Should you move to Canada? Here’s what you should consider

A new home is just over the horizon, after searching for so long. There it is, a place with better work life balance and security so that you can build a life and feel confident in your future once more. Canada is calling out to you and you should consider answering the call to move north.

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “should I move to Canada?”, then your answer is finally here – yes, yes, and yes again! Canada is a fantastic place to new make your new home and put down roots.

Canada’s cities are livable beyond compare. In fact, the 2018 Global Livability Index from the Economist Intelligence Unit was filled with many Canadian cities. Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver are all in the EIU’s top ten, indicating that they are not only the best places to live in the region, but also in the entire world.

While you consider relocating to establish a new home city, you simply must keep Canada at the top of your list. From better healthcare to lower student debt and beyond, Canada has everything you need at this stage in life in order to build your personal economic future. Soon, you’ll be watching the sunrise in Canada as the sun rises on a new, more prosperous stage in your life.

What are the main reasons Americans move to Canada?

Better public healthcare system

Word has gotten around about Canada’s healthcare system. There’s a reason that many Americans now advocate for a similar system across the border. But such a landmark change isn’t anywhere on the horizon, so it’s in your best interest to move to Canada to take full advantage of their enhanced, patient-center public health care system.

In the United States, you are likely used to getting private healthcare through an employer – as an exorbitant cost to you through premiums. In Canada, the public healthcare system is universal, meaning that it provides for all citizens regardless of class or employment.

Virtually all types of basic care are covered under these public healthcare plans, allowing you to plan and live with confidence that your most valuable asset – your health – will be protected in Canada. Unlike in the US, if you unfortunately had to change jobs, you’d still keep your public insurance and not risk falling through the cracks as you transition to a new job.

You aren’t the only person who will come to love Canada’s public healthcare system, either. Already, some 91% of Canadians surveyed said that they preferred their home country’s healthcare system when compared to the notorious open-market system used in the United States.

As a logical trade-off, Canada’s excellent public healthcare system is only available to fully-fledged Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Though this comes as no surprise, you should be aware of this if you decide to fully commit and move north. Once you put down roots in one of Canada’s friendly cities, though, you’ll quickly feel driven to become a full citizen and reap the benefits that the Canadian healthcare system can provide.

Better Safety and Security

Safety and security are essential in any home, that is absolutely certain. If these are top priorities for you while you choose a new home, then Canada can put your mind at ease. Even in Canada’s urban centers, crime is kept in check in its few forms and is virtually non-existent in others. No matter what corner of the realm you settle in, you’ll find it to be safer and more secure than your current home.

The crime rate in Canada has been in a steady decline since 1991, a remarkable accomplishment spanning nearly two decades that represents a concerted effort not only to address crime, but also rehabilitate criminals so that they can become productive members of society.

For comparison, areas of the United States during the same time period have seen homicides jump 200%, aggravated assaults rise up 127%, and robberies clock in at a 65% higher rate. I don’t want to assert that the United States is a less safe place. But you can be sure that in your new Canadian home, such criminal activity will be well dealt with and handled so that future criminality is translated into good citizenship.

Better Work Life Balance

Building a better work life balance is another great reason to move to Canada. Due to a variety of systemic protections and cultural norms, work life in Canada is far more considerate of the individual and their responsibilities to society and their family.

For example, in Canada, the federally mandated paternity leave policy provides for between 40 and 69 weeks of leave time with partial pay from your employer. This policy includes families giving birth to new children or adopting. This policy isn’t just for mothers, either – Canada empowers its citizens to make decisions that are best for their families by allowing men to also take time off to care for their child.

By comparison, the United States is still out in the cold as one of only four (out of 196) industrialized nations that do not provide paternity leave as a federally-mandated guarantee. Simply put, Canada can offer you better when it comes to planning for how your life and work will intersect.

In general terms though, some 70% of Canadian works said that they held a good or excellent work life balance, according to a 2018 survey. That puts Canada in a unique category wherein a wide majority of its workers feel pleased with their own ability to work and live as they choose in their current location.

Much of this outstanding work life balance derives from the proper respect Canadian employers show to their employees. Many residents report that their bosses respect the confines of the 40-hour work week and are far more understanding when it comes to working from home (especially if a child is ill).

Simply put, Canada is a better place to work and live at the same time. Rather than having to choose between a career and a family, your new life in Canada will empower to have both.

