11 Things to Know Before Moving to Canada
Are you thinking about moving to Canada? Whether you are moving because you have grown despondent with the situation in your own country, or you are simply looking for a better brighter future, you are making the right decision by choosing the Great White North. There are a few things you should be aware of before you begin your Canada visa application and job hunt. The more you know, the more capable you are of making choices that will benefit you.
If you are serious about immigrating to Canada, what are the questions you should be asking yourself? There are a few factors to consider from what your new home will be like, to the kind of job opportunities you will find when you arrive. There are undeniably questions you may never have thought of asking, that could have a big impact on your immigration experience. We are often asked:
- Is it easy to find a job in Canada?
- What is it like to live in Canada?
- What are the benefits of living in Canada? and, most importantly,
- How can I immigrate to Canada?
This list of 11 important things to know before moving to Canada will help answer some of these questions. You will find important information as well as a few interesting facts below. If you are ready to start your immigration process, you can follow the link below.
1. Canada Wants Immigrants
In November 2020, the Immigration, Refugee Council Canada (IRCC) announced it’s immigration plan for the next three years. The Canadian government plans to welcome over 1.2 million immigrants to the country as permanent residents by the end of 2024. This target is nearly 25% up from its previous three-year plan. The pro-immigrant stance of the Canadian government has a number of reasons.
The main reason is to support our growing economy by welcoming skilled and semi-skilled foreign workers to apply for permanent residency in Canada. A Canadian issue is our rapidly aging population, coupled with a low birth rate, which means our population isn’t growing at a pace we would like it to. Nearly 18% of the population is retired, and the current birth rate is 1.4 children per woman.
Making the problem worse, as the world continues to globalize and young people enjoy the privileges of very easy mobility, many young Canadians depart after high school or college, taking their skills and youth with them. Canada is the second-largest country in the world, with a population of a 37.4million. To put that into perspective, that’s fewer people than half the amount of people who live in Germany (which has a similar climate but is not nearly as beautiful) in a country roughly 30 times its size.
2. Canada Has Over 100 Visa and Immigration Programs
The Express Entry System, Provincial Nominee Programs and Immigration Pilots are the primary Canada immigration paths. Within each of these are numerous immigration programs, streams, and visa types. Then there are family sponsorship programs, short-term working holiday visa programs, student visa programs, and of course the tourist visa.
The IRCC is the head of immigration in Canada, but provincial governments and even communities have the power to help immigrants become permanent residents and make their move to Canada permanent if they add value to their local economy. Understand your options when it comes to applying for permanent residency to save yourself time in the application process and possible disappointment if you apply to the wrong program.
3. Canada has Four Seasons
Canada is truly a country of all four seasons. Depending on where you choose to live in Canada, winters will be slightly different, but they will all be very cold. The average daytime temperature in January is -0.7 degrees Celsius in the day, and -6.7 degrees at night. There is a lot of snow to make up for it, and frozen lakes and ponds to ice skate on, and warm fireplaces with hot chocolate, poutine, and delicious French Canadian pea soups. So make sure you have thick, robust clothing, and be sure not to toss out or give away any of your warm clothes before coming!
When spring rolls around, you will know it. The country warms quickly and the snow and ice will melt away rapidly. Grass and trees will green in a matter of weeks and tulips blossom around the country. Summer brings long, balmy days and a lot of happy people out and about around the country. Summer may seem short-lived, but only because you will be too busy enjoying all your free time to notice the time flying.
It is important to note that while we have an amazing publicly funded healthcare system with free services to all Canadian permanent residents and citizens, not everything is free. You will be able to see a doctor at no cost but may have to pay for any prescribed medication. Again, this depends on the province you choose to live in, as some cover most prescribed medications.
Top Tip: Travel to Canada with some form of health insurance, even if it overlaps with you becoming a resident and gaining access to these benefits, it is better to be safe than sorry.
While there are multiple education systems available in Canada, basic public education remains a free and accessible right to any Canadian citizen or permanent resident under the age of 18. International students are however required to pay fees, so if you have children, this is yet another reason to get your Canada visa application in as soon as possible.
