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Moving to Canada

When many people dream of life in Canada they envisage alpine forests, crystal clear lakes and snow peaked mountains. However, many also favour the metropolitan cities which are rich in culture. Canada has the best of both worlds, so it is unsurprising that around 200,000 people migrate to the country each year.

As a largely English-speaking country with strong European roots, many Brits are emigrating to the Great White North. Offering a fantastic work/life balance and many employment opportunities for professionals, graduates and skilled workers, it is not hard to understand the draw of Canada.

The country offers low housing costs, high incomes and an excellent quality of life. Add to these beautiful urban settings, dramatic outdoor scenery and a diverse and vibrant culture, and it is easy to see why Canada is the first choice for so many families and individuals looking to leave the UK.

Removals to Canada

Canada is a vast country, with huge differences from one region to another in culture, language and geography. If you are considering relocating to Canada it is important to do your research thoroughly and make sure you choose the best place for you.

Of course, if you are relocating for work, you may have no choice about where you go. But if you are relocating under your own steam, try to plan an extended visit to help you find the best location. Make a list of the things that are most important to you and weigh up your options before committing to a particular city or region.

There’s nothing quite like having your favourite things around you to make a place feel like home. Britannia Movers International specialise in helping families and individuals to move their belongings quickly and safely from the UK to destinations all over Canada. We offer decades of experience in relocation services combined with the local knowledge to tailor your move to your individual requirements. We will ensure a seamless service from A to B and help all movers with obtaining the correct paperwork and visas.

International Removals to Canada

At Britannia International Movers you can expect a highly personalised service. We know moving to Canada can be a nerve-wracking experience and we do not feel like being the voice at the end of a telephone is useful. A Britannia International Movers expert will arrange a time to meet with you and visit your home. This means you can discuss everything you wish and ask as many questions as you like. This meeting will allow us to get to know you, understand the scale of your move and discuss any concerns or special requirements you have.

Furthermore, it will give our removals expert the opportunity to carry out an international moving survey. This is often helpful for our clients as they can then decide what needs to be shipped to Canada, what is going into storage, and what is being sold and recycled.

During this meeting we will ask questions regarding your budget, timeframe and any potential moving dates. Whilst these aren’t set in stone then and there, it is ideal for us to have a rough idea so we can build your bespoke moving package and suss out any additional help you may need. Your representative will draw up your international removal plan based solely on your needs and this will be sent to you for approval.

Additional Removals Services to Canada

Britannia Movers International have been helping people move all around the world for over thirty years – there is nothing we cannot handle! Want to store some items in the UK? Fancy taking your car to Canada? Need help getting your faithful pooch to your new home? We can help with all of this!

Whether you are moving to Canada or another far flung destination, we know the exact paperwork and visas you will require. We know that countless forms can be confusing so we will even help you fill them in. Our aim is to make your moving process as stress-free as possible, which is why we like to take as much off of your plate as we can. This might be your first time moving abroad, whereas we have done this countless times before, so let us impart our knowledge on you.

Don’t worry, whatever you need, Britannia International Movers have it covered. Get in touch with us today or check out our additional moving services below.

Storage

At Britannia, we are able to provide national and international storage solutions that can be tailored to fit your needs.

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Groupage Shipping

Did you know you can reduce shipping costs to South Africa by sharing a container with other mover’s belongings?

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Arriving in Canada

Flight times from the UK Canada vary due to the vastness of the country. Flights to the east coast regions such as Newfoundland and Quebec takes around 7 hours 30 minutes if you have a non-stop flight. West coast locations such as British Colombia and the Yukon Territory take nearer 9 and 10 hours. Some people like to save money on flights by choosing a stopping service, however, this can add hours to your journey time. It is worth remembering that your belongings will not arrive in Canada so quickly. But, we will always schedule your items to arrive shortly after you do if we are given ample time.

Our recommended, and the most affordable way of transporting your belongings to Canada, is via container shipping. Although the process takes several weeks door to door, it is much safer and significantly more budget friendly than air freight. This is why as much notice as possible is ideal!

