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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 28th 2021, 5:09 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Q: How to make a small fortune in Canada
A: Arrive with a large one

Joking aside, it's very expensive here (in Ontario)
You can spend $200 at the grocery store on a few bags of shopping.
I would say apart from Gas, almost everything is either the same or more expensive.
Luckily, me and the Mrs are both self employed and do ok financially (at the moment) even though Covid has hit us for 6.
Prepare yourself for long, cold, hard winters and if you live in a small rural area (like us) you won't see people for days/weeks. No cosy visits to the pub to catch up..
If you do decide to make the move, I would strongly suggest renting somewhere first to check out the area. I know a couple who bought straight away and regretted it and sold cheaply just to get away..

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Old Jan 28th 2021, 5:16 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by DMajor View Post
Joking aside, it's very expensive here (in Ontario)
You can spend $200 at the grocery store on a few bags of shopping.
I think that is largely going to depend on the person and your specific tastes. I would personally do much of my food shopping in Chinese and Korean supermarkets which tend to be cheaper in Canada than they are in the UK, mainly because there are more of them.

But it's true that most mainstream supermarkets in Canada are closer to Waitrose and M&S territory in terms of pricing than they are to Aldi and Lidl.
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 5:17 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by DigitalGhost View Post
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.
We probably wouldn't be able to visit for more than 2 weeks so I am sure we wont see all the area has to offer but we can get some clues. Sounds like the best time to visit would be during winter to see if we can hack it.

We are thinking of staying in Toronto actually so hearing how cold it can get is sounding scary to me.

About the bureaucracy, I can already feel it from the research that I have done. I think we would need an accountant for at least first 2 filings. So many forms...very confusing.


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Old Jan 28th 2021, 5:27 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by seseman View Post
We probably wouldn't be able to visit for more than 2 weeks so I am sure we wont see all the area has to offer but we can get some clues. Sounds like the best time to visit would be during winter to see if we can hack it.

We are thinking of staying in Toronto actually so hearing how cold it can get is sounding scary to me.

About the bureaucracy, I can already feel it from the research that I have done. I think we would need an accountant for at least first 2 filings. So many forms...very confusing.
Filing taxes for what would equate to a PAYE person there is actually not that difficult and there are web based tools that can do it for you. It can actually be quite lucrative if you use the tools to their full potential whereas PAYE in the UK means being taxed weekly or monthly through the rear and still always living in fear of a nasty letter from HMRC demanding more. I've never done it as a self employed person though and I can imagine that being much more difficult.

I've personally experienced a couple of Toronto winters. One was when I moved there for the first time and was absolutely brutal to the point where I spent my first few days questioning why anyone would ever build a city in a place like that. The second was extremely mild and actually quite pleasant but you need to prepare for it either way. I'm sure more experienced folks on here will have more educated opinions but from my limited experience, you can prepare for it much better than you can in the UK. It's a case of dealing with snow and a low temperature and you can dress for it. In the UK you never know what will come from one day to the next and when you get a really bitter wind and freezing cold rain in the UK like we've had recently, it can absolutely horrendous.

Because of the weather, people tend to be less fussy in business situations during Canadian winters from my experience too. I've seen people wearing their pyjamas under their work clothes because it's a good way to keep the heat in. The Toronto summers are gorgeous though. During the summer I honestly felt like it was of the best places to live in the world.
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 5:28 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by DMajor View Post
Q: How to make a small fortune in Canada
A: Arrive with a large one

Joking aside, it's very expensive here (in Ontario)
You can spend $200 at the grocery store on a few bags of shopping.
I would say apart from Gas, almost everything is either the same or more expensive.
Luckily, me and the Mrs are both self employed and do ok financially (at the moment) even though Covid has hit us for 6.
Prepare yourself for long, cold, hard winters and if you live in a small rural area (like us) you won't see people for days/weeks. No cosy visits to the pub to catch up..
If you do decide to make the move, I would strongly suggest renting somewhere first to check out the area. I know a couple who bought straight away and regretted it and sold cheaply just to get away..
We wont be buying until we are sure we want to stay which I think would be at least a year.

