15 Things You Should Know Before Moving to Canada

Moving to Canada: sales taxPhoto: Shutterstock

3. The sticker price is just the starting point.

Moving to Canada is costly. Granted, I moved to Toronto—tied with Vancouver as the most expensive place to live in Canada. From housing to shopping to eating out, everything costs more than its equivalent in India—and the amounts stated on the price tags are just the starting point. Native-born Canadians are adept at the mental calculations involved in working sales taxes into the stated prices of everything they purchase. For newcomers, however, the added costs can be a shock to the system (and a strain on the purse strings).

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Moving to Canada: Sorry enamel pinPhoto: Drake General Store

4. If you don’t say “sorry,” you’ll be sorry.

The stereotype of Canadian politeness is as real as maple syrup is sweet. Like most things in life, however, that politeness isn’t unconditional. Learn to be liberal in your use of “sorry,” “thank you,” “may I,” “excuse me,” and “please,” and you’ll receive these courtesies in return. Unlike in many other parts of the world, these niceties don’t necessarily signal a desire to be friendly—they’re simply a social standard, indicating you see the other person as your equal. What could be more Canadian than that?

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Moving to Canada: Health carePhoto: Shutterstock

5. Health care is publicly funded, but not everything is “free.”

After moving to Canada as a permanent resident with health care benefits, you’ll be able to see a doctor at no cost—but if you leave the appointment with a prescription, you could be left picking up the tab. Likewise, dental care—which isn’t publicly funded—can seriously put a dent in your savings. Third-party health insurance (often provided through your employer) can help offset the often exorbitant prices Canadians pay for dental and eye care, as well as medicines.

Oh, and if you think you need antibiotics for what ails you, you’ll need to see a doctor first. Unlike in India, antibiotics aren’t available over-the-counter.

Tip: Even if you’re moving to Canada as a permanent resident, it could take several months for your health care benefits to kick in. It’s a good idea to arrive with at least six months of international health insurance as a buffer.

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