Once your shipment has arrived in Canada, customs clearance tends to take around 5 to 10 days. We will check all your paperwork before the cargo leaves the UK as this will ensure a smooth customs service at the other end. Once cleared, our Canadian partner team will ensure a speedy and safe arrival of your worldly goods to your new home in Canada.

If you are planning a move to anywhere throughout Canada give Britannia Movers International a call today on 0845 600 661. One of our international removal specialists and find out how easy it is to move to Canada. We’ll give you a full breakdown of the process and an idea of the costs of emigrating as well.

“I just wanted to let you know that our container arrived safe and sound yesterday in Canada. I also wanted to say that I have moved over 20 times and the four gentlemen who arrived from Britannia and moved our things into our house were the best that we have ever seen or had to do the job. They were professional, courteous and got the job done in a timely fashion. All items were accounted for and nothing was broken in transit.”

Canada Facts

Time Zone:

PST, MST, CST, EST, AST, NST

Currency:Canadian dollar (CAD)
Distance from UK:West Coast 4,411 miles, East Coast 3,021 miles
Flight Time from UK:West Coast 10 hours 30 mins, East Coast 7 hours
Language:English and French (Quebec)
Capital City:Ottawa
Population:36.29 million
School Year Starts:September

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Emigrating to Canada

Canada is an incredible country blessed with impressive landscapes and a variety of cultures. It is the world’s second largest country and its capital, Ottawa, and three largest cities, Toronoto, Montreal and Vancouver are highly urbanised. The majority of the population in Canada tend to live in these metropolises, or on their outskirts. However, if you dream of a quieter life in Canada, the rural areas are sparsely populated and are blessed with some of the most beautiful vistas in the world.

It is segments of Canada’s history that make it so unique. Before the 16th century, Canada was inhabited by indigenous peoples. First Nations, known as Canadian Indians, were the predominant group of people south of the Artic. These ingenious peoples hold similarities with Native Americans and their bloodlines still exist in Canada. Further north are the Inuit people, of which there is 65,000 strong population in Canada. The last indigenous group is the Metis people who were born as a result of relationships between First Nations and colonial-era European settlers. These aboriginal groups create a rich cultural tapestry in Canada.

You will also notice that Canada is a bilingual country, with the majority of the population speaking English or French. This is due to the European colonies who settled in the country as of the 16th century. Different ethnic groups live side-by-side, largely respecting each other’s cultures and helping to make acceptance and diversity key tenets of the Canadian national identity.

Moving to Canada from the UK

At Britannia International Movers, we know that no home is complete without your belongings. With our thirty years of international removals experience and our brilliant Canadian partners, we can have you and your things safely settled in no time. Our knowledge of the individual customs and visas of each state is extensive and there is nothing we cannot help with when you move to Canada from the UK.

Transit Options

There are a couple of different methods when it comes to transporting your items to Canada. However, the option you settle on will depend on how quickly you need your items with you – this is why it is best to give us as much notice as possible so you don’t have to opt for air freight, as this can be very expensive. The majority of our customers opt for container shipping for its safety and affordability.

Depending on how much stuff you need shipping, you can choose between a 20ft or 40ft container. You can also add your belongings to a shared container, which is great for individuals or couples and saves you money. Whichever you choose, you can rest assured that your shipment will be cost effective and expertly handled, with every effort made to ensure your goods arrive in excellent condition in Canada.

Canadian Imports

When moving to Canada you are permitted to bring your personal and household goods without paying duty on them, as long as they are not brand new. This includes antiques, appliances, books, clothes, furniture, hobby tools and items, jewellery, linens and musical instruments. It also includes private collections of items such as coins, stamps or art, silverware, and gifts under the value of CDN $60 or received as wedding presents.

Most shipping containers arriving in Canada will be subject to examination by Canadian customs. To import your household goods, we will provide you with the correct customs form, that must be completed prior to the goods leaving the UK.

