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Old Dec 17th 2017, 9:39 am   #1
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Default Making the move from London to Toronto

Hi all,
DH and I are seriously considering moving to Toronto. We are both IT contractors in London and we have 2 children (child1 in Y4 and Child2 is 2 yrs old). I have a uni friend there and my sister moved to Toronto recently. I managed to gather a bit of info from them both. However, they have different circumstances and don't work in the IT, so there are gaps in the picture that I am researching to fill. Please can you help?

Jobs: Is the IT contractor market vibrant in Toronto? How easy or hard will it be for us to find contract jobs (Business analysts in financial services with 10+ yrs of experience). And what hourly rates can I expect? I am finding it hard to gather this information as most of the job adverts don't specify rates. Also, how is the work culture? Are you expected to put in long hours regularly? How flexible are the employers in general with working from home ?

Schools: Anyone here moved to Toronto from London? How did you find the schools etc compared to a really good state school in London? Also, how do people manage after and before school childcare in Toronto?

Housing: Our budget is upto CAD 1m. Will I get a nice house with over 2000 sft of living space, in a nice safe neighbourhood with good schools, within 30-40 mins commute of downtown?

Lifestyle: I hear people say lifestyle is better in Canada. What exactly is better there? Quality and size of housing perhaps? We are fed up of cramped expensive poorly insulated housing here. Is there better work-life balance?
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Old Dec 17th 2017, 12:28 pm   #2
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Default Re: Making the move from London to Toronto

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How easy or hard will it be for us to find contract jobs (Business analysts in financial services with 10+ yrs of experience).
Guidewire by any chance?
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Old Dec 17th 2017, 4:35 pm   #3
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Default Re: Making the move from London to Toronto

Sorry what’s guidewire?
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Old Dec 17th 2017, 4:43 pm   #4
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Default Re: Making the move from London to Toronto

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Sorry what’s guidewire?
Google?
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Old Dec 17th 2017, 4:44 pm   #5
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Default Re: Making the move from London to Toronto

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Sorry what’s guidewire?
I found it in seconds
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Old Dec 17th 2017, 4:45 pm   #6
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Default Re: Making the move from London to Toronto

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Sorry what’s guidewire?
I rather think it might be a relevant skill which dbd33 is trying to recruit.
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Old Dec 17th 2017, 4:55 pm   #7
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Default Re: Making the move from London to Toronto

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Guidewire by any chance?
Oh found it now. Not insurance - private banking, wealth management and asset management with data skills
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Old Dec 17th 2017, 9:46 pm   #8
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Default Re: Making the move from London to Toronto

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I rather think it might be a relevant skill which dbd33 is trying to recruit.
Well, yes, it's a fashionable product. There are some banking computer people on here, perhaps they'll appear and comment on the industry.

Overall I would say that it's not appropriate for someone to work as a contractor and have small children, or responsibility for older children. Work/life balance, childcare arrangements and working from home are matters for employees. It's because employees have these issues that firms need contractors. Perhaps one partner could take a permanent job, ideally with the government or a quango, so as to have work/life balance, while the other has a contract.
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Old Dec 18th 2017, 6:35 am   #9
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Default Re: Making the move from London to Toronto

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Overall I would say that it's not appropriate for someone to work as a contractor and have small children, or responsibility for older children. Work/life balance, childcare arrangements and working from home are matters for employees. It's because employees have these issues that firms need contractors. Perhaps one partner could take a permanent job, ideally with the government or a quango, so as to have work/life balance, while the other has a contract.
The “culture” is generally the same for both perms and contractors here in London. I worked for clients who allowed their staff to work from home twice a week. There were also clients where no one ever worked from home! Do things work differently in Toronto? Perm staff allowed to work from home, but temp guys can’t? Having children has nothing to do with expecting some flexibility. I always have SOLID childcare arrangements and back up plans. Flexibility means I can get the cleaners in on the wfh day or work in pyjamas until 11am or just skip the long commute.

Last edited by Winterdiva; Dec 18th 2017 at 8:13 am.
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Old Dec 18th 2017, 4:24 pm   #10
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Default Re: Making the move from London to Toronto

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Overall I would say that it's not appropriate for someone to work as a contractor and have small children, or responsibility for older children. Work/life balance, childcare arrangements and working from home are matters for employees. It's because employees have these issues that firms need contractors. Perhaps one partner could take a permanent job, ideally with the government or a quango, so as to have work/life balance, while the other has a contract.

