How do you move to Canada?

After a few cursory Google searches, and some talks with my GF, I want to start a serious discussion on how a person/persons would move to Canada. We are really looking for any advice from current expats living in Canada, and a bonus for PoC’s who can share any of their story. I was not really sure the best place to ask for peoples stories. If this is the wrong space or it does not fit the forum, please move and/or close this thread.


I’m a first/second generation Canadian who has lived in both the United States and Canada, and I do sympathize with your desire to move up north. As a person of colour (get used to spelling it the Canadian way!), I have felt significantly more comfortable, safe, and secure in Canada than I ever did in the US. We also have a much better social safety net and a general ethos of being in this shit together (except during hockey season).

As for your question, the official immigration site is your best resource. Note that Canada is not the easiest country to immigrate to. Without a job or school lined up, it can be difficult to secure a visa. Do you have family up here who can sponsor you? Alternatively, if you are willing to move to certain provinces, such as Quebec or the Maritimes, there are special programs that you can pursue. It can also be a very lengthy process, so don’t expect to move soon.

I’d recommend as a starting point to call your local Canadian consulate/embassy to figure out your best path for obtaining a visa.


Thank you so much for responding. I really hope my initial post came across as an earnest need to know a bit more about the lifestyle and culture of people who have taken the plunge and immigrate to Canada. I just did not want to be completely out of my depth when trying to navigate the immigration site. As well I was interested in hearing any personal accounts of going through the process. Neither of us currently have any family (that I’m aware of) living there, but we are both very open to the idea of seeing what all of Canada has to offer.

if it’s not to much to go through, would you mind sharing a little of how you settled into living in Canada as a PoC?



I can’t really say I “settled into living in Canada”, mainly because I was born here and have plenty of family around. That being said, being a PoC is really not that big of a deal in general. If you live in one of the big cities (Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, etc.), you’ll be just another face in a diverse crowd. If you move to a smaller town or a rural area, the demographics can get a little monochromatic, although there are usually a sprinkling of First Nations folks in those places. In either case, I’ve never felt excluded or unsafe. The worst is usually clueless white people probing you out of curiosity and them asking the ever-annoying question, “where are you REALLY from?” (Ugh)

That of course doesn’t mean you won’t encounter racist assholes, but they are fewer and farther between up here, and they usually keep their thoughts to themselves. Your mileage may vary, however. I recall Austin discussing his time in Canada as being one of racial hostility, but then again he lived in London, Ontario, which is a shithole.

As for police, while there is a clear bias in who they pursue (at least in Toronto), they tend to be less trigger happy overall. I still recommend being wary of police and knowing of your Charter rights, but you’re much less likely to be a victim of police brutality here.

Overall, Canada is by no means a perfect country, but as a whole it is much more welcoming of diversity. I hope this