Moving to Canada
Your Complete Relocation Guide

Looking to make your dream of moving to Canada a reality? For all the little details on how to move to Canada from the US, we’ve developed this handy guide. From visa applications to expected living costs, learn all you’ll need to know before strapping on your winter coat and making the big move to the Great White North!

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To prove that you’re ready to become a true Canadian, we dare you to start learning O Canada —the country’s national anthem! Are you up for the challenge? 😉

Listen to our Spotify playlist
and get ready to move!

Listen to our Spotify playlist
and get ready to move!

Moving to Canada: How Much Does It Cost?

It’s no secret that moving abroad costs a pretty penny –even you’re only moving to our ‘Neighbor to the North‘. It’s only natural that the first thing to come to mind when moving to Canada is how much it will actually cost.

Generally speaking, there are multiple factors associated with international moving costs. However, the transport of your belongings tends to be the biggest expense, which is largely influenced by the size of your move.

Sirelo Tip! Having trouble figuring out the size of your move to Canada? We got your back! Our trusty moving space calculator is super simple to use and will automatically give you the estimated size of your move in cubic feet!

Moving to Canada from the East Coast

If this all sounds a little vague, we get it! That’s why we compiled the average costs of moving to Canada for a three-bedroom household from the East Coast to Canada below.

DestinationSea-freightRoad Transport
Toronto, Ontario$5,400 – $7,300$2,400 – $3,300
Montreal, Québec$5,300 – $7,200$2,000 – $2,800
Vancouver, British Columbia$6,700 – $9,100$9,800 – $13,200
Calgary, Alberta$8,600 – $11,400$7,900 – $10,800

Disclaimer: Please are that the above rates are based on estimates and prices will vary depending on your point of departure.

Moving to Canada from the West Coast

Moving to Canada from the Pacific side of things? Below you can find a list of the average moving costs for a three-bedroom household:

DestinationSea-freightRoad Transport
Ottawa, Ontario$7,200 – $9,700$9,100 – $12,200
Montreal, Québec$6,800 – $9,200$9,300 – $12,600
Victoria, British Columbia$5,500 – $7,500$4,500 – $6,200
Edmonton, Alberta$7,400 – $10,100$6,000 – $8,200

Disclaimer: Please are that the above rates are based on estimates and prices will vary depending on your point of departure.

Finding the Right Moving Company

By now you’ll have noticed that the price ranges for moving to Canada are not quite exact (and sometimes quite large). This makes it all the more important to find the best price from the right moving company for your particular move. Otherwise, you may begin your new life in Canada off on the wrong foot.

Want to make sure you get the most accurate price possible before moving to Canada? By filling out the form below, you’ll be able to receive up to five free moving quotes!

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How to Move to The Great White North: Ultimate Checklist

If remembering a move’s every little detail seems like an easy task for you, then you’re definitely one of the lucky ones. But just in case you want to give your memory an extra hand, we recommend noting the following points to make sure you’ve got it all covered when moving to Canada.

Before Moving to Canada

  • Collect all important documents: Ensure that all the paperwork you might need is in check. This doesn’t only include visas and permits, but also birth certificates, medical and dental records, and so on.
  • Select an international mover: Not sure where to start? Check out which international movers made it to our top 8!
  • Pet documents: In case you’re planning on moving to Canada with your pet, ensure that your furry friend has all the necessary documents to meet the pet entry requirements in Canada.
  • Notify others about your move: Keep in mind that there might be governmental and tax organizations you might need to notify about your move to Canada.
  • Pack: Tedious but necessary, it’s important that you go through your belongings and determine what items you’d like to move with you and pack them all up.

After Moving to Canada

  • Health insurance: Apply to Canada’s public health insurance so you can be covered as soon as possible.
  • Bank account: Set up a Canadian bank account in case you haven’t done it online already.
  • Unpack: Try to unpack everything within the first couple of weeks of your move.

