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Moving to Canada

A Comprehensive Guide on Relocating to Canada

Nicknamed “The Great White North”, Canada second largest country in the world with a large amount of frozen Arctic tundra and snow. So, if it’s been your dream to relocate up north, our comprehensive guide will help you learn all the necessary steps and requirements for moving to Canada. We even throw in a few funny facts for good measure too, so keep reading!

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

Are you wondering how to organize an international move to Canada? Both your home country and the country you are currently living in will determine how hard or easy it is for you to enter the Great White North. Canada offers an Express Entry System into the country for skilled workers. In this useful guide, you will quickly discover why moving here is very popular among expats. For starters, there are many great benefits to residing in Canada apart from great work opportunities.

Canada’s top cities consistently rank in the top 50 of the Mercer Quality of Living Survey with Vancouver scoring third place. On the InterNations Expat Insider 2019 survey, the country ranked number 11 under Quality of Life, and number 10 under Safety and Security. This, along with many other reasons, is what makes Canada such a wonderful country to live in. What else do you need to convince you to move to Canada?

Even though Canada sounds like heaven on earth, the process of relocating there as not always straightforward. This guide outlines essential things expats need to know when moving to Canada, such as information on the relocation process, visas and work permits, housing, healthcare, banks and taxes, education, work, and living.



Whether you are moving abroad for the first time or relocated multiple times before, the process raises many questions. Our complete guide to relocation will ease your doubts along the way, from the initial preparations to how to negotiate a relocation package, we help you GO! prepared with the key answers.

The process of moving to Canada is anything but simple, however, rest assured that this relocation section makes preparing for your expat adventure abroad much more manageable. If you are looking for information on moving, shipping, and storing household goods in Canada, this section has that and more, including how to import your car and ship large furniture.

Before you start packing your bags, you will need to make sure you have a full understanding of customs laws and rules. For example, what are the limits on alcohol and tobacco? What food is prohibited? Fun Fact: Did you know that you can bring cheese into Canada as long as it is smaller than 20kg?

Perhaps you have a fluffy, four-legged friend tagging along with you. We explain all you need to know when moving to Canada with pets. We even include which breeds are banned such as the American Staffordshire Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier, and other crosses.

Man’s best friend is not the only one with recommended vaccinations for moving to Canada. This relocating section goes over the Canadian vaccinations requirements for immigration, including the medical exam and what you can expect during it. For example, be prepared to fill out a medical questionnaire, and physical test which will include measuring your weight, height, testing your hearing and vision, and more.

Surely all of this is bound to cost you some money. How much should you be budgeting for your relocation to Canada? This section provides an overview of work permit fees, pet relocation costs, and even duty you may need to pay upon arrival. This way you can get a sense of just how much you should be saving and putting aside before your big migration to the Great White North.

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Visas & Work Permits

When moving to Canada, you will need to figure out how to get a Canadian visa and work permit. Admittedly, this will prompt lots of questions regarding the Canadian visa application process, visa requirements, types of visas, and even the costs. Rest assured, the fee for a Canadian work permit visa is 155 CAD (117 USD).

As a worker wishing to come to Canada, the type of work permit visa you apply for depends on the kind of work you do. There is a particular way for skilled workers and business people to enter the country, and even methods for your families to come along with you under the family visa. This is what is known as the country’s Express Entry system which we cover in depth in this section. Wishing to be a self-employed worker? There are requirements and a process for that too. Did you know, that to apply for a self-employment visa, you will have to have at least 100,000 CAD (75,235 USD) in assets?

If you are someone wishing to relocate to Canada permanently, this section will explain how to apply for a permanent resident card and a temporary residence visa (TRV) (also known as a visitor visa). What about the country’s immigration point system? What are the sorts of things you will be ranked on? In Canada, their point system is known as the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). It assesses applicants based on language skills, education, professional experience, age, employment, and more.

This section answers many more of these questions and covers other information – from work permits, permanent residence application, and the various immigration programs Canada has to offer.

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Finding accommodation in Canada is one of the first things an expat will have to think about when planning a move to the Great White North. The good news about Canada is that it is a country with lots of options and types of houses, including long- and short-term rentals, and furnished and unfurnished apartments. The bad news? It has been hit a housing crisis. Because of Canada’s growing popularity, more and more expats are flocking here. This causes housing scarcity and property prices to spike. Especially the most popular cities in Canada are having a hard time creating more living space. For Vancouver, it is geographically difficult to grow a city that is enclosed by the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. 

Rest assured, this section will explain how housing in Canada works including information on how to rent or buy a house as a foreigner. 

