6 reasons to think twice before moving to Canada
You’ll gain universal health care, but lose a few other things in the process
By Maria Lamagna, November 8, 2016
For those craving an escape from election craziness this year, emigration to Canada may be on a lot of minds. Now that the U.S. election is here, we’ll see if any of those who threatened to move away, depending on election results, will make good on their promises.
After Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton each won seven state primaries on Super Tuesday, Google searches for “Move to Canada” spiked to their highest level ever.
Since then, those searches haven’t been quite as high. Of course, the social-media outcry over the Republican front-runner or former Secretary of State’s chances of winning the White House was probably more an act of catharsis than an actual plan to emigrate.
There are lots of reasons to move to Canada, particularly for liberals, from fewer firearm-related homicides to a socially progressive government to universal health care.
©©™ @ImSimplyCCBut those who are really ready to start afresh, learn to love hockey and build a life in Justin Bieber’s homeland have more things to consider. Here are six:
I promise you, if Donald trump is elected president im moving to Canada
5:39 PM - 22 Feb 2016
If this election comes down to Trump vs. Hillary I may legitimately start looking into moving to Canada.
4:55 PM - 22 Feb 2016 · Illinois, USA, United States
1. Immigration could be difficult — and expensive
The process isn’t cheap: For example, an adult applying to remain in Canada as a permanent resident will have to pay $550 to apply for that status. And for those who planned to do some strategic Tinder-ing, some bad news: You won’t automatically become a Canadian citizen if you marry someone who is.
For skilled workers, there is an “Express Entry” program that may make the immigration process faster.
“Everything was difficult about the immigration process,” said Shelli Nishino-Fayle, who grew up in Los Angeles but moved to Vancouver in 2012 when she married her husband, a Canadian citizen.
“There is so much immigration fraud in terms of false marriages in Canada that our marriage was put under the magnifying glass.” The entire process took about two years, she said.
Nishino-Fayle keeps a blog about her life in Canada and also recommends websites RoadtoCanada.com and CanadaVisa.com for anyone thinking about moving there. To find out if you’re eligible to work or live permanently in Canada, complete the Canadian government’s online questionnaire here.
2. You may still have to pay U.S. taxes
Depending on their citizenship status, Americans who move to Canada may still be subject to paying American taxes.
U.S. citizens who live in Canada as Canadian permanent residents are still required to file annual U.S. income tax returns and also contact the Canadian government to see if they should file Canadian tax returns and pay Canadian taxes as well, according to the IRS. However, it may be possible to exclude some or all foreign income on U.S. tax returns, if you meet the IRS’s requirements.
And, if you want to hold onto your American citizenship, that goes for many countries where taxes are far lower than in the U.S., too.
3. You’ll probably say goodbye to some of your favorite chains
Love Trader Joe’s? How about Target TGT, -0.71% ? You won’t be able to patronize them on Canadian soil. Of course, there will be new stores to fall in love with, but some of the most popular U.S. chains aren’t in Canada.
Target shut down its 133 stores in Canada in 2015, after being open there for just two years.
“This difficult decision in Canada allows us to focus all of our energy on strengthening and executing our plans in the U.S.,” the company’s Chief Executive, Brian Cornell, said at the time.
Analysts described various problems the chain had in Canada, from overestimating how much Canadians would value coupons to higher prices than some competitors in Canada.
4. Housing costs are high
Many cities in the U.S. are notorious for their high costs of living, but many Canadians feel the same way about their cities. Nearly half of people living in urban areas say the cost of buying a home in their neighborhood is either “high” or “unreasonably high,” according to a February 2016 survey of Canadian adults by the Angus Reid Institute, a Canadian not-for-profit organization that commissions research and opinion polls.
And Canada ranks fairly high compared with other countries on its cost of living, according to Deutsche Bank’s annual survey of global prices (though by many measures, it’s not as expensive as the U.S.).
For example, according to the “Big Mac Index,” in which the prices of Big Macs are compared in different countries as a measure of the cost of living, Canada’s prices were 97% of those in the U.S.
A two-liter bottle of Coca-Cola bought in Toronto is about 83% the price of the same bottle in New York, and public transportation in Toronto is about 86% of New York’s prices.
And some items are actually more expensive in Canada than in the U.S.; in 2015, one liter of gasoline in Toronto cost 129% what it did in New York.
5. Make sure you have a job lined up
The unemployment rate in Canada is 7%, according to government statistics. In the U.S., unemployment dropped below 5% in January for the first time since early in the 2007 to 2009 recession and remains below 5%.
The low prices of commodities have hurt jobs in Canada, where many areas are reliant on natural resources.
Lower oil prices have also lowered the Canadian dollar.
Still, in August, Canada added 26,200 jobs.
6. You might need to learn some new words
For all those trips to Tim Horton’s, the country’s popular coffee-and-donut chain, here’s a tip: A “double double” is a coffee with two creams and two sugars. There’s more Canadian slang where that came from, like “toque” (a knit cap) and “mickey” (a flask). And it wouldn’t hurt to learn French: About 30% of Canadians can speak it.
Nishino-Fayle says although there are plenty of pros about living in Canada — like its natural beauty — giving up life in the U.S. has its drawbacks. “I miss snarkiness. I miss the desert landscape. I miss the Pacific Coast Highway. Most of all I miss my family and friends. I miss Target,” she said. “It’s funny that you asked me this question because just last night I texted my husband and said, ‘The only things I like about Canada are you, health care and oka cheese.”