What is the local currency?

The local currency is the Canadian Dollar. There are 100 cents to one dollar.
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What denominations does it come in?

Notes: The Canadian Dollar is available in $5, $10, $20, $50, $100. ($1 and $2 bills have been replaced by coins).

Coins: All Canadians Coins are the same size and shape as their American counterparts except for the one and two dollar coins which do not exist in the U.S.

  • 1 Cent - This coin used quite a bit, because with the GST tax, most items you buy do not come out to a nice even amount. There are a large number of U.S. pennies in circulation and they can be used as Canadian.

  • 5 Cents - The slang for this coin is "Nickel". The term originates because of the metal the coin is minted from. The same term is used in the United States.

  • 10 Cents - The slang for this coin is "Dime". The same slang is used in the U.S.

  • 25 Cents - The slang for this coin is "Quarter", because it is 1/4 of a dollar. The same slang is used in the U.S.

  • 50 Cents - You will rarely see a 50 cent piece. They are only minted for special occasions.

  • 1 Dollar Coin - The dollar bill was replaced by a coin in 1989. This coin is called a "Loonie." This is because it contains a picture of that quintessential North American bird, the Loon.

  • 2 Dollar Coin - The 2 Dollar bill was also replaced by a coin in 1996. The leading contender for a slang term was the "Two-nie" (pronounced: "too-nie").

Do note: American coins can be used in Canada, but you will not get any exchange for them. They are in wide circulation, so you will get them in change on occasion. American coins will also work in most vending machines.
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What is the best way to exchange currency?

Banks provide you with the best exchange rate on your foreign currency since their rates are updated each minute. There are also money exchange booths that will exchange your money at the rate that was listed at opening time. You may also notice that your hotel or temporary accommodation provides facilities for exchanging money at the reception desk. These should be used as a last resort, as they tend to provide lower exchange rates because they factor in a service fee on each dollar. If you are unable to, or do not want to exchange your money, then your other option is to pay for goods and services with credit or debit cards. Almost all stores and service providers accept this method of payment. Each purchase will automatically convert into Canadian dollars, which will be shown on your statement.
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What are commonly-used forms of payment for everyday purchases (such as groceries)?

Depending on the location, stores will accept cash, travellers' checks, major credit and debit cards (personal banking cards used to purchase goods and services). Some places accept personal checks accompanied by two forms of identification.
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Will I be able to use my credit card around town? If not, list when I’ll need cash.

With over 1 million residents and millions of visitors to Ottawa, there is little worry that your major credit card will not be accepted to purchase goods and services around town. Credit cards that are widely accepted include Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

In addition, when visiting the downtown core you will notice numerous street vendors selling merchandise and food. These vendors have limited payment options. Therefore, cash is the preferred method of payment.
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By what method are bills (such as rent and utilities) paid?

Depending on the bill type, several options for bill payment are available to you. They include:

  • Cash

  • Personal checks

  • Travellers' checks

  • Automatic personal bank account withdrawal set up prior to the payment date(s)

  • Debit card (personal banking card)

  • Credit card

Additionally, most payments can also be done by mail or at your local bank.
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What are the requirements for opening a bank account? At what stage of the settling-in process should I open it?

When opening a bank account in Canada, you will be required to do the following:

  • Fill out an application form

  • Provide two forms of identification (passport, birth certificate, Social Insurance card and/or any credit cards in your name)

  • Provide proof of residency (you will need a fixed home address before you apply)

Also, depending on the circumstances, the bank may 'hold funds' from your account for a period of time to ensure that you are not a financial risk.
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Will foreign residents be able to find banking services in their native languages?

Typically, banking services are offered in English, but they are also available in French at certain branches as well as on many banks' Web sites. And, since Ottawa has over 60 cultures and 70 languages, there is a good chance that a representative at the bank may speak the language of your home country.

Another option to consider is opening an account through the bank of your origin. These banks provide an increased likelihood that there will be representatives versed in the customers' languages.
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Are there any restrictions on services for those who are new to your country?

Not generally, but this will vary between banks.
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What are typical banking hours?

Banks are typically open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. At some banks, there might be a day during the week in which they stay open until the early evening. Some are also open on Saturday mornings, but all banks are closed on Sundays and statutory holidays.
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Are automatic teller machines (ATMs) available around the clock?

ATMs are located everywhere and can be accessed 24 hours per day. However, be aware that you might incur high service charges for using ATMs that are not affiliated with your bank.
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Is there any other money information that might help me?

Keep in mind that using debit cards for purchases can be costly due to service fees for each transaction. Credit cards offer postponed payment at the cost of interest incurred on your outstanding balances. Normally the interest is in the range of 17 per cent to 20 per cent. If you plan on keeping a balance, you can opt for a lower monthly interest rate, but you will have to pay an annual fee for this service. In addition, department stores offer discounts and incentives for purchasing items with their store credit cards. However, be aware that monthly interest charges for these cards can be as high as 30 per cent.

Tipping is a common practice in Canada. Tipping is paying an extra 10 to 15 per cent to the person who delivers a service to you, such as a taxi driver or a waiter. The tip you give goes directly to them and is in addition to their wages. The tip shows that you appreciate their services. People who work in the hospitality industry are paid a very basic salary, so they're very dependent on the tips they receive.

There is a general understanding that they must provide you with excellent and friendly service. Withholding a tip indicates that you were not happy with their service. When there is a "service charge" on your bill, you do not need to add a tip.
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Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.