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"That's it! I'm moving to Canada!"

I've heard quite a few American friends postulate moving to Canada if the Presidential election in the fall doesn't go their way. Amanda and I moved here in 2004, and we love it. Here are some things to keep in mind if you're thinking of following suit:

Most importantly, please don't come if the word "if" appears in your statement about moving to Canada. "I'm moving to Canada if $CANDIDATE wins." Canada is a terrific place, and there are a lot of good reasons to come... and a lot of people from a lot of countries with genuinely bad situations want to come as well. If you come, you'll be elbowing one of those people out of one of the limited number of places. In particular, please don't come if you're planning to then turn around and move back if things in the US aren't as bad as you feared, or after four years.

Secondly, if you're coming because you really do want to live in Canada because Canada is awesome, you need to apply RIGHT NOW. It used to be the case that it would take two or more years to process an application for permanent residence, but that has dropped to 6-8 months recently... and there's been a huge spike in interest since Trump took the lead in the GOP primaries, enough so that the Immigration ministry's web site couldn't keep up. Processing times are likely to spike if there's a big influx of people applying... and more importantly, the system has changed so that you're now competing with everyone else who is applying, and they take the top people in terms of points. Applying now means less competition, and a chance of actually getting to Canada before Inauguration Day.

Thirdly, try to get a Canadian job offer right away. The point system has been changed so that having a job offer counts for up to 600 of the 1200 possible points. And they take the top point-getters. So having a job offer in hand means that you go to the front of the line. Workopolis.com and Monster.ca are two of the top Canadian job boards. A couple of years ago, immigration was completely skewed in favour of health care and skilled trades for the Alberta tar sands, but the oil industry in Alberta has now totally crashed, and that's no longer true. The Loonie is down, which helps the tech sector in a couple of ways; if you're in technology, the job market is currently very good.

Fourthly, brush up on your French. The other 600 points come from "adaptability" factors, and both official languages contribute to your point score.

Fifthly, if you want to live in Montreal, or elsewhere in Quebec, and you're not a native French speaker, tell the immigration folks that you're planning to live in Toronto or Ottawa, and then "move" after you land in Canada. If you indicate that you want to live in Quebec, the Quebec provincial authorities have to approve you, and they want you to be a Francophone.

Sixthly, Toronto and Vancouver are both really wonderful places to live, but real estate in both cities is now stupidly expensive. (Think NYC or San Francisco.) We live in a rent-controlled house in Toronto, and love it, but I wouldn't move here now if I were moving to Canada, just because of how expensive housing is. (And traffic and transit are under stress.) There are lots of other really great places in Canada, including several tech hubs.

Seventhly, now that I've said all that, Canada is a wonderful country, and if you're musing about maybe wanting to live here, I can't recommend it highly enough! But please DO come because you've fallen in love with the place, not because you're fleeing a slightly less good result in another industrialized democracy. (This applies to non-US folks as well; Canada is a great place, no matter where you're from.)

Finally, the most important info of all: there are Naginata dojos in Toronto, Montreal, and Edmonton at the moment, as well as Hudson, QC (a Montreal exurb), and one opening in Vancouver later this year. And there's very good kendo all across the country, including in places like Saskatoon.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
beaq
Mar. 17th, 2016 10:48 pm (UTC)
This is very helpful! But I'm far behind in making any such decisions and by the time I'm old and decided they won't want me!

Alas.
(Deleted comment)
futabachan
Mar. 23rd, 2016 12:00 am (UTC)
Retiring to Canada if you don't already have status here really isn't a thing, I'm afraid, but if your kids (not grandkids) were in Canada, they could sponsor you in the Family class.
johnpalmer
Mar. 27th, 2016 02:54 am (UTC)
I've never done the "if X wins I'll move to Canada" though I have to confess, "President Trump" would be a strong incentive to consider it. But it's always struck me as a good place.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )