With its stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, and high quality of life, the Great White North has become an enticing destination for retirees hoping to immigrate to Canada. Senior citizens worldwide increasingly consider this land of maple leaves their retirement haven. But is retiring to Canada a possibility? We check out your options for retiring in Canada, explore the benefits of doing so, look at the factors to consider before taking the leap and look at the best retirement places.
Canadian Immigration Pathways For Senior Citizens
If you want to immigrate to Canada as a senior citizen, you must find the right immigration program or visa. You'll find several options available, depending on your circumstances. Let's take a look at the offerings for seniors.
Parent and Grandparent Program
The Parent and Grandparent Program allows parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents to apply for Canadian permanent residency. According to Canada's 2023 to 2025 immigration levels plan, the country plans to welcome 28,000 newcomers under this program in 2023, with a target of 34,000 for 2024 and 36,000 for 2025. Your children or grandchildren can sponsor you if:
- They’re over 18 years old
- They’re a Canadian Permanent Resident, citizen, or a person who is registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
- They have sufficient funds to support you
- They fulfill all criteria set by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations
Express Entry System
While not specifically designed for retirees, the Express Entry System is a popular pathway to Canadian permanent residency. It is a points-based system that considers factors such as age, education, work experience, and language proficiency, so if you are a skilled senior citizen, you could still apply to one of the following programs:
- The Federal Skilled Worker Program
- An immigration program designed to attract skilled workers with the qualifications and experience to help strengthen the Canadian economy.
- The Federal Skilled Trades Program
- A pathway to Canadian permanent residency for skilled workers with experience in a skilled trade.
- You must have at least two years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade within the last five years.
- The Canadian Experience Class
- A pathway to Canadian PR for individuals with skilled work experience in Canada.
- To qualify for this program, you must have at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada, which must have been gained over the last three years.
Note that the programs mentioned above select applicants according to the number of Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points accumulated with their application. And since age is one of the factors considered with Express Entry, it may not be the deciding factor. In fact, you can try to increase your CRS score in other areas, such as:
- Your proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages
- Any further degrees or diplomas. There’s no age limit on earning that master's or doctorate degree, eh?
- Obtaining a Canadian job offer in a skilled occupation. While many Canadians retire early, you may want to continue your professional life once you get to the Great White North.
Express Entry is popular because processing times are short. You can often expect your application procedure to take as little as 6 months.
Provincial Nominee Program
Each province and territory in Canada has its nominee program, which allows them to nominate individuals for permanent residency based on specific criteria. Some provinces may have streams or categories that cater to retirees, which makes it a program for any age group. So take the time to think about which part of Canada you'd like to settle in.
Each of the participating provinces and territories have their own streams and requirements, targeting different candidates, such as:
- Business people
- Skilled workers
- Semi-skilled workers
Provinces and their PNPs
You'll can also apply for a provincial nomination in one of these 11 Canadian provinces:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland & Labrador
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
- Northwest Territories
The Super Visa
The Super Visa is designed for parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents. It is a visa that permits multiple entries into Canada for up to 10 years. When you enter Canada, a border services officer will confirm how long you can stay.
There are specific requirements for a super visa, including the need for medical insurance. You must meet all the criteria to be eligible. You must:
- Be a parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- Obtain a signed letter from your child or grandchild who invites you to Canada that includes details like their promise to support you, details about their household and proof of their status in Canada
- Provide proof of private medical insurance obtained from an insurance company in Canada. The medical insurance must be fully paid, but you can also pay in installments. This insurance must be valid for a minimum of 1 year and provide coverage for your healthcare, hospital stays and the possibility of repatriation.
Factors to Consider When Moving to Canada as a Senior Citizen
Access to HealthcareOne of the key concerns for retirees when considering a move to Canada is access to healthcare. Canada's healthcare system is known for its high standard of care and accessibility. Here are the main healthcare options available for retired seniors in Canada:
- Provincial healthcare coverage
- Each province and territory in Canada has its healthcare plan. Upon obtaining permanent residency or citizenship, you will become eligible for provincial healthcare coverage and gain access to essential medical services.
