-         COST OF HOUSING (for newcomers)


In the main cities of Canada like Toronto or Vancouver, the cost of renting apartments and houses is very high. In other cities and towns is a little bit cheaper. (In Montreal, Quebec City and other Quebec province cities the cost is much cheaper).


To live in a two bedroom apartment , with a rental in Toronto around $1200 (Including Cable TV, phone and garage) a person working with a salary near the minimum ($10/hour) would have to work more than 150 hours per week (more than 3 week per month, 42 hours/week). In theses cases, you will have to work many hours or to have two jobs to cover other family expenses. 


Cost of housing in Toronto or Vancouver is almost comparable to expensive cities in the world, like Tokyo, New York, Paris or Hong Kong. Nevertheless, the contrast is not fair, since these expensive cities are in the most populated areas of the world (more than 2000 inhabitants per km2) while Canadian cities are in a country with one of the lowest densities in the world (3 inhabitants per km2). Some of the reasons for the expensive cost are:


● Constant demand of housing due to the great number of immigrants that yearly arrive to Canada, which, among the requirements to obtain the resident visa have to have enough money to support housing and food for at least 6 months.

● Lucrative interest of economic groups and Canadians in general who have secured their investments in big buildings of high profitability against the needs and economic possibilities of the immigrants.

● Even though this is a very big country, more than 80% of the immigrants chose some of the metropolitan areas of the three big cities to start their lives in Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal). This is mainly for three reasons: Milder weather, better job opportunities and modern transport systems.




There are a lot of different sort of insurances in Canada. Insurances are the base for the social and economical stability and  personal safety.


To drive a car in Canada is obligatory for the driver to have a driver’s license and have an insurance at his name to protect him in case of being guilty of an accident. The price of this insurance for immigrants, with no driving experience in North America, is generally high (between $ 300 and $ 400+ monthly) for the first year in some provinces like Ontario and British Columbia (in Quebec is cheaper)  When experience and history are acquired, the cost shall decrease a little bit, if there have been no accidents or transit offences.


On the other hand, you will have to insure any loan granted to you. This insurance shall pay the money owed to the store (SEARS for example) or the bank in case you fail to do it for any reason.




As it was said at the beginning of this chapter, maybe the strongest emotional factor felt by immigrants is to leave their family ties behind. Each person has different feelings and reactions on this aspect.


But there are 2 points in favor of this situation: The first is that you may be able to send an invitation to your loved ones, once you have a stable life and a good job, to visit you in Canada, especially to parents, brothers and nephews. The second is that if you have the Permanent Resident or citizen status, you will be able to travel to your country of origin whenever you want.


Many families use cheap communication systems available through internet (MSN, Yahoo messenger etc) to be in permanent contact, talk and see through the Webcams, without paying expensive international phone calls.


Many immigrants travel each year or when they can to see their families. Others travel each three or more years. There are also some immigrants that never return and they don’t want to do it.


-         COLD


The long cold season, which in Canada goes from November to March, is perhaps the aspect which mainly takes into account people that don’t want to live in Canada, especially for people who have lived all their lives in tropical countries. During that season, after Christmas, there is a trend towards emotional depression, stressed by the lack of warm sun and the short period of daily light (sun rises after 8.00 am and dawn is at 5.00 pm), with average temperatures below 0 C.


Nevertheless, during the cold season, the schools, manufacturing plants, offices, stores etc work normally. Canadians have adopted the technology and its resources to make their homes, offices and other interiors comfortable through warming systems which maintain a nice temperature for people. Also the transport system, buses, trains, churches etc are warmed with electrical or gas warming systems.




It is highly possible that when an immigrant decides to sell all his properties in his country of origin (car, apartment, appliances etc) to come to Canada, will feel the low value of the local currency of his country.


For example, a three bedroom apartment of 100 m2 in the Capital City of a Latin American country may cost around $ 60.000 (a supposition to illustrate this example). In Toronto or Vancouver, with this money you will only pay the 25 % or 30 % of a similar apartment, which cost is higher than $ 190.000.


On the other hand, for an immigrant coming from Korea, Japan, England, Italy, Russia or other European country, where the price of their currencies is higher, the difference is not so big002E A 100 m2 apartment in any of the above mentioned countries may cost around $ 140.000 or even more, like in England, which has one of the strongest currencies in the world, and country of origin of many immigrants to Canada. (This comparison was made based on mi own experience and according to informal information given by some immigrants from those countries).


According to this analysis and the comments of some immigrants from Latin American and Asian countries (with currencies with low value), which have their own homes at their cities of origin and have lived the experience of selling it to move to Canada, the result of these economy realities made immigrants more poor in relative terms. 


In other terms, when a professional from Latin America or East Europe, who have been economically stable in his country of origin, moves to Canada, the first impact he will feel in his finances is that he will be relatively poorer in his new habitat.  The consequence of this phenomenon will be that he will have to work again 15 years or more to have his home completely paid.




The cost of  post secondary education in some provinces of Canada, like Ontario is very high. There are no universities supported with public resources. So, most of the universities are private entities which charge freely for their services, in a free market where prices are determined by the offer and demand laws. Annual cost in some universities could be higher than $15.000 per year (tuition fees and support) to study careers like Law, Medicine, Engineering etc.


The high cost of the university education in Canada is one of the factors because of which this country is constantly accepting professional immigrants educated in other countries, which will face at their arrival to Canada, among other barriers, the lack of acknowledgement of their titles and degrees by Canadian professional councils. Many of them shall work in private companies in their areas, but their salaries shall be low with the argument that they don’t have Canadian professional certificates, working experience or professional registry to sign. This situation is very common in Canada, which allows many companies to save money maintaining a good quality level, being thus more competitive than the USA market, which let them offer their products and services in that country. For example, million of spare parts for cars are daily produced in Canada and transported to USA by land for companies like Chrysler, General Motors, Ford etc, because of the lower production costs and the good Canadian quality. This continuous industrial and commercial activity with USA is basic for Canadian economy and most part of it is handled by new professionals and skilled immigrant workers.






Another reason why Canada seeks for Skilled Workers to live in this country is that Canadian young professionals recently graduated from Canadian Universities many times move to USA, where their studies and degrees are recognized without problem. The reasons for this trend are different:


-          The need of earning more money to pay huge educative loans that in most of the cases are necessary to pay the university studies at a Canadian university.

-          In USA they may have better salaries and opportunities since the competence there is not as strong as in Canada, where many immigrants highly qualified work for any salary.

-          Their professional degrees are easily recognized.

-          Warmer weather


Note: 1 of 5 Doctors (physicians)  and 2 of 5 Engineers educated and graduated in Canada are living and working in USA or other countries.






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