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Moving to Canada from Australia (A Complete Guide)

Spirit Island in Canada
Spirit Island in Jasper, Canada

Are you thinking about moving from Australia to Canada? This is a popular choice due to the booming economy and beautiful scenery as well as the stellar education system. Many people relocate to Canada in pursuit of healthy career prospects while others are looking for a change of pace. Canada is one of the world’s beauty spots and has high living standards that are certainly difficult to ignore. 

You could be wondering where to begin with this task. Indeed, there are quite a few steps that you will need to take here. There are visa requirements and you will need to think about how to move your belongings there as well. At Chess, we can help you with some of these tasks. As an expert international removalist, we have dealt with a lot of the issues that you are currently facing and can help guide you through the process while providing a quality service with every step of the way. However, before you contact us, it’s important to be aware of what you should expect when you are moving to Canada from Australia. 

What Are The Visa Requirements For Australians moving to canada?

You can visit Canada from Australia without a visa. This is useful if you are scouting out potential career prospects and exploring housing options. Without a visa, you will be able to stay in the country for six months. After this, you will need to apply for a visa. 

If you are aiming to move to Canada from Australia, you will require a work visa. Or, if you are moving there to study, you will need a student visa. The Canadian government website provides all the details on these applications. Typically, it is easier to find a visa, if you already have a work opportunity set up ready. Are you planning on moving to Canada permanently? If so, you may also want to explore citizenship. You can do this after you have lived in the country for two years. In total, it costs approximately $600 to apply for citizenship.  

If you are planning to visit Canada for the short term, you may still require a work permit. This is going to be determined by the work you are completing. The immigration website allows you to immediately determine whether a permit is needed based on individual details. 

Moving Belongings To Canada 

Once you have determined if you need a visa and applied for it where necessary, it’s time to determine how to move your belongings to this new country. We can help you here as expert international removalists. We provide affordable rates to ensure that you are able to move all your items over with ease. You can send your own belongings to Canada. If this is the case, the items will be classed as ‘owner packed.’ However, do be aware this will attract more stringent inspections from customs when they arrive in the country. If you want to avoid this you should provide a highly detailed carton by carton inventory. This can help you avoid potential delays.  

An expert international removalist can also provide support and help you avoid issues here. Usually, clearance will take about 5 to 7 days for a full container load. If you are moving a shared container, this can take a little longer and you may have to wait up to ten days before you see your items. We are part of the Harmony Relocation Network, as such, you can rest assured that when we move your belongings, quality service is guaranteed every step of the way. We’ll provide you with a single point of contact throughout your move. 

Can I Move My Pet From Australia To Canada?

You’ll be bringing the whole family with you for your move and that includes your pet. Whether it’s a dog or cat, you can move your pet through a registered pet transport agent. They will contact the relevant agencies and ensure that this process is smooth. At Chess moving, we do provide a pet transport service and can take care of this for you. We’ll make sure that you don’t have to worry about issues here. At the very least you need to make sure that you have an:

  • International health certificate
  • Printed history of vet records
  • Rabies vaccination and certificate
  • Copy of your passport as well as visa or work permit

Do be aware that the full requirements for moving a pet will differ depending on the species you are relocating. If the right requirements are met which includes a microchip, your pet will not end up in quarantine during the move. We’ll make sure that you have everything you need to ensure this doesn’t happen. 

Can I Move My Car To Canada?

You don’t want to leave your car at home when you make the trip to Canada and the good news is that you don’t have to. It is possible to move the vehicle over. This is usually completed as a depot to depot service. So once, the car has cleared customs, your vehicle will be picked up by you in Canada. Usually, customs will require that you have lived abroad for at least 12 months. So, it’s important to bring your passport with data that showed your arrival in Canada. Alternatively, you bring evidence of your new lease or rental agreement. 

Be aware that if you’re moving a boat over, things can be a little more complicated. This is because boats are exposed to marine life. However, Australia has typically clean waters and as such, there should be no issues here either. 

Be aware that there are criteria that need to be met to move and drive an Australian car in Canada. Ideally, the vehicle should be manufactured for sale in Canada. There are exceptions including if the vehicle is more than 15 years old. 

You might be wondering whether you need a new driving licence when living in Canada and driving your vehicle. This is going to depend on the province that you are moving to. There are certain provinces that do recognise Australian licenses. These include:

Will I Be Taxed As An Australian Living In Canada?

