Embarking on a journey to become a Canadian citizen, one must navigate the mosaic of Canadian society, a tapestry woven with official languages and a respect for the multicultural ethos that Canada runs on. Nestled between the Atlantic and the Pacific, the nation’s heartbeat is its cities – from the cultural vibrancy of Toronto to the European flair of Montreal, each city adds a distinct thread to the national fabric.
Language skills are the keys that unlock the full Canadian experience. For new immigrants, language classes are often the first step toward integration, whether they are from English-speaking countries like Australia and New Zealand or from other countries where French or English is not the primary tongue. Free assessment of language skills and language tests are readily available, ensuring that even those born abroad can fast-track their way into the Canadian fold.
Expat life in Canada’s cities like Calgary, with its proximity to the majestic Rocky Mountains, offers a lifestyle choice that balances urban living with the wilds of nature. Here, large numbers of parents find solace in the safety and the quality of social services provided, from public transport that makes renting in the city and walking to work a feasible option, to the healthcare system that treats everyone from kids to seniors with care, whether they’re covered by provincial sales tax or not.
For those looking to explore Canada for short periods, a visitor’s visa opens the door to a land vast and diverse. Located close to the US border, cities like Toronto echo the hustle of places like New York, yet stand apart with a distinctly open-minded Canadian touch. Banking on being prepared is key – understanding the cost of living, the difference that the cold can make, and how being aware of the lifestyle choices affects daily life is crucial.
Relocating to Canada, therefore, is not just about the physical move across borders or over mountains. It’s about joining a nation that is generally regulated but also open to the winds of change. It’s about embracing a society that is as respectful of its land as it is of the various cultures that join the mosaic. Whether one is cycling through the streets of France or walking the Rocky Mountains, the spirit of Canada is about being open to the rest of the world.
Living in Canada means being part of a society that fast tracks those prepared to contribute, that offers top tips for thriving to newcomers, and where being a resident can feel as natural as in one’s home country. From the labor markets to the healthcare system, from the vastness of Ontario to the regulated sectors like medication, every aspect of life is covered with a uniquely Canadian brand of respect and care – even for refugees.
So, whether you hail from the mountains of France, the coasts of Australia, or the plains of Zealand, becoming a Canadian citizen is a gateway to a nation proud of its linguistic duality, its inclusive society, and its willingness to embrace newcomers with open arms. Here, the difference is celebrated, the land is revered, and the people, from seniors to kids, are treated with the utmost respect, eventually making Canada not just a place to live, but a place to call home.
The Pros and Cons of Living in Canada
Living in Canada offers numerous advantages, but as with any country, there can be some downsides. It’s important to note that these pros and cons can vary depending on individual preferences, circumstances, and the specific region within Canada.
The pros of living in Canada
- High quality of life: Canada consistently ranks highly in terms of quality of life due to its excellent health care system, well-developed infrastructure, and social welfare programs.
- Safety: Canada is considered one of the safest countries in the world, with low crime rates and a stable political environment.
- Universal healthcare: The Canadian healthcare system provides universal access to healthcare services to every citizen and permanent resident, regardless of their income or employment status. It covers many services, including doctor visits, hospital care, diagnostic tests, preventive care, and some prescription drugs, depending on the Canadian province. This comprehensive coverage ensures that individuals can access necessary healthcare services without incurring substantial out-of-pocket costs.
- Multicultural society: Canada is known for its cultural diversity and tolerance. The country embraces immigrants and offers a welcoming environment for individuals from various backgrounds.
- Education: Canada has reputable educational institutions, including universities and colleges, known for their academic excellence and research opportunities. It’s worth noting that permanent residents’ children can attend public schools for free.
- Natural beauty: Canada boasts stunning natural landscapes, including mountains, forests, lakes, and coastlines, such as the Banff National Park in Alberta. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a wide range of recreational activities throughout the country.
- Strong economy: Canada has a stable and prosperous economy with opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship. It is known for its resource-based industries, the technology sector, and strong financial system.
The cons of living in Canada
- Harsh winters: Many parts of Canada experience long and cold winters, which can be challenging for those not accustomed to extreme cold temperatures.
- Cost of living: While the cost of living varies across the country, some major Canadian cities, such as Vancouver and Toronto, can be quite expensive, especially in terms of housing.
- Unfavorable exchange rate: The unfavorable exchange rate in Canada makes it challenging for immigrants from other developed countries, as it reduces the value of their foreign currency savings when converting them to Canadian dollars. In October 2023, the exchange rate of CAD $1 is $0.73.
