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What made you decide to make the move to Canada

What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Old Jan 27th 2021, 2:54 pm
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Default What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all doing well and staying safe.

This is a bit of a mind dump and I am not sure which category my post falls into but I hope it doesn't get taken the wrong way. It isn't aimed to upset anyone.

So, my husband and I have been exploring moving to Canada. We have 2 young children. I like the idea of starting somewhere new and the whole sense of adventure that I feel when I think of moving to Canada but I am now at the stage where I am visualising and actually planning for a potential move and things are not looking good on the financial side of things. I didn't crunch the numbers earlier on in the application process because I honestly didn't think we would take it this far. I was concerned about passing IELTs and we took the approach of lets see how far we get. We have gone very far in the application process and already spent half of the money it would cost to obtain a PR. Total PR cost came to about £3000 or so and we have spent £1500 so far. We are thinking maybe we should stop the process now if I am sure I dont want to move so we at least save the remaining £1500. On the other hand, we are also thinking it would be good to have it in hand now that we have the opportunity to get it in case we change our minds and want to move.

Recently, I have crunched some numbers, read the documents I was directed to on here and spoken to an accountant in Canada and it is looking like I would be financially worse off in Canada. I am a LTD co director in the UK and the combination of salary and dividends is very tax efficient. From my research, I would have to declare any income I make from working remotely in Canada for my UK LTD as worldwide employment income which would be heavily taxed. I would be worse off by about £10000 each year. I asked about possibly operating as self employed in Canada where I would be a subcontractor to my UK LTD therefore able to claim expenses in Canada. This would lessen the financial blow a bit. I still don't have clear information if this would be doable and acceptable to CRA.

I have also discovered that we would need to declare all bank balances and property ownership if they total to more than 100,000 CAD. I am not sure what this information would be used for. I don't think I would pay extra tax on it unless we have rental income on the property?

Anyway, I was wondering how people who have moved to Canada are making it work financially because to me at the moment, it seems not financially profitable. Grocery expenses look to be higher in Canada and my estimation of our household expenses came out as being potentially higher in Canada than UK.

What I am seeing here is less money coming in and more going out. I however know that my kids could potentially have a better education in Canada and maybe we could enjoy more outdoorsy lifestyle. We are also not liking the atmosphere in the UK caused by Brexit and other things. Those are the only pluses that I am seeing in favour of Canada. My husband thinks it could be worth but I am not so sure. I don't want to shut the whole thing down and would like to see if there are ways I could improve the financial outlook.

Any thoughts or advise on how to lessen the tax burden? The accountant couldn't come up with anything significant. I think if I could have the same or slightly less take home pay (not as much as £10000) in Canada, I would be willing to give the move a go. I want us to be comfortable and I think not having to worry too much about finances would make our move less stressful.

Thank you. I look forward to hearing all your ideas and experiences for those who made the big move.
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Old Jan 27th 2021, 3:14 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Where were you thinking of heading to? Do you have equity in a UK property (or other significant assets) and would it be your intention to buy a home in Canada?

There are parts of Canada where property can be had for reasonable cost. Less so than a few years ago but still good. If you don't mind living in some of those places - and they are not the 'out in the sticks' or "no jobs" that some will have you believe - then the much cheaper housing cost with no (or little) mortgage can offset any perceived additional living costs.
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Old Jan 27th 2021, 3:20 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Good to think about it carefully, it would be awful to move and regret it. The huge cost of moving a family internationally will take some time to recoup, and if the reasons you've mentioned are the only ones you may find yourself disappointed - I don't see how the education would be better (a move within the UK would achieve that more cheaply), and as I've said many times on the forum before, if you're not an outdoorsy family in the UK, you're not going to be in Canada either! Do you have other reasons for wanting to move? Have you visited before, do you love the country?

Does your company have to stay as a Ltd company in the UK? Could you set up in Canada instead? I don't know how that would compare tax wise, but maybe worth investigating.

