Were you always dreaming about relocating and starting your life all over in a foreign country? Or somewhere not so foreign? Our northern neighbor, also known as the Great White North, might be the ideal solution for you. Moving to Canada is “easy” because it is not on the other side of the world, we speak the same language, and if you think you can handle all those jokes about Canadians, feel free to enjoy our introduction to life in this country.
Why Going to Canada Might be a Good Idea?
All jokes aside, the Great White North has a long list of advantages. They have one of the lowest crime rates in the world, which makes it a very safe place, and family people love that. It is a multicultural country that promotes diversity and tolerance, so you will hardly ever feel like you do not fit in. People from all over the world want to move there because it has a stable economy, a great education system, high living standards, and beautiful nature.
Also, if you want to experience all four seasons fully, then this is the right country for you. White Christmas, hot summers, and temperature swings that go from -40° to +104° Fahrenheit. Another great thing is that since we are so close to it, we do not have to pay expensive services such as international moving by air, you can move your belongings by sea, or they can go on a road trip. So going up north is not going to be such a headache in terms of relocating your household, but how are you going to get to that point? First things first, so let’s see how we can immigrate and become Canadians.
Moving to Canada – Requirements and Immigration Program
There are several options for obtaining Canadian citizenship, but first, you have to determine are you relocating for work, university, family, or marriage? Are you planning to live there permanently or temporarily? Luckily, even if you know nothing except that you want to live there one day, there is an official online questionnaire that will tell you if you are an eligible candidate or not, and based on your results, you will receive further instructions.
Thousands of Americans move to Canada every year, and there are several ways or programs through which you can immigrate, more than 80 to be precise, but here we are going to represent you the most frequently used ones for relocating permanently and temporarily.
How Express Is Their Express Entry?
As the name says, express entry is the fastest way to get to the point where you can live and work as a resident in CA. However, it takes at least six months, so if you are the right candidate, you can get everything done and move in less than a year. This is not really an immigration program, it is more like a selection process used by Immigration for selecting candidates.
Candidates need to fill a free CanadaVisa assessment form to check if they are eligible for express entry, but even if you are not eligible currently, that can be changed. If you improve your language skills, work experience, the level of education, or find a business, your situation can change. Eligible candidates may proceed to create an online profile and insert information about themselves. Candidates are ranked based on that, and if you currently do not have a job offer, you can sign in Canada’s Job Bank, but it is not mandatory.
The Comprehensive Ranking System has a total of 1200 points, and the government will select candidates based on the number of points they obtain. Everything counts – you get points for age, siblings based in CA, work experience, education, language skills (English and French), etc. The highest-ranked candidates and the ones with a job offer will be invited to apply for permanent residence within 90 days.
What About Provincial Nominee Programs?
Pretty much every province and territory in CA has its PNPs. What are PNPs? These programs allow provinces and territories to nominate candidates that are looking to immigrate and settle in a specific area. Only two exceptions to this are Quebec and Nunavut. Quebec has different immigration policies, which will be explained later on.
Provincial nominations are also known as enhanced nominations, and they are not easy to get. But if you get them, you will get an additional 600 points for ranking on the Comprehensive Ranking System, which will significantly boost your ranking. Since there are over 80 PNPs, and they all come with different terms and politics, we are not going to go through them now. However, you can use their online PNP search to inspect what are the options and what’s the best path for you.
Immigration to Quebec
Quebec is the largest province by area, and it is mainly French-speaking province, located in the east of the country. In terms of population, it is ranked second, right after Ontario. It comes with a different set of requirements for immigration. As we mentioned, Quebec does not have a PNP, but they have a specific program for skilled workers to apply.
It means that Quebec will mainly accept immigrants who will be able to become economically self-sufficient. Skilled workers may apply for this program as well as graduates, and have to create the so-called Expression of Interest profile on the Arrima portal for free. On the other hand, those who were invited have to use the Mon projet Québec portal for submitting their application.
Those who are recognized as successful candidates will get a Quebec Selection Certificate (QSC) and will be able to apply for permanent residence. In order to get QSC, candidates have to obtain at least 50 points if they are single, and 59 if they are married, under the Quebec Immigration selection factors.
Relocating to Canada Temporarily
Believe it or not, not everyone wants to move to the Great White North and stay there forever. You can go there and get a work visa, but you can also work and run a business without having a visa. Citizens of the US who engage in trade activities or business in CA but have not entered the CA labor market are called business visitors. Also, US citizens can work under the auspice of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Since tuition fees in America are getting higher and higher, studying abroad can even cost less than in the US and provide students a precious international experience that can open many doors. SWAP Working Holidays is another program for young adults and students between 18 and 30 years, who will get a 12-month work visa.
Ready to Start Acting Like a Canadian?
If you want to become a Canadian, you have to think like them, act like them, and make weird jokes like only they can do. Canadians are known worldwide for their nicknames, jokes, and every province has a set of its own. These things are still trending over there, so it could be handy to know some of their inside jokes because they are quite specific, and not everyone understands them straight away. Since some of the jokes can be considered a bit inappropriate or offensive, we decided to skip them this time. Instead, we offer a list of some of the most peculiar and widely-used Canadian colloquial terms and expressions to help you find your way through the Great White North.
- 51st Stater– Do we have to explain anything? However, this is something that usually Americans say for Canadians like they are their 51st state.