- Limited job opportunities in certain regions: While Canada has a strong economy, some remote or less populated areas may have limited job opportunities compared to major urban centers.
- High taxes: Canada has a progressive tax system, and tax rates can be relatively high compared to other countries.
- Lengthy immigration process: While Canada is known for its welcoming stance on immigration, the immigration process can be lengthy and complex, requiring patience and thorough documentation.
How difficult is it to move to Canada?
Migrating to Canada can be a complex process, but it is important to note that the Canadian government offers various immigration programs designed to attract skilled workers, students, and individuals with family connections. The difficulty of migrating to Canada depends on several factors, including the specific immigration program you are applying under, your eligibility, and the demand for your skills.
The country has several immigration pathways, such as Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), Family Sponsorship, and Study Permits. Each program has its own eligibility criteria, requirements, and application processes.
In general, you will need to meet specific eligibility requirements, including factors like age, education, work experience, language proficiency (English and/or French), and adaptability. The Express Entry system, which manages economic immigration programs, utilizes a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Candidates are awarded points based on various factors, and a higher CRS score increases the likelihood of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence.
The demand for immigration to Canada fluctuates depending on the specific skills and occupations needed in the country.
To find out more about the visas and immigration opportunities available, you can read the following articles:
Is living in Canada worth it?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as it depends on many factors, such as your specific circumstances, where you used to live previously, personal preferences, life goals, and so on.
Living in Canada can be worth it due to its high quality of life, excellent healthcare and education systems, multicultural society, and strong economy. The country offers a safe and stable environment, abundant opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, and a welcoming attitude toward immigrants. Its natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and numerous recreational activities enhance the appeal.
However, Canada living also means having to cope with harsh winters and high living costs. It may be beneficial to visit the country, research the specific region you are considering, and connect with individuals who have firsthand experience living there to better understand what it would be like for you.
How long do you have to live in Canada to be Canadian?
To become a Canadian citizen, you must meet certain residency requirements. You must have lived in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 1,095 days (three years) within the five years immediately before applying for citizenship.
It’s important to note that there are additional eligibility criteria, such as language proficiency and knowledge of Canada. You may also need to demonstrate your intent to reside in Canada after becoming a citizen. Once you become a citizen, you will be able to have a Canadian Passport, the 8th most powerful passport in the world, according to our Global Passport Index.
Canadian citizenship eligibility criteria
- Be a permanent resident
- Meet Canada’s physical presence requirements (three years of presence during the five previous years)
- File your taxes (if necessary)
- Pass a Canadian citizenship test (if you are between the ages of 18-54)
- Prove your language skills (if you are between the ages of 18-54)
- Permanent resident status
- In order to apply for Canadian citizenship, you must be permanently residing in Canada, having lived in the country for at least three years (1,095 days) out of the past five years before application. Children under 18 must also have permanent resident status but do not have to satisfy the three-year requirement.
Life in Canada
Canada is characterized by its vastness, with the country being the second largest in the world. More than 80 percent of Canadians choose to reside in vibrant cities, and a significant majority, more than two-thirds of the population, live within 100 kilometers of the southern border. What truly sets Canada apart, though, is its exceptional quality of life: Canadians consistently enjoy one of the highest standards of living globally and frequently rank among the top ten happiest nations in the world. This combination of natural beauty, urban opportunities, and overall well-being makes living in Canada truly remarkable
Weird Things About Living in Canada
When you live in a different country, it is usually the little unique things that make the experience more interesting. Here are a few things that non-Canadians may find peculiar in the local culture or daily life.
Poutine: Poutine is a Canadian dish of french fries topped with cheese curds and smothered in gravy. It might seem strange to some, but it’s a beloved comfort food in Canada and can be found on menus nationwide.
Bagged milk: In some parts of Canada, particularly Ontario, and parts of the Maritimes, milk is sold in bags rather than traditional cartons or jugs. These bags are placed in a pitcher or container, and a corner is cut off to pour the milk.
Apologizing: Canadians are often stereotypically known for being polite and saying “sorry” frequently. It has become a running joke that Canadians apologize for almost everything, even when it might not be necessary.
Love for maple syrup: This is a quintessential Canadian product, and Canadians have a deep affection for it. It is not just limited to pancakes; it can be found in various dishes and desserts, and festivals celebrating this “liquid gold” are popular events across the country.
