Welcome to The Great White North, one of the world’s largest countries, also known as Canada. For centuries, migrants have been drawn to this country for its extraordinary landscape, welcoming people, and quality of life, so if you are considering moving to Canada, you wouldn’t be the first to have this excellent idea.
Still, even though Canada has one of the world’s best economies and boasts a welcoming multicultural society, the harsh Canadian winters, and vast distances can deter many from moving there. This country is exciting for many reasons and is ideal for nature lovers and snowbirds, but there are plenty of things to know that make a living in Canada trickier than you might have thought.
A Quick Overview & Comparison
|Pros of Living in Canada
|Cons of Living in Canada
|Quality of Life
|High Cost of Living
|Taxation is High
|French Language Might be Needed
Firstly, where is Canada?
Canada is located in North America, just north of the United States, and stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the West. The country is, in fact, the second largest country on earth by land area, which is a whopping 9,98 million sq km, meaning there is so much to explore without crossing any international borders.
Canada features ten provinces and three territories, with their weather patterns, landmarks, and even way of life. In the north lies the Arctic Ocean, home to polar bears and untouched wild nature. Many deem This country magical for its incredible location and diversity, but we need to tell you more about Canada – the pros and cons, to be exact.
Pros of Living in Canada
1. Multicultural Society
One of the biggest reasons people choose to move to Canada is because it is home to a multicultural society, and you will find people of many ethnicities, religions, and nationalities all living in harmony here. Canada is a welcoming country with many benefits that appeal to those from all around the globe.
Its melting pot of cultures means various festivals, events, and celebrations, and authentic places to eat delicious food worldwide. Canada is a fantastic country to mingle with others and learn about various other cultures just by socializing within one city.
2. Diverse Landscape
One of the pros of living in Canada is the abundance of natural beauty, which makes this country famous. From its pristine turquoise lakes to its majestic snowcapped mountains, Canada is a treat for the eye all year round, when the sun is shining or when fresh powder meets the ground.
As well as this, Canada boasts stunning wine regions, has access to the Arctic Ocean, and features breathtaking forests and picturesque coastlines. If you are searching for a destination that has it all and will keep you entertained in the most exciting ways, it must be Canada.
3. Friendly People
There is a running joke that says Canadians are so polite they will say sorry almost all the time. While many stereotypes throughout the world can be exaggerated, Canadians will agree that this is, in fact, true. It is not uncommon to accidentally push into someone, only for them to apologize or for a car to stop in the middle of a roundabout so that you can cross the road – That’s Canada!
Like Japan, Canada is a country that is known for its politeness, and people are always there to help you in times of need. Canadians are also known to respect other cultures, for their love of hockey, for getting outdoors and enjoying life to its fullest, and that’s certainly a pro of living in Canada.
4. Strong Economy
Canada has one of the strongest economies in the world, which is growing fast, meaning there are ample opportunities for skilled workers, and it has a very low unemployment rate of just 5.2%. In 2022, Canada had a GDP of 2.1 trillion, and the Canadian Dollar was the seventh most traded currency in the world.
The stable and robust economy attracts migrants and businesses to Canada and was the world’s eighth-largest economy in 2022 and is among the top 30 wealthiest countries globally. Of course, when planning to move to Canada, knowing that you will be met with economic stability and job opportunities is reassuring.
5. Lots of Open Space
Canada is a HUGE country, meaning there is ample space for everyone who lives there. There is no obligation to live in tiny apartments in Canada with no garden or open space around you since there are plenty of areas ideal for large family homes and privacy. Canadians are known for spending time in the wilderness, hiking or hunting, which is easy when you have as much open space as they do.
With extensive coastlines, open forests, vast mountain ranges, and lakes, you are never too far from a date with nature. Canada has the advantage of having plenty of open space to take advantage of, and with a population of 36 million, there is still lots of nature to explore, where you will not meet a soul.
Canada ranked as the 12th safest country in the world in 2022, with low crime rates across the country. The safest cities to live in are found in Ontario and Quebec, but you can rest assured that there are many safe cities throughout Canada to settle comfortably.
Unlike the neighboring US, implementing gun restrictions adds to the fact that Canada has and will remain a safe place. The country has a long history of not declaring war on other countries, which makes it a peaceful place to live, which is most certainly a pro to living in Canada.
7. Quality of Life
The combination of an excellent economy, high wages, and abundant nature does wonders for your quality of life, so it is no surprise that many people venture off to start a new life in Canada. About of people70% between 15-64 have a paid job, while only 3% of employees work very long hours in paid work.
According to the OECD Better Life Index, Canadians gave their country a 7/10, higher than the average OECD average. With a great education system in place, low unemployment rates, disposable income and high salaries, Canada offers one of the best standards of living on the planet.
8. Four Distinct Seasons
For those that love a white Christmas, a colorful Autumn, a hot and sunny summer, and a bountiful Spring, Canada is the place to go. While some countries require you to miss out on exciting times of the year, Canada offers visitors and ex-pats the chance to enjoy all four seasons.
While the extremes vary across the country, with some regions experiencing harsher winters or hotter summers than others, you will almost always experience all four distinct seasons no matter where you are. The best thing is Canadians love to get outdoors all year round, so there is no getting bored when living in this beautiful country.
9. Outdoor Activities
Canada is a haven for outdoor activities, and Canadians make the most of all seasons, despite their grueling winters. Common pastimes include hiking, skiing, hunting, hockey, skidooing, ice skating, and swimming. Still, there are plenty of other genuinely Canadian sports, like curling, that you will see locals joining in on.
