Canada is such an amazing destination for travel enthusiasts and expats. Through this post, I am sharing my personal expat to citizenship journey, with 10 best reasons to move to Canada today.
I moved to Canada in 2009, and have lived in 3 different provinces and traveled to 5. Keep reading to find out where I began!
10 Reasons to move to Canada – An Expat to Citizen Story
Safe for immigrants
Canada is one of the safest countries in the world. The political situation is stable, and violent crimes and internal conflicts are very rare, almost non-existent in most cities.
As an immigrant, we (my husband and I) have lived in popular cities like Toronto, Edmonton, to less populated towns like North Battleford in Saskatchewan. In 10 years of living here, (2010 to 2020) we have never faced any sort of racism/discrimination at work or in our everyday lives.
As a woman of color, I feel safe working and going about my day-to-day tasks, doesn’t matter what time of day or place it is.
I am sure you will feel at home here too!
Canada is one of the peaceful countries
Not only safe, Canada is also one of the peaceful countries in the world (ranked in the world’s top 10). Toronto, Calgary and Quebec City repeatedly come in the list of most livable cities in the world (by World Population Review).
Canadian culture is built on respect and appreciation of each other’s differences, not just mere tolerance. And I truly believe it sends such a strong message to other world leaders, immigrants and citizens, that mutual respect and politeness is everything!
Equal opportunity for women, people of all backgrounds
‘The Canadian Employment Equity Act (which is a federal law) requires federally regulated organizations and businesses to provide equal employment opportunities to four designated groups: women, Aboriginal peoples, people with disabilities and visible minorities.”
Sorry I had to put my HR hat on – but the message what I am trying to drive across is that there is a law, and it is applied fairly. As an immigrant when I was job searching and later when I am looking for career advancements/promotions, I have never felt that I was discriminated at a workplace.
A job offer is not made based on someone’s background. Know that there are opportunities, as long as you have the skills and know to market yourself – you will go places.
Take my career graph as an example, I started my career with a small to midsize Canadian business, and then went on to work with the Crown Corporation and the provincial government, and also switched careers from Operations to HR (and without any gaps in employment).
It is possible to grow your career here, and shape it the way you want – no matter what’s your background!
Nature at your doorstep
It is not hard to find serene landscapes in Canada – every province and every city has their ‘star’ hangout place – a park, campground or historic site. We are lucky as we live near the Banff National Park aka the Canadian showstopper.
Point is you don’t have to travel miles to explore a pristine lake, camp in the woods, or hike in the mountains. You will find plenty of leisure and recreational opportunities in Canada.
Most Canadian employers promote work life balance. If you are employed/living in smaller cities, your commute time is reduced to mere 10-15 minutes, which means you have more time for yourself and your loved ones.
Long weekends (3 day weekend – Saturday/Sunday/Monday off) are common in most provinces, so you always have extra time off apart from the regular vacation leave.
Vacation leave (2 to 3 weeks depending on the province), maternal – paternal leave, compassion leave, sick leave, etc are also very generous as compared to many other developed countries.
Free health care & public schools
Canada has free universal/basic healthcare for all of its permanent residents and citizens. You can apply for a health insurance card once you arrive.
Also, children can enroll at public elementary schools (from grade 1 – 6) and public secondary schools (from grade 7 -12) for free. Children get good education, and parents have more money for themselves, travel or save for University/children’s passion.
Education & job opportunities for immigrants
Canada is home to many world class educational institutions, and they are quite affordable as compared to the UK or USA, in terms of tuition fees. We moved to Canada on student visas, and started our lives afresh.
It is easy to find jobs in Canada for immigrants, as long as you are open to seize the opportunity, and work your way up – and see the bigger picture. Even with Master’s degrees we were not handed down Management roles right after school/University – we learned the culture, systems and applied our skills and hard work to advance in our careers.
And there is room for everyone! (Read my story below)
On another note, if you are a truck driver, registered nurse or a fisherman you could even fast track your immigration process, as they are considered in demand occupations.
Follow your passion & dreams
Salil and I love to travel, and living in Canada makes it so easy to explore.
I am also passionate about blogging and am able to invest in learning about SEO/blogging because of our CAD$. Most online courses and resources are in USD$ (mostly North America audience), and paying for them in CAD$ is so much better than us paying in INR/Indian rupees if we were blogging from India.
It might sound silly, but every little thing (including our environment) shapes us, and our future. Thank you Canada, we are grateful for such a nourishing environment.
Did you know, Canada was declared #1 country in the world for personal freedom in 2015.
Yes, it’s true.
Easier for expats to move with multiple programs
Canada has a very generous and open immigration program. Between 2020 and 2022, Canadian immigration is aiming to bring in 1 million foreign nationals to the country.
Surely one size fits all immigration programs won’t work, that’s why there are multiple ways for people to move to Canada. When you read my story below, you will see how I immigrated on a student permit, and then received PR through the Provincial Nominee program.
