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Ontario 5 months in

Ontario 5 months in

Old Jan 11th 2012, 9:39 am
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Default Ontario 5 months in

So five months in I would like to share my experiences with those considering a move to Canada.
I will go into this in some detail in later posts but this is a summary of what we did
Before we came
• Got a Canadian Bank account, rented a holiday home (lot harder to find than I thought it would be), and shipped goods, brought tickets and one way insurance.
What we forgot to do
• Get blue cross insurance before we landed which cover you for the 3 months it takes to get OHIP (Ontario health care), we did it later but there is a few days where you have not cover while it is processed
• Sorted out a tax free vehicle to shelter my UK investments from Canadian Capital gains, this is important because as the stock market was depressed when I came over, the trusts and endowments or whatever were very low value which is likely to rise over time and get back to where they were. So where on paper I would not have made any money, the value of my assets would have risen from point I landed in Canada. Therefore any rise will be subject to a capital gain. So if the UK stock market recovers and I cash out which is likely this year, I will pay tax even though in realty I may not have made any gain at all.

What we could have looked into
• Getting a Canadian MasterCard with covers excess on Car rental (more on this later)

Just after we landed
Got a SIN Card, Got Drivers licence, applied for OHIP (need a tenancy agreement for this so getting a short term lease on a holiday home was useful)
Hired a Car $800 per week!! Yes you can buy a car and if you have the cash I suggest you do so (or like me got a loan) but insurance is a bit high and may take time to get so having the mastercard cover the excess on rentals will save you money and help you build a credit score. Not having to take collision waiver would have saved me about $1300 so not small change.

Got cell phones: I stated with PAYG which is nothing like the UK and is utterly pointless, found it difficult to get a contract with no credit score but I had a work around using deposits (one company actually gave us a standard contract). I can go into this in more detail if required.

Within 6 weeks
• Got a loan and a car but insurance was quite high but managed to get 3 stars (as I was not working or commuting) but it was still $2800 pa so quite pricey.
• Got a Mastercard a bit late for help with the car hire but useful for getting a credit score. The credit limit is not that much compared to the various UK accounts I have (all paid up but still active) but enough to buy big purchases and pay them off immediately with savings.
• Got a decent realtor and broker (I will pass out their names if you want, they cover the west side of the GTA out toward Mississauga, Oakville and Hamilton)
• Applied and got a home loan not long after we landed, they have immigrant mortgages here and as long as you have 35% deposit and enough money to cover you for a while you can actually get a decent rate, I got prime minus 65% which is actually quite good.
• Got a nice house in Waterdown, Gas and electricity is slightly more expensive due to deposit requirements, cable is about 30% more expensive, property tax is a big bill here though.
• Kids in School and so on

Shopping:
• If you are living off your savings or a wage paid in sterling things are going to be expensive, you are in holiday mode once you get here so that does not help. Show some discipline or you will burn though these savings quite quickly. Use the flyers, wait for the sales, shop around, use Kijjiji
• Grocery shopping is an area that can be very expensive or simply OK. Canadians buy the offers which come up frequently, use UK shopping practices then you will lose out, there is no one supermarket that provides a reasonable price for everything like Tesco, instead it seems that each supermarket has merit and at different times. Some do offer flyer matching if you have the patience, again you need to look at the flyers.

Dentist and prescriptions
Need to think about this and the cost of prescriptions, at some point you will need insurance, for adults the dental prices are slightly more than the UK, at least it was for the work my wife had but it is not free for kids which will be an issue sooner or later.
Prescription pricing is regulated in Canada so you will pay for super money for mass produced drugs, but if you get very ill and need some of the more specialist ones then you have an issue.
Insurance is very expensive and normally covered by employment but it is something that needs to be addressed in the medium term

OHIP:
Got that after 3 months a bit like NHS

I did work for my UK employer for 3 months once I got here but I have been struggling to find something lately, not because there is a shortage of work in my field, but because there is a way to go about getting work that is much harder than in the UK.
Some tips, use an agency, do not use a company web site invariably they do not get read, but at least an agent can confirm that your resume is in the right hands, Linked-in is also useful I would say.
My mistake was that I went for the company web sites as they advertise the jobs first; the problem is that once you do this no agency can represent you for six months. So you can quickly restrict your options by applying to companies direct. I found Canadian agencies much more passive than their UK equivalents. They move on quite quickly and can be as unresponsive as the companies you are applying to. Again I found a decent Head hunter who got me a couple of interviews in a very short period of time so things are looking up.

Other points:

Keep you UK bank accounts and credit active, as this will help you keep up things like life insurance which is still valid in Canada, most will allow you to change you address to Canada. Useful for buying presents and stuff from UK suppliers.
Life insurance is more expensive in Canada and I found what I had in the UK quite useful particularly the endowment policy with critical illness.

No doubt I will have forgotten something but I will post once I remember
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Old Jan 11th 2012, 10:29 pm
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Default Re: Ontario 5 months in

Thanks for the report.

