The Canadian Expat Guide for Those who interested to Move in Canada is a resource guide that offers helpful information on living in Canada as an expat. It’s designed to help you make the most of your move.
From the slick, modern cities to the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains and the snowy winters, sun-blushed summers, and friendly charm of the locals, Canada has long been listed by expats as one of their favorite places to live.
The world’s second-largest country has more than magnificent scenery; it is vibrant and multicultural, offering a high quality of life and reasonable wages. It is often held up as an example of its ability to attract talented workers worldwide. If you are considering joining them, then look at our guide to expat life in Canada for some hints and tips…
Obtaining a Visa to Emigrate to Canada
Famed for its open attitude, Canada is always looking to attract skilled workers to its shores to contribute to the economy. So how do you get a work visa for Canada? The first step is to check the website cic.gc.ca, which outlines the main options available.
Canadian Worker Programs
If you are transferring with your company, everything should be relatively straightforward. Still, if you are looking for another way to enter the country, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is a way employers look for foreign workers. However, they have to prove the role cannot be filled locally by participating in a Labour Market Impact Assessment.
The Federal Skilled Worker Program is another way for professionals to apply for a visa. It works on a points-based system, taking into account your experience, English and French fluency (the two national languages of Canada), and your education – the current pass mark is 67 out of 100. You will need a job offer and be able to prove you have adequate funds to live in Canada.
What is Express Entry?
The Canadian Express Entry system is the online portal you use to apply to the “pool,” from which you could then be invited to submit your complete application for whichever program suits you best.
If you want to live and work in Quebec, you will need the Quebec Skilled Worker program, which has its own separate points system and requirements, such as a French-language test.
Another option for relocation is through Provincial Nominee Programs, which look for skilled workers for specific provinces or territories and can fast-track the visa process at a federal level.
Finally, UK citizens aged 18 and 30 can enter the pool to become a candidate in the International Experience Canada visa program, which allows you to work and travel in Canada for up to two years.
Unfortunately, there is no specific visa for retirees. Therefore those who do end up in Canada have typically done so through a sponsorship visa provided by a relative.
Education in Canada for Expats
If you are moving with your children, you will be pleased to know that the level of education in Canada is high, with more than 90 percent of students attending a state school and just a minimal number attending international or religious schools.
The system is very similar to the US, with kindergarten for very young children, elementary school from age six to 14, and high school until 18. In Quebec, the system is slightly different, and children finish school aged 17 and can take a two-year pre-university program at college (university).
There is no national standard as each province runs its schools. In Quebec, the primary language of education is French (as a result, there are more international schools here and stiff competition to get into them).
Study Abroad (Canadian Universities)
Universities in Canada are state-run and more similar to the UK, with tuition fees often substantially lower than in the USA. While you will need a high school diploma to be able to study at a college or university, each one will have its criteria for admissions. Keep in mind that a college generally refers to an institution offering applied Bachelor’s degrees and more specialist arts and technology programs. At the same time, universities are more similar to universities in the UK.
Finances in Canada
How to open a bank account in Canada?
There are always so many things to consider when choosing to live in a different country. Fortunately, it is pretty straightforward in Canada. Each of the big five banks offers accounts to recent arrivals, although they tend to charge monthly fees, and some will even let you set up your Canadian bank account from abroad, meaning you have to activate it when you arrive in-country.
How to declare your taxes in Canada?
Residents in Canada are taxed on their worldwide income; however, foreign tax credit relief will be provided if you receive a payment from abroad that has already been taxed, so you aren’t double-taxed. Other than that, your income taxes are tied to your earnings and are slightly lower than in the UK despite a provincial income tax being added to the federal (often, it will be deducted as one amount on your payslip). For more details on taxation, the Canada Revenue Agency website is helpful.
How much is healthcare in Canada?
One other area where Canada stands out against its southern neighbor is healthcare. In Canada, the universal healthcare system is publicly funded, and everyone has access to low-cost universal public health insurance. It should cover most things and give you access to private or public hospitals. However, the exact areas covered differ from province to province – and sometimes, one section won’t honor another’s agreement.
As a temporary resident, you may not qualify. It can take time to register, so expats can also opt for private health insurance to ensure they are covered for every eventuality. If you can, make sure you register for your medical card as soon as possible to see if you can qualify for the universal Medicare insurance system.
If you love the Great Outdoors, you will be spoilt in Canada. This is, after all, the home of the Rocky Mountains, glaciers and lakes, rainforests and thundering rivers, dramatic coastline, and rolling prairies.
Of course, it takes a vast country to house such diversity, so you will probably need a car if you want to travel around. There is generally good public transport within cities, but if you’re going to get around quickly, it is better to have a car within and outside cities. That said, housing is often cheaper than at home, and the cost of living, in general, is lower, although, of course, it is more expensive if you live in a city.
The Great White North doesn’t have that name for anything, and although warm summers on the beach or at lake houses are idyllic, they are followed by long, harsh winters. However, this country is prepared for snow; underground malls, endless caravans of snowplows, plug-in points in car parks to stop freezing engines, and generally high-quality construction and insulation.
Another thing to take into consideration is where exactly you want to live. On the west coast, Vancouver is famed for its mild winters and lavish outdoor lifestyle but has a high rainfall (it is rainier than London). At the same time, Quebec – including cities such as Montreal and Quebec City – is French-speaking, and you will be expected to have a high level of French if you want to live and work there.
One thing everyone agrees on, though, is that Canadians are friendly and famously polite. In fact, According to the 2017 Internations study of expats living in Canada, 45 percent said they were considering staying forever, and Canada ranked 13th out of 65 for quality of life, particularly for peacefulness, health and wellbeing, and its clean environment.