I'm not sure where you're coming from with this opinion. Maybe just anecdotal? I think much depends on the working environment that the employer creates. IT, in general, seems to be very flexible in terms of where and when people work. I think this flexibility works well in terms of family life.

I work in IT and I have worked as (a) an employee, (b) an employee of one company working as a contractor for another and (c) a self-employed contractor. I've done this in the UK and Canada. In the US, I've done (a) and (b). The reason I have avoided (c) in the US is because of the healthcare situation. The UK and Canada have universal healthcare - the US does not and I have 4 kids.

My current employer (I work in the US for a global company with many offices around the world including in the US, Canada, and the UK) has a mixture of employees and contractors in our very large IT departments. I really don't perceive any difference in working conditions between employees and contractors. Both have the ability to work in the office or from home. Some of our contractors are full-time employees of another company and some are self-employed. The main thing is that they get their work done. Where and when they do it isn't really an issue.
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Old Dec 18th 2017, 4:26 pm   #11
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Default Re: Making the move from London to Toronto

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The main thing is that they get their work done. Where and when they do it isn't really an issue.
Thanks !
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Old Dec 18th 2017, 5:01 pm   #12
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Default Re: Making the move from London to Toronto

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I'm not sure where you're coming from with this opinion. Maybe just anecdotal?
If you mean what do I base it on, I base it on 30 years of contracting and selling consulting services in Toronto.
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Old Dec 18th 2017, 6:17 pm   #13
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Default Re: Making the move from London to Toronto

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If you mean what do I base it on, I base it on 30 years of contracting and selling consulting services in Toronto.
I worked in Toronto for 7 years as an employee and as a contractor. I had a wife and 2 young kids as a contractor and didn't see any difference in work/life balance from my time as an employee (same with my time in the UK). Back then (1989-96) it was not as easy to telecommute as it is today - for technical reasons as well as cultural reasons (it was assumed that anyone working at home was not being as productive). With my current employer, I am based in the US and I work with people (employees and contractors) in our Toronto office and have done so for the past 16 years.

I know many people who work as IT contractors in the UK, Canada and the US and I honestly don't know anyone who has complained about work/life balance issues - at least no more so than full-time employees do. Again, I'm talking about IT here where the trend towards flexible working hours and telecommuting has grown exponentially during my career.

Now if we're talking about someone who is trying to start up their own IT consulting business working for multiple clients, then that's a different story. Building up a business (any business, not just an IT business) is very time consuming. However, I'm talking about IT contractors who work for a single client at a time. I haven't seen any difference in their work/life balance in comparison to that of permanent employees.

As I said before, much depends on the work environment created by the employer/client. Maybe I've just been lucky all this time with good employers and clients.
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Old Dec 20th 2017, 3:26 am   #14
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Default Re: Making the move from London to Toronto

On what basis will you be able to work in Canada?
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Old Dec 20th 2017, 5:06 am   #15
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Default Re: Making the move from London to Toronto

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Lifestyle: I hear people say lifestyle is better in Canada. What exactly is better there? Quality and size of housing perhaps? We are fed up of cramped expensive poorly insulated housing here. Is there better work-life balance?
Depends what you want from your lifestyle. For housing, compared to London, you'll probably be able to afford slightly more than you're used to in Toronto or Vancouver, and a fair bit more in other places. You can expect insulation to be much better as a matter of necessity (currently in Winnipeg, where our 100 year old house is warmer, and needs less heating at -20C, than our old georgian apartment in Bristol did at +5C.

If you're going to place a premium on work/life balance, you'll need to decide what you want, and may need to make sacrifices. To take one aspect of it, Canada routinely only gives 2 weeks annual vacation - although some people will have a more european norm, they are by no means the rule. When my partner was in Britain, he wound up just picking random days to book off to stay home because he didn't know how to use that much vacation, it was alien to him. In addition, for the time off you do have, getting to somewhere else takes a very long time, and is very expensive; from Toronto, you can take a five hour flight and still be in Canadian airspace (Vancouver). You could be up there for four hours without even getting to the mountains (Edmonton).

For other aspects, it's so location dependent - as alluded to above, Canada is a country the size of a continent. Your question of "lifestyle" in Canada is... incomplete at best. It's relatively easy to talk about 'lifestyle' on the west coast (even the east coast) - conjurs up ideas of kayaking in sea fjords, hiking mountains, skiing. But that would be no more accessible to you in Toronto than Nice or Bergen are from London (frankly, they're more accessible, at least at the moment). So... what do you want from it, really?

Also, Snowy's asked the key question: do you qualify for a work permit/Permanent Residency? Without that, this talk is idle.
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