(I'm not there yet)

Car insurance:

Was that for a "new driver" policy without any No claims?

When I was doing some fantasy insurance quotes, I was getting roughly the same quotes for any car I chose, from a family sedan to a truck. Between 2k and 3k seemed to be the norm for us noobs.

I'm a bit spoiled here as I have a trade policy which allows me and my wife to drive anything I want up to a certain value. Unfortunately trade policies NCD does not transfer on to any new private policy.

Sounds like it's quite tough for you guys at the moment. How are you liking it apart from the financial stress?
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Old Jan 11th 2012, 11:46 pm
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Default Re: Ontario 5 months in

Originally Posted by Diddley1969
Some tips, use an agency, do not use a company web site invariably they do not get read, but at least an agent can confirm that your resume is in the right hands, Linked-in is also useful I would say.
My mistake was that I went for the company web sites as they advertise the jobs first; the problem is that once you do this no agency can represent you for six months. So you can quickly restrict your options by applying to companies direct.
Can represent you at that company. If you apply directly to, say, the Bank of Commerce, an agent can still represent you to the Royal Bank.

The usual problem is the other way around, if you visit an agent or meet one in the pub or pass one in the street, and you then apply for and are offered a job direct, that agent will then appear wanting a commission. IME the potential employer will usually walk away from the transaction rather than employ the candidate and deal with the hassle.

I assume the agent's been spinning you a line because whichever firm you want him or her to sell you into won't pay any or as much commission as one where he or she wants to place you.
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Old Jan 11th 2012, 11:49 pm
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Default Re: Ontario 5 months in

Originally Posted by Dave n Ailsa
I was getting roughly the same quotes for any car I chose, from a family sedan to a truck.
That's how it works. Type of vehicle is not the important influence on premiums here that it is in the UK. There's a marginal difference between a Ford Escort and a Ford Mustang SVT but not enough to alter one's choice of vehicle. Allowing that it's a arm and a leg whatever car you get, you may as well have the one with the turbochargers.
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Old Jan 12th 2012, 1:50 am
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Default Re: Ontario 5 months in

To the OP: I don't understand how sheltering the investments in a tax free shelter will negate your obligation to pay capital gains tax upon any gain you achieve since you became a tax resident in Canada.

You appear to accept this in the latter part of that paragraph, I just don't understand the significance of the former part
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Old Jan 12th 2012, 3:13 am
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Default Re: Ontario 5 months in

Originally Posted by Dave n Ailsa
Thanks for the report.

(I'm not there yet)

Car insurance:

Was that for a "new driver" policy without any No claims?

When I was doing some fantasy insurance quotes, I was getting roughly the same quotes for any car I chose, from a family sedan to a truck. Between 2k and 3k seemed to be the norm for us noobs.

I'm a bit spoiled here as I have a trade policy which allows me and my wife to drive anything I want up to a certain value. Unfortunately trade policies NCD does not transfer on to any new private policy.

Sounds like it's quite tough for you guys at the moment. How are you liking it apart from the financial stress?
In Ontario insurance is expensive and it is hard for anyone to get any recognition for their experience in the UK, that being said the one I found did and I was fortunate enough to keep a photo copy of my UK driving licence as proof of history.

I had a 2 year no claims letter as well and got 3 starts which is about $2800 per year for low mileage (I am not commuting at the moment)
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Old Jan 12th 2012, 4:11 am
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Default Re: Ontario 5 months in

Originally Posted by dbd33
Can represent you at that company. If you apply directly to, say, the Bank of Commerce, an agent can still represent you to the Royal Bank.

The usual problem is the other way around, if you visit an agent or meet one in the pub or pass one in the street, and you then apply for and are offered a job direct, that agent will then appear wanting a commission. IME the potential employer will usually walk away from the transaction rather than employ the candidate and deal with the hassle.

I assume the agent's been spinning you a line because whichever firm you want him or her to sell you into won't pay any or as much commission as one where he or she wants to place you.
No I have seen all the main companies such as Hays, Agentus, Michael Page the say the same thing. Once I apply for any job in a company they are locked out for six months for any role.

Yes I imagine there are one or two that do not, but I was locked out using agencies for ING, Tellus, Bell, CIBC, MTS and the such like. Due to this it was very hard to get anyone to work on my behalf.

I was fortunate that a US and Swiss company started to recruit for global positions in the GTA so the agent I used picked these up and I got interviews straight away.

Applying direct has never been a good idea at management level even in the UK, and I kick myself for doing it in many cases here in Toronto.

You can spend hours tailoring your CV and cover letter to the position and submit it to a company recruitment portal only to get nothing back. It takes a lot of time and it is just too easy to get filtered out of these systems, and you will never know why.

At least a good agent can get you the feedback, my advice is to see if an agency is also advertising they job you have seen and advert for. This means they have a relationship in place with HR and possibly one with the hiring manager.

