Canada’s Start-Up Visa: How Much Money Do I Need?

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Canada's Start-Up Visa: How Much Money Do I Need?
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Under the Start-Up Visa program, immigrants moving to Canada need to have a minimum amount of settlement funds. This money cannot be borrowed.

Ottawa does not provide immigrants arriving under Start-Up Visa program with any financial support. 

Importantly, applicants must have sufficient finances to fund their start up project. Receiving support from an Angel Investor will require more funding to satisfy a Canadian investor.  Conversely, receiving support from an Incubator requires less funding. However, there is a trade off in choosing one or the other.

Working with an immigration lawyer, experienced in the Canadian start up ecosystem, will ensure you can best address this important area.


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Beyond funds needed to finance the business and settlement funding, even those earning relatively good salaries can expect to pay up to half of their take-home pay in household expenses, including the costs of their: 

  • home;
  • heating and other utilities;
  • food;
  • clothing;
  • health insurance, and;
  • transportation.

Housing and Utilities Can Take Half a Canadian’s Pay

Most Canadians spend 35 to 50 percent of their income on housing and utilities. A basic room in a lower-cost part of the country will still likely cost at least $350 a month. Rents of $2,500 per month for an apartment in a big city are quite common.

Provincial and territorial health programs often do not cover the costs of healthcare for newcomers for the first three months they are in Canada.

Food costs vary depending on the size of the family and their appetites and can easily double if the family dines in restaurants or buys specialty food items. 

Clothing expenses are usually 10 per cent or less of a Canadian’s take-home pay. 

Once the basics are covered, it’s always a good idea to budget some money for occasional, unplanned expenses, including prescription medicine not covered by health insurance, school supplies, and long-distance calls to friends and family back home.

Expect paycheque deductions to reduce the gross salary by 25 to 35 per cent due to:

  • income taxes;
  • Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan;
  • Employment Insurance;
  • union dues (for unionized workers), and;
  • payments to a retirement or pension plan.
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