Lots of folks, for various reasons, have kicked around the idea of moving to Canada. So here are a few things to mull over before packing your bags and heading to the Great White North.
Weather – The freezing cold winters are certainly a reason to think twice about making a move, especially if you’re coming from a mild or warm climate like Southern California. You’ll need quite an assortment of thick socks and sweaters to brave temperatures dipping to -25°C. Good news is the freezing winters are counterbalanced by hot summers. So you get the best of both worlds.
Diversity – Canada, being a former colony of France and England, has a distinctly European feel with English and French spoken widely. The spirit of multiculturalism is alive and well as the country is a world class destination for visitors from all over the world. You will encounter a myriad of languages, religions, and cultures.
Cost of Living – The Canadian dollar is strong and converts to a rate of $1 Canadian Dollar = $.75 U.S. In comparison the overall cost of living is substantially lower in Canada than other Western states and if you choose to live in a smaller town like Halifax, instead of a major city, like Toronto your costs will drop even more.
Free Health Care – The thought of Canada’s free Healthcare is wonderful. It’s delivered through a publicly-funded system and administered by the provinces. Citizens who enroll in the program receive a health card from the Provincial Ministry of Health and everyone receives the same level of care. But depending on the type of visa you have you may or may not be entitled to a health card. If not you may have to purchase private insurance.
Rent – Your housing costs may be much lower. On average, a one bedroom apartment in Toronto will run you $1300 a month and a one bedroom in the rest of Canada goes for $870 a month. But also keep in mind that reduced costs for rent means you will have to drive long distances for all of your needs. Another major point to consider is those heating costs. No matter where you live in Canada winter is a harsh reality and heating costs are not always included in your rent.
Home Buying – The average home price in Canada, according to the local real estate association, was north of $286,000, well above the $247,000 median price across America. So while the cost of living in Canada is slightly lower than in the USA, buying a house may cost you quite a bit.
Immigration – Something else to consider is the immigration process which can be costly and complicated. The application fee for an adult applying for permanent residence in Canada is $550 and the entire process can take about two years. You won’t automatically become a Canadian citizen by marrying someone who is a citizen. However, there is an Express Entry program for skilled workers that may speed up the immigration process for them. As a permanent resident you can work, study and travel anywhere in the country. But when it comes to voting, running for office or getting jobs that involve high security clearance those rights are reserved for full citizens only.
So if you decide to make that move it’s absolutely critical that you do lots of research to figure out if living in Canada is right for you.