Universities are heavily subsidized in Canada in order to give people from all backgrounds a chance to achieve their goals through quality education, because an educated population is a stronger population.
Low income and senior support are just a couple of examples of the free social services offered in Canada, but once again, only to citizens. After you become a permanent resident it will only take three years to become a citizen. Moving to Canada gives you the opportunity to become part of a society that cares about its people.
There are a number of things to consider when choosing where in Canada you want to live. While the major cities like Vancouver and Toronto may offer the most job opportunities, they also have the highest cost of living. High rental costs for small spaces in major metropolitan areas mean having to find more appropriate living space further out of the city, where you will likely work, leading to longer transit times and higher costs whether you are paying for fuel or public transportation.
Get used to tipping in restaurants, salons, and taxis as well. It’s not just appreciated, it’s expected. Tips are usually around 15 to 30% of your total bill, so always budget for the service you’ll receive too. Servers often make less than minimum wage, so tips make a big difference in their lives.
Get used to doing some quick math in your head before making purchases too, because different provinces have different value-added tax rates, that aren’t included in the listed price of items on shelves and so on, which could give you a nasty shock when it comes time to pay at checkout. If you are moving to Canada from a country like India or China, everyday things will cost more like eating out and buying groceries, but you will also be earning more, you will just need to figure out what your new standard of living is. It is very likely you will be happy with the outcome.
6. Living in Canada Means Being Able to Say I’m Sorry
This Canadian stereotype is very very real. It’s just a part of our national identity and our culture to say things like excuse me, please, thank you and most famously I’m sorry. We may say it in situations where people from other countries may not deem it entirely necessary. We highly recommend you try to pick up on the habit as quickly as possible, as being polite isn’t unconditional. Think of it as a social standard, it’s a way of indicating you see the people around you as your equal, no one is more important than you, and vice versa, and there is nothing more Canadian than that.
There are quite literally thousands of job opportunities across the country. You only need to consult a platform like Canada Job Bank or Indeed to see for yourself. From semi-skilled to highly skilled positions, the growing Canadian economy is absorbing hard-working people from all over the world. Be aware though that many professional bodies around Canada have a high set of standards, so you should have your credentials assessed, and if you work in a professional occupation such as a doctor or dentist, you may have to take a test to show you are capable in Canada.
It is not uncommon for immigrants to start a little lower on the professional ladder than they were in their own country when they left, however after only a year or two you will be back where you were, and likely even better off because this is a country where hard work is rewarded. Bring as much cash savings as possible, we would recommend more than the Canadian government stipulates, just in case you need a safety net to fall into while you find your feet.
8. Canada is a Multicultural Country and No One Colour is Better Than Another
According to a study done in late 2019, because who can actually do such a study in 2020, the UN Population Division found that 21% of Canada’s population is foreign-born. With the target of welcoming over 400,000 immigrants per year, we hope to see the population growing by around 1% every year! So it doesn’t take a genius to recognize that Canada is a multicultural country, and you only need to board a bus or a train in Vancouver or Toronto to see first hand the rich diversity within our towns and cities.
A major attraction for many immigrants is the equity with which people are treated in Canada. We are the complete opposite of a class-based society. No matter what job you work in, what position you hold, or how much wealth you have, everyone has the same rights and freedoms. There is an expectation, much like saying ‘I’m sorry’, for people to treat each other with dignity and respect. When someone doesn’t meet this expectation, they cannot expect to be welcomed as a valued member of their community.
Regardless of your race, gender, or sexual orientation, in Canada, you have the freedom to simply be.
9. Your Credit Score is Important in Canada
If you already have a credit history in your home country, bring proof with you! This will help banks determine a starting credit score for you and allow you to take out a loan if you want to buy a car or home. You will also need a job offer or employment contract to take out a loan, how else will you be able to pay it back!