This section also goes over average house prices and average rent costs across major cities in Canada. This way you will have a better grasp of the real estate market before you commit to anything. For example, did you know that the country’s most affordable city is Windsor, Ontario? In this southernmost city, you pay 750 CAD (564 USD) for a one-bedroom apartment and 990 CAD (744 USD) for a two-bedroom. Meanwhile, according to Rental.ca’s National Rent Ranking report for January 2020, Vancouver and Toronto are the most expensive Canadian cities to rent in. A three-bedroom in Metro Vancouver can cost up to 4,000 CAD (3,000 USD). The average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in British Columbia’s largest city is 2,900 CAD (2,170 USD). 

 Wondering how to get in touch with your family once you arrive? Surely, they will want to know you have made it safe and sound to your new home away from home. This section has got you covered with information on utilities in Canada and different providers such as Rogers and Bell. You will be able to set up your internet, mobile phone, and television in no time after reading this useful housing section. 

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The healthcare system and health insurance in Canada can be tricky for an expat. While getting sick might be the last thing you want to think about as you are preparing for your expat adventure aboard, it is indeed important to consider and be knowledgeable about. You never know what can happen.

Canada has free public healthcare available only to its permanent residents and citizens.
After registering as a Canadian resident, you will have to wait on average three months  until you are eligible for public healthcare. Until then, you will want to make sure you are covered under some sort of international insurance plan – otherwise, costs for any medical services will be extremely pricey. For example, a non-resident can pay up to 5,000 CAD (3,759 USD) per day should they find themselves in need of hospital stay.

This section gives a clear overview of all of this including the functions of the country’s healthcare system, getting health insurance in Canada, and how to find a doctor, dentists, and other specialists. Be prepared to wait a while to see a medical professional in this country. The country’s wait times for a doctor is one of the system’s major cons and, in comparison to other developed countries, Canada has the longest average wait times.

This section even covers information on giving birth in Canada should you find yourself pregnant while abroad. Like with everything else, you will want to make sure you have some type of health insurance as an expat if you plan on having a baby there.

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Banks & Taxes

Opening a bank account in Canada is a necessity in this day and age, and it will undoubtedly make your everyday life as an expat much easier. Thankfully it is very easy—even for non-residents and expats! This section gives an overview of the documents you will need, especially if you are a non-resident, to successfully open a bank account. Typically, you will require your passport, immigration papers, a second piece of identification, and Social Insurance Number.

This section also goes over the best banks in Canada for non-residents and the country’s tax system. Are you already wondering how much your tax rate would be? The good news about Canada is that it has tax treaties with a number of countries around the world so, as an expat, you avoid double taxation. 

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International schools in Canada are abundant. Expat parents wishing to enroll their kids in one need look no further. This section provides a list of some of the best schools in the country including international schools, primary schools, secondary schools, universities—even language schools! 

After reading this section, you will have a better understanding of the diverse education and school system in Canada. 

If the question is, whether to enroll your children in a public or private school? The major difference will be school costs. While public schools are funded by the government and free, private education can cost you anywhere between 4,000 CAD (3,000 USD) to 26,000 CAD (19,550 USD) in tuition fees annually. 

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If you have been wondering what it would be like to work in Canada, then this section, filled with career and job search tips, is for you. From how to get a job in Canada to self-employment, you will find every information you will need to land a job or set up shop.  

Engineers looking for new opportunities will be happy to know their salary will be among the highest in the country. The average salary varies across Canada depending on the sector you work in and even the region in which you live. While engineers earn on average 73,410 CAD (54,710 USD), people working in healthcare and social services only earn on average 58,840 CAD (43,850). 

 This section gives information on the most in-demand jobs in the country along with salary details and an overview of the Canadian social security, business culture, and job market. The latter has been experiencing an upward trend. If you are a skilled worker, look for jobs in the IT, manufacturing, service, real estate, or communications sectors. These are all important industries to Canada and have been growing in the past years. 


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Is living in Canada expensive? The answer is yes, it can be moderately costly to live in the Great White North. Although there are many pros to living in the Great White North, the high cost of living is definitely one of the cons.  Be aware that the most expensive cities are Toronto and Vancouver, however wages are higher. To find our more read our cost of living articles about Toronto and Vancouver.

In this section, we discuss the benefits (healthcare and nature) and the disadvantages (cost of living, strict immigration rules) of living in Canada, so you can approach a possible move there with your eyes wide open.

Along with this, you will find information on cultural and social etiquette to help you avoid an embarrassing social faux pas, plus information on driving and public transportation in Canada. Did you know that Vancouver does not have highways within city limits? Be prepared to be stuck in traffic a lot.

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Updated on: September 28, 2021

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Once we've helped you move to Canada, we can make you feel at home by introducing you to other expats who have already settled and are part of our Canada Community. Attend our monthly events and activities in Canada and get to know like-minded expats in real life.

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