Mobile Phone Plans in Canada

If you want to stay in Canada for over a couple of months and are on our internship route, or plan on staying longer than the winter season we sometimes recommend buying a Canadian sim card. This is because you might need a Canadian phone number to open a Canadian bank account, apply for a social insurance number, connect with employers, enjoy delivery services, and easily take taxis. However there are ways around this! Check out our blog on Banking. and see what our WSC team do instead.

Ask yourself, am i going to be talking to Canadians, is my boss a Canadian and needs to get in touch with me on a regular basis or am I simply going to be conversing with foreigners travelling in Canada and can survive on Whatsapp & Facetime for my international calls and keeping in touch in and around resorts?

It’s important to note that if you choose to replace your UK sim with a Canadian sim, expect to pay more for minutes, texts, and data than for the UK – there’s no Giffgaff or Voxi. Unfortunately, Canada is notorious for having some of the most expensive mobile phone plans in the world, and even if you do find deals around Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and mid-summer, there are no major savings.

The average cost for a phone plan with 5GB of data sits at $45 a month (£26), and this will be on the lower end in terms of minutes, texts and data. Additionally, many providers operate on the basis of year to two-year contracts; monthly contracts are significantly more expensive, meaning if you choose to opt into a plan, expect to be tied to it for an extended period.


If all of this seems a little excessive and you’re just coming to Canada for a few months to experience a ski or snowboard instructor course, we recommend purchasing an e-Sim. This means you can retain your UK phone number and add mobile data to your phone.

On Apple and Android phones, the app MobiMatter is excellent. It allows you to purchase the data from a few weeks to a few months. This route is significantly cheaper and less binding! For instance 20GB of data for a month is priced at £25 and works in Canada and the US! This is a great middle ground and allows you to arrive in Canada with a data back up to instantly use, very little effort required and gives you peace of mind that you can instantly call home affordably in emergencies or use your data to get around in a strange new city.

Our boss runs the company from one phone. He is signed onto EE in the UK and has 50gb data a month allowance before he heads out to Canada, then pays EE £25 per month Roaming fees to allow him to bring that data and free minutes to call the UK. He then uses a Voip line on his phone with a Canadian mobile number to allow local calls to and from Canadians through an app. So relying on Whatsapp to speak and connect with the clients whilst out in resort, EE international roaming to call home IF the family member or person is not on Whatsapp and the Voip or esim line to call locals. None of these options are perfect. Some trial and error is always recommended. But we encourage having some data organised before you leave your home country and if possible some roaming call allowance so that you aren’t suddenly stung with high fees.


Top Tip

Whatever you do try and remember to inform your bank and mobile provider at home BEFORE you fly. Some cell/mobile providers will not make any changes to your policy if you have already left your home country. It will give you piece of mind that your roaming is set up and your bank is not going to cancel any important transactions and think you are being hacked because you forgot to inform them your going away. Conversely remember to inform them when you get home and cancel any roaming monthly fees.

WSC Clients: For those of you coming this winter with us, make sure you have some data set up, and some way to call home. Whilst you are out there, you will have the opportunity after the first week to buy a local sim if you are intending to make calls to Canadian numbers or wanting a cheaper roaming set up.


Can I carry my UK data & minutes over from Canada?

Yes you can in fact this is exactly what our boss does. EE for example allow you to pay a monthly fee of £25 and you carry whatever data and minutes you have in your monthly allowance and use them in Canada for no extra charges.

How does an eSim work?

More modern phones will allow another number to be electronically attached to your phone, this typically handles the data whilst your physical Sim handles the calls. This allows cheaper data to be used in the country you are travelling in. You can then use that data to make cheap calls through Facetime or Whats-app for example when calling home.

Is it essential to have a Canadian number?

Not at all, if you think you are not going to be making calls to Canadians and most of your calls are back home or to your friends, then maybe its best to stay on your countries allowance and utilise Whatsapp or Facetime. Just remember sometimes it costs Canadians to pick up calls from abroad so they are reluctant to do so in case they are junk calls.