Moving to Canada
Thinking of moving to Canada? With friendly people, unbelievable scenery, and vibrant, liberal cities to explore, Canada is an excellent choice.
This guide will give you everything you need to know about moving to the home of maple syrup – from the cost of shipping your goods there to a run down of the healthcare system, through to transferring your money, finding work, and getting a visa. We’ll make sure you’re ready to make the move with confidence.
If you’re keen to find out how much it’ll cost you to ship your belongings to Canada, fill in our easy-to-understand form. We’ll put you in touch with our trusted shipping partners once you’ve entered a few details. They’ll get back to you with free, bespoke shipping quotes for you to compare.
Cost of shipping to Canada from the UK
Canada is the second-largest country in the world, but there are only a few places you can reliably ship your belongings to, including Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto, plus a few locations along the coast.
To give you a better idea of what to expect, we’ve calculated the average international shipping rates, along with the duration of travel, for our most popular Canada/UK routes.
The following rates were sourced from iContainers.com and are based off of a 20ft full container load (FCL) of household goods worth £40,000 — the typical value of the contents of a three-bedroom house (according to Admiral Insurance). The durations are sourced from Searates.
Bear in mind these are estimates only. If you’d like a more accurate idea of how much shipping to Canada will cost you, just pop your details into this form, and our suppliers will get back to you.
|London to Toronto||CA$4,567||22–26 days|
|London to Vancouver||CA$4,781||22–26 days|
|London to Montreal||CA$4,359||22–26 days|
Please note: these container shipping costs exclude typical add-ons such as door-to-door delivery, professional packing/unpacking, and basic insurance cover. Our shipping suppliers normally incorporate these services into their prices, so expect some discrepancy between the rates given here and the quotes you receive. These estimates should be used as an indication only.
Select the size of your move to get free quotes
Healthcare in Canada
Canada has state-funded healthcare, much like the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). And, as with the NHS, Canadians are very proud of their healthcare system, which ranks among the best in the world.
It’s free at the point of delivery, but not everything is covered, so there will be times when you have to pay for certain medical services.
Unlike the NHS, which is universally the same across the UK, Canada’s healthcare functions as different medical insurance plans split across the country’s 13 provinces.
Canadian citizens fund these insurance plans through income tax, sales tax, and other avenues, such as the purchase of lottery tickets. The Canadian government also provides each province with long-term funding and sets the standard for healthcare.
Each province then deals with the management, organisation, and delivery of healthcare services.
You’ll need to become a Canadian citizen to benefit from any of these healthcare insurance plans. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to get private medical insurance to cover you while you wait to become a permanent resident.
Check out our list of recommended healthcare providers. From there, you can request free quotes from whichever company suits your needs.
Cost of living in Canada
The cost of living in Canada is pretty similar to the UK, with the main differences being the cost of basic monthly utilities, which are lower in Canada, and basic groceries, which are lower in the UK.
The table below shows some cost-of-living differences between Canada and the UK, displayed in Canadian dollars and British pounds.
|Good / service||Canada||UK|
|Basic groceries (assortment of milk, bread, eggs, cheese)||CA$24.30 (£14.74)||CA$12.59 (£7.64)|
|Meal, inexpensive restaurant||CA$20 (£12.11)||CA$24.77 (£15)|
|Petrol (1 litre)||CA$1.83 (£1.11)||CA$2.57 (£1.56)|
|Basic monthly utilities (electricity, heating, cooling, water, rubbish) for 85m2 Apartment||CA$185.34 (£112.25)||CA$312.05 (£188.99)|
Data updated January 2023
Transferring money to Canada from the UK
If you’re thinking of moving to Canada, you’ll probably need to convert some of your British pounds into Canadian dollars.
That’s why we’ve teamed up with Wise, an easy-to-use online international money transfer service which uses the real exchange rate, and charges low fees.
How much could you save? Well, its service can be up to eight times cheaper than high street banks.
Join more than 7 million people and start using Wise today.
Working in Canada
Canada is a great country to live and work in, thanks to the high average salaries, which are slightly more than those in the UK.
Getting a work visa for Canada
If you’re aged between 18 and 30 years old, you can apply for an open work permit or the International Experience Canada (IEC) scheme, both of which will allow you to work for up to 24 months in Canada.