- Additional health insurance
- While provincial healthcare covers most basic medical services, as a senior citizen you may want to consider additional health insurance to cover expenses such as prescription medications, dental care, and vision care.
- Private healthcare clinics
- Sometimes, you may visit private healthcare clinics to access certain medical services or specialized treatments faster. Private healthcare options can provide additional flexibility and convenience, but it's important to consider the associated costs.
- Long-term care facilities
- For retirees who require long-term care or assisted living services, Canada offers a range of options, such as retirement homes and nursing homes. These facilities provide personalized care and support for seniors with specific healthcare needs.
Cost of Living
Understanding the cost of living is essential to planning your retirement in Canada. While the cost of living tends to vary according to the region you settle in and your lifestyle choices, Canada generally offers a high standard of living. Here are some key factors to consider when assessing the cost of living in Canada for retirees.
- The cost of housing can vary significantly depending on the location. Major cities like Vancouver and Toronto tend to have higher housing costs, while smaller towns and rural areas offer more affordable options.
- Canada's healthcare system is publicly funded, meaning that most basic medical services are covered. However, retirees may need to budget for additional healthcare expenses such as prescription medications and dental care.
- Canada has an extensive transportation network, including public transit systems in major cities and well-maintained highways. The cost of transportation will depend on factors such as vehicle ownership, public transit usage, and travel frequency.
- Food and groceries
- The cost of food and groceries can vary, with prices generally higher in remote areas. Retirees can save money by shopping for groceries at local markets and using seasonal produce.
- Leisure activities
- Canada offers various leisure activities, from cultural events to outdoor adventures. The cost of these activities will vary depending on personal preferences and location.
The Benefits of Living Out Your Golden Years in Canada
Beautiful Open Spaces
Canada is the second largest country in the world. That means you'll have access to 984,670 km2 to wander through during retirement. Whether you like the icy mountains or just strolls through leafy areas, the country is an explorer's paradise.
Plenty of Quiet Areas to Settle in
Canada boasts a safe and secure environment, making it an ideal place to enjoy a peaceful retirement. And if settling away from the bustling cities is your idea of bliss, you'll find plenty of small town in more rural areas.
Same Benefits as Citizens
When you get Canadian permanent residency, you'll enjoy the same benefits as Canadian citizens. You'll be able to work anywhere in the country, should you still wish to. You'll also have access to Canada's Universal Healthcare. Your rights will be protected under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
A Friendly Society
Canada's diverse and inclusive society also provides ample opportunities for seniors to engage in cultural activities, join social groups, and connect with like-minded individuals. Known as one of the friendliest nations in the world, you'll find that you'll be warmly welcomed as a foreign national settling in the Great White North.
The Top Retirement Destinations in Canada
Canada offers a wide range of retirement destinations, each with its unique charm and appeal. Whether you prefer bustling city life or the tranquility of nature, there is a perfect retirement spot waiting for you. Here are some of the top retirement destinations in Canada.
Victoria, British Columbia
Known for its mild climate, stunning gardens, and vibrant arts scene, Victoria, in British Columbia, offers a peaceful and picturesque retirement setting.
As the capital city of Canada, Ottawa in Ontario provides a mix of cultural attractions, beautiful parks, and a thriving culinary scene, making it an ideal choice for retirees seeking a cosmopolitan lifestyle.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Kelowna, British Columbia
Situated in the heart of the Okanagan Valley, Kelowna in British Columbia, boasts beautiful vineyards, lakes, and outdoor recreational opportunities, making it a paradise for anyone wishing to retire to Canada who enjoy an active lifestyle.
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Known for its historic charm, friendly community, and stunning coastal landscapes, Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island Offers a peaceful and idyllic retirement setting.
Can My Dependents be Included in my Super Visa Application When I Retire to Canada?
No. You can't include dependents in.
I Only Plan to Come to Canada Temporarily. Which Pathway Should I Opt For?
If you come for less than six months, you should apply for a Visitor Visa.