Have you decided to join your neighbors to the north and make “O Canada” your new favorite song? Whether it’s for school, work or personal reasons, relocating to a new country can be a very exhilarating—and overwhelming—experience. Before you make any major decisions, you should, of course, do your due diligence and extensive research, but here’s a Canada quick guide to get you started!
- Citizenship. Relocating to Canada requires more than an interest in hockey and an affinity for moose. There are 10 programs through which you can apply to immigrate:
- Quebec-Selected Skilled Worker: Limited to immigrating to Quebec only and subject to the providence’s decision.
- Self-Employed: For those self-employed in cultural or athletic activities or farming.
- Provincial Nominee: Requires nomination by a Canadian province or territory.
- Refugee: Reserved for those who are forced to flee their home.
- Express Entry: For skilled immigrants based on their ability to contribute to the economy.
- Start-Up Visa: Applicable to those starting a business that will create jobs.
- Family Sponsorship: For immigrants with Canadian family members who sponsor them.
- Atlantic Immigration Pilot: Reserved for school graduates or workers in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, or Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Caregiver: For caregivers of children, the elderly, or those with medical needs.
- Immigrant Investor: Requires you to invest in the Canadian economy.
- Money. Much like the euro, you’ll have to get used to using coins in place of $1 and $2 bills (casually referred to as a “loonie” and a “toonie”, respectively). Working off of the Canadian dollar (CAD), the bills are brightly colored to more easily differentiate their value. The good news is that the U.S. dollar has been stronger than the Canadian dollar for a while—at the time this was written, 1 USD = 1.31 CAD—so you’ll get more bang for your USD buck.
- Climate. Simply put, the winter is a cold most Americans have never experienced. The interior and Prairie Provinces average a daily temperature near -15° C (5° F), but it can drop below -40° C (-40° F) with wind.
- Language. With a population around 32 million, the majority of people speak the official Canadian languages of English (59 percent) and French (23 percent). The remaining 18 percent speak other languages.
- Healthcare. Yes, the rumors are true: Canada offers free healthcare, but it’s not without a catch. Only citizens and permanent residents are eligible, so until your immigration is finalized, you’ll need to purchase your own health insurance. Another negative of free healthcare is how long it takes to be seen by a doctor, and it keeps lengthening. A 2017 study found the average wait time to see a specialist with a referral was a record-high 21.2 weeks, 128 percent longer than 1993’s reported 9.3 weeks.
- Food. Get ready to adjust your palate and embrace Canada’s favorite fast food chain: Tim Hortons (or Timmies). You’ll find yourself ordering poutine (chips—French fries to you—smothered in gravy and semi-melted cheese curds) buying your milk in bags, adding maple syrup to everything, and craving bannocks (baked or fried bread) and beaver tails (fried pastry dough).
- Slang. Avoid looking like a tourist by learning local colloquialisms; “toque” is a brimless, cool weather hat; “klick” is short for kilometers; “runners” are sneakers; “what you sayin’” is for when you want to know someone’s plans; “serviette” is a napkin; and, yes, we do say “eh” a lot.
Now that you’ve started a smooth transition to Canadian life, you’ll need a place to keep your belongings when you search for your new home sweet home. Contact the storage professionals at Secure Self Storage in North York or Mississauga and find the safe, affordable, convenient way to store what matters most to you.