Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > Canada
Reload this Page >

True living in Canada

True living in Canada

Old Nov 28th 2003, 5:08 am
  #1  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 17
KKCDA is an unknown quantity at this point
Default True living in Canada

This may be important to all concerned.

For those not in the know, I along with my wife and two kids are hoping to get to Canada in the very near future. Our papers are already in.

I have gone through several posts in this forum and have come across many encouraging phrases like “Com’n over, it’s not that tough�, “Give it a go�, “I like it here�, “It’s not that bad here�, “You only live once�, and all other such kinds.

Somebody mentioned here that it does take a couple of years or more to REALLY get settled and before you can call yourself one of the kind. Somebody also mentioned taxes, taxes and more taxes at every stage of living. Then they talked about facing difficulty in finding a job (now was it a GOOD job or just any job?), discrimination, bank service charges for no reason, EXTREMELY cold winter and so on.

A few serious questions have crossed my mind:

1. Are Canadians (including immigrants) really happy with the situation they are in? Are they generally happy? I mean, do they all like to continue living and working in Canada DESPITE all the “disadvantages� (for lack of a better word)? If yes, WHY?

2. Does NOBODY have money to spare at the end of the month? Is saving encouraged in Canada? Or, do Canadians just live for the moment because the government anyway looks after them in difficult situations and after they reach old age?

3. How is social status perceived in Canada? By the job you hold, or from the way you present yourself in public and at home? Is a person looked down upon if he is working at $9/hr and living in a rented apartment?

4. In their day-to-day lives, is everyone just rushing around trying to make a living, trying to save a penny here and there, OR, do they actually get time to look around and appreciate the decision they have made moving to the “best country in the world to live�? Do they actually get to see the “high� standard of living they have heard about? Or is the “high� living standard achievable ONLY after you have a GOOD job with a GOOD salary?

5. I may be missing something here. Does everybody follow a particular lifestyle in order to get the most out of their lives/situation in Canada?

I do hope these questions make sense. I may have more. Frankly, I need some egging on. I will still proceed with my decision; it's only that I want to have your genuine opinions on these questions.

Thanks for all the help.

- KK.
KKCDA is offline  
Old Nov 28th 2003, 6:08 am
  #2  
Loving it here!
 
ClareBC's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2003
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,198
ClareBC is a splendid one to beholdClareBC is a splendid one to beholdClareBC is a splendid one to beholdClareBC is a splendid one to beholdClareBC is a splendid one to beholdClareBC is a splendid one to beholdClareBC is a splendid one to beholdClareBC is a splendid one to beholdClareBC is a splendid one to beholdClareBC is a splendid one to beholdClareBC is a splendid one to behold
Default Re: True living in Canada

I may not be the best person to answer as our path has been a bit (financially) rocky...

The reasons we came were to advance career wise (oh, and get the big Canadian house and live the Canadian dream)

What we have done is go through most of our life savings ( ) as we spent a while finding work and yes, we would have been better off in England. BUT our child is having a way better standard of life here than in Britain. This is a very family friendly country.

We are blessed with great friends - and it has been easy to meet and make friends, both Canadian and New Canadian.

Setttling in: hm, I think you've got to give yourself 18 months. My aunt (who lives on the other coast) said the first 6 years were the worst! It so depends on the community you live in and what you and the family get involved in. My aunt has been here 40 years and still hates (with a passion) the winter in Ontario.

Jobs: oh that is a tricky one. I am a secretary and have done ok. My hubby though had a struggle and is a few rungs down from his last Brit job. Finding jobs can be tricky. It depends on the area you move to and the skills you bring. IT is not bouyant. And it helps to network when you come out. Hubby got job through networking and contacts.. and that is the case with majority of our friends. Oh, and job security isn't the same here. Two weeks notice is all that companies are required to give you, and employment legistation is poor, That is one of the reasons that the Trade Unions are so strong here, they are needed to combat the lack of employment rights. (But I shall stop there as I was caught up in a strike this spring and am still mad as heck about the machinations of the TU to get us to that situation )

Taxes - they are way more transparent than in Britain. I haven't a problem with them. (Well, except I remember how shocked I was the day I found out that newspapers and books are taxed!)