Canadian Customs Restrictions

When you bring your belongings into the Canada, you should be aware that there are certain restrictions placed upon items that could be a threat to the country or the people who live there. It is in your interest not to bring the following items into Canada:

  • Items you have leased or rented
  • Items purchased en route to Canada
  • Vehicles for business use
  • Farm equipment
  • Construction, contracting or manufacturing equipment
  • Alcohol and tobacco

Pet Relocation to Canada

No new life abroad is complete without our faithful friends. Whether feather or fur, we know that you need your pets with you in Canada. Most domestic pets can be shipped easily to Canada across provided you complete the necessary actions and paperwork.

Britannia Movers International work closely with a specialist pet transportation company who will make sure your pets get to Canada safely and comfortably. They will inform you of any vaccinations and documentation you may need.

Most pets heading to Canada will require the following:

  • To be a minimum of 12 weeks of age
  • Import permit from the Department of Agriculture
  • Microchip
  • Pet passport
  • Rabies vaccination
  • Tapeworm treatment (dogs only)

Importing a Car into Canada

You may import your motor vehicle to Canada duty free as long as it is for your personal use. Restrictions may apply and cars must meet current Canadian safety and pollution control standards. Find out more here.

Money Transfer

Britannia can recommend reputable foreign currency exchange services. This can help protect you from exchange rate fluctuations and save you time and money on international payments before and after you move. For more advice on exchanging your money, please see Britannia’s Currency Transfer.


Travelling to Canada from the UK

The second largest country in the world, and definitely one of the widest, flight times vary for those heading to Canada from the UK. Flights tend to fall between 7 hours and 10 hours depending upon where you are travelling to – inevitably flights to the west coast take longer.

Due to the long flight times to some destinations, very few people tend to choose a stop-over service. However, these can work out cheaper. For some smaller airports, you may be required to board a connecting flight from a major city airport. The largest international airports in Canada are Toronto Pearson (YYZ), Vancouver (YVR), Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau (YUL) and Calgary (YYC).

Some providers of flights from the UK to Canada include Air Canada, WestJet, WOW Air and British Airways.

Canadian Visas and Permits

The two largest and most popular schemes for migrants looking to live and work in Canada include the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). To be eligible to become a permanent resident under this scheme (apart from the Province of Quebec), there is a minimum language requirement, as well as the completion of a minimum of one year’s skilled work experience in Canada.

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) enables specific provinces or territories to nominate an applicant where it has been identified that certain skills and work experience is needed to benefit the economy. Prospective applicants for this scheme must apply for eligibility in the first instance, as each province or territory has its own guidelines which are subject to change without notice.

The addition of the Start-Up Visa Program, launched on 1st April 2013 for a five-year trial. Immigrant entrepreneurs must apply for eligibility via Program Partner organisations, including the National Angel Capital Organisation or Canada’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association. Foreign applicants must get support from one of these organisations or a business incubator in order to be eligible for the Start-Up Visa Program. Other criteria include language proficiency and educational qualifications, as well as adequate personal funds.

Certificat de Sélection du Québec

Skilled workers wishing to live in Quebec must apply under a separate category as Quebec has its own immigration requirements. A Certificat de Sélection du Québec (CSQ) can be applied for from the Quebec government and is of particular interest for applicants with a strong command of the French language.

Provincial Nominee Program

Most Canadian provinces and territories can nominate people for immigration to Canada. To apply under the program, you must apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), demonstrate the skills, education and work experience needed to contribute to that province or territory’s economy, and secure nomination.

Additional visa options apply for individuals such as students, business people, live-in caregivers and temporary workers. Check with CIC for up-to-date information relating your individual circumstances.


Living in Canada

Canada is made up of 10 provinces and three territories and each is unique. Occupying a vast northern corner of the globe, the country is an expat haven and, just like its history denotes, immigration has a great part to play in the its culture.

There are countless benefits to life in Canada, fantastic education and healthcare, welcoming nationals, an outdoor lifestyle and a better work/life balance. There is just one fly in the ointment; Canada’s harsh winters! With a large expat population, it seems the perks outweigh the dark evenings and feet of snow!

