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Canada always ranks highly in the list of best places to live and best places to emigrate to – and with good reason. People are moving to Canada for the healthy outdoor lifestyle, the scenery, the space, the jobs and the well-run public services. It also has a reputation as a great supporter of equal opportunities, making it a good destination for women and LGBT travellers, and a wonderful place for students and entrepreneurs.

It ranked at six in the 2017 HSBC Expat Explorer Survey and at two in the 2018 Best Countries Report produced in the US.

But making a move overseas rarely comes with no problems at all. Here are 10 top tips – five practical and five cultural – to make a move to Canada even smoother:

Practical considerations

Think about the language

Canada is a bilingual country, with both English and French spoken. But that doesn’t mean every region speaks both languages. New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual city while Quebec is predominately French-speaking and many other territories primarily speak English. So, make sure you research properly before deciding where to live. You can find out more about living in French speaking Canada here.

Know the visa rules

If you are planning on moving to Canada a visa will be required. Special working visas are available for start-ups, for immigrant investors, the self-employed, caregivers and skilled workers. Express is also available for some skilled trades. Canadian citizenship is available for those who have been there six years (and who can show they spent at least four of those in the country) and can speak English or French.

Research where to buy property

Property prices in major Canadian cities have been rising and there can be huge differences in the cost of getting into the property market depending on which territory you choose. Vancouver and Toronto are regarded as the most expensive. However, rental payments are often cheaper than in the UK.

Don’t disregard the weather

It’s easy to forget that it gets very cold in the winter in Canada – as low as -40 degrees centigrade in some regions. That may take some preparation and be out of the comfort zone of visitors from the UK where the difference between the seasons is far less pronounced. In the summer, midges and mosquitoes can be a big problem in some areas.

Understand the healthcare system

Canada has a publicly-funded healthcare system but that doesn’t mean it’s the same as the NHS. It is based on a network of health insurance plans which provide free primary care to citizens only. Most people also have extra insurance to cover additional health needs. So, ensure you are properly covered when moving to Canada.

Cultural considerations

Remember the need to be polite

Canadians pride themselves on being polite and respectful, it’s part of their national identity. So saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ is extremely important – and criticism can often been sugar-coated. UK culture is similar but for those used to more direct and ‘up front’ communication it may take a while to navigate.

Don’t confuse Canadians with Americans

It would be easy to think from far away that Canada and America have a shared culture, but that’s far from the truth. It’s rather like saying that because England and France are next to each other they are both the same.

Understand the tipping etiquette

In the UK, tipping is often reserved only for ‘exceptional’ service and even then there is a culture of ‘rounding up’ rather than sticking to a set percentage. In Canada, tipping in service industries (cafés, restaurants and taxis for instance) is expected at 15 per cent. Not tipping at all can be seen as rude, so get to grips with the tipping culture.
Obey and understand the smoking laws Canadians have a love affair with the great outdoors and with clean air – so they can be passionate about respecting smoking laws. Smoking is banned in all public places. Effectively you can only smoke at home and in large outdoor spaces.

Be prepared for friendly people

Canadians like to think of themselves as friendly and you can expect them to start up conversations freely in bars and restaurants. For those used to living in London it might seem a bit strange at first! But it’s genuine.


Considering moving to Canada? Crown Relocations can help with your move! Visit our website to find out more.

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