Moving abroad can be an attractive prospect for so many reasons. You can move for work, for school, to follow love, or just to get a fresh start somewhere new. But moving is a huge undertaking, especially if you’re moving to an entirely new country.
There are pros and cons to every country, but Canada is a popular choice, particularly for expats from the United States. With beautiful natural scenery, universal healthcare and progressive politics, there’s a lot attracting new residents to the Great White North. But, like anywhere else, there are downsides as well. Read on to learn all about the pros and cons of living in Canada.
Living in Canada comes with a lot of perks. Here are some of the biggest ones.
Canada has the 10th largest economy in the world, and it’s a country known for its economic freedom. Starting a business in Canada is a straightforward process, and with such a strong, healthy economy, there’s a lot of opportunity for your new business to succeed. If you’re not starting your own business, don’t worry! The employment market in Canada is as strong as the economy, and unemployment in Canada is lower than many other parts of the world.
You knew this was coming. Canada’s free universal healthcare system is considered an example for much of the world. Of course, free doesn’t entirely mean free — it’s funded by tax dollars that come out to around C$4,000 a year for a single person. Still, paying those taxes means you can see a doctor, get your eyes checked, go to the emergency room and more without paying a direct fee.
Since 1991, Canada’s general crime rate has been steadily declining. Violent crime is rare in Canada, which makes it one of the safest countries in the world.
Canada’s public school system has a reputation for quality, and it’s free for all residents up to their high school graduation. University prices are a little higher than in Europe, where many universities are subsidized by tax money, but still far more affordable for residents than many US colleges.
Canada boasts some of the most beautiful and scenic landscapes in the world. The opportunity for outdoor recreation is abundant, from hiking and biking to skiing and fishing, kayaking and sailing. Just about any outdoor activity you can think of can be done in Canada, and in a beautiful setting to boot.
The people of Canada have a worldwide reputation for being friendly, kind and welcoming. Canada is also well-respected on the world stage, due in part to its progressive politics.
Now that you know all the reasons you should move to Canada, let’s talk about some of the things that might deter you from moving to the Great White North.
Yes, the healthcare system in Canada is both a pro and a con — it’s a double-edged sword. While it’s praised for providing basic and necessary care at no cost to residents, elective procedures and long-term care can have long wait times, especially in larger cities.
Canada is definitely a country with a lot of government regulation — even small things like the amount of trans fat that can be in a restaurant meal, is dictated by the government. Many people consider Canadian regulations to be an overreach, and would prefer fewer rules to follow and less government interference in their lives.
Compared to many other parts of the world, the cost of living in Canada is high. Taxes are pretty steep (even though they fund universal healthcare), and rents tend to be high, especially in bigger cities like Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto.
Canada is known for tough immigration laws — it only allows in 250,000 immigrants and refugees each year. Getting a visa to work in Canada is a lengthy, complicated process, and fees can cost you up to C$1,500 for a single visa. Things are a little easier for skilled workers, but if you can’t prove you’re going to add value to Canada’s economy, getting a work visa will be an uphill battle.
Juggling lives between two nations? Want to save money? TransferWise borderless multi-currency accounts could help.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and move to Canada, TransferWise may be able to help you access your money in your new home. When you send money internationally through a bank or a traditional money transfer service, you can expect exchange rate markups of 4-5%, a hidden cost that you’ll have to pay. With TransferWise, you get the real mid-market rate, or the exact rate you see when you Google it, and you only have to pay a small, fair transfer fee that you agree to upfront.
TransferWise also offers borderless multi-currency accounts, which allow you to send, receive and manage money in multiple global currencies all at once, including Canadian dollars. In 2018, borderless account holders will have access to consumer debit cards, making it even easy to access their money from different parts of the world.
A move to Canada is something a lot of people only dream about. The quality of life and beautiful landscapes make Canada an appealing home for so many people around the world, despite the country’s drawbacks. If you’re still considering a move to Canada, this information should help you know what to expect from your new home country. Wherever you end up, good luck with your move!
The cost of living in Canada varies widely from region to region. This 2020 guide outlines what you can expect in terms of living costs.
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