I did a pretend shop online at walmart canada and it was a nightmare. There were too many choices (not necessarily a bad thing) and the cost of items were close to being double what it is in the UK. I also tried some of the international grocery stores and the prices are eye watering.

My research also match what you have said about prices being either almost same or more expensive in Canada. The main one seems to be car insurance. Why is it so expensive in Canada?

I was also trying to figure out what we would spend on housing and other necessities. I will appreciate if you could give me a list of things that you need to pay for over there and estimated cost for say a family of 4. 2 adults and 2 children. My current list includes: hydro(electricity?), gas, water, waste management (depends on bin size?), mobile phone plan (seems pretty expensive), car insurance, petrol (gas) and house internet plan (seems expensive for the lowest of speeds). Worst case rent cost for a nice/comfortable 2 bed in the greater ontario area (e.g. hamilton, oakwille, brampton) should be maybe $2000?

Not to forget childcare for at least 1 child but hopefully we can avoid this if my 4 year old can go to school. I read that Toronto has pre-k.

Did I miss anything?

Thank you.
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 5:34 pm
  #21  
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by DigitalGhost View Post
Filing taxes for what would equate to a PAYE person there is actually not that difficult and there are web based tools that can do it for you. It can actually be quite lucrative if you use the tools to their full potential whereas PAYE in the UK means being taxed weekly or monthly through the rear and still always living in fear of a nasty letter from HMRC demanding more. I've never done it as a self employed person though and I can imagine that being much more difficult.

I've personally experienced a couple of Toronto winters. One was when I moved there for the first time and was absolutely brutal to the point where I spent my first few days questioning why anyone would ever build a city in a place like that. The second was extremely mild and actually quite pleasant but you need to prepare for it either way. I'm sure more experienced folks on here will have more educated opinions but from my limited experience, you can prepare for it much better than you can in the UK. It's a case of dealing with snow and a low temperature and you can dress for it. In the UK you never know what will come from one day to the next and when you get a really bitter wind and freezing cold rain in the UK like we've had recently, it can absolutely horrendous.

Because of the weather, people tend to be less fussy in business situations during Canadian winters from my experience too. I've seen people wearing their pyjamas under their work clothes because it's a good way to keep the heat in. The Toronto summers are gorgeous though. During the summer I honestly felt like it was of the best places to live in the world.
Yikes! I am in for a rude awakening. I dont like snow lol. Anytime it snows here it feels like the world is coming to an end. I have a fear of slipping on ice...This for me is one of the major hurdles I will have to overcome to be able to move over there. I keep telling myself I will be able to manage.

Wearing pyjamas under work clothes is not something I would even imagine.

My Canada journey is looking very questionable at the moment....
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 5:41 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by christmasoompa View Post
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.



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.
Thank you. It is unlikely to happen like you say but it is a very important point to iron out. I have been pretty vocal about what matters to me and the downsides that I see to moving over there but I think it is coming across as me being negative/too risk averse. I think this isn't a move one can make with the mindset that everything will just fall into place. If it was just myself and my husband, I would not worry so much but it wouldn't be fair on the children to uproot them if we are not sure.
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 5:42 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by seseman View Post
Yikes! I am in for a rude awakening. I dont like snow lol. Anytime it snows here it feels like the world is coming to an end. I have a fear of slipping on ice...This for me is one of the major hurdles I will have to overcome to be able to move over there. I keep telling myself I will be able to manage.

Wearing pyjamas under work clothes is not something I would even imagine.

My Canada journey is looking very questionable at the moment....
I never did the pyjamas to work thing because I'm far too prissy and fastidious for that. I did get a pair of thermals to wear under my jeans to work which did the same thing though and you can pick those up in Canadian department stores for next to nothing.

If you don't like snow then the Canadian suburbs are likely not for you, or at least not outside of Vancouver and maybe some parts of Atlantic Canada. Even in Toronto, you're either going to be shovelling it off your drive every day during the winter, paying someone to shovel it for you or joining a neighbourhood circuit where you take turns to clear it. If you're not a driver then you may well need to wade through it on your way to the bus stop or station. You do learn to deal with it quite quickly though.

