Relocating to Canada? Here’s news on visas and an expat guide to cost of living

Canada launches visa program for hiring specialized foreign talent

Key components of the new global talent stream:

Who can apply? High-growth Canadian companies that need to access global talent in order to grow, as well as global companies that are investing in, or relocating to, Canada and will be creating new Canadian jobs.

How much does it cost? $1,000 per position, minus the cost of the actual visas.

What is the process? Employers can contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as soon as a foreign candidate is identified, and then get personalized help with completing the Labour Market Benefit Plan and Labour Market Impact Assessment.

How long does it take? Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has set a two-week processing time that it expects to meet at least 80 per cent of the time.

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Expats should pay careful attention when they negotiate their salaries. The cost of living in Canada is certainly reasonable when compared to the likes of many of the Asian superpowers and European metropolises but tax rates are high. Thus, a lucrative salary can be reduced significantly. By the same token, such deductions also mean that expats moving to Canada are able to take advantage of some of the country’s fantastic infrastructural assets; namely, universal health insurance that grants near comprehensive coverage, to a high-standard healthcare system and free education at public schools that are well reputed.


Schools
Each province of Canada oversees the education of people within the province borders. There are however common aspects with the whole system.
Primary education starts at 1st grade, and continues to 6th grade. This means that children will enter at age 5 or 6 and exit around the age of 11. In secondary schools the education covers grades 7 – 12 in the majority of provinces, although Quebec is different by finishing at grade 11.

Children are obliged to attend school until the age of 16, although the mandatory leaving age in New Brunswick and Ontario is 18. Those who graduate with a high school diploma in Canada will find that many countries worldwide will accept this as a qualification. A large majority of the schools have programs that offer help to foreign students. The school day in the public school system normally starts at around 8am and ends by 3pm. Some public schools in Canada offer day or home-school programs, but this will cost at least C$10,000 a year.

In order to register your children for school, you will need to provide documentation. This will both be a passport and study permit, or if you are on a work permit, you can provide that and your passport.
Canada also has over 150 colleges and universities that your children may attend.


Cultural faux pas 
Canada is a very tolerant country, but there are some things that you can do to make your stay unpleasant.
·    Never arrive early for a social occasion. Opt, instead, for being “fashionably late.” Showing up early at a bar or disco in Quebec (at, say, 10 o’clock) immediately marks you as an “Anglo.”
·    Do not yawn or scratch in public. Toothpicks, nail clippers, and combs are never used in public.
·    Do not compare Canada with the United States.
·    Do not use the term “Native Americans” to refer to indigenous peoples. Many Canadians find the term offensive. Canadians refer to members of these groups as “people of the First Nations.”
·    Do not take sides in debates about contentious national issues (especially when they concern such issues the status of Quebec, the place of the French and English languages in Canadian society, etc.).
·    Do not be discriminatory to any group.

Similar to the US, Canada was built upon the culture of migrants. It is because of this diverse population that Canada is known as one of the most tolerant countries in the world. Those who are openly racist, sexist, or homophobic will soon find out that the majority disagrees with them. People with these beliefs will most likely be ignored. Canada is a very welcoming nation, with a strong focus on the community.


Cost of living analysis  (Canadian $ & US$ comparisons –  June 2017)

Food 
Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district C$18 ($13)
Combo meal in fast food restaurant (Big Mac Meal or similar) C$10 ($7)

Housing
CAD USD
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in EXPENSIVE area C$2,318 ($1,721)
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in NORMAL area C$1,894 ($1,406)
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas …) for 2 people in 85m2 flat C$181 ($134)
Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 Sqft) furnished studio in EXPENSIVE area C$1,749 ($1,299)
Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 Sqft) furnished studio in NORMAL area C$1,407 ($1,045)
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas …) for 1 person in 45 m2 (480 Sqft) studio C$115 ($85)
Internet 8 Mbps (1 month) C$55 ($41)
40” flat screen TV C$476 ($353)
Transportation
CAD USD
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI 150 CV (or equivalent), with no extras, new C$25,264 ($18,759)
1 liter (1/4 gallon) of gas C$1.09 ($0.81)
Monthly ticket public transport C$140 ($104)
Taxi trip on a business day, basic tariff, 8 km. (5 miles) C$22 ($16)
Entertainment
CAD USD
Basic dinner out for two in neighborhood pub C$56 ($42)
2 tickets to the movies C$28 ($21)
2 tickets to the theater (best available seats) C$186 ($138)
Dinner for two at an Italian restaurant in the expat area including appetisers, main course, wine and dessert C$110 ($82)
1 cocktail drink in downtown club C$12 ($9)
Cappuccino in expat area of the city C$4.79 ($3.56)
1 beer in neighbourhood pub (500ml or 1pt.) C$7 ($5.16)