Weather in Canada

Canada’s weather is not dissimilar to the UK. However, winters can be harsh, particularly in the north. Living in the northern territories of Canada can be hard but, for many, it is all they know. Temperatures can dip as low as -30°C and the short summers of the north rarely see temperatures above 15°C. With some areas part of the Artic Circle, northern areas of Canada may be freezing, but they are undoubtedly beautiful and lend to a different way of life.

The southern territories of Canada are said to have a more ‘liveable’ climate. Whilst winters are dark, freezing, and frequented by snow, summers are long and warm. Temperatures in some areas peak as high as 30°C during this period.

Typically, the south and west of Canada are considered milder than the north or east. However, they do tend to have more rainy days.

Ottawa – East

 JanFebMarchAprilMay JuneJulyAugSepOctNovDec
Temp °C-10-9-36141822201692-6
Rainy Days85914171616151516159

Vancouver – West

 JanFebMarchAprilMay JuneJulyAugSepOctNovDec
Temp °C457913151718151064
Rainy Days2116201814149910182121

Inuvik – North

 JanFebMarchAprilMay JuneJulyAugSepOctNovDec
Temp °C-28-28-24-14-11013103-8-21-26
Rainy Days1200171014177221

Edmonton –  Central

 JanFebMarchAprilMay JuneJulyAugSepOctNovDec
Temp °C-12-11-4411141616125-6-11
Rainy Days4231016191915141043

Jobs for Expats in Canada

Canada has recognised that skilled immigrants are important to its long-term economic growth. The Canadian government-sponsored websites are a useful source of information. This includes current skills shortages, what documentation employers will require, how to get your skills or qualifications officially recognised and how to find jobs in your field.

The Canadian working week, holidays and business etiquette are very similar to Great Britain, making it a popular choice for British immigrants.

Finding a Job in Canada

Job boards are an excellent place to start your Canadian job search. They provide a snapshot of available positions, salaries and locations. However, Canadians tend to use a variety of additional tools to access the best opportunities.

Private employment agencies are highly established and are a good source of jobs in specialist fields. Newspapers also remain popular for advertising and finding jobs, and graduates find many opportunities at career fairs organised by universities or the professional societies for each industry sector.

Speculative approaches are also very common in Canada, so don’t be afraid to apply directly to organisations that you would like to work for.

Education in Canada

Education is held in high regards in Canada and the country spends 5% of its income on schooling. School starts for children at age five and continues until the age of 18, when they graduate. Like many countries around the world, education is managed at a provincial level as opposed to being led by the government.

This means that children in Quebec often leave school at 17 – a year before most children in the country. This is because this is what the local government deemed the best course of action. Due to these differences in some regions, it is best for parents to make sure they are aware of each area’s individual rules before enrolling a child in a local school.

School is free for Canadian nationals and legal residents. When your children start the process of joining a school in Canada you will simply need to provide your residency paperwork to show you do not have to pay. If you do not have a residency permit you will have to pay the tuition fees.

If you don’t mind paying for your child’s education, there are a number of private and international schools that many expat children attend. However, it can be easier for children to integrate into society at a public school with Canadian children.

Education in Canada is not cheap. Therefore, those who are being relocated to Canada via their employer should negotiate school fees as part of their relocation package.


Cost of Living in Canada

Educational costs aside, the cost of living in Canada is actually slightly lower than in the UK, including rental and property prices. The average after-tax monthly income is $3,000 per month which equates to just over £1,700 and many expats have commented that their lives are comfortable living in Canada and that they have a better work/life balance.

Canada’s Currency

The official currency of Canda is the Canadian dollar, often shown as CAD or C$. Each dollar is divided into 100 cents. Notes in circulation include 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 CAD. Coins are avaialbel in denominations of:

  • 5 cents – a nickel
  • 10 cents – a dime
  • 25 cents – a quarter
  • 1 dollar – a loonie
  • 2 dollars – a toonie

There used to be a one cent coin in distribution, but this has ceased. Cash transactions are rounded to the nearest nickel (5 cents).