The exception will be downtown. Condo life is a big thing in Toronto and there are larger ones that can accommodate families. It's far more common to see families with kids living in luxury apartments in North America than it is in England where everyone seems to be obsessed with buying a house. If you live downtown then the snow is much less of an issue because the city workers tend to clear it off the pavement and you can make your way to many places without much need to go outside.
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 5:43 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by seseman View Post
We probably wouldn't be able to visit for more than 2 weeks so I am sure we wont see all the area has to offer but we can get some clues. Sounds like the best time to visit would be during winter to see if we can hack it.

We are thinking of staying in Toronto actually so hearing how cold it can get is sounding scary to me.

About the bureaucracy, I can already feel it from the research that I have done. I think we would need an accountant for at least first 2 filings. So many forms...very confusing.
Yes it is cold in winter, although the last few have been mild in comparison. There is a whole underground network of shops, eateries, offices, hair salons etc. You also dress differently....think long down padded coat, sheepskin lined boots, hat, scarf, gloves etc. Most days the sun is shining and the sky is bright blue. We have a downtown condo, on a sunny winter day, looking out over the lake, you would swear you were in the Caribbean. The sun is so strong we often have to run the AC in winter. If you don’t wish to go outside because of the weather, you probably don’t have to.

Property and rentals are very expensive. A 2 bed 1K sq ft condo downtown will probably run around $3K+ per mth depending on location/view. 3 bed townhouse just outside the downtown area where we are rents at approx $6K+ per mth...utilities extra. Car insurance is also very expensive. Not sure how old your children are but summer camp for kids is very popular. My daughter pays around $500+ per week for her 6 yr old at day camp.
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 5:45 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by DigitalGhost View Post
Filing taxes for what would equate to a PAYE person there is actually not that difficult and there are web based tools that can do it for you. It can actually be quite lucrative if you use the tools to their full potential whereas PAYE in the UK means being taxed weekly or monthly through the rear and still always living in fear of a nasty letter from HMRC demanding more. I've never done it as a self employed person though and I can imagine that being much more difficult.

I've personally experienced a couple of Toronto winters. One was when I moved there for the first time and was absolutely brutal to the point where I spent my first few days questioning why anyone would ever build a city in a place like that. The second was extremely mild and actually quite pleasant but you need to prepare for it either way. I'm sure more experienced folks on here will have more educated opinions but from my limited experience, you can prepare for it much better than you can in the UK. It's a case of dealing with snow and a low temperature and you can dress for it. In the UK you never know what will come from one day to the next and when you get a really bitter wind and freezing cold rain in the UK like we've had recently, it can absolutely horrendous.

Because of the weather, people tend to be less fussy in business situations during Canadian winters from my experience too. I've seen people wearing their pyjamas under their work clothes because it's a good way to keep the heat in. The Toronto summers are gorgeous though. During the summer I honestly felt like it was of the best places to live in the world.
The dreaded HMRC letter. I do self assessment every year to avoid this. Fingers cross I never get one saying I owe them.

I think with climate change, we have to prepare for more extreme weathers. It must be so hard to get up for work during the winter times.

I am grateful that I am getting real life opinions and advice on here so I will be making any decisions with my eyes open.
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 5:55 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 with climate change, we have to prepare for more extreme weathers. It must be so hard to get up for work during the winter times.
I think probably the only good thing to come out of 2020 is that a requirement for most white collar professionals to do a daily commute during the winter for most office jobs will become a thing of the past. I always found that Canadians were more attuned and open to the idea of working from home pre-Covid anyway though. In the jobs I had in Canada it was never a problem and people did it regularly whereas most jobs I've had in the UK have equated it so skiving.