Personally, if you're half way through the PR process I'd continue. That £1500 could be money well spent if you do decide Canada is for you. How are you applying, presumably EE? You may find in a couple of years time you wouldn't be scoring enough on the CRS to get PR, so personally if you're eligible and scoring enough now, I wouldn't withdraw your application, I'd carry it on so you can then give yourself more time to decide. JMO though!

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Last edited by christmasoompa; Jan 27th 2021 at 3:22 pm.
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Old Jan 27th 2021, 3:34 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Thank you for your response BristolUK . We are currently thinking either greater Ontario area e.g. Hamilton, Oakville... or Calgary. Toronto is the best for my husband's job area. For me, my job can be done remotely so hopefully there is more flexibility location wise.

I think if we moved, we would want to make it permanent if we like it or manage till we at least get the citizenship. We wouldn't mind buying a house in Canada if we can afford one.

We have equity in one property in the UK.

Last edited by seseman; Jan 27th 2021 at 3:43 pm. Reason: Didnt answer one of the questions.
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Old Jan 27th 2021, 3:42 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Thank you christmasoompa. Yes, we are thinking about it very carefully as it wouldn't be fair on the kids and on our careers to uproot only to return shortly.

I get your point about the outdoorsy thing, I am not a big outdoor person but I am hoping to change that for the children. I think I dropped that in as I was trying so hard to find a reason to move lol. We have never been to Canada and would definitely visit before deciding to move. Anything I know about the country is from research and family already living there. If there was no pandemic, we would have scheduled a vacation which I believe would bring some clarity.

I would likely need to find another client because my current client wont want to deal with a non-UK limited company. If I set up as self employed in Canada and find a good client, I would still be paying more tax than in the UK but at least I would be able to claim expenses and have confidence that things are being done the right way. I dont want the tax man coming after me.

Thanks for your advice re-carrying on with the application. I think we will do just that. We have already invested the time and money it took to study for IELTs and sit the exams which was an experience! so we might as well see it through.

So in your opinion public schools in Canada aren't so much better than UK ones? we are only at early primary school stage here so I guess we haven't seen all that UK schools have to offer.
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Old Jan 27th 2021, 4:07 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by seseman View Post
I get your point about the outdoorsy thing, I am not a big outdoor person but I am hoping to change that for the children.
If you're not a big outdoor person then moving to Canada won't suddenly make you want to go for hikes and camp all the time. We are a very outdoorsy family, and every weekend is spent hiking/riding/cycling, no matter the weather. That's the same no matter where we've lived, and if you're not a fan of outdoorsy activities, moving to somewhere with lots of snow for a large chunk of the year and hot/humid summers isn't likely to change that IMO.

Originally Posted by seseman View Post
So in your opinion public schools in Canada aren't so much better than UK ones? we are only at early primary school stage here so I guess we haven't seen all that UK schools have to offer.
Personally yes, in our experience the schools in the UK are far better. But I'm saying that from one of the best areas in the UK for schools, I'm sure if I lived somewhere with rubbish schools I'd feel very different, and everybody will have different experiences. If you search the forum you'll find loads of threads with info on, and there's also a Wiki article too I think. My children are at an excellent secondary school here with smaller class sizes than offered in Vancouver, and have had the most amazing opportunities. We're moving again in the summer, to the US this time, and our children will be going to an incredibly expensive private school there. It doesn't seem to offer anything more for the crazy amount of money my husband's company will be paying on school fees than we currently get for free at their UK school.

Originally Posted by seseman View Post
I would likely need to find another client because my current client wont want to deal with a non-UK limited company. If I set up as self employed in Canada and find a good client, I would still be paying more tax than in the UK but at least I would be able to claim expenses and have confidence that things are being done the right way. I dont want the tax man coming after me.
Ah, I see. I'm afraid I know nothing about tax/business structures in Canada, but I'm sure others will be along to help and make any suggestions.