If you have never had a credit card or any form of credit history, and you want to get a loan in Canada to buy a home, car, study, or any number of things, you will need to build up your credit score before you can do so. Sign up for a bank account that allows you to open a credit card account, no matter how small the limit. The next step is to pay your credit cards off when they are due. This is vital as missing a payment will negatively affect your credit score.
Also put as many of your regular monthly services on your name as possible; utilities, internet, hydro, mobile phone contract, etc. Simply paying all these bills on time will also help build up your credit score. The higher your score, the larger the loans you are eligible for.
Having multiple sources of credit can speed up the building of your credit score, but don’t be tempted by enticing offers. Always make well-researched decisions when it comes to taking out forms of credit. Make sure you can pay outstanding bills in full when they become due and you will be able to rent a car, get lower interest rates and even avoid having to pay a security deposit on things like utilities.
10. Canada Loves Sports, Food, and Maple Syrup
It won’t take long for you to be introduced to what is practically a religion in Canada, the national sport of ice hockey. A contact sport that some Canadians play from the time they can walk until they go on pension, and sometimes that doesn't even stop them. When the football fields are covered in snow, we take to the frozen lakes and ponds that cover 9% of our country. You can join in by simply learning to ice-skate, you’re almost guaranteed help from your community members.
If we take playing it seriously, we take supporting our local and national teams even more so. The 2010 USA vs Canada men's hockey final in the Vancouver Winter Olympics was the most televised event in the country’s history. If you’re ever feeling blue in the wintertime, take a walk down to your local bar and you’ll find people enjoying a hockey game and a Canadian beer who will welcome the opportunity to induct another fan into their supporters' club.
You may need to get used to Canadian food, and if you’re ever feeling homesick, you will almost certainly find a restaurant that serves cuisine from your home country. An example is Poutine, one of Canada’s favorites, is a heartwarming bowl of hand-cut chips, smothered in cheese curds and gravy. While it may not sound too great, one bite and we think you may change your mind.
11. You Need a Work Permit to Work in Canada
If you are moving to Canada, and you want to work in Canada, you will absolutely need a temporary foreign work permit. It doesn’t matter if you have applied for permanent residence, unless you already have PR status, you are required to obtain a temporary foreign work permit (TFWP) before you can legally start working in Canada. If you are caught working without a TFWP, you could be deported and any chance of becoming a permanent resident will be gone. Further, any work you do without a TFWP cannot be counted in your favour when applying for permanent residence. Always ensure that you have the correct Canada visa and documentation.
If you want a a little more advice on how to prepare before moving to Canada, give the video below a watch
With the ever-increasing immigration targets set by the IRCC, the number of programs for people to apply for permanent residency in Canada has been growing too. One of the best examples of this is the introduction of pilot immigration programs. These programs are designed to temporarily address particular immigration and labour needs of Canada as a whole, on a provincial level and in one example we will look at shortly, a town level. There are 5 popular immigration pilot programs currently on the go in Canada:
- Atlantic Immigration Pilot - If you can secure a job offer in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland & Labrador in a skilled or semi-skilled position, or if you complete a qualification at a designated learning institution in one of the Atlantic provinces, you can apply for permanent residency in Canada. Businesses don’t require Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) to hire foreign workers, they only need to register with the provincial authority, and thousands already have.
- Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot - started in 2019, the RNIP aimed to bring the benefits of economic migration to some of the smaller cities and towns of Canada, seeing as the majority of immigrants tend to settle in larger cities Toronto and Vancouver. There are currently 11 communities participating in the pilot, if you consider that at the beginning of 2020 there were only 6, the pilot is clearly working. The path to permanent residency is fairly straightforward, secure a job in one of the participating communities, apply for permanent residency and the community will support your application. You will obviously need to demonstrate ties to the community and the intention to continue living and working thereafter you receive PR status.
- Agri-Food Pilot - in an effort to retain skilled and hard-working foreign workers in the agricultural industry, the IRCC created this pilot to grant permanent residency to applicants across a number of occupations, such as but not limited to: butchers, farm labourers, food processing workers, and specialized livestock workers. There are a limited number of applications accepted in each category, so getting your application in early in 2021 is key to earning permanent residency in Canada.
