Moving to Canada from UK is a complex process.
This being said, it’s probably easier to move to Canada than other countries outside of the EU. This is because Canada has one of the most relaxed immigration policies around.
There are plenty of reasons one might decide to move here. Maybe it’s for the healthier lifestyle, the sheer diversity, or perhaps you’re just fed up of seeing Brexit on the news, everywhere you go.
No matter your reason, it’s essential you’re aware of everything before you leave.
Here is a complete how-to guide for moving to Canada from UK:
1. Visas & Residency
There are several different routes to entering and staying in Canada.
The most common two ways to enter Canada are economic immigration or family reunification. The latter requires a member of family to be living in Canada as either a citizen and a permanent resident.
The former is usually for skilled workers, looking for new job opportunities within Canadian cities/towns.
If you are between 18 and 30, the most common route is the International Experience Canada Program. Out of 65000 chosen for this program every year, 5000 are British.
If you’re an entrepreneur, then maybe you’d consider the Start-Up Visa Program. Through this visa, you could move to Canada and open a business and create jobs, therefore investing in the country as a whole.
On the whole, it’s essential to keep up-to-date with new laws, visa and regulations within Canada to ensure you have the latest information and can make the best-informed decision you can.
2. Quality of Life
Canada is renowned for the quality of life of its citizens.
In fact, Canada has consistently topped the ‘Quality of Life’ category in 2019 Best Countries by U.S News for four years running. This ranking is based on a number of metrics, including economic stability, political stability, family-friendly, health and education system and more.
Canada is ranked highly in plenty of ‘Best countries’ lists, and this is the main reason why so many move here every year.
Whether it’s for family, job prospects or safety, Canada is the place to be.
Slightly different from the UK, but not too dissimilar in specific locations.
The main difference compared to the UK is the extreme temperatures reached in both summer and winter…. And the lack of overcast 24/7.
Remembering the size difference between Canada and the UK, temperatures can vary by 20 degrees from location to location. For example, as this article is written (November 2019), the temperature in Eureka, Nunavut is -35.9oC, while Badger, Newfoundland is 13.9oC. That’s a whopping difference of 49.8oC.
There is one thing to remember, however. Once the temperatures start to drop in Canada, snow tends to follow suit, bringing with it the winter sports that the country is so well known for. It may be worth braving the cold if you’re ready to pick up something new.
Once the final remnants of snow have disappeared from the Rockies, Summer has begun. The ski resorts have closed, the snow has melted, and tourism surges.
Temperatures will lie between 18oC and 25oC, on average, throughout Canada, creating a beautiful temperate climate, allowing you to explore Canada to your fullest extent.
4. Cost of Living
If you’re moving to Canada from UK, you’ll have no problem living comfortably on your earnings.
No longer will you be paying £1.30 per litre; you’ll, instead, be looking at roughly 70p per litre of fuel. If your fuel expenditure was £80 a week, it has now effectively halved to £45.
Another considerable saving is through rent. In Toronto, for example, rent prices are 27% lower than in London. This is often the case, with the average for a one-bedroom apartment inside a city being C$1200 (£750) and C$1000 outside of a main city (£550).
Some of your favourite foods maybe a little more expensive, but on the whole, life here is likely to be much more manageable than the UK.
5. Cost of Moving
Moving to Canada from UK has a variety of fees attached to it dependant on your plans.
If you move here for work, then you will require a work visa at the cost of C$550. If you are looking for permanent residency as well, then this is an extra C$490.
The total here is C$1040, and your spouse/partner will also have to pay this fee if they also wish to opt for permanent residency. If you are bringing your children with you, then it will cost C$150 per child. The final fee is the biometrics fee. This is an additional C$85 a person, or C$170 for a family.
So, for a family of four ( two adults and two children), you would be looking at a total cost of C$2550 (£1499). Considering this covers all your processing fees, biometrics and permanent residency visa documents, this is a small amount to pay to start a new life in a new country.