Originally Posted by seseman View Post
Thanks for your advice re-carrying on with the application. I think we will do just that. We have already invested the time and money it took to study for IELTs and sit the exams which was an experience! so we might as well see it through.
I would do personally, but your call. What stage of the application are you at? Remember your IELTS will last if you decide you want to pause things, depending on whereabouts with it you are. What are you scoring on the CRS? Just wondering how borderline you are and if you do decide to hold off for a while, whether you'd be likely to dip below the current threshold?
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 2:14 am
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

What made me decide to move. Well it wasnt for financial reasons, or for better schooling thats for sure. Different schooling? Yes, definitely, but depends on your interpretation of the word 'better'. I come from a family of private schoolers and school here in BC seems to be more about going for walks and visiting Tim Hortons. And if you think im joking or exaggerating I assure I am not. Literally, some days, what did you do today in class? oh we went for a walk and got Tim Hortons. And this is at grade 9.
So why did we move, and why do we love it so much? Because we ARE outdoorsy types and moved to interior BC for better weather, scenery, better activities, better everything of the things that are important to us to enjoy our lives.
But dont doubt that moving halfway around the world is very very hard on friends, on family, and I truly never understand people who move from one city to another to get essentially the same things.
The most important thing for you is to think why would YOU move to Canada? Personally, for me, ALL of the sacrifices are worth it to ski every weekend in the winter and do all the things we love in the summer all on our doorstep. But i probably wouldnt have done it for anything else.
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 2:18 am
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

I believe (might be wrong) that people are generally financially better off here than in the UK which is the reason many choose to come here as well as stay here. I am making about a double of what I would make in the UK but that isn't enough to make me stay. I miss living in Europe, people are more inclusive (my experience), more history, and things are closer (I still cannot believe I drive for 2 hrs each way to go on a 4 hr hike ). I do more outdoorsy stuff here than I did back there. I hike (nature 10/10, bears 0/10), ski (ski hills 10/10), golf (0/10 simply because I suck) but that's because I can afford it and I don't really have any friends & family so I would be sitting at home alone if I didn't.

If you end up here and decide to stay for an extended amount of time, I would recommend going back to school if you want a new career. I went to a technical institute for 2 years and got a job in healthcare that I will be able to do in Europe too (definitely need to research this properly so you don't end up in a bureaucratic hell).
I loved the first 10 years here but it never felt like home so I have decided to move on once this crazy virus allows me to do so.
Good luck!

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Old Jan 28th 2021, 10:18 am
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Thank you christmasoompa for sharing your experience. We are already out of the pool so we have gone far. I am happy to spend the rest of the money to have the PR in hand.

If the schools are not that much better than in the UK then I am struggling to find one solid reasons why I would be better off in Canada. Who knows, maybe I will feel differently in a few years time especially when we start to see the impact of Brexit and the fall out of COVID-19.
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 10:28 am
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by zdenka View Post
I believe (might be wrong) that people are generally financially better off here than in the UK which is the reason many choose to come here as well as stay here. I am making about a double of what I would make in the UK but that isn't enough to make me stay. I miss living in Europe, people are more inclusive (my experience), more history, and things are closer (I still cannot believe I drive for 2 hrs each way to go on a 4 hr hike ). I do more outdoorsy stuff here than I did back there. I hike (nature 10/10, bears 0/10), ski (ski hills 10/10), golf (0/10 simply because I suck) but that's because I can afford it and I don't really have any friends & family so I would be sitting at home alone if I didn't.

If you end up here and decide to stay for an extended amount of time, I would recommend going back to school if you want a new career. I went to a technical institute for 2 years and got a job in healthcare that I will be able to do in Europe too (definitely need to research this properly so you don't end up in a bureaucratic hell).
I loved the first 10 years here but it never felt like home so I have decided to move on once this crazy virus allows me to do so.
Good luck!
It is interesting that you miss Europe even after 10 years. I do worry that I will end up missing home but then feel unable to come back because the kids would be settled and so on.

For my field, the salary should hopefully match up with what I can get in the UK but the contractor/consultant market in Canada isn't as established as that of the UK so I would need to make some changes. The cost of groceries, especially international food seems very high compared to the UK so we would be spending more. From what I have read on this forum, the cost of car insurance, house rent and other things as well could end up being much more higher than we spend here.