- Home Child Care Provider Pilot
- Home Support Worker Pilot
Like the AIP, employers don’t require an LMIA to hire a foreign worker to care for children. Children cared for must be under the age of 18. One of the positive changes from the old Caregiver Program is that you don’t need to live in your employer's home to qualify, You will also be granted an open work permit as a care provider, meaning you can change employers if your arranged situation doesn’t work out. After you have accumulated 2 years of experience working in Canada you may apply for permanent residency. Keep in mind that experience as a foster parent doesn’t count.
Employers also don’t require an LMIA to hire foreign workers as home support workers for elderly or disable persons. After you have accumulated 2 years of experience working in Canada you may apply for permanent residency. As a home support provider, you will be granted an open work permit, meaning you can also work for multiple employers and change jobs if your work situation is not good. Keep in mind that experience as a housekeeper doesn’t count, so make sure your contract clearly states you are a home support worker.
Then there are the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). Each province has its own program (excluding Quebec and Nunavut) with unique immigration streams implemented by the provincial government to address the particular labour requirements of their communities. Examples of the most typical streams you may find with a Provinces Nominee Program include:
- In-Demand Labour Streams - for semi-skilled occupations that require on the job training such as food and beverage servers, cooks, and butchers.
- International Graduate Streams - for international students who graduate from designated learning institutions within the province.
- Skilled Worker Streams - connected to Express Entry System, these streams allow managers, skilled professionals, and qualified trades workers to apply for a provincial nomination to support their application for express entry.
- Entrepreneur Streams - for people with experience in managing or owning a business who wish to do so within the province. You are required to be involved in the day to day running of the business
The last immigration system we will touch on is the Express Entry System mentioned above. To be considered for Express Entry Canada, candidates create an online profile and provide information used to calculate a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. They are then entered into one of three applicant pools from which frequent draws take place and the applicants with the highest scores are invited to apply. If your score is high enough, you could have permanent residency in Canada in as little as six months.
You can find more information on all the programs listed above in the Canadian Immigration tab of our website. You can also click on the chat box in the bottom right corner to chat with an agent about starting your Canadian residency application.
Are you Ready to Move to Canada?
Despite the economic effect the Covid-19 pandemic has had on our country, there is still an overwhelmingly positive sentiment toward welcoming immigrants to Canada 2021 and beyond. In a new study conducted by the Environics Institute, it is clear that these views are not a blip, not another thing that this year has managed to stamp on, the welcoming attitude toward immigrants is deeply rooted and widespread. This is especially true in Atlantic Canada, where people understand that the more immigrants they have, the more businesses can open and the more towns and communities can grow.
Immigrating to Canada, starting a new life, and becoming a part of a happy and prosperous nation has never been as achievable as it will be in 2021 and beyond. That is why it is so important that you begin your application for permanent residency as soon as possible. Remember, it’s always those that get in on the ground floor who benefit most when the elevator reaches the very top.
How We Can Help You Move to Canada
The first step to starting your move to Canada is knowing you are eligible. Once you have confirmation, you can get an idea of where you want to live. You should choose a province which will give you the best chance of success not only in being able to get a job offer, but also with an immigration program for permanent residency in Canada that suits your level of qualifications and the occupation you work in.
With a number of immigration and visa options to choose from, the process can become quite overwhelming and confusing. But it doesn't have to be. By using our accredited Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) you will not only improve your chances of success in the visa application process, but you will get expert advice on which program is best for your specific needs. Our RCICs are highly qualified and are granted permission by the ICCRC to assist you with your eligibility evaluation, review all your documents and application forms, and submit them to the Canadian government for you. Why take the chance of having your application denied because your forms are incorrect or sent in too late.
We take care of the fineprint while you choose your dream destination in Canada for you and your loved ones. All you have to do is complete our application form to receive your eligibility assessment today. It's just that simple.
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