Linked-in is useful for finding out such things I would say.
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Old Jan 12th 2012, 4:27 am
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Default Re: Ontario 5 months in

Originally Posted by dbd33
That's how it works. Type of vehicle is not the important influence on premiums here that it is in the UK. There's a marginal difference between a Ford Escort and a Ford Mustang SVT but not enough to alter one's choice of vehicle. Allowing that it's a arm and a leg whatever car you get, you may as well have the one with the turbochargers.
To illustrate the point;
I was playing about with my policy options, and a ~2litre 4 pot Civic, Mazda3 or Elantra was always about $1400 a year for me, but a 5.0 V8 Mustang GT convertible was about $200 a year less than that for the same coverage
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Old Jan 12th 2012, 4:33 am
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Default Re: Ontario 5 months in

Originally Posted by iaink
To illustrate the point;
I was playing about with my policy options, and a ~2litre 4 pot Civic, Mazda3 or Elantra was always about $1400 a year for me, but a 5.0 V8 Mustang GT convertible was about $200 a year less than that for the same coverage
Possibly because it's a North American car, and the parts are quite reasonable (I have one!)
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Old Jan 12th 2012, 4:34 am
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Default Re: Ontario 5 months in

Originally Posted by Almost Canadian
To the OP: I don't understand how sheltering the investments in a tax free shelter will negate your obligation to pay capital gains tax upon any gain you achieve since you became a tax resident in Canada.

You appear to accept this in the latter part of that paragraph, I just don't understand the significance of the former part
There is something the Canadians allow immigrants to do that protect you from capital gains tax for 5 years, but you have to do it before you land. It was not anything I considered (or even knew about), but all the things like endowments, ISAs, winnings on premium bonds (if you did not tell them you moved) may not be tax free if they occur after landing. That is my understanding of it all.


A house is a great example say if you brought it in 2007 and it lost 30% and you did not sell prior to moving and prices recovered after you landed, then you may be liable for the improvement even though on paper you may be making a loss still.

It is not relevant to me now but I think it allows one to avoid the situation I find myself in, potentially paying capital gains on assets that I would have otherwise booked a loss on had I sold them under UK rules. But in a depressed market such as we find ourselves in, it is worth looking into this before you land.



That is my understanding of it all, I will find out more once I see an accountant and do my first tax return.
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Old Jan 12th 2012, 4:35 am
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Default Re: Ontario 5 months in

Originally Posted by YoshiPal2010
Possibly because it's a North American car, and the parts are quite reasonable (I have one!)
Civic is built in Alliston Ontario, and has been sales leader for 13? years straight. parts are cheap as chips. But its not the car costs that drive the premiums, its the accident stats I guess.
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Old Jan 12th 2012, 4:36 am
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Default Re: Ontario 5 months in

Originally Posted by Diddley1969
Once I apply for any job in a company they are locked out for six months for any role.
At that company. The agent can represent you to any other company. Are you saying that there are so few potential employers that this is a problem?

If so, I'm surprised an agent could be of value, surely you'd know all the players in such a specialised sector from trade bodies of one sort or another.
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Old Jan 12th 2012, 4:36 am
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Default Re: Ontario 5 months in

Originally Posted by iaink
To illustrate the point;
I was playing about with my policy options, and a ~2litre 4 pot Civic, Mazda3 or Elantra was always about $1400 a year for me, but a 5.0 V8 Mustang GT convertible was about $200 a year less than that for the same coverage
And what fun the Mustang is!
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Old Jan 12th 2012, 4:43 am
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Default Re: Ontario 5 months in

Originally Posted by Dave n Ailsa
Thanks for the report.

(I'm not there yet)

Car insurance:

Was that for a "new driver" policy without any No claims?

When I was doing some fantasy insurance quotes, I was getting roughly the same quotes for any car I chose, from a family sedan to a truck. Between 2k and 3k seemed to be the norm for us noobs.

I'm a bit spoiled here as I have a trade policy which allows me and my wife to drive anything I want up to a certain value. Unfortunately trade policies NCD does not transfer on to any new private policy.

Sounds like it's quite tough for you guys at the moment. How are you liking it apart from the financial stress?
Yeah, lucky to get $2.8K for the Caravan I have but that will go up no doubt once I start to commute, I was getting quotes of $5.5K here in Ontario in the main, lucky to find someone to recognise my UK experience. But when you are paying $800 per week for a rental (which I only got because I booked it via a UK holiday company), even $5.5K + the cost of the car was a better option.

When you get over here the Canadian Master card is key as you can take the basic car rental without the waiver premium and all the other little bits. Makes a big difference and is what the locals do when their cars are off the road.
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Old Jan 12th 2012, 4:57 am
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Default Re: Ontario 5 months in

Originally Posted by dbd33
And what fun the Mustang is!
Not if you are the poor bugger that has to sit in the rear "seats"
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