Less Student Debt

Student debt continues to be a serious problem for many people in the United States. Much of this debt derives from the sky-high cost of attending colleges both public and private. In Canada, this cost of attendance is monumentally lower, leading to lower rates of student debt overall across the country.

A year of higher education in Canada is affordable, even to those who choose to not work and focus instead on their studies. At only around $5000 a year in tuition at many public universities, Canadians are better able to gain more expertise in their field without going bankrupt in order to do so.

By stark comparison, Americans usually expect to pay an average of $32,100 for standard private universities per year – even more if you attend a preeminent research university. Canada wants you to seek a higher education and do so within your financial means, so they strive to provide you with affordable options that won’t gouge you on the way to your goals.

As expected, you won’t necessarily get citizen rates for tuition from the word go. That being said, even international students only pay between $12,000 and $25,000 each year to attend some of the best learning institutions in the country. Even accounting for your move, this is a far more affordable choice than most American colleges.

Is there anything bad about Canada?

High Childcare Costs:

While much of Canada is geared towards a happier, more prosperous future, not every aspect of Canadian living is a top-dollar value. For example, childcare costs in Canada are notably high, even for an industrialized nation.

Currently, Canada has the unenviable distinction of having the most expensive childcare services among a group of 35 wealthy nations. In many regards, this high average can be attributed to wide variations in childcare costs from area to area. While a resident of Quebec City in 2015 could expect to pay only $174 per month for childcare, similar citizens in Toronto could expect to pay upwards of $1,033 per month for similar care.

While this does indicate that you have choices regarding generally how much you pay in this regard, most are unwilling to move in order to find cheaper childcare.

Work life balance isn’t actually as good as it seems:

While Canada’s work life balance is certifiably better than that seen in other countries like the United States, it is going through some noteworthy shifts currently that you should take into account. First and foremost, Canadians have recently begun to work longer hours on average – sometimes up to 45 hours per week.

While this alone isn’t a deal breaker, more employers have also recently put the nix on flexible work arrangements. In other words, they are requiring more on-location work, leaving less room for those in need of flexible arrangements to fit their family.

In response, young Canadians have begun to lead a shift in family planning. Specifically, to accommodate these new work needs, fewer young families are having children. While this comes as a result of putting a career ahead of a family, some still feel it is the appropriate choice given the changing circumstances.

Higher Cost of Living and Taxes

Among folks considering a move to north, a common refrain is, “how much does it cost to live in Canada?” For a variety of reasons, the cost of living in Canada is marginally higher than some other comparable countries. While this sounds like a heel from the outside, some of this heightened cost of living can be explained through Canada’s productive tax system.

Food and service prices are also slightly higher in Canada when compared to the US. As a rough example, a three-course meal for two in Canada runs for about CAD $60, while in the US, the same meal would cost the equivalent of CAD $44. This same price increase extends to regularly grocery store products as well.

Is Canada for everyone? If not, who is it for?

Families

Canada wants to encourage a wide variety of people to move into its accepting borders, including all kinds of families. With many employers offering unique solutions for work life balance, parents won’t have to choose between their children and building a prosperous career.

In general, Canada currently advantages families with older children. Currently, childcare in Canada is pricy in some regions. As such, families with small children may find it more difficult to afford these supplemental costs.

Young professionals

While Canada is rich in employment opportunities – especially in its world-class cities – Canada may not be the prime location for young professionals. Salaries are a major employment factor and as it stands, the US offers higher and more competitive salaries among its top companies.

However, you should take into consideration the considerable differences between these two pay structures. US salaries are generally higher due to a much higher cost for living essentials like healthcare and education. As such, Canada’s generally lower salaries may be linked to not needing to pay nearly so dearly for these essentials.

Retirees

Retirees in Canada have a lot to look forward to if they have full access to the national healthcare system. This universal system can really work hard to cater to the needs of aging citizens, especially when it comes to covering the basics. While it is harder to qualify for some benefits as you age or move out of the workforce, these base-line benefits are still unbeatable.

Of note, however, it is harder to use your retirement funds in Canada. This may be a concern for those who have already built a nest egg and intend to use it in their next stage of life in Canada.