This is one of the trickiest issues to navigate. You need to know your resident status. A resident and non-resident are taxed differently. You’ll be considered a resident once you have settled into a routine life in Canada and you have significant ties. This includes a spouse, dependants or if you own your home.  

The good news is that if you are a resident of Canada and Australia, you will be able to avoid paying double tax. So, you won’t be taxed twice on the same income. As well as this, you can apply for tax back if you leave the country midway through the tax year. 

Tax rates in Canada are progressive. So, the more you earn, the more you will need to pay. You will be responsible for paying federal and provincial taxes. So, this means rates will differ depending on your location. 

You will need to make sure that you fill in TD1 forms when you start a new job in Canada. This is going to allow authorities to calculate how much tax you should be paying. 

How Much Does It Cost To Live In Canada?

Before we get to what you’ll need to think about in terms of costs, it’s worth looking at the exchange rate. There’s more good news here though because the exchange rate is quite close. At the time of writing it’s $1 to C$.89. As such, there’s no need to worry about the rate hitting you hard. 

You then need to think about where you’re going to live. Toronto is by far the most expensive place to live in Canada with the average cost of a 1 bedroom flat in the city centre being $1,632 per month. In contrast, Montreal is $986 per month. 

How does this compare to other countries around the world? Well, Canada is significantly less than both London at $2,781 and Sydney at $2,622. So, if you are moving from one of Australia’s most beautiful cities you can look forward to some financial relief. 

General living costs for Canada are also quite price friendly. One individual living without rent will be paying about $1,038 per month. In contrast, a four person family without rent would be paying $3,790 per month or $45,0490 per year. 

Should You Rent Or Buy?

Renting or buying in Canada is largely going to depend on where you live. Don’t forget that you are going to be paying substantially less than you would in Australia, regardless of which option you choose. Indeed, it’s about 40% less. If you are planning to live in one of the more expensive cities like Toronto or Vancouver, renting will make more sense and help you save money. However, if you’re choosing to live somewhere like Ottawa or Montreal, then you should consider buying instead.

You can buy in Canada even if you are not yet classed as a resident. It will be up to you whether you want to take this step. It could be worth renting, particularly if you haven’t yet settled on where you want to live in Canada. This will also give you a chance to explore the feel of different places before making a final decision.  

Best Places To Live in canada 

A Toronto city street
A Toronto city street

When you are choosing the right place to live, you shouldn’t just think about the cost. While this will be a concern, it’s important to find a place that matches your needs and lifestyle choices. 

The most popular locations are:

Toronto is perfect if you want to be in the heart of the action and many international travellers find themselves living here. There are fantastic bars, delightful restaurants and an urban paradise that is virtually impossible to resist. 

Alternatively, you could be thinking about moving to Montreal. This is a little more laid back but ideal for the typical foodie. It’s certainly not a boring place to call home and there are plenty of things to enjoy here. With stunning architecture, Montreal is largely inspired by and has evolved from French culture. 

Salaries In Canada

Although you might be keen to move based on the living expenses, you also need to consider how much you can expect to earn. This is going to depend on your industry and position. However, exploring the averages can provide you with a clear picture. A cashier, for instance, will earn on average $21,000 per year. In contrast, a copywriter will earn $35,130 per year while a software engineer can earn $57,000. These are the averages for Toronto with Montreal being significantly less.  

What Is The Economy Like In Canada?

The economy in Canada is healthy so you won’t have too much difficulty finding a position that suits you and your financial needs. Particularly, if you are highly qualified. Do be aware that bilingual speakers of English and French are highly sought after and more useful for employers across the country. One of the best places to find a job is Toronto. However, recently there have been more opportunities in Montreal as well. 

It’s important to be aware that hours are often long in Canada and may be more difficult to cope with than what you could be accustomed to working in Australia. However, there are perks to look forward to including countless national holidays.

What Are The National Holidays In Canada?

There is a range of public holidays in Canada to be aware of including Victoria Day, Aug Civic Holiday, Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day and Heritage Day. 

Statutory holidays in Canada include Canaday Day and Labour Day as well as Good Friday and New Years Day. 

There are various other holidays throughout the year too with a couple each month. Some months have multiple holidays including June, July and August. As such, you’ll certainly have plenty of chances to spend some quality time with family and new friends you make over there.  