Permanent residency is the other main route to working in Canada, but this takes a good deal more time — you’ll need to have spent 730 days in the country within a five-year time period. You’ll also need to have completed a full 12 months of employment.
Average salary in Canada
The average monthly salary in Canada is CA$4,272.09 (£2,753.95) compared to CA$3,755 (£2,277.12) in the UK as of January 2023. Salaries vary a reasonable amount between locations though, so if you’re looking for a higher salary, you should consider moving to Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal.
Income tax in Canada
Canada’s taxation system is managed at three levels: federal, provincial and territorial, and municipal.The Canadian government uses these taxes to fund a variety of programmes, including education, infrastructure, free healthcare at the point of use, and many other social initiatives.
Both the federal government and provincial governments make deductions an individual’s total taxable income. At the federal level, there is a personal allowance of CA$11,038, after which tax rates range from 15% to 29%.
Provincial tax rates range from 4% to 25.75%, with each province implementing its own progressive scale (except Alberta, which has a flat rate). Only half of a capital gain — selling an asset for a profit — is counted as income — the other half is exempt.
|Tax rate||2023 taxable income|
|33%||CA$216,511 and above|
Data updated January 2023
Climate in Canada
Canada might seem like a permanently wintery place, but the reality is that Canadians experience the same four seasons as the rest of the Northern Hemisphere. Summers can even reach temperatures as high as 35°C, so don’t forget to apply your suncream.
Winters, on the other hand, plummet to lows of -25°C, making appropriate winter clothing an absolute must.
Does it snow in Canada?
You’ll experience snow throughout Canada, wherever you choose to settle. It’s typically heavier in the northern parts of the country, but that doesn’t mean the south gets off lightly. Vancouver, one of the cities with the smallest amount of snow, still gets an average of 44 centimetres of snow every year.
Yes, living in Canada means embracing the cold, but when you see some of the country’s breathtaking landscapes covered in snow, you’ll understand why so many people don’t mind it when the mercury drops!
The best places to live in Canada
Ottawa: best for families
It’s daunting moving abroad – especially when you have little ones to think about – so deciding where to live as a family is an important step.
Ottawa wins comfortably in this category, thanks to its low crime rate, top education options, and plenty of things to do as a family on the weekends.
You’ll find abundant parks to explore, interesting museums (check out the animal collections in the Museum of Nature), and a maze garden to get lost in.
When you’re ready to venture outside the city, you’re spoilt for choice with the wealth of national parks and natural attractions to visit. Ottawa is truly a city for lovers of wildlife and adventurous families.
Toronto: best for work
Toronto is the best city if you’re a professional looking to move to Canada, with a healthy supply of in-demand professions offering high salaries.
The caveat is the higher-than-average cost of living compared to other cities in Canada, but the excellent quality of life makes it worth it. You’ll find that some companies offer accommodation for workers too, so keep this in mind when applying for work.
When you’re finished with the working week, Toronto offers entertainment in spades, with a brilliant nightlife and dining scene to take advantage of. Also, about half the city’s population are foreign-born and it’s one of the most multicultural cities in Canada, so you’ll find plenty of expats to connect with.
Quebec: best for culture
Walking around Quebec feels a little like stepping back in time, with an old-world French vibe permeating every building and street.
Plenty of independent shops, myriad cafés, and quirky galleries all give Quebec a solid foundation as the best city for culture in Canada. Part of the city even has World Heritage status given to it by UNESCO, meaning it's historically significant enough to be preserved.
You’ll never find yourself staring at a blank calendar in Quebec too, with countless festivals happening all year round — don’t miss the Summer Festival or the New France Festival. It doesn’t slow down when it gets cold either, with the Winter Festival a particular highlight.
7 quick facts about Canada
- Over 80% of the population live in cities
- Canada has the world’s longest coastline at 243,042 km
- More than half of all the lakes in the world are located in Canada
- Canada’s literacy rate is 99%
- About half of Canada’s landmass is covered by forest
- The Vikings made it to Canada over 1,000 years ago, establishing Newfoundland
- Canada has six times more oil than Russia
You’re ready to make your move to Canada! With its friendly people, high standard of living, and breathtaking nature, you’ve made a smart decision.
You can take the next step by filling in this short form to get free shipping quotes from our trusted suppliers. They’ll move your belongings with confidence and care, wherever you choose to live.