Moving To Canada? Here Are 10 Things You Need To Know

Canadian leaf

There are many reasons why people move to Canada  – some hope to find a better-paid job and lower costs of living. Others want to experience a new multicultural environment overseas, while there are those that are simply attracted to the beautiful scenery.

However, moving to a new country can be very daunting for any traveller. With so much to do before you travel, it can be hard to know where to start!

In this guide, we will take a look at  10 important things you need to know before you move to Canada.


1. Canadian Climate

Locals joke that there are eight months of winter in Canada, followed by four months of repairing the roads!

In truth, the Canadian climate is quite diverse and you can enjoy the four distinct seasons here with a hot summer, cold winter and mild spring and fall.

The climate you experience will really depend on where you settle down. Winters can be really harsh. Temperatures can go up to 35°C during the summer and fall to -25°C in the winter. The bitter cold of Canada should not surprise you. It’s hard to describe how -25 feels, but if you come with the right attitude and clothes, you’ll have nothing to fear!

Non-coastal regions have snow for up to 6 months. Provinces on the East and West coasts experience an average summer high of about 20°C and some inland provinces can have temperatures of 25-30°C.

Canada written in the snow

2. Cost of living

The cost of living in Canada is lower when compared to many countries in Europe and you may find out it’s cheaper compared to your home country. Remember, however, that there are significant differences in incomes between the cities, provinces and industry sectors. Ottawa is the least expensive and Toronto and Ottawa are the most expensive Canadian cities.

Montreal, for instance, has low property values and rent, but also lower salaries.

You can compare the cost of living between Canadian cities here.

While the cost of living is different in each city, the national average cost of living for a single person is estimated at $2,730 per month and for a family of 4, it is around $5,158.

Here are some of the most affordable cities in Canada:

Top 10 Most Affordable Cities In Canada

3. Job opportunities in Canada

Canada can offer you a lot of job opportunities in various fields.

Employers are always on the lookout for university graduates who would like to work and live in the country and can contribute to its thriving economy.

Canada is one of the most educated countries in the world, with more than 56% of its adult population having some form of tertiary qualification and with the impressive 99% literacy rate.

If your intention is to immigrate permanently and you don’t have a job offer already, check out in sites like, and

The highest-paid occupations are in the mining and gas/oil drilling industry, electricity, IT and telecommunications. The lowest-paid sectors are accommodation and food sectors, as well as the arts and entertainment industries. 

Can I move to Canada without a job?

You do not need a job offer to immigrate to Canada. There are programs available for you that give you the opportunity to apply for permanent residency in Canada without securing employment beforehand.

4. Schools in Canada

If you are moving to Canada with kids, you obviously need to consider additional factors like schools.

Keep in mind that education is a provincial responsibility in Canada and you will find significant differences among the different provinces.

Education institutions are not ranked in Canada, but you can find quality institutions across the country. When choosing your school, consider the size, type and location of the institution. If you are interested in a particular area of study, try to find out which schools have more to offer in that discipline.

Schooling is mandatory for all kids to the age of 16 and to the age of 18 in Ontario. Canada is one of the world’s top education performers so wherever you relocate your kid will have access to high standard education.

While public schools are funded by the government, private schools in Canada are expensive, and the fees annually can cost between 4,000 CAD (2,977 USD) to 26,000 CAD (19,349 USD).

5. Health care system in Canada

Canada’s healthcare system is kind of similar to the UK’s. The Canadian government provides “free” essential medical services.
When you move to Canada as a permanent resident, you will be able to see a doctor at no cost. Medicare is Canada’s publicly funded health care system and the cost of medical and health expenses is shared by taxpayers. Medicare is available only to residents of Canada.

Permanent residents, Canadian citizens, some foreign workers on work permits and international students can apply for public health insurance from their province.

If you decide to move to Canada permanently (or on a work visa), you should apply for a Medicare health insurance card in your province. It will typically take three months to be issued, and when you get it, you’re covered by your province’s Medicare plan.

During this three-month period, it’s advisable to have some short-term private medical cover. If you find yourself in the hospital, you’ll be billed even for emergency care.

Private health insurance is popular in Canada because Medicare does not cover everything. 

professional doctor

What does Canadian Medicare not cover?

  • Prescription medicine
  • Dental care
  • Ambulance services (except in the Yukon Territory)
  • Eyecare
  • Physiotherapy
  • Hearing aids
  • Limb prostheses
  • Psychologist care
  • Chiropractics
  • Tests required for official documents (e.g. driver’s license)

Private health insurance policies usually cover things such as ambulance services, prescription medicine, dental care, eye care, physiotherapy, and so on.

If you don’t expect to receive any employment-based health insurance – it’s advisable to sort out some cover before you go to Canada.

6. Languages

Canada has two official languages- French and English. The further west you go, the less French you will encounter. The truth is that you can easily get by without ever learning French.

That said, noting on your CV that you can speak French will definitely help you in your job search. Keep in mind that Quebec is predominantly French-speaking, while New Brunswick is the only province that is officially bilingual. 

moving to Canada

7. Smoking

Smoking in Canada is prohibited in public transit facilities, indoor public places, workplaces, including restaurants, casinos, bars, stores, offices, hospitals and other places of employment.

The only places you can smoke is outdoors. Your own living space and your vehicle (unless you have a minor with you).

8. Driving license in Canada

If you want to use a foreign driver’s licence, you need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) in your home country. It will give you a translation of your licence into English and French.

Many of the tests you have completed in your home country may not be valid in Canada or require additional paperwork in order to be converted.

Keep in mind that licenses are awarded by the provinces, not the federal government, and individual provinces have their own rules.
Also, different countries around the world have particular agreements with the provinces.

Check the rules for international licence-holders in the province you have chosen and make sure you gather the correct documentation before you arrive in Canada.

9. Taxes

Provincial and territorial income tax rates vary from one province to another. How much income tax you need to pay is determined by the province you reside on 31 December.

Depending on your terms of employment, you may be entitled to a tax refund at the end of the fiscal year.
Sales taxes vary, from 5% in Alberta to 14.975% in Quebec. You should know that they are added at the point of sale, not on the price tag, so be aware that an item will cost you more when you pay for it.

10. Visa

While heading to Canada, you need to have some cash to maintain your family and yourself for the first few weeks in the new country. You need to start organizing your visa long enough in advance as it might take really long to get an approval.

With VisaFirst you get a free estimation of all your visa options and professional assessment of your application. For additional information about Canada relocation options, you can email us at

Visa First is a leading international immigration consulting company. We can help you to apply for your visa fast and hassle-free today.


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