Sirelo Tip! Interested in a longer and more detailed checklist? Our moving abroad checklist is here to help. 😉

Moving to Canada: How to Move to Canada from the USA

Visas and Residencies

Besides mere costs, another crucial point in this ‘How to Move to Canada‘ guide is the visa and residency application process. Depending on your reason for moving to Canada, you will have to apply for either a work visa or a permanent residency.

Make sure to check first if you’re eligible to apply for these permits before starting any process!

How to Move to Canada for Work

To legally work in Canada, foreign workers must have a work visa. Work visas come in two ways: open work permits and employer-specific permits.

With an open work permit, you’d be allowed to work for any employer in Canada. Easy-peasy! An employer-specific permit, on the other hand, only allows you to work for a particular employer. Obtaining a Canadian work visa costs around $155 CAD ($117 USD).

In Canada, work visas are issued to different types of workers –temporary workers, business people, students, and caregivers. It’s important that you keep in mind that there are specific requirements for each type of worker, which can even make us a little dizzy… As well, eligibility requirements differ depending on whether you apply from inside or outside of Canada.

Good news! If you’re moving to Canada from the US as a skilled immigrant, you’ll eligible to apply for Express Entry. This is only applicable if you’re planning to become a permanent worker rather than just a temporary one. Score!

Permanent Residency

Planning on making the Great White North your forever home? Then you’ll need to apply for full permanent residency. There’s three main ways you can obtain a permanent residency:

  • Express entry: As mentioned before, you can apply if you’re qualified as a skilled immigrant. This entry automatically provides permanent residency. Whoop whoop!
  • Family sponsorship: If a relative is above 18 years old and currently a permanent resident of Canada, they can sponsor a family member. Better start phoning up those distant cousins…
  • Business entry: If you’re interested in operating a business in Canada, you’re eligible to apply for permanent residency through the Business Immigration Program. Cash money!

Moving to Canada: How to Move to Canada from the USA

Canadian Healthcare System

To ensure you have a long and happy life in Canada, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the healthcare system before moving to Canada.

Equally important is to arrange health insurance (the not-so-glamorous part of moving abroad…). Because Canada offers universal healthcare, if you’re a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident then you’re entitled to public health insurance. Hallelujah!

In every province, most basic medical services are generally covered by this insurance. But it would be too easy if there weren’t extra little details to it, so it’s important that you research local health ministries about your coverage.

Private insurance is also there to boost your coverage for blind spots in the universal healthcare system (Canada would be too perfect without a few blind spots, right?). This is particularly effective for:

  • Prescription medicine
  • Dental care
  • Ambulance services
  • Physiotherapy
  • Prescription glasses

If you’d prefer, you can also take out international health insurance in the United States before or after moving to Canada. With it, you’ll enjoy added coverage for medical emergencies and routine healthcare work. One less worry!

Financial Arrangements

Even though it goes without saying, when moving to Canada it might be smart to open a Canadian bank account. Here’s the set of documents you’ll need to open an account with most banks:

  • Passport
  • Secondary form of ID (e.g.: driver’s license)
  • Immigration papers
  • Social insurance number (SIN)
  • Resident permit

Now for everyone’s favorite topic… taxes! We recommend that you check out the Canadian Government’s website for further information about personal taxes, business taxes and much more.

Do keep in mind that as a US citizen, your income is still subject to U.S. income tax regardless of where you reside (and they’ll come find you…). Therefore, it’s important to understand the tax implications of a US citizen moving to Canada.

Working in Canada

How hard is it to find a job in Canada? In many cases it’s no easier or harder than back home. As we mentioned before, you’ll need a work permit in order to legally work in Canada. In case you’re planning on moving to Canada without a specific job, you’ll need to apply for the open work permit.

When looking for a job in Canada, many online job boards will be familiar to many of you already:

Employment facts about Canada important to know before moving to Canada

Average Salary in Canada

As of 2022, the average salary in Canada for full-time workers is about $65,775 (and on a year-over-year upswing). Region has a big impact, however, as industry and opportunity are not distributed evenly.