Weather: hey, I live in Vancouver. We get a snowfall, three cars will collide in the slush and they laugh about it on national TV! Someone in one of the yahoo groups said she lives in Grand Pairie and it has never been too cold to shop! this is a fun URL to check out the weather http://www.on.ec.gc.ca/weather/winners/intro-e.html

Happy to live here: well I am!! We are financially "challenged" - but the qualities of life is good (eg access to facilities, schools, parks, cultural centres, forests, beaches, mountains) I like the social/civic values here immensely. There is a greater sense of personal responsibility here than I found in Britain.

Canadians and Saving: well, I would have said they all save, but it could just be the people I know as statistically the only people in more debt than the Canadians are the Americans.

Jobs & Snobbery: things do not seem to be as rigid here. Of course that could just be that I tend to know either new Canadians or younger Canadians?? Lots of people rent (or have shares in co op housing). It doesn't seem to matter much either way (well, except to the credit agencies, they care about these things greatly ).

"High" Standard of living: that so depends on your job and where you live. If we earnt what we do in Vancouver, but lived in Winniepeg, we'd be laughing!!

Lifestyle: hell it has completely changed. We used to live in one of the most gorgeous areas of england, but we never really appreciated it, and if we went to the popular spots, so did half of the nearby cities. Here, we are out all the time, in the summer it is beaches and forests, in the winter moutains and more forests! We've just come in from ice skating, which until I came here I'd never done in my life. I live in Western Canada. It is not extremely populous, so even at a bank holiday weekend, no where is crowded (well, not by Brit standards!)

I tell you one thing I really miss (well - apart from family and friends) - I miss my holiday entitlement. Here the standard is TWO WEEKS People take 5 day long holidays to Hawaii or Mexico (and try to have some of those days straddle the weekend). It is a pain living in this glorious country and not have the same opportunities to explore it!!

You said you are feeling ambivalent about coming over. Have you had a visit (or two) and met up with people who have immigrated? Which area are you thinking of moving to? Which trade are you in?

I just reread what I wrote. It doesn't really explain why we love it so much here, but it is home now and we do not plan on going back to Britain.

All the best

Clare
ClareBC is offline  
Old Nov 28th 2003, 8:35 am
  #3  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 83
colin.helen is an unknown quantity at this point
Default

This is a really good post.

Clare, thanks for posting your experiences. This type of reply is really useful for those of us still caught up in the migration process.

So for those of you who have already landed, I'd love to hear your comments as well - so come on, get typing!

Colin
colin.helen is offline  
Old Nov 28th 2003, 10:00 am
  #4  
John Thom Don
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I think you have to really think about what your motivations for moving to Canada are. If u r going purely for improve your salary/career prospects then going over there without a job offer may prove to be very risky. However I think alot of members (me included) are going cos they love the country and are prepared to cope with alot of hard work and short term inconvenience to make a life for themselves in Canada.

I don't think that anybody who has spent a few hours on a discussion board will be under any illusions about the fact that it may prove to be very difficult when u first get over there. For some it won't work out at all, and they may return demoralised and worse off financially, but at the end of the day they won't be sitting in the UK wondering what might have been.

I'd rather be sat in the UK drowning my sorrows knowing I'd given it at go and it hadn't worked out, than sitting there wondering what it might have been like if I'd just had the balls to take a few risks.

That's me off my soapbox, good luck everybody.
 
Old Nov 28th 2003, 10:45 am
  #5  
mamacares
 
amendoza's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 201
amendoza is on a distinguished road
Default Re: True living in Canada

Hi there. We landed at Toronto way back 2000 but stayed only for a while. Got a counter offer from present employer that we can't resist. So we decided to cancel off our PR. Don't get me wrong. Moving is all so personal and as for us weighing all the pros and cons is very, very important. Giving up our PR is not easy to think that we've been through a lot in the processs but again, we have our considerations.
(1) the weather is not for us. Its soooo cold out there. I was joking my hubby that now I know what hibernation is...I stayed indoor most of the time. Again, many like that weather but that is just not for us.
(2) education is good. I have very young kids and at that time they are aged 4,1.5 and one still in my tummy. Too young still to avail of the education programs that's why we decided to delay of moving.
(3) job-hunting scares me there. Toronto is so competitive and a rat race indeeed. It may take a while to really find a good job. But again, there are those few lucky guys who easily made it. Really lucky indeed!
(4) Canada is still one of the loveliest countries I've seen. The kids will surely love it, too. It has so much to offer.

