutes?
  6. Is the homestay located on a public transportation route?
  7. Is the homestay family Native English speakers?
  8. How many family members, pets and other ESL students in the house?
  9. Do I get a single room, or a shared room?
  10. Do I have access to the TV, radio, telephone, Email, computer?
  11. How much time will the family spend with me each day?
  12. Do I have a choice of food that is served?
  13. Will the family prepare food so I do not gain or lose weight ?
  14. Can I buy my own lunch and pay less for homestay?
  15. Do I have to do my own laundry outside of the homestay?

Questions about jurisdiction

  1. If the school is located in Canada why do other rules apply?
  2. Why do I have to sign a contract (here) if the rules do not apply in Canada?
  3. Can I sign a contract with the school directly so I know which rules apply?
  4. Can I receive a current copy of the school policy, rules, and regulations?
  5. Will the school certify that these rules apply for my entire study period?

Questions about school location

  • Where is the school located ?
  • Is the school located on the public transit system?
  • What is the commute time from homestay to the school?

Questions about tuition payments

  1. Can I pay directly to the school?
  2. Can I receive confirmation from the school that my payment is received?
  3. Can I pay one month at a time?

Questions about school prices

  1. Is the tuition price the brochure price in Canada?
  2. Is this price set by the agents or by the school?
  3. Does this school charge more to students from Japan or Korea?
  4. What is the cost per instructional hour at this school?

Questions about school logistics

  1. Is the school building modern with heating, air conditioning and ventilation?
  2. How many classrooms, study rooms, computer labs?
  3. Is a lunch room, microwave and refrigerator available to students?
  4. Is a student lounge with TV, computers, and library available?
  5. Are CD's, Videos, Cassettes available outside of class?
  6. How many computers does the school have?
  7. What is the ratio of students to computers?
  8. How much time is available for Emails for each student?

Questions about school rankings

  • Is the school a member of a professional organization that inspects the schools?
  • Is the school licensed or bonded with the Provincial Ministry of Education?
  • Is the school in good standing with the BBB or Credit reporting agencies?
  • Do the school owners have a good reputation in the community?

Questions about school references

  • Can you supply the names of previous students who attended this school/homestay so that I can contact them directly?

Questions about school refunds

  1. How does this school pay refunds for not being able to offer advertised classes?
  2. Do you know if this school has paid refunds to dissatisfied students?
  3. Are there any existing complaints against this school/homestay?

Questions about student visas

  1. What are your service fees to assist with the VISA application form?
  2. Can I obtain a student Visa that is any University, any College, any ESL school?
  3. The price for a student visa is $125, why are you charging more?

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