I am not outdoorsy at all. I have no interest in skiing and all that so that isnt really a plus for me but I dont want to take the opportunity to do those things from my children just because I am a boring person.

Ultimately like someone said on another thread, the final decision is ours to make. I just wanted to see how people who made the move feel about it and what was the final thing that made them reach the final decision.
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 10:33 am
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by Phaedru5 View Post
What made me decide to move. Well it wasnt for financial reasons, or for better schooling thats for sure. Different schooling? Yes, definitely, but depends on your interpretation of the word 'better'. I come from a family of private schoolers and school here in BC seems to be more about going for walks and visiting Tim Hortons. And if you think im joking or exaggerating I assure I am not. Literally, some days, what did you do today in class? oh we went for a walk and got Tim Hortons. And this is at grade 9.
So why did we move, and why do we love it so much? Because we ARE outdoorsy types and moved to interior BC for better weather, scenery, better activities, better everything of the things that are important to us to enjoy our lives.
But dont doubt that moving halfway around the world is very very hard on friends, on family, and I truly never understand people who move from one city to another to get essentially the same things.
The most important thing for you is to think why would YOU move to Canada? Personally, for me, ALL of the sacrifices are worth it to ski every weekend in the winter and do all the things we love in the summer all on our doorstep. But i probably wouldnt have done it for anything else.
Wow! going for walks...hmmm that would shock me if that was what they did most of the time especially in a private school which I assume isn't cheap. I think that was one of the things I came across in my research. Canada schools are said to be more than exams and assessments. They focus on combining learning with extra curricular activities. This can be good I guess but too much play can also be bad.

Looks like I need to dig deeper as to why it would make sense to move. Maybe it might be a case of taking one for the team if the rest of my family would like to move and I am the only one not keen.
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 11:03 am
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by seseman View Post
I am not outdoorsy at all. I have no interest in skiing and all that so that isnt really a plus for me but I dont want to take the opportunity to do those things from my children just because I am a boring person.
That doesn't make you boring!

Originally Posted by seseman View Post
Canada schools are said to be more than exams and assessments. They focus on combining learning with extra curricular activities.
As do UK schools, if they're any good. My children's secondary offers over 80 free extra-curricular activities. My son has learned to scuba dive through school, my daughter has done two yachting qualifications. They have an outdoor amphitheatre and do lessons outdoors. They have a language immersion program. They do the Duke of Edinburgh program. They have team sports for pretty much everything. They do a school production every term. Obviously all of this is in 'normal' times though, but still there's a heck of a lot of extra curricular opportunities to take advantage of for those that want to.

Originally Posted by seseman View Post
Maybe it might be a case of taking one for the team if the rest of my family would like to move and I am the only one not keen.
This rings alarm bells with me. Sorry to be the voice of doom, but if you move and hate it, then just bear in mind you'd need permission to take the children back to the UK. Have a look at the Moving Back to the UK forum, lots of tales in there from people who are stuck with the choice of living in a country they hate, or leaving their children behind. I'm not saying that will happen, you may well love it, Canada is a fab country, and even if you don't love it I'm sure your husband would move back for you. But it's something to consider and talk about before you go. With my husband and I, we had an agreement that we'd give it two years, and if either of us hated it at the end of that timeframe, the other would move back without complaint. Don't ignore it, do chat about the possibility before you move and have a plan just in case.

If you've already received your ITA and applied for PR, then just go for it. You'll have plenty of time to make a decision, and crucially, to visit before you decide. I don't think you can make any sensible decision about whether Canada is the country for you or not when you haven't even set foot in it! So go, visit, try and treat it as a recce trip rather than a holiday, and then you can make a good decision knowing you've got PR in hand.

Good luck with it.



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Old Jan 28th 2021, 1:11 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by christmasoompa View Post
That doesn't make you boring!



As do UK schools, if they're any good. My children's secondary offers over 80 free extra-curricular activities. My son has learned to scuba dive through school, my daughter has done two yachting qualifications. They have an outdoor amphitheatre and do lessons outdoors. They have a language immersion program. They do the Duke of Edinburgh program. They have team sports for pretty much everything. They do a school production every term. Obviously all of this is in 'normal' times though, but still there's a heck of a lot of extra curricular opportunities to take advantage of for those that want to.