OUr advise to would-be-immigrants???
SAVE...SAVE...SAVE... that will help you get through the so-called depression stage almost every immigrant felt.
Good luck to you . As for us, we' re doing it again... this time to OZ.
amendoza is offline  
Old Nov 28th 2003, 2:56 pm
  #6  
Valley of the Sun
 
souls canuck's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 628
souls canuck is a splendid one to beholdsouls canuck is a splendid one to beholdsouls canuck is a splendid one to beholdsouls canuck is a splendid one to beholdsouls canuck is a splendid one to beholdsouls canuck is a splendid one to beholdsouls canuck is a splendid one to beholdsouls canuck is a splendid one to beholdsouls canuck is a splendid one to beholdsouls canuck is a splendid one to beholdsouls canuck is a splendid one to behold
Default Re: True living in Canada

hey

just popped on and saw this.. forgive me if someone posted already as I didnt have a chance to read all replies..

someone posted a few weeks ago about what living in canada is really like.. you may want to scroll back a few pages as it had a lot of replies..
souls canuck is offline  
Old Nov 28th 2003, 4:30 pm
  #7  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Jul 2003
Location: alberta
Posts: 102
louisa is an unknown quantity at this point
Default

everybody is different, it depends what your outlook on life is like. we first moved to canada 4 years ago and stayed for about 15 months. i enjoyed it but did not plan to ever come back.

we then moved to texas for a couple of years, which was also good (especially financially) but we knew we didn't want to settle there so we came back to Canada, rather than going back to UK.

We've now been here about 15 months, have bought a house and really feel quite settled. the only reason for not feeling settled is that we are on temporary work authorisations, my husband has to work for the same company, and we are looking at another 12-15 month wait to get our PR status. having said all that, we do feel settled here and are very happy with our lifestyles.

yes, it has been a struggle financially but, essentially we only have one wage, supplemented by my meagre earnings from time to time. my work situation has not quite worked out as i had hoped but i have been lucky enough to make the right contacts and, i hope, things will only improve. we have made quite a few friends here (mostly Canadian but some other nationalities too) and so have a good social life.

we have our own house and a car, the first time in our lives we have been able to buy.

generally, i find people very friendly and relaxed so i can't imagine anybody looking down on you because of what you do, or where you live or what car you drive. considering the average wage is around 30,000 i do wonder how some people manage to afford their lifestyles but they do, whether it is on credit i don't know.

yes we save, a lot of which has gone on the house and not on foreign holidays but i'm hoping next year that we will be able to plan a couple of breaks. we have been into BC a couple of times this year which was great, it's beautiful and just a few hours drive away.

it does take some time to get used to living in a different country i have lived in 4) and there is always an adjustment period. but i think you know quite quickly if you think you can make it work.

winter is tough but we have lots of sunshine and blue skies here which help. we also try and get outside and enjoy it when it's slightly warmer. you can definitely take up new sports and activities, there is plenty to do. i wouldn't want to hibernate the whole time although it can be nice to do that too sometimes when there's a big snowstorm blowing through.

our lifestyle has definitely changed, from London UK where we would go out and drink with our friends, we do that sometimes but not much. put it this way, we have no plans to go back.

good luck!
louisa is offline  
Old Nov 28th 2003, 8:06 pm
  #8  
Forum Regular
 
ramac's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2003
Location: Ontario
Posts: 203
ramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really nice
Default

Hi

I was very interested to read your posting, and I do think you are asking the correct questions. Like you, I wanted to know as much as I possibly could about the reality of moving away from home and the lifestyle.

We moved just over 4 years ago, and I will be honest with you, it was the scariest thing we have ever done. Our children were 6 and 3 at the time. My husband was on a work visa, therefore at the mercy of his employer and goodness did we feel like we were.

We both had well paying jobs back home, however no one would recognise this on my part and the job offers when they came in were laughable. I was offered $8-10 per hour. My husband on the other hand had his pick of jobs, and all at pretty decent rates.

Employment Standards here are POOR!!!!!!!!! Be prepared to work a year, before being entitled to 10 working days. Most companies allow you to have the 10 days in the first year, but legislation only states, after the first year. Many many companies (private ones) do not pay sickpay. If you are off work, you dont get paid.

Our first two years were a financial struggle and we brought what we thought was a decent amount. The first year is so so expensive, between putting 25% minimum deposit on our house, to having to buy our cars in cash (as we had no credit history in Canada), having to pay out for our own dental treatments and prescriptions etc etc as my husbands company benefits were dire!! OH, and Car Insurance is like a second mortgage!!

On the upside, house prices are reasonable, Spring/Summer and Autumn are all extremetly enjoyable and almost predictable weather wise.

You asked about the professional snobbery and does it exist here. In my opinion, I would say it does, but no way nearly as much as it does back home. People understand when someone works two jobs, maybe to make ends meet. People do what it takes, and instead of talking about it in a derogitory way, there is an appreciation that's just what has to be done.

Our children attend a beautiful, wonderful school here and enjoy a very active social life. Some of that was achievable back home, but I find that we are much more active and involved in the community. I find that people in general are much more family/child focused and therefore providing a nice enviornment for the kids to grow and develop.

We socialise with a large group of other ex-pats on a very regular basis, and we have all had very similar experiences. We all agree that we do love it here for different reasons, and we would advise people thinking about it, do what you are doing and BE PREPARED for the difficulties, the lonlieness and the homesickness.

If you do your homework, save hard right now, be realisitic about things, you will enjoy the experience of moving to here.

Hope this is of some help
ramac is offline  
Old Nov 28th 2003, 8:30 pm
  #9  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 3,015
Purley has a reputation beyond reputePurley has a reputation beyond reputePurley has a reputation beyond reputePurley has a reputation beyond reputePurley has a reputation beyond reputePurley has a reputation beyond reputePurley has a reputation beyond reputePurley has a reputation beyond reputePurley has a reputation beyond reputePurley has a reputation beyond reputePurley has a reputation beyond repute
Default

Just my two cents worth.

We have been in Canada for about 35 years now - always in Regina.

Saskatchewan has always had 3 weeks holidays after the first year of work, so far as I remember. I was a legal secretary until I sort of retired. Every job I had had a pension plan, a health plan and paid sick leave. So did my husband's. I have never heard of any job not having paid sick leave unless it is casual work.

My son worked for Sears in the Bargain Centre - there nobody is full time - Sears is too cheap to hire full time people becuase then then would have to pay holiday pay and sick leave. Actually, I think my son did get some kind of holiday pay but he got in added on every week becuase you don't really get holidays when you are casual.
Purley is offline  
Old Nov 28th 2003, 8:46 pm
  #10  
Forum Regular
 
ramac's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2003
Location: Ontario
Posts: 203
ramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really niceramac is just really nice
Default

Hi Lizwil

The first job I had here was not casual and I paid CPP and EI as did my husband. The jobs were not casual and there was no sick pay scheme. The job my friend is in has no sick pay scheme. Once you paid into a benefit plan, I had to pay 50% of the contributions, the insurance plan would kick in if long term sick only. From my experience here, this is not that unusual.
ramac is offline  
Old Nov 29th 2003, 2:10 am
  #11  
BE Enthusiast
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 846
wizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud of
Default

my job doesn't pay sick pay either and that's fulltime and it doesn't pay it to anyone even the accountant or managers etc (except i guess the handful on salary), and this company has a great benefits scheme with full medical and dental and profitshare and pensions and all osrts of things but still no sick pay.
wizzard is offline  
Old Nov 29th 2003, 10:11 pm
  #12  
BE Enthusiast
 
crazydaisy's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2003
Location: UK-Switz-US-Canada-Ireland
Posts: 625
crazydaisy has a brilliant futurecrazydaisy has a brilliant futurecrazydaisy has a brilliant futurecrazydaisy has a brilliant futurecrazydaisy has a brilliant futurecrazydaisy has a brilliant future
Default

I haven't reached Canada yet (just got PR's through so we'll be landing next Spring - hurrah!!) Anyway, I just wanted to share our experiences of our life in the US which is pretty similar to Canada in terms of sick leave/holiday pay/workers rights. Again, here there is only 2 weeks notice of termination, and only 10 days holiday given after the 1st year - gosh that was a surprise, we didn't realise until we tried to book a few days off and they laughed at us!! Getting credit established is seriously hard work - you do get there in the end and now we're throwing away offers of credit. The other thing I found strange is the first year we were here they didn't close the office for xmas but the 2nd year they did which meant folks had to find 5 extra days from their annual leave to stay at home. You didn't have the choice of working through xmas to save up holiday time so the following year we had hardly anything as they also closed an extra day 4th July and Thanksgiving (and we don't even celebrate those things!) and so we were left with virtually nothing which has caused problems going back to see the family. Also they have sent people away on business and refused to pay for their travel time or overtime they incurred and didn't even let them have time off in lieu when they got back. Now, I'm not saying that there aren't companies in the UK who treat their employees badly but I am saying that you have less than favourable rights over in the US & Canada.
crazydaisy is offline  
Old Nov 30th 2003, 4:08 pm
  #13  
BE Enthusiast
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 846
wizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud ofwizzard has much to be proud of
Default