So pick one that works for you. Here is s quick list of what’s available
- Federal Skilled Worker Program – Express Entry where you can immigrate as a skilled worker
- Family sponsorship to sponsor your relatives and family members
- Provincial nominee program is an immigration program where you/family member is being nominated by a Canadian province or territory
- Quebec-selected skilled workers, for immigrating to Quebec as a skilled worker
- Atlantic Immigration Pilot for graduating students or working in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, or Newfoundland and Labrador
- Caregivers immigration for those providing care for children, the elderly or those with medical needs, or work as a live-in caregiver
- Start-up Visa perfect for those immigrating by starting a business and creating jobs
- Self-employed is great for immigration as a self-employed person in cultural or athletic activities
- Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is for supporting smaller Canadian communities supporting their local economy through immigration.
- Agri-Food Pilot is open for those looking to migrate by working in specific agri-food industries and occupations
- Refugees immigrate as a refugee or become a sponsor
Canadian passport is powerful
Did you know that you can travel to 183 countries without a visa or visa on arrival, on a Canadian passport? We love to travel and getting a visa for each European trip meant a lot of documentation, and $$.
Canadian passport takes out the visa paperwork for most countries, allowing you to travel on a last minute notice.
My Canadian Expat to Citizen Story
Here is my story of moving to Canada, from a small town in northeast India.
I moved to Toronto Canada in the fall of 2009 – alone, and all of 22 years – this was my first time moving overseas.
Prior to moving here, I was enrolled in a 2 year MBA program in Chennai (southern India), and my University offered a ‘year abroad’ program in Canada and the United Kingdom.
Although I love exploring Europe and its history and culture (btw I am also a History graduate from University of Delhi), in terms of moving to study and work exposure – Canada was a promising choice, and I am SO SO glad I am here.
If you are planning to move as a student,
- Canadian degrees/credentials are respected all over the world,
- Tuition expenses for international students are more affordable than the UK or Australia
- It is easy to find friends and students from your home country here
- Schools and colleges are very welcoming
I completed my final year of MBA with high honours from the Canadian Institute and was awarded a Gold medal from the Indian university. The completion of the one year course on a student visa, gave me a year of open work permit.
When I decided to move to Canada, I honestly didn’t have any plans on living here permanently. My goal was to complete my degree, and get a year or so of Canadian work experience.
But….I fell in love with Canada (and I LOVE snow 🙂 I know!). My friend/classmate (now husband – Salil), convinced me to stick around longer for better professional exposure and growth. Because one year is too short of a time to get solid work experience, we (many of our friends included), decided to move out of Toronto to a different province, who had a generous Provincial Nominee Program.
Provincial Nominee Programs are promoted by Canadian provinces to allow newcomers to come in, work and contribute to their growth. With time and work commitment (of 6 months to 1 year), you can apply for a Permanent Resident Card.
In 2010, we moved to Saskatoon, and in 6 months we were able to apply for the Saskatchewan Provincial Nominee Program. In another 8 months we received our Permanent Resident Card.
This card allowed us to work and live anywhere in the country. So definitely it helped in applying for jobs we liked, and getting career advancements as our work permit was not closed (to one employer) or time-bound.
Thanks to that, I was able to work with a crown corporation, provincial government, MNC and small businesses in Canada. I started working full time as soon as I moved to Saskatoon in 2010, started as an Account Manager in Sales & Marketing, grew in the company and left as an Operations Support Manager.
I also worked as Assistant Store Manager for a couple of years, and then joined crown corporation as Operations Supervisor. I enjoy studying (sure, call me a nerd :)). So I took up Human Resources and Labour Relations certificate course to upgrade my skills after my MBA (I am also a Registered Professional Recruiter).
Working in a unionized environment spiked my interests in collective agreements and employee relations.
I was able to successfully switch careers from Operations Management to HR/LR Consultancy with the provincial government.
One of my other passions is travel writing, and I am the creator behind ToSomePlaceNew – where we share travel stories from Europe, Canada and beyond. That blog gets over 100k monthly page-views, which is so exciting.
All the opportunities I have gotten so far in life, a big credit goes to Canada. It has shaped me into who I am, probably a better version of it. Salil and I met here, got married and now globetrotting together.
At work and in everyday life, people are tolerant and welcoming. Never have I felt any discrimination due to my cultural background – I was promoted when due, and treated with respect.
Because Salil and I love to travel so much, we are lucky to have such amazing natural beauty at our doorstep. And traveling to the US, or Europe is a breeze from here.
Salil and I got married in 2016, surrounded by the mighty Canadian Rockies. We bought our first home, and have been traveling the world ever since (with a full time job). Late 2018, we applied for citizenship and are now proud Canadians.
In the past 10 years, we lived in 3 provinces – Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and traveled to British Columbia and Quebec. As avid travelers we explore our parks and cities on the weekend. We still have Yukon, Prince Edward Island on our bucket list.
Canadian passport is so powerful, we can travel to 183 countries without visa or visa-on-arrival. And this fuels our wanderlust – we travel to Europe for a long weekend, if we like – so convenient as compared to Indian passport (where we had to apply for a Schengen visa each time we traveled).
Moving to Canada was a big decision. I am the first one in my family ever to have left the country. Sure navigating through the systems with visas, student loans, and immigrations is not easy, but I did it, you can too!
From the mighty Niagara falls to Canadian Rockies, Tim Hortons and ice hockey games, free healthcare system and freedom you will feel at home in Canada.