6. Shipping Your Belongings
When the research for an international removals company begins, you’ll find there is an endless amount of companies waiting to offer you services.
The shipping process by container can take anything from 6-8 weeks. Shared containers may take longer.
Sole use containers generally come in sizes of 20ft, 40ft or 40ft high cube. To give you a rough idea, a 20ft container will fit in all the contents of an average-sized 3-bedroom house.
Because of the time involved in shipping and the need for custom checks to be carried out (see below), you will need to be flexible on arrival. You might be without your possessions for an initial period and will need to plan for this and any other practicalities.
7. Taking Your Pets
Canada, like plenty of other countries, have strict rules when importing pets, and they can refuse entry to any animal if it does not meet important requirements.
The official site has an extensive list of rules, found here. The rules are more relaxed for dogs, depending on their age; while cats need a rabies vaccination certificate and a veterinary certificate.
No matter the animal you bring, no matter how big or small, make sure to do your research and find out how to get your pet here safe and sound.
8. Universal Healthcare System
Healthcare in Canada is brilliant. If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you may apply for public health insurance. This covers most health-care services you’ll encounter in Canada.
Like with the NHS, this healthcare system is paid through your taxes. You will be given a health insurance card, of which you will need to show to the hospital or clinic when you go there.
There is a waiting period, which can be up to 3 months before you receive your healthcare card. During this time, it is of paramount importance that you get private healthcare insurance to cover anything that could happen in the meantime.
9. Education System
Canada has an incredibly well-supported and robust education system.
Like the UK, education is divided into three levels: primary, secondary and post-secondary. Private education and religious schools are also available to those moving to Canada from UK.
Depending on your location, the age of compulsory education varies between 16 and 18, and kindergarten may also be optional. This is how the three levels are broken down:
- Primary school runs from age 6/7 to 13/14
- Secondary School runs from age 14/15 to 17/18
- Post-secondary education is any age after this.
Post-secondary education includes Universities and colleges throughout Canada. There are plenty to choose from, with some internationally renowned universities found within Toronto, Ottawa, and elsewhere.
10. Canadian Economy
The Canadian economy is the 10th strongest economy in the world.
The level of unemployment here is very low and is showing a promising outlook for the future. Previous years have seen a 3% growth in the economy; however, this year, it is expected to see a 2.1% growth.
Moving to Canada from UK is a good investment in your future. With its stable economy rating being exceedingly high, you can live a comfortable yet adventurous life here in Canada.
11. Wealth Divide
In Canada, the difference in wealth between the top 10% of earners and the bottom 10% is significant.
As noted by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), the top 10% earn roughly 8.6 times that of the bottom 10%.
While this is significant, this is lower than both the United States and the United Kingdom.
12. GBP to CAD Exchange Rate
Before Brexit, the British Pound was much stronger than the Canadian Dollar, standing at 2.06 GBP/CAD. Now, the value stands at 1.7CAD to GBP, which is an increase in strength for the dollar.
The currency market, like any market, is volatile; however, the pound has stayed rather steady over the past two years, fluctuating between 1.6 and 1.8.
Keeping an eye on the exchange market is key in getting the most bang for your buck, so be sure to keep track if you’re planning on moving to Canada soon.
13. Transferring Money
Before you move any money abroad, you’ll need to set up a bank account in Canada. As with banks in the UK, each one will offer different incentives to join them, so be sure to do your research before opening one.
Normally to open a bank account, you’ll have to visit the bank in person. Next, you would provide two pieces of ID, from a list of accepted documents.
After this, you will have opened a bank. You can now transfer your funds from your UK to your new bank; however this may take many days so be aware of the time periods required.
The public sector side of the Canadian government is known as the federal bureaucracy.
This type of government dots all the ‘I’s and crosses every ‘t’. This ensures that everything is done to the letter. The federal bureaucracy in Canada is the largest employer at roughly 250,000 employees.