Hockey fandom: Hockey is more than just a sport in Canada; it is a national obsession. Canadians take pride in their NHL teams, and conversations about hockey can be found everywhere, from workplaces to family gatherings.
Winter activities: Embracing the long, cold winters, most Canadians enjoy a variety of winter activities. Ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, and tobogganing are common pastimes during the winter months.
“Eh”: The interjection “eh” is often associated with Canadians. It is a linguistic quirk used to seek agreement or to invite others into a conversation. It’s a distinctive part of Canadian English.
Caesars: This traditional Canadian drink is fundamentally a bloody mary with clam juice in it.
What do you need to live in Canada?
In the first place, if you are planning on living in Canada but are not a Canadian citizen, you will need the appropriate immigration status to live in the country legally. This can include being a permanent resident, a temporary resident with a valid visa or permit, or having a valid work permit or study permit, depending on your circumstances.
Once you have your immigration legal status and documentation sorted, then it’s time to start planning your life in Canada. There are many things to think about, but the first things you should consider are:
A place to live: This could involve renting a house or apartment, purchasing property, or exploring other housing options. Consider location, affordability, and proximity to amenities and services.
Living costs and income: Do some research on living costs in the different regions of Canada, and then check your sources of income or employment opportunities.
Health coverage: Keep in mind that Canadian citizens and permanent residents have access to universal health care (although roughly two-thirds of Canadians have health insurance in order to cover additional services), while temporary residents and visitors may require private health insurance.
Driver’s license: The process of obtaining a Canadian driver’s license varies based on the province or territory where you plan to reside. Typically, getting a Canadian driver’s license involves completing a written examination and demonstrating your driving skills through a practical test.
Once you arrive in your new country, embrace Canadian culture, norms, and values, and be open to integrating into the local community. Speaking both English and French may be helpful in your adaptation to certain Canadian cities, so consider taking some language lessons. Make friends, try the typical foods, and build a new life in Canada.
Living in Canada With Family
Living in Canada offers a wealth of opportunities for a fulfilling life for you and your family members. With its safe environment, quality education, inclusive communities, and natural beauty, Canada is an ideal destination for family living.
Canada’s education system is outstanding, providing children of all ages with excellent learning opportunities. The largest Canadian cities also offer plenty of private schools and international schools to choose from.
The country’s healthcare system is also exceptional, ensuring families have access to essential medical services without financial strain.
Canada is a multicultural country that promotes diversity and acceptance, enriching family life with a tapestry of cultures, languages, and traditions. Families can enjoy outdoor activities in Canada’s breathtaking landscapes and national parks; they can also see diverse wildlife (ranging from bison, black bears, and bobcats to orcas, sea otters, and polar bears), fostering quality time and a love for nature.
With a strong economy and diverse job market, Canada offers families financial stability and growth potential.
Living in Canada as a Professional
Canada is known for its welcoming attitude toward skilled immigrants. The Canadian government has programs in place, such as the Express Entry system, to attract and facilitate the immigration process for professionals who are interested in moving to Canada. This presents a wealth of opportunities for career advancement and development.
Canada’s job market is diverse and robust, with thriving industries such as technology, finance, healthcare, and engineering. Major cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal serve as economic hubs, offering a multitude of employment options. Additionally, the work culture in Canada promotes a healthy work-life balance, allowing professionals to enjoy their personal lives while excelling in their careers.
The country also places a strong emphasis on education and lifelong learning. Canadian universities and colleges are globally recognized for their quality education, providing professionals with the opportunity to enhance their skills and knowledge. Continuous professional development is encouraged and supported, enabling professionals to stay competitive in their fields.
If you want to work and live in Canada, here are some pathways to consider:
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC) – Express Entry: This program is designed for individuals with Canadian work experience and is a pathway to permanent residency.
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) – Express Entry: The FSWP is open to skilled workers, including those with Ph.D. qualifications, who wish to become permanent residents of Canada.
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) – Express Entry: If you have skills in a trade occupation, the FSTP offers a route to Canadian permanent residency.
- Provincial Nominee Program (PNP): Each Canadian province and territory has its own PNP, which allows them to nominate individuals for permanent residency based on their specific criteria.
To achieve your goal of working and living in Canada, you should determine your eligibility and apply through one of these programs.
Frequently Asked Questions about Living in Canada
What is it like living in Canada?
