- Download our Moving to Canada Guide (PDF)
Canada remains a popular expat destination thanks to its thriving economy, strong public service, and safe, multicultural society. While there may be some drawbacks, the vast majority will agree that the advantages of living in Canada far outweigh the disadvantages.
Below are some of the pros and cons that expats may experience living in Canada.
Culture in Canada
+ PRO: Multicultural society that is welcoming to immigrants
Canada has long been a welcoming country for expats wanting to forge a new life abroad. The government’s comparatively open immigration policy is widely publicised. Skills shortages in many industries continue to drive the need for foreign workers.
Expats relocating to Canada can expect to find multicultural communities accustomed to interacting and integrating with those from abroad; a point that can make a big difference when settling in.
Working in Canada
+ PRO: A strong employment market
While many Western nations have suffered record unemployment rates and taken a firmer stance against immigration, Canada remains largely unaffected and continues to welcome new arrivals. Expats who have the right skills and experience may find the Canadian economic climate even more welcoming.
Climate in Canada
- CON: Harsh weather conditions
Because of the sprawling nature of Canada’s landscapes, the climate is incredibly varied. Despite the country's awe-inspiring natural beauty, some expats may be put off by the freezing winters. Depending on where they reside, expats may spend a few good months tramping through heavy snows, shovelling driveways and driving on dangerously icy roads. Nevertheless, Canadians don't let the weather stop them from enjoying an active outdoor lifestyle, and many sports from ice hockey to skiing are popular winter pursuits.
Healthcare in Canada
+ PRO: Excellent healthcare
Canada offers an affordable and high-quality universal healthcare system known as Medicare. All citizens and permanent residents are entitled to free health insurance. Each province offers different coverage options, with dentistry and optometry usually excluded, so most Canadians also have private health insurance to supplement these costs. Individuals are free to choose their own health-service provider, but wait times for certain procedures can be frustratingly long.
Cost of living in Canada
- CON: An expensive place to live
The high cost of living in Canada may come as an initial shock to new arrivals. Canadian cities regularly rank among the world's most expensive for expats. Vancouver and Toronto are the most expensive, with Calgary trailing not too far behind.
Taxes in Canada are high, and expats may see a large percentage of their salary going towards provincial and federal taxes. Nevertheless, the reward for this is excellent public-service delivery, including world-class universal healthcare.
Accommodation in Canada
+ PRO: Great standard of accommodation
Accommodation in Canada is in the form of apartments, condos and standalone houses, all of which are generally of high quality. The apartments in the country are usually larger than those found in European cities.
- CON: Housing is extremely expensive
Due to a disparity in the demand and supply for homes in Canada, the country has one of the most expensive property markets in the world. That said, homes in smaller cities and those outside of city centres tend to be more affordable.
Safety in Canada
+ PRO: Safety
Canada has a reputation as an incredibly safe destination, and expats won’t need to be overly concerned about their safety while living here. Crime rates are generally low, even in major cities. The Canadian police are professional and well-respected and carry out their duties timeously and efficiently.
►Learn more about adjusting to life here in Culture Shock in Canada
"After many years of travelling, we both decided it was time to find a country to settle in. Canada seemed to fit all of our criteria – beautiful nature, safety, economic stability, freedom and adventure." Learn more in our interview with Tim and Kamila about what makes Canada a great country to live in.
Are you an expat living in Canada?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Canada. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance
With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider. Cigna is currently offering a 10% discount for seniors (over 60) on their Silver package.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.