Some Canadians consider it all to be red tape, in that, going through this process creates plenty of delays and is inefficient as a whole.
15. Making Friends
As with moving anywhere, it sometimes proves difficult to make new friends.
However, moving to Canada from UK makes this process much easier. Canadians are amicable people, and while Canada is a bilingual nation, English is the most spoken language here.
When you’ve decided on your house to rent/buy, start looking into the local community, join clubs, contact your new next-door neighbours, go to the pub for a drink.
There are plenty of ways to make new friends in Canada, and this is made even easier by the welcoming and warm nature of Canadians.
16. Expat Community
Canada is the second most popular destination for British expats to relocate to.
Brits make up 650,000 of the expat community in Canada, that’s roughly 1% of the population of the UK!
With such a large number of Brits in Canada, you’ll likely bump into someone before you know it. The experience of those expats who live there can also be drawn from on sites like Expat.
17. Entertainment & Leisure
Canada has a lot to offer anyone willing to relocate here. From Cirque du Soleil and the Commodore Ballroom to Bard on the Beach and Theatre Under the Stars, plenty is going on both inside and outside.
With entertainment complexes cropping up everywhere, most cities and large towns won’t have to travel far to enjoy themselves for the day.
If you’re more of an adventurist, then Canada is the place for you. Hike the high trails of the Canadian Rockies; follow the Canadian cowboy trail; relive the Canadian goldrush or tackle the ultimate arctic wildlife adventure.
Canada is 41 times bigger than the UK, with half the population, meaning the green space, national parks, mountain ranges and rainforests are extraordinary in size and leave much to be explored.
18. Eating Out
London has an array of foods and cuisines from all over the world. But that doesn’t compare when it comes to Canada.
Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are home to some of the best restaurants in the continent of America. From Japanese and Chinese to Mexican and Puerto Rican; food from all over the world can be found here, but the best part is that the recipes reflect almost precisely what the originating country meant for the dish to be.
No added spices here, or herbs here. Exactly as it was meant to be. If you’re a foodie, moving to Canada from UK may have just been the best thing you’ve ever done.
19. Cultural Differences
Coming from London, you’ll notice one thing immediately. There is far more space, there is much less crowding, with even the tube having empty carriages.
You’ll notice that, like everywhere, Canadians have their own lingo for certain things. For example, one dollar is also a ‘loonie’, and trousers are now ‘pants’.
Depending where you come from in the UK, you may be exposed to more diversity than you’ve ever seen before. Canada boasts the highest number of foreign-born citizens than any other G8 country, with Canadians only making up 32.32% of the population.
20. Renting Property
When moving to Canada from UK, many families, couples, young professionals or retirees prefer to rent somewhere first.
This allows them to get an idea of the area and decide whether it is right for them. With so many brilliant properties available from flats/condos to mansions; there is plenty of choice.
The average rent price in Canada stands at 2.96% higher than the average rent price in the UK. While rent prices will vary from place to place, it’s also dependant on what type of property you wish to rent.
In Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, the average rent for a one-bedroom flat inside and outside the city centre is C$1375 (£806) and C$1067(£630) respectively. Compare this to Montreal where inside the city centre and outside the centre costs C$1275 (£747) and C$785 (£460) respectively; the price of renting will vary dramatically.
21. Buying Property
The first step in purchasing property in Canada is to choose the location you want to live in. Each city offers different benefits, so do your research and find the right one for you.
Different finance options will be available to you, depending on whether you are a permanent resident or not. Your best bet is to hire the services of a local real estate agent, to help guide you through the processes and fees required to buy a house in Canada.
Having a realtor in Canada will make your life far more straightforward, as many of the difficulties that come with buying a house overseas will disappear.
22. Career Opportunities
The opportunities in Canada are vast and expansive. If you have a skill of any sort, the likelihood is that you’ll be needed.
The list of Canada’s high demand occupations ranges from managers and legislators to animal health technologists and opticians. The highest in demand sector is management job profiles and legislators.