Individual Costs In Canada

There are a variety of costs you should consider before moving to Canada. This includes rent which can average $1,100 for a large apartment in Montreal and $1,700 each month for the same size in Toronto. 

There are also healthcare and dental costs, or rather there aren’t In Canada health insurance and dental are free and this is true even if you don’t have insurance. Instead, healthcare and dental are funded by the tax system. 

Education is also free in Canada up to higher education and even then costs are more affordable than many other countries. For instance, the University of Toronto charges $6,400 for residents annually. 

Transportation In Canada

There is a range of transportation options in Canada. The country has several airlines including Air Canada which is the oldest airline. There is also train travel which is far-reaching, VIA Rail provides economy and business classes as well as sleeper options for longer trips. If you are driving in Canada, you will be pleased to find that the roads are well maintained and there are even ferries. That makes a lot of sense when you consider Canada has one of the largest coastlines globally. 

In terms of cost, gas is $1.02 per litre while a monthly transport pass will typically cost $91. If you’re looking to purchase a vehicle, the average cost is relatively cheap with a new VW Golf costing roughly $23,000. 

What Is The Language Of Canada?

Language is arguably one of the most important factors that most people forget about Canada. If you’re going to live here, you need to be aware that it is officially bilingual with many people speaking French and English. Countless other individuals only speak one particularly around Montreal, which is why it might be advised to at least learn some basic French. 

The federal government is required to operate in both languages. However, outside government, things vary quite widely. Countless other languages are now spoken here too including Arabic, Chinese, Punjabi and Hindi. 

Do I Need Insurance When Moving From Australia To Canada?

As already mentioned, health insurance is not required when living in Canada. However, you will still need to make sure that you are insuring the move itself. It’s important to do this so if there are any issues with breakages or lost items, the cost of replacements can be covered. Many removalists will provide insurance as part of their plan in a way that is clear and easy to understand. However, to guarantee this you need to pick the right removal company. At Chess, we offer complete peace of mind and with premium insurance packages for your move. 

Alternatively, you can arrange a separate insurance plan. It depends on if the company you choose can guarantee the financial security that you need. 

What Is The Weather Like In Canada Compared To Australia? 

Winter in Alberta, Canada
Winter in Alberta, Canada

The difference between the weather in Canada compared with Australia is night and day. The factor to be aware of is that the seasons are complete opposites. Winter in Canada is summer for Australia and vice versa. So, while through the festive season in Australia you will be getting out your bathing suit, in Canada, you’ll need to wrap up warm. 

Summers in Canada are hot and humid though not quite to the level of Australia. Winters, on the other hand, are severely cold. If you move to Toronto you are going to see some variance in the temperature through the winter season. However, if you choose to relocate to a place like Montreal, then you are going to see far harsher temperature drops.  

What Is The Education System Like?

McGill University in Montreal
McGill University in Montreal

If you are moving with children, one of your main priorities is always going to be an education. You will want to make sure that you can guarantee that your children will receive the best schooling. The good news is that Canada has an internationally recognised high standard of education.  

It is worth noting that education is controlled by each province. As such, you may notice differences based on the location that you choose to live. However, overall, standards are fantastic. 

One point to consider is that the school year is different. The school year in Canada runs from September through to June. 

In terms of higher education, there are more than 100 universities across the country to choose from. Many of these are recognised as providing the top standards. Indeed, McGill University in Montreal is currently ranked as the 30th on a global level. 

What Do I Need To Know About Money In Canada? 

Canadian Currency
Canadian Currency

The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada. One of the first steps you will need to take when you move here is setting up your bank account. To do this, you will need a valid passport that has not expired and your permanent residency card or the immigration papers. 

Do note that different banks have separate requirements. However, as a general rule, you will need to make sure that you have a Temporary Residence Permit, a work permit or a Confirmation of Permanent Residence. 

You should have this before you travel to Canada. You might be wondering whether you can open an account before you have moved. You can apply for an account remotely. To do this, you’ll need to make contact by either live chat or email. You can also do this over the phone and you will need to answer a few questions on your immigration status. Be aware that the process will typically take at least a few days to complete. 

The good news is that the major banks do have deals and opportunities that are specifically for those immigrating to the country. As well as this, there are also international bank accounts. This is ideal if you want to set up a bank account remotely and perhaps remain with a bank that you already know. 

FAQs 

Should You Tip?