In Canada, or at least Ontario there are some basic provisions in law. You are entitled to statutory holidays and the company can't force you to work, you have to volunteer (which some i guess can "mak" you volunteer) but either way they have to pay you for stat holidays like christmas day and victoria day etc. I believe also the 2 weeks paid vacation is a minimum by law after 1 year. They way it normally works is 2 weeks is equal to 4% of your yearly pay so every paystub they pay 4% of what you earn into a holiday pay account as it were. So that slowly builds up and that is your holiday pay. So after 1 year of work your holiday pay will be equal to 2 weeks of pay. So theoreticaly you can take time off in the 1st year, which i did top go to my brothers wedding in the UK, but you can only get paid whatever the balance is in your holiday pay, so I had only the equivilant of about 2 days holiday pay and i took a week off but only got paid for 2 days. Some people just never take extra time off and then get their holiday pay at the end of the year and treat it like a bonus. So while you may only get 2 weeks paid vacation some places will let you take more, you just won't get paid for it. Anything over 2 weeks though is a serious perk. I know my wife's uncle who i work with made it a part of his conditions for taking his current job that he got 3 weeks vacation. The company policy in general is that extra 3rd week after 10 years of emplyment! However I know I can take off an extra few days or week here and there I just won't get paid for it so it's a budgeting thing.

Ontaio also has legislation about maternity leave (and i believe noe paternity as well) and things like that. No sick pay though.

Drew
wizzard is offline  
Old Dec 2nd 2003, 7:23 am
  #14  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 17
KKCDA is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Additional Info

Now here I agree that looking for and settling down in a new job does take time and can be very challenging at times. However, on a personal note, I'd like to say that I am looking forward to all challenges that moving to a country entails. I am not worried about the hardships.

But besides the job angle, does everything else look good in Canada? Yes, living in Canada is what I am looking at, and not looking at big easy money. I'd like to savour the friendly environment, the helpful people, the natural scenery, the ultra-modern infrastructure, the co-operative beauraucracy, the efficiency of public agencies - even though all this may come at a cost.

I'm sure all the taxes, PST, GST, CPP & EI deductions are more than made up for by the quality of life that Canada offers, and that you get your money's worth for everything. Am I correct?

- KK.
KKCDA is offline  
Old Dec 2nd 2003, 8:09 am
  #15  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Waukee, Iowa
Posts: 1,583
CalgaryAMC is just really niceCalgaryAMC is just really niceCalgaryAMC is just really niceCalgaryAMC is just really niceCalgaryAMC is just really niceCalgaryAMC is just really niceCalgaryAMC is just really niceCalgaryAMC is just really niceCalgaryAMC is just really niceCalgaryAMC is just really nice
Default Re: Additional Info

Originally posted by KKCDA
Now here I agree that looking for and settling down in a new job does take time and can be very challenging at times. However, on a personal note, I'd like to say that I am looking forward to all challenges that moving to a country entails. I am not worried about the hardships.

But besides the job angle, does everything else look good in Canada? Yes, living in Canada is what I am looking at, and not looking at big easy money. I'd like to savour the friendly environment, the helpful people, the natural scenery, the ultra-modern infrastructure, the co-operative beauraucracy, the efficiency of public agencies - even though all this may come at a cost.

I'm sure all the taxes, PST, GST, CPP & EI deductions are more than made up for by the quality of life that Canada offers, and that you get your money's worth for everything. Am I correct?

- KK.
I moved to Calgary, Alberta, four years ago from Manchester. I don't know where to start in answering your question; I feel like I could write a book! So without getting too specific, let me say that I haven't looked back since arriving. I just can't understand how anyone would want to return to a grimy English city.

I think it's a matter of attitude, and arriving with the right outlook. Some people arrive and find it's not like England and the bank charges $5 a month for a chequing account and it ruins their life. What they don't notice is the lady at the bank smiling and asking how their day has been.
CalgaryAMC is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.