Opening a Bank Account in Canada

Opening a bank account in Canada is a great way of establishing yourself in the country. Some banks require you to have your Social Security Number (SIN) before opening an account. However, some banks understand the need for expats to have a bank account as soon as possible so will accept different forms of identification to enable this before you receive your SIN.

Shop around and see what different providers have to offer. You can arrange a meeting in the local branch of a bank that appeals to you and a member of staff will be able to talk you through various options and help you through the account opening process.

  • SIN
  • Passport and work permit or confirmation of residency
  • Letter from your employer verifying income and stating contract terms
  • Driver’s licence (if you have one)
  • Reference letter from you bank in your home country

Cost of Everyday Items

Check out some of the items you are likely to purchase regularly whilst living in Canada below. Prices are shown in United States dollars and converted to UK pounds so you can see how prices match up.

ItemPrice CADPrice Converted to £
Milk (1 litre)$2.12£1.21
Loaf of white bread$2.76£1.57
Eggs (12)$3.28£1.87
Bananas (1kg)$1.76£1
Chicken breasts (1kg)$12.70£7.23
Coke/Pepsi$2.02£1.15
Pair of quality jeans$60.49£34.41
Ladies chain store dress$42.70£24.29
Nike Trainers$99.63£56.68
Cinema tickets (2)$26£14.79
International Primary School (1 year)$15,981£9,092.16

Healthcare in Canada

Like the level of education in Canada, their healthcare system is exceptional too and is very similar to the US or UK. However, whilst Canada offers free healthcare to its citizens, this does include expats. This means that whilst you are living in Canada you will need to have enough income to pay for any treatment or invest in a comprehensive health insurance policy to cover you.

The cost of healthcare in Canada is considered expensive compared to the US or UK. Canada is the only country in the world whose government does not extend funding to prescriptions. This means Canadians must also pay for price for all medicines they may require.

Renting a Home in Canada

Renting a property in Canada is relatively straight forward. Contracts are often followed to the letter, so it is important to read everything before signing and moving into a property. Most contacts are usually 12 months and deposits are often two months’ rent.

The standard of homes in Canada is often very high, particularly in the cities. Many expats are surprised by how much more space properties have compared to the UK, including flats and apartments.

Buying a Home in Canada

Unlike some countries in the world, expats are free to buy a home in Canada and will find the process relatively stress-free. 95% of all Canada’s available homes to buy can be found on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This is the country’s unique centralised database and makes house hunting much easier. The search functionality allows property seekers to enter their own criteria to be presented with their options.


Canadian Culture

Much of Canada’s culture is a blend of various ethnic groups, both indigenous and immigrant. Many expats find flecks of their own culture whilst living in the country.

The cities of Toronto and Victoria are very British, whereas Montreal has a French heritage and Vancouver has a distinctly more Asian influence. The country is often referred to as a cultural mosaic for its coexistence of people from all walks of life.

Due to Canada’s popularity as an expat destination, nationals are very tolerant. Despite the cold, there are often warm and like to include expats as part of the community.

Languages Present in Canada

Aside from the territory of Quebec, English is the most widely spoken language in Canada. Quebec is a predominantly French speaking province which can be tricky for expats who speak little French and are set to move to Montreal or Quebec City.

Canadian Food

Canadian cuisine isn’t all maple syrup and smoked meats – although these are delicious! Food varies region to region and is often influenced by the ethnic groups and immigrants which have called it home. Much of Canada’s traditional dishes have a British influence. However, other regions also have European, Asian and Caribbean flavours.


Public Holidays in Canada

There are 5 national public holidays per year in Canada, see these below. Each territory also has its own set of holiday too.

  • New Year’s Day – 1st January
  • Good Friday – March or April
  • Canada Day – 1st July
  • Labour Day – first Monday in September
  • Christmas Day – 25th December

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