This rings alarm bells with me. Sorry to be the voice of doom, but if you move and hate it, then just bear in mind you'd need permission to take the children back to the UK. Have a look at the Moving Back to the UK forum, lots of tales in there from people who are stuck with the choice of living in a country they hate, or leaving their children behind. I'm not saying that will happen, you may well love it, Canada is a fab country, and even if you don't love it I'm sure your husband would move back for you. But it's something to consider and talk about before you go. With my husband and I, we had an agreement that we'd give it two years, and if either of us hated it at the end of that timeframe, the other would move back without complaint. Don't ignore it, do chat about the possibility before you move and have a plan just in case.

If you've already received your ITA and applied for PR, then just go for it. You'll have plenty of time to make a decision, and crucially, to visit before you decide. I don't think you can make any sensible decision about whether Canada is the country for you or not when you haven't even set foot in it! So go, visit, try and treat it as a recce trip rather than a holiday, and then you can make a good decision knowing you've got PR in hand.

Good luck with it.
Thank you for your comment about not being boring I need to get out more once the virus calms down but I dont see myself changing radically.

When you talk about needing permission to come back with the children, do you mean permission from the other parent or from the government? I wouldn't want to live away from my children if I can help it so coming back without them wouldn't be an option for me at all. I definitely need to think on this potential consequence. We initially discussed returning after a year if we don't like it and that's assuming we both have jobs that we are happy with or at least one of us is earning enough to support us. Now, the thought is shifting to waiting it out to at least get citizenship to make it all worth. I think it would take 3 years of full time living in Canada to qualify for citizenship and then maybe another 1 year for the application and so on. That is a total of 4 years. To me, that is a long time to stay somewhere if I dont like it.

I think what we can do for now is forget about the £3000 spent on getting PR. It is gone whether we use the PR or not. When travel is permitted, we will visit the area we would choose to live in if we moved to see what it is like and how we feel about it then we can make a decision.

I really appreciate how much time you took out to answer my question. Thank you very much.
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 1:15 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by seseman View Post
When you talk about needing permission to come back with the children, do you mean permission from the other parent or from the government?
The other parent. You'd need his written permission or a court order. As I said, highly unlikely to happen, but it's something to just be aware of, and to chat about before you go.

Originally Posted by seseman View Post
I think what we can do for now is forget about the £3000 spent on getting PR. It is gone whether we use the PR or not. When travel is permitted, we will visit the area we would choose to live in if we moved to see what it is like and how we feel about it then we can make a decision.
Sounds like a good plan. I hope you can visit at some point this year, and I hope you like it when you do!

Best of luck to you.
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 4:53 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by seseman View Post
I think what we can do for now is forget about the £3000 spent on getting PR. It is gone whether we use the PR or not. When travel is permitted, we will visit the area we would choose to live in if we moved to see what it is like and how we feel about it then we can make a decision.
I think that's a good approach. Once you have your COPR in hand, you can arrive for a trip and see how you like it, safe in the knowledge that the decision is then ultimately up to you and you have up to 3 years to take the jump.

What I will say though is there is a difference between visiting somewhere and living there and you need to be careful not to let that cloud your judgement. Unlike the UK which has the same climate almost all year round, many parts of the Canada are completely different depending on the time of year. In the summer, parts of Toronto can feel like Miami whereas in the winter they can feel like Siberia. There are people in downtown Toronto who have been known to almost never leave the underground PATH network during the winter months. If you make a trip during the winter and still want to live there then it may be fair to say that Canada is for you.

There's also a hell of a lot of bureaucracy to deal with as part of daily life as an immigrant in Canada and although being British can make some of it easier, it will not make you immune to it. The UK has a lot of it as well but as a native born citizen you tend to be exempt from much of it. The best thing you can really do though is just plod along with the paperwork for now and then just try it and see what you think.
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