Students

Students have a lot to gain in Canada beyond a quality education at a high-ranking university. Because colleges and universities are so affordably priced in Canada, students won’t be put out of house and home in order to pay for school.

However, some of these savings may be offset by the higher cost of living in some Canadian urban centers. This can eat into your savings but can also be waylaid through work in conjunction with education.

What’s the process of moving like?

How long does it take?

If you follow all the proper procedures, you can expect your application for permanent residency to be granted in as quick as 6 to 12 months. This is truly an advantageous time frame given how quickly this will allow you to access the treasure trove on benefits Canadian residence can gain.

Are there any requirements?

Skilled worker category

Canada does include several noteworthy requirements for a successful moving process, the first of which being an arrangement for employment in a skilled field (as determine by this list).

Your Canadian living status has an impact in this category as well. If you’ve lived in Canada for one year as a temporary worker or international students prior to your application process for residency, you shouldn’t run into problems applying as a skilled worker.

The same goes if you were already a skilled worker. With just one year of experience in that skilled work field, you’ll be able to apply for full residency without much extra trouble.

Sponsored applicant

A sponsored application is another viable option for admittance, should you need it. Like in many countries, this allows several categories of current residents to vouch for and bring close family members to the country as residents. To qualify in this category, the sponsor must be either a Canadian citizen already or be financially capable of supporting the applicant as a permanent resident.

As noted, sponsored applications may be made for people of several different interrelational categories, including:

Relationship Category Details
SpouseIn order to apply in this category, the sponsor must be legally married to the applicant in their country of origin. This includes same-sex couples, so long as the marriage was legally certified in the country of origin.
Common Law Partner In order to apply in this category, the sponsor must have lived in a legally defined conjugal relationship with the applicant for an uninterrupted 12-month period.
Conjugal PartnerIn order to apply in this category, the sponsor and sponsor must demonstrate extenuating circumstances that have prevented them from living together or becoming legally married (pursuant to the two previous categories). For example, those in same-sex relationships who are unable to marry in their country of origin may have been able to apply in this category.

How much does it cost?

Skilled worker category

In general, skilled worker applicants pay more as an individual, primary because they are applying as a financial independent.

Costs associated with this category include:

  • $550 application fee for the principle applicant
  • $550 application fee for their spouse
  • $150 application fee per child under the age of 22

Sponsorship category

Because of its unique split system, sponsored applicants themselves pay less in order to have their application processed.

Costs associated with this category include:

  • $75 application fee for the applicant
  • $475 application fee for the sponsor

What are the basics that you need to have secured before you move?

Before making your move to Canada, there are some key essentials secured and accessible. While some of these items are not “required” as a matter of law, your ability to quickly procure them will make your moving process far, far smoother.

Item #1 – All Degrees and Certifications recognized in Canada – These certificates of higher education will be essential during your credential checking process. These can act as proof of your knowledge or experience in a given field.

Item #2 – Prove of French or English Language Skills – While not an “item” in the physical sense, you must be prepared to demonstrate basic understanding of either language if you are moving from a non-English or French speaking country.

Item #3 – A Certified Medical Exam – As part of the moving process, you’ll need to certify your health by completing an exam with a physician certified by the Canadian government.

Item #4 – Proof of Financial Stability – While moving, you must be able to prove that you hold wealth or assets capable of supporting you and your family when you arrive. This amounts to around $10,000 per person. Proof of employment also goes a long way to securing this level of clearance.

As a general rule of thumb, you should secure a dwelling before you move. That’s often simple enough. Start your search with real estate listings, like this one from Chestnut Park. Shortlist your favorites and schedule viewings close to one another so that you can go through the list in the shortest time possible.

Which are the best places in Canada that you can move to?

While nearly every city and town in Canada would make an exceptional home, there are several locations that stand out for their unique qualities. Here are just two of those outstanding cities:

Toronto

A top destination for Americans seeking work in Canada in 2016, Toronto offers many of the excellent advantages of Canadian living as described above. At the same time, Toronto isn’t overcrowded like many American cities, allowing new residents from south of the border to really appreciate all that the city has to offer without feeling crowded out – including while seeking employment.

Quebec

Quebec is noteworthy for having a slightly quicker application process than other provinces in Canada. This may be very advantageous for those looking to start their new life in Canada as soon as possible. While Quebec is well known for its wide use of French as a common language, English speakers will also feel right at home here.

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