Some Canadian families use cabins during the summer and holidays for family gatherings, recreational activities, and celebrations. You will find that Canadians will get outdoors whenever they can, and even in plummeting winter temperatures, you will find them ice fishing, snowboarding, skating on frozen lakes, and snowshoeing, to name but a few activities.
Cons of Living in Canada
10. Harsh Winter
One of the major cons of living in Canada is the extremely harsh winters, and depending on which region you choose to live in, your winter experience will vary. What I can say for sure is Canada is COLD, and if you do not like cold temperatures, you will struggle during winters in this freezing country.
Places like the Prairies in Central Canada, Montreal, and all mountainous regions experience extreme snowfall, while Vancouver experiences mostly rain during winter. Snow can cover some areas for six months out of the year, and temperatures are as low as –40C (-40F) in many places, which is undoubtedly harsh.
11. High Cost of Living
The good news is that Canada is a little cheaper than the USA, 8.9% cheaper. However, if you are moving from Europe or another part of the world, you may be shocked by rent costs, house prices, groceries, insurance, and even phone plans.
Regarding the cost of living, Canada ranked 15th as the most expensive country in the world, below Vanuatu and above New Zealand. A single person can expect to pay CAD 1,337 per month without rent, while a family of four will pay $4,780, and rent in Canada is 60% higher than that in Spain.
12. Long Distances
Of course, since Canada is one of the largest countries in the world, the distances are going too long, but it is not as simple as taking a cheap flight across the country. Flights in Canada are costly, and there are no budget airlines like in Europe and other parts of the world.
If you like to travel, you may be limited to short road trips within your province or have to fork out hundreds of dollars for a round-trip flight. The cheapest option for travel is the bus, but that won’t suffice if you plan to go from the far West to the far east or vice versa, so you will need to be on the lookout for cheap deals to make it affordable in the long run.
13. Government Control
While many are unaware of this factor, the Canadian government has a lot of control over your daily life, whether you like it or not. If you ask Canadians, they will mostly tell you that they feel the government’s regulations could do with being taken back a notch – or five.
For instance, the Canadian government can decide how much trans fat can be in a restaurant meal or how well a burger can be cooked, which seems outrageous. While things like this might seem okay to some people, it may not be enjoyable if you move from an already uptight country where rules and regulations outweigh the freedom of simple decisions.
14. High Taxation Rates
Canada is among the highest-taxed countries in the world and has a tax burden of 33.45%, which ranked 25th across the globe. Canada has higher taxes than the USA, despite the personal tax rate in Canada being 33% and the USA 37%, which means that higher earners in the USA pay high taxes. In contrast, the average person in Canada pays a high tax as a standard.
Believe it or not, the USA is below average in tax rates, while Canada has one of the highest, which goes towards its free healthcare, social services, education system, and much more. In comparison, Canada collects more tax per capita than the USA, and Americans spend double what Canadians spend on healthcare ($9,000 versus $4,500).
15. Slow Healthcare
One of the best things about Canada is the free universal healthcare for residents and citizens, which is an incredible factor, especially if moving from the United States, where healthcare is not free. However, one of the most significant disadvantages is that waiting times are incredibly long since everyone has easy access to doctors and hospitals.
This can be very frustrating for people moving to Canada, and many prefer to take out private healthcare, especially if they need surgery, where wait times can be very long. One of the other downsides is that many Canadian doctors go to the USA, where the pay is higher, leaving Canada with a shortage of doctors, with family physician shortages highest in the territories of Quebec and BC.
16. The Dollar is Low
When planning to move to another country, getting to know the local money and checking whether the exchange rate is in your favor is essential. Unfortunately, the Canadian Dollar is always below the Euro, USD, and British Pound, and as of July 2023, $ CAD was equal to €0.69, USD 0.75, $1.13AUD, and £0.58.
While you can get far with your Canadian Dollar, it just means that the products imported or shopping online can be costly since the exchange rates are not favorable. When moving to Canada, you will get more for your money, but when exchanging Canadian Dollars, you will get less.
17. Hard to Integrate
Canadians are a truly welcoming and friendly nation. Still, while this is a positive trait that is a pro of living in Canada, the truth is it can be hard to integrate into society. Canadians are loyal people who, once they get to know you, will take you under their wing and show immense reliability, but getting to that stage can sometimes be tricky.
Getting to know Canadians on the surface is easy since they love to socialize, whether attending hockey games or drinking craft beer, but finding deep connections can prove tricky. In addition, coworkers generally don’t socialize in Canada, while friends don’t usually do business together.
18. You May Need to Speak French
English and French are co-official languages in Canada, with the province of Quebec speaking French as its primary language. One of the cons of living in Canada is that you may need to have a good level of French, depending on where you plan to live and work.
If you decide to settle in Quebec City or Montreal, chances are you will need to know French to work there and to speak with the locals. While most people in Canada are bilingual, they won’t be too pleased if you don’t try to speak French when living in a French-Canadian region.
What is the worst thing about living in Canada?
Many people say the worst thing about living in Canada is the long, extremely snowy and cold winters, which are worse in some regions than others.
What is the best thing about living in Canada?
The multicultural society and the friendly people make a living in Canada inclusive and welcoming.
What is the best city to live in?
Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver are among Canada’s best and most popular places to live.
What are Canadian people like?
Canadians are fun, welcoming and polite, so much so that they remove their shoes before entering a house.
Is Canada expensive?
Canada is ranked the 15th most expensive country globally, with high costs for housing, socialising, groceries and transport.
What is the worst place to live in Canada?
Surrey – British Colombia, Lethbridge – Alberta and Red Deer – Alberta, is among the worst places to live, with the highest crime rates. Still, living in the far north of Canada can also be challenging due to the isolation and extreme weather.