Canada living offers many benefits and a high quality of life for its residents. Some aspects that contribute to the Canadian experience are safety and security, a low crime rate and social stability, a strong economy, progressive social policies, a universal health care system, excellent education, natural beauty, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.
What is the standard of living in Canada?
Canada boasts a high standard of living, consistently ranked among the top countries globally. It ranks eighth in our Global Passport Index. The country boasts a strong economy, employment opportunities, and a well-regarded education system. The publicly funded healthcare system ensures access to essential medical services, although wait times vary.
The housing market varies by region (and varies between urban and rural areas), with major cities having higher costs.
Canada provides a range of social services, including income support and assistance programs. The country has well-developed infrastructure and is considered a secure and safe place to live. It’s important to note that the standard of living can differ by region and individual circumstances, but overall, Canada offers a high quality of life for its residents.
What are the pros and cons of living in Canada?
Some of the benefits of life in Canada are the high quality of life, safety (with a low crime rate and a declining violent crime rate), universal healthcare, education system, multicultural society, natural beauty, and a strong economy. On the other hand, some of the disadvantages of life in Canada are the harsh winters, high cost of living, competitive job market, high taxes, and lengthy immigration process.
What are the negatives of living in Canada?
While life in Canada has many advantages, some factors that may be challenging for those moving to the country:
- Weather: Canada is known for its diverse climate, which can be extreme in certain regions. Winters can be particularly harsh, with heavy snowfall and cold temperatures.
- Cost of living: Certain parts of Canada, especially major cities like Vancouver and Toronto, have a relatively high cost of living.
- Job market competition: While Canada offers a range of job opportunities, the job market can be competitive, especially in certain industries and urban centers.
- Distance from family and friends: Moving to Canada may mean being far away from family, friends, and support networks.
Is it better to reside in Canada or in the UK?
Canada and the UK are both excellent countries to live in, and the right one depends on your priorities, such as lifestyle preferences, career opportunities, educational goals, and personal circumstances.
The UK is close to Europe, while Canada has many open spaces and winter sports opportunities. Canada has harsh winters, while the UK has the infamous “British weather,” with rainy and dark days. Both countries are multicultural, have universal healthcare systems, low crime, and high living standards.
Can I live in Canada as an United States citizen?
If you are a United States citizen, you can travel to Canada and stay for up to six months without the need for a visa. If you plan to stay for longer, or work or study in Canada, you will need to apply to the Canadian government for a visa specific to your situation, such as a work permit, study permit, or permanent residency.
Why is living in Canada appealing?
That’s a question with many different potential answers. Winter sports may be an excellent reason to live in the “Great White North” if you are a keen skier, while the excellent education system may be reason enough for someone with a family. For others, the simple fact that Canada is a safe country with very low crime rates may be enough to justify an international move.
And if you are looking for a healthy environment, Canada not only has plenty of open spaces to enjoy nature, but also its air quality has been ranked among the cleanest in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
What region of Canada is the best to reside in?
The standard of living in Canada varies depending on where you plan to move. Areas that usually attract newcomers’ attention are Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia, among others. If you are applying for a visa, you will have a better chance if you have already arranged employment (or have a job offer) or have a prospective employer. Alternatively, if you are self-employed, you can apply as a skilled worker or skilled tradesperson.
When estimating the living costs, don’t forget to consider expenses such as car insurance, and also whether you plan to have additional medical insurance for specific health risks, pay for private schools or international schools, and so on.
How can I get a Canadian driving licence?
The process of obtaining a Canadian driving licence varies based on the province or territory where you plan to reside. Typically, it involves completing a written examination and demonstrating your driving skills through a practical test. You will also need to bring ID, including a permanent resident card.
Will I need health insurance if I move to Canada?
If you move to Canada, it’s advisable to have health insurance. While Canada has publicly funded healthcare, eligibility varies by province, and there may be waiting periods for newcomers. Private health insurance can be crucial during this time and can also cover services not included in public healthcare, such as dental and prescription drugs. Even after you become eligible, public healthcare might not cover all your needs.
How many provinces and territories are there in Canada?
Altogether, there are 13 provinces and territories. Canada’s provinces, each with unique charms, range from British Columbia’s Pacific serenity to Newfoundland’s Atlantic ruggedness. Quebec offers distinct Francophone culture, while Ontario busts with metropolitan life. The prairies boast open skies, Alberta has the Rockies, and the Maritimes exude coastal quaintness, encapsulating Canada’s diverse splendor.