Practical aspects of living
 
 
 
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Knowing the practical aspects of living in Québec

The following are some of the practical aspects of living in Québec that could be of interest to you:

Reception and referral services offered by your educational institution
Fund transfers
Consumer taxes
Meals on campus and at restaurants
Modes of transportation
Internet access
Store hours
Appropriate clothing for the climate
Daycare services
Sports and leisure

Reception and referral services offered by your educational institution

Each college and university has a formal or informal structure providing services to foreign students. Find out from the student services at the educational institution you’ll be attending, what reception and settlement services are available. Some institutions will even meet you at the airport.

Fund transfers

Your educational institution can also inform you about the nearest financial institutions for transferring funds. First ask your current financial institution about the best way to transfer funds to a financial institution in Québec.

Consumer taxes

There are two consumer taxes in Québec: the federal goods and services tax (GST), which is calculated on the selling price at the rate of 5%, and the Québec sales tax (QST), which is calculated on the selling price (including the GST) at the rate of 9.5%. Together these taxes amount to about 14.5% and are applicable to most goods and services, apart from some staple products. However, only the 5% GST is charged on books.

Unless otherwise indicated, prices on products or services do not include these taxes, which are added on to the selling price.

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Meals on campus and at restaurants

Most educational institutions have cafeterias that offer a selection of affordable meals. These cafeterias are usually closed on Saturday and Sunday. Buying food at the supermarket and preparing your own meals remains the cheapest way to feed yourself.

Restaurant prices do not include taxes or tips. The taxes (14.5%) are added on to the bill and you should leave a tip that is equal to their total. In other words, the price of the meal will be 30% more than indicated on the menu.

Modes of transportation

Québec has a growing network of bicycle paths where you can cycle safely up to six months a year. However, in the winter only messengers and cycling fanatics use this mode of transportation.

Apart from cycling, public transport, by bus, metro or taxibus (several passengers sharing a same taxicab) is the most affordable way to travel. For inter-city travel, buses are cheaper than trains and have more varied scheduled and routes. Carpooling is also a very popular option for students.

Internet access

Internet access is often free and unlimited in residences and computer labs at educational institutions. To access the Internet off campus, you can use a telephone connection if you have a residential telephone line or a cable modem. Low or high speed Internet costs range from $10 to $35 a month, depending on the rate plan, plus installation and taxes.

Cancelling an Internet or cellphone contract can be costly. That is why it is advisable not to commit to a fixed-term contract unless you are certain you will be able to honour it.

Store hours

The law allows most stores to stay open:
from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday to Friday; and
from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
However, many stores close at 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday.

More flexible hours are allowed for supermarkets, neighbourhood convenience stores (called dépanneurs), pharmacies, stores in airports, air terminals, hospitals, bookstores and leisure or tourist businesses such as restaurants, cinemas, museums, hotels, etc.

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Appropriate clothing for the climate

Because of the winter and the snow, you should. in the short-term, ensure you have the right clothes for the climate, including a warm coat, gloves, hat, scarf and warm boots. If you don’t already have these items, you can buy them in Québec, where you’ll find a wide range of sports and street clothes at all prices.

Daycare services

If you are accompanied by a child of pre-school age, you will have to find a daycare centre. Practically all universities have daycare services but the number of places available is limited. As with student residences, it is a good idea to try to secure a place for your child before you arrive. Daycare facilities are also available off campus. Since, these centres are not government administered, their rates and the services they offer can vary. It can also take a few months to obtain a place in one of these facilities.

Sports and leisure

You can participate in a number of individual and team activities if you join the sports centre at the educational institution you will be attending. Even rock climbing can be practiced indoor!

If this is your first winter, you can also give ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowboarding or even snowmobiling a try. These are enjoyable ways to spend time outdoors in the winter.

Allow yourself time to attend Québec’s many festivals, which usually offer free activities and entertainment. Mainstream or repertory cinemas, museums, theatres and the latest popular restaurants are also options to enjoy your time off with your new friends.

 

To learn more

Living in Québec (Since this section is intended for future permanent residents, some information may not be applicable to foreign students.)

 

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Last modification : 2016-03-11
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