While you might be used to never tipping in Australia, Canada is a little different. Tipping here is expected and not just used for a great service. It ensures that workers get a fair level of pay. The standard tip is 15% with 20% provided if you feel the service is exceptional. For poor service, you can miss the tip.  

Is Canadian Interchangeable With American?

You’re sure to be keen to make friends when you head to Canada. One of the easiest ways to fail to do this is to mistake a Canadian for an America. To the untrained ear, the accidents can actually seem quite similar. However, once you get used to it you’ll see they are actually nothing alike. Canada has a completely different culture to America, of which Canadians are very proud.  

What Are Canadians Like?

Aside from often being completely obsessed with sports including ice hockey, the first thing that you are sure to notice about Canadians is that they are incredibly polite. As such, you shouldn’t expect people to be too forward. This can also make work environments far more formal. This could be different compared to what you might be familiar with in Australia where work environments tend to be more laid back. 

Ice hockey game in Canada
Ice hockey game in Canada

Are There Festivals?

There are quite festivals around Canada that you certainly don’t want to miss. This includes the Calgary Stampede, Canada Day and the Quebec Winter Carnival. There are fireworks to enjoy as well as a host of other big celebrations that are often paired with great events. 

Calgary Stampede Festival in Calgary, Alberta
Calgary Stampede Festival in Calgary, Alberta

What Can Do In Your Spare Time?

You won’t spend your entire time working in Canada and that’s great because there’s a lot to do in your spare time. For instance, you can think about enjoying the outdoors. It’s not a secret to say that Canada is incredibly beautiful. There are countless outdoor activities to consider. For instance, you can try mountain biking or take to the slopes and experience snowboarding. 

If you are just looking for the best beauty spots, then Canada has a range of beautiful National Parks. Here you will be able to see everything from waterfalls to forestry and yes, even glaciers. It’s one of the reasons why camping is so popular here. 

What Side Of The Road Do You Drive On In Canada?

You’ll need to make sure that you do grow accustomed to driving on the right side of the road which for Australians can feel like the wrong side. There will also be new rules to learn. The good news is that as we mentioned, some provinces will allow you to use your existing License. In other cases, you will need to get a new licence to drive. 

Things To Know When Preparing For Your Move To Canada

If you’re ready to make the move to Canada, then there are a few steps that you need to take. You need to decide when you’re going to book your flight. Ideally, you should be avoiding holidays. This is going to make the move a lot more expensive and that’s not going to be ideal for you. Instead, you should aim to travel around February or March. You can also consider travelling around the winter season. 

Clean Up

It’s worth thinking about how to clean up the clutter before your move. You should make sure that you are taking steps to reduce the cost. You can do this if you think about getting rid of belongings that you don’t want or don’t need. This can save you money when you are looking for quotes from removalists. We all have clutter that is going to serve no use when we move halfway around the world. Try not to be too sentimental here, particularly if you are planning to downsize. 

A Few Months Before The Move  

There are a few things that you should do a couple months before you move to Canada. You need to make sure that you have all the documents read. You should think about how many crates or boxes you are going to need for different items of furniture. You can also contact different companies for moving quotes. We aim to offer the best rates for international moves on the market while still providing a high standard of quality. 

It’s at this point that you should also make sure that you are setting up a Canadian bank account. That will guarantee you have access to any money that you need when you arrive. 

The Weeks Before Moving 

In the weeks before you plan to move you have even more steps to take. If you’re bringing a pet, this is the time when you should be arranging the right vaccinations. You also need to make sure that you have all your paperwork prepared and ready to go. 

If you are selling items including your car, this is the point when it’s time to finalise sales and get used to relying on public transport for the rest of your time in Australia. You should also be preparing a final list of things that are going with you to Canada. 

In the last days or a couple of weeks before the move, you need to make sure that you finalise the details of your move. Make sure that you have prepared your home including defrosting the refrigerator. Pack all your essentials and be sure to have some carry on items that you can use in an emergency. 

After that simply leave the move in the capable hands of the international removalist that you have hired. The best companies will take care of everything and provide you with a completely stress-free experience. 

ready to move to canada?

Are you ready to start arranging your move from Australia to Canada? If so, contact Chess Moving today. We have years of experience and can provide the ultimate stress-free service to you. A friendly member of our team will ensure that you have all the information you need to determine whether we are the right choice for you.

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