- Canuck and Canucklehead– Probably the most popular diminutive for Canadians
- Cankie or Cankee– A nickname for Canadian Yankee
- Iceback/Frostback/Dryback– Related to cold winters and dryback
- Hoser– A Canadian who likes to watch hockey and drink lite beer
- Puckhead– Hockey lover
- Maple-sucker– A person who consumes plenty of finest Maple syrup
- Coastie– A person from Vancouver
- Cariboozer– A person coming from Cariboo Country, British Columbia
- Bluenoser– A person from Nova Scotia
How to Find Your New Home?
If you have successfully gone through the process of getting a residence permit, you can now start searching for the place you are going to call home. So prepare that you might need to use storage, custom crating, or packing services and that you will need plenty of boxes and moving supplies.
Are you renting or buying a home, do you want to live in a house or apartment? Since everything is online today, you can easily search online and find a property, but be aware that there are also a lot of scammers. When something seems too good to be true, then there is probably a catch. It is always a safer option if you have someone to recommend you a homeowner, or a reliable real estate agency.
One thing is specific for the majority of renting places in The Land of Maple – they all come unfurnished. The home you are renting is nothing but walls and a roof above your head, and it is up to you to furnish it and style it. So if you have not planned to pack dishes or linens, think twice.
In most cases, leases are for one year, but you can arrange it to be shorter. The average rent in major cities in 2019 went from $670 to $930 per month, depending on the province. In some provinces, you have to pay a cap. Currently, the cap is 1.8%, but it can go up to 2.5%, while provinces like Alberta, for example, do not have this fee.
This country is known for its free public healthcare system that works really well for Canadians who are overall very satisfied with the quality and the service. The only problem is the wait time. People have to wait for days, even for the smallest, regular check-ups. However, the bigger problem for expats is that while they have a non-resident status, they have to pay for medical services.
Public healthcare covers various things that can vary from one province to another, and there is always the option of private healthcare insurance. Although the public medicare system is free, taxpayers are actually paying a lot for it, which is why Canada’s healthcare system is one of the most expensive ones in the world.
Study in Canada
The education system is also very well developed. Both public and private schools are held in high regard, so expats have plenty of options, whether they are coming there to study or want to enroll their children. The school system is generally the same throughout the country, but some aspects are different in certain provinces. One of the reasons why their education is so highly praised is because they select only the best teachers.
What considerations are important for expat families? International schools and universities, which are very popular due to their reputation. When it comes to universities, yes, they also have some of the best in the world. Tuition fees can be quite pricey for international students, but it is still more affordable than in the UK or the USA.
CA vs. US – Which is More Expensive for Living
The question of how expensive a certain country is is something that will always be relevant, but let’s try and make some comparisons. Canadians have some benefits like free healthcare, subsidization of schools, paid maternity, and more affordable universities. The average annual income is somewhere the same in both countries, as well as the cost of living, so it is hard to tell what is the better option. Rental prices are higher in the US, but it all depends on what you are looking for and what is your concept of a high-quality lifestyle. Both countries have high standards and salaries, but at the end of the day, it is all up to you and how you manage your money.
Why Is Quebec so Different?
Quebec is one of the three biggest cities, together with Vancouver and Toronto, so it is obvious why everyone has heard about it, but do not rush dreaming about it if you do not speak French. That is right, Quebec is the only province with a predominantly French-speaking population.
Hence, this province has different terms and programs for immigration and skilled workers. Besides, Quebec is different from the rest of the Maple Country because it has that European vibe and chic. Classical architecture and French language will make everyone feel like they are on another continent, so if you want to get a glimpse of Europe, you do not have to go across the ocean.
If you do not speak French, that should not discourage you from coming to Quebec, because there are programs for skilled immigrants who do not require the knowledge of French. It is a myth that you cannot live in Montreal or Quebec without knowing a word in French because people there speak English too. However, do not expect them to understand why you do not know French.
Things You Should Know Before You Move to Canada
The country is huge, the second largest in the world by area, and every corner of it has something to offer. You can travel around and explore its nature, or visit different towns to try different types of maple syrup. It is not hard to get enthusiastic if you are planning on relocating there. People are too polite, and you can have maple syrup for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and no one will judge you. So let’s see which things you should keep in mind before you Canadize yourself.
No One Is Enjoying the Cold Weather
Well, it is safe to say that no one enjoys the cold weather. It is beautiful but too cold, and winters can be pretty savage up in the north. And, no, it doesn’t get easier or warmer with time. You just have to get used to it. In the majority of the country, the temperature can drop to somewhere between -30° to -40°, and no one would be surprised.
Hope a Bear Does Not Cross Your Way
There are so many bears in this country that we are surprised that one of them is not on that flag eating the maple leaf. Seriously, there are around 500,000 black bears, 20,000 grizzlies, and 17,000 polar bears. Now that is a lot of bears, but their number is just another example of how much Canadians treasure and protect their wildlife.
If this title looks like something babies would type when you give them a keyboard, the answer is only partially correct. This is the name of a lake. And no, it is not a Canadian joke. Apparently, there are plenty of goofy names for places in this country. For example, there is a town called Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!
Sorry for Not Saying I Was Sorry When I Really Was Sorry
One thing is sure, true Canadians are so polite that it is annoying. An average Canadian probably says the word “sorry” at least 50 times per day. We are surprised they still do not have a national competition for who can say more “sorries” in one minute. If you nearly forgot the meaning of this word, this could be something you should look up to.
Feeling Canadian Already?
We hope our guide was helpful and that you have found out something more about our neighbors. Yes, they are funny, yes they only talk about ice-hockey and, sorry, I almost forgot, sorry, maple syrup, but that is a part of their identity. And no matter how goofy it may seem, we should respect their persistence and devotion, and their relentless determination to make their country a better place for all who live in it.