For example, the highest average salary in Canada is in the Northern Territories at over $80,000 due to timber and petroleum industries (with those icy winds, you better be paid good money to live there!). Nova Scotia on the other hand, a fishing and shipping-based economy, is as low as $50,000.

Living in Canada: Costs in a Nutshell

You may be asking yourself, is living in Canada expensive? Well, we’ll ask you, when moving to Canada where will you go? The cost of living in Canada will vary depending on the city that you live in as well as on the amount of people in your household (and all those mouths to feed).

Excluding rent, the average cost of living in Canada living costs for a 4-person family per month are around $3,800 CAD. Generally, the most expensive cities to live in include:

  • Vancouver, BC
  • Toronto, ON
  • Victoria, BC
  • Calgary, AB
  • Hamilton-Burlington, ON

Housing

When we say the above cities are the most expensive to live in, we mean it. To live a comfortable life, the cost of living in Canada vary wildly all because of rent. Take a look at these average rent prices per city:

CityOne-bedroom Apt.Two-bedroom Apt.Single Family Home
Toronto$1,500$2,500$4,500
Vancouver$1,300$1,800$4,000
Montreal$700$1,000$2,500
Winnipeg$800$1,300$2,000

Why such a difference? Canada has relatively few major urban centers compared to its enormous landmass, so wherever it’s ‘happening’ a heavy price tag follows. In addition, both opportunity and quality of life factor big into these inflated rents.

Moving to Canada: How to Move to Canada from the USA

What’s It Like Living in Canada?

Canada is sometimes referred to as a European country across the Atlantic. Some go as far as calling it ‘Candinavia’, because living in Canada includes so much public welfare and progressive values. Score!

For many Americans, living in Canada will be much the same as living back home, only different. While cities and towns look largely the same, Americans moving to Canada will doubtlessly experience some uncanny moments. Canadians are famous for their politeness, and often express deep concern and attention for others even in casual scenarios, which may require an adjustment period.

Americans Living in Canada

As you look ahead to moving to Canada, know that there are also a bunch of other Americans moving to Canada too. Or they’ve have already moved!

There’s always been a lot of movement across these borders, and in recent years this has only increased. Populations of American expats tend to gather around major cities, with Ottawa, Vancouver, Edmonton, Oakville, and St Albert being the top 5.

Therefore, if you ever get homesick, it shouldn’t be too hard to find other Americans living in Canada to connect with via popular expat networks!

Benefits of Living in Canada

There’s many reasons why you could be moving to Canada from the US. Whatever your reason may be, it doesn’t hurt that there’s some added benefits of living in Canada! Of course, with any upside comes a downside, so we also include some negative points as well for the pros and cons of moving to Canada:

Pros:

  • Prestine wilderness (for the tree-huggers out there)
  • Universal Healthcare
  • Polite & Friendly culture (sorry, pardon me, eh?)
  • Strong workers’ rights

Cons:

  • Extreme cold (Coldest on record? 81 degrees below zero!)
  • Regional economies
  • Long distances between cities (Road trip!)
  • High costs of living

Did You Know…?

  • 71% of the world’s maple syrup comes from Canada —surprise, surprise… Be ready to enjoy some crazy good pancakes!;
  •  Approximately 15,000 polar bears (out of the 25,000 that currently exist) live in Canada;
  • Located in Alberta, Canada actually built back in 1976 an actual landing pad specifically for UFOswe should probably take note… just sayin’;
  • Because Canadians are so incredibly polite the Apology Act was passed in 2009, which makes apologies inadmissible in court.

Good Luck Moving to Canada!

We hope we’ve managed to give you a better understanding of how to move to Canada. In case you need some extra assistance, at Sirelo we got your back! Check out the articles we have linked below for you –they’ll be of great help!

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