I actually agree with JG that downtown rent is not cheap. I have recently been looking for myself and for a 1 bed condo with a den, I'd be looking at $1500-2000 per month and right it's definitely a renter's market. However, it's worth keeping in mind that you will get more for your money than you would in many UK cities. $1500 is approximately £840 and renters in Canada don't pay council tax. Heating and water are also often included and your rent includes exclusive access to building amenities like a 24 hour concierge, a gym, a pool, a cinema or games room, sauna etc. Some of them even have a guest room facility that you can book for visiting friends/relatives.
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 5:55 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
Yes it is cold in winter, although the last few have been mild in comparison. There is a whole underground network of shops, eateries, offices, hair salons etc. You also dress differently....think long down padded coat, sheepskin lined boots, hat, scarf, gloves etc. Most days the sun is shining and the sky is bright blue. We have a downtown condo, on a sunny winter day, looking out over the lake, you would swear you were in the Caribbean. The sun is so strong we often have to run the AC in winter. If you don’t wish to go outside because of the weather, you probably don’t have to.

Property and rentals are very expensive. A 2 bed 1K sq ft condo downtown will probably run around $3K+ per mth depending on location/view. 3 bed townhouse just outside the downtown area where we are rents at approx $6K+ per mth...utilities extra. Car insurance is also very expensive. Not sure how old your children are but summer camp for kids is very popular. My daughter pays around $500+ per week for her 6 yr old at day camp.
oh my goodness $3k per month, $6k per month? no way! those prices are for apartments in what we would call centre of the town right? I think that is what downtown is over there? To cut down costs, especially rent, we were thinking outskirts of Toronto. Are there any areas in Ontario that you can recommend that are good for price and also good for a family? I wouldnt want a rough area. I mean rough in terms of high crime and burglaries and so on. Sounds like my $2k per month rent estimate is way too low and I was already complaining that it was too much.
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 6:03 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by seseman View Post
oh my goodness $3k per month, $6k per month? no way! those prices are for apartments in what we would call centre of the town right? I think that is what downtown is over there? To cut down costs, especially rent, we were thinking outskirts of Toronto. Are there any areas in Ontario that you can recommend that are good for price and also good for a family? I wouldnt want a rough area. I mean rough in terms of high crime and burglaries and so on. Sounds like my $2k per month rent estimate is way too low and I was already complaining that it was too much.
Have a look on kijiji.ca and you should be able to get a good idea of what it would cost for what you want.

Those prices are for condos and not apartments. In the UK there is no real difference but in Canada there is. An apartment is usually cheaper and more basic and although some do include a concierge, onsite maintenance team and a pool. A condo is like living in a hotel suite. Downtown is basically what would be a city centre area in the UK.
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Old Jan 28th 2021, 6:04 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by DigitalGhost View Post
I think probably the only good thing to come out of 2020 is that a requirement for most white collar professionals to do a daily commute during the winter for most office jobs will become a thing of the past. I always found that Canadians were more attuned and open to the idea of working from home pre-Covid anyway though. In the jobs I had in Canada it was never a problem and people did it regularly whereas most jobs I've had in the UK have equated it so skiving.

I actually agree with JG that downtown rent is not cheap. I have recently been looking for myself and for a 1 bed condo with a den, I'd be looking at $1500-2000 per month and right it's definitely a renter's market. However, it's worth keeping in mind that you will get more for your money than you would in many UK cities. $1500 is approximately £840 and renters in Canada don't pay council tax. Heating and water are also often included and your rent includes exclusive access to building amenities like a 24 hour concierge, a gym, a pool, a cinema or games room, sauna etc. Some of them even have a guest room facility that you can book for visiting friends/relatives.
Home working was becoming more and more popular in the UK before COVID hit.

I had a look at some apartments and I didnt like the shared laundry facilities. I think it would be too inconvenient with young children. I would prefer somewhere where we would have our laundry equipment in the apartment. Would also prefer furnished till we got settled.

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Old Jan 28th 2021, 6:06 pm
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Default Re: What made you decide to make the move to Canada

Originally Posted by DigitalGhost View Post
Have a look on kijiji.ca and you should be able to get a good idea of what it would cost for what you want.

Those prices are for condos and not apartments. In the UK there is no real difference but in Canada there is. An apartment is usually cheaper and more basic and although some do include a concierge, onsite maintenance team and a pool. A condo is like living in a hotel suite. Downtown is basically what would be a city centre area in the UK.
Got it. Thank you for the tip. Sounds like we need a condo not an apartment. I will do some more searching
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