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How to move to Canada

Quebec-City-ParlementThere is much to like about Canada, so it is no wonder that people from diverse countries all over the world want to move there.

Canada welcomed 305,000 new permanent residents in 2016, and approximately 7,500 Americans immigrate each year.

Steps on making the move:

Canada has a lot going for it, and it is one of the most immigrant-friendly countries in the world. Still, it pays to do your homework ahead of time.Follow these guidelines to facilitate your move, prevent delays and avoid unpleasant or costly surprises:

  1. Find employment: Moving to Canada is somewhat simpler if you already have a job there. If the position is covered by the North American Free Trade Agreement, your work permit will be issued when you cross the border.

    If it is not covered under NAFTA, your U.S. passport entitles you to stay in Canada for up to 180 days without applying for a visa. You could use this time to explore the country and consider living arrangements.

  2. Gather your supporting documents and apply for permanent residence status: You will have to provide copies of your passport, birth certificate, the last four years’ tax returns, financial information and proof of reasonable fluency in English. You may also be required to speak at least conversational French if you’re moving to Quebec.

    Your ability to contribute to the economy is a key consideration. The Citizenship and Immigration Canada website outlines several channels to permanent residency such as skilled work, self-employment, startup ventures and investing.

    There is a new initiative called Express Entry that allows newcomers to compete for residency. Your level of education, work experience and income will be evaluated. The highest-ranking individuals are invited to apply for residency, and the process is expedited.

    Visit to investigate your options.

  3. Be patient: While you wait to hear from immigration services, consider practical matters such as moving your belongings, managing the transition of your income taxes and finding out how to register vehicles and get a driver’s license.

    You will not have access to Canadian Medicare until you are granted permanent residence, so be sure that you have coverage in the meantime.

  4. Choose a first-rate moving company: Everything you are having moved must be cleared at the border and again at the customs office nearest to your destination.It pays to contract a reputable moving company that has experience with international moves. Their professionals can help you plan your relocation ahead of time, and you will appreciate their knowledge.

Land and Culture

  • Canada is famous for its majestic mountains, pristine forests and crystal-clear lakes. The four seasons are distinctly lovely, and Canadians make the most of the warm months with a variety of outdoor activities and festivals. Since vast regions of the country remain off-limits to developers, you will not have to venture far to do some stargazing.
  • The natives are warm and relaxed. They are admired for their impeccable manners, willingness to assist others and sense of humor.
  • Art, music and dance, literature and architecture have flourished throughout Canada’s long, colorful history. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recently ranked the country No. 4 in the world for the quality and efficiency of its schools. Research for science, medicine, conservation and other interests is supported with generous funding.
  • There is no shortage of public transportation, especially in bustling metropolitan areas. Most communities are pedestrian- and bike-friendly.
  • As for cuisine, Canada’s is as diverse as its population. Most foods are completely familiar to Americans, but others, the ones that homesick Canadians miss when they travel, are worth trying.
  • Tourtiere is a hearty pie made with minced pork, veal or beef. Potatoes, onions and various herbs round out the flavor. You might at first wrinkle your nose at a common favorite called poutine, but most immigrants are sold on it after one bite. Poutine consists of french fries and cheese curds topped with rich gravy.

Economy and Cost of Living

Canada has the 10th-largest nominal economy in the world, and there are plenty of opportunities on the job front. Cutting-edge technology and engineering companies are attracting top global talent. Canada is also a world leader in entertainment software. Entrepreneurship is encouraged, and venture capital investments are climbing steadily. The service industries, logging, oil production, fishing, and automobile and aircraft manufacturing are thriving.

Comparing the cost of living between Canada and the U.S. is complicated. Average salaries are extremely close, but Canadians earn slightly more. Canada is far less expensive for college and health care. Its social benefits, such as generous paid maternity leave, are impressive. However, housing and most day-to-day expenses, such as groceries, eating out, gasoline and clothing, are slightly more expensive in Canada. In short, major life expenses are more affordable in Canada, but everyday living might cost a little more.

Health Care

Canadian health care is very different from that in the U.S., so do your research to make the best decision for your family. There is a common misconception that health care in Canada is free. It is largely free at the point of use, but universal care is publicly funded through tax dollars. The Canadian government does not participate in care or collect information on patients. Patients are not involved with billing or claims; doctors sort all that out with provincial insurers.  The Canada Health Act does not provide for prescription drugs, dental care, vision care or long-term care. These expenses are paid out-of-pocket or covered by private insurers. This nonprofit system, informally called Medicare, is strongly supported by the population. Two recent surveys revealed that more than 85 percent of the population is satisfied with the program.


Canada’s crime rates are admirably low, particularly for violent crimes. For example, in 2016, the U.S. had around 23 times the homicide rate of Canada.

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