You will find excellent job prospects here, with a high quality of life to go along with it.
23. Working Environment
Canada is very strict with its employment laws, in a good way.
The Canadian government promotes “safe, healthy, cooperative and productive workplaces”, with the labour programme being responsible for protecting the rights of both workers and employers.
There are ten public holidays throughout the year and even more at a provincial level. On top of this, if you are working over 8 hours a day, or over 44 hours in the week (whichever is greater), then this is overtime which must be paid as such.
In Canada, the tax system is similar to England. You are charged different amounts on each section of your earnings. For example at £55k, you’d pay 20% up to £46350 and 40% on the last £8,650.
In Canada it works the same; however there are five tax brackets:
- $0 – $47630 = 15%
- $47630 – $95259 = 20.5%
- $95259 – $147667 = 26%
- $147667 – $210371 = 29%
- $210371 + = 33%
If you secure a job within the third tax bracket, you are earning a minimum of £55,000 a year and only paying a maximum of 26% tax on your wages. Comparing this to the UK, you’ll find you have far more money left over at the end of each month.
25. Pensions & Retiring in Canada
Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) is Canada’s social insurance program, offering those who invest money into this fund a retirement pension you’ll receive for the rest of your life.
CPP payments are not automatic; you must apply for it. Once you reach the age of 60, you’re CPP will become available to you.
On top of this, you can still work while receiving your CPP, and you can still make contributions up until the age of 70.
26. Driving in Canada
You can drive a car in Canada with a full UK driving licence; however, individual provinces and territories may require you to have an International Driving Permit, and this only allows you to drive for a limited time period.
For example, in Alberta, you’ll have to surrender your UK Driving Licence for a Canadian one, and you must provide proof that you’ve been driving for at least two years.
Moving to Canada from UK means you’ll now be driving on the right-hand side of the road. Dealing with the narrowness of streets in Britain means you will be a well-accomplished driver here in Canada.
27. Voting in Elections
When you move overseas, you can still vote on some elections within the UK.
You will have to register as an overseas voter, and you can register for up to 15 years after leaving the UK.
Of course, you can still vote in the usual way at a polling station; it will just require a quick flight back to the UK.
If you only wish to become a permanent resident in Canada and not a citizen, then you do not have the right to vote in Canadian elections.
28. Becoming a Citizen
To apply for citizenship within Canada, you must have lived there as a permanent resident for at least 1095 days (three years) out of the last five years before you apply.
If you satisfy this condition, then you can apply online to become a Canadian citizen. This will require you to pass a citizenship test, you will then provide fingerprints, and a decision will be made if you have passed.
29. Crime & Safety
On the whole, Canada is an incredibly safe country, and travellers here should have nothing to worry about when getting around.
Canada is ranked 8th out of 162 countries by SafeAround in the ‘Safest and most dangerous countries’ list. Out of the eight categories Canada was judged on, the highest danger level was a ‘medium’, and this was in the natural disaster’s category.
30. Emergency Services
The emergency services of specific towns and cities are under the control of the province or territory it is in.
Just like USA, dial 911 if you ever require emergency services. You will typically have to pay for the services of an ambulance; however, they are sometimes covered by your health plan. For example, in Ontario, an ambulance costs C$240, but the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) covers the majority of the cost.
The wait times in ER can be quite long, but you do have other alternative options to ER, which are urgent care centres as well as home care doctors, a house call service which is free and could be covered by your insurance policy.
Need a Hand Moving?
Moving abroad is stressful for all involved. That’s why White & Company are here to help your move be smooth and stress-free.
Our experience is second to none. As members of BAR, FIDI and OMNI, White & Company have been relocating people to destinations worldwide for 145 years.
Our experienced teams located across the UK will pack and prepare your valuable, fragile and bulky furniture ready for export
To find out more about how we could get your dream move underway, don’t hesitate to give us a call today. Alternatively, fill out a quick quote form or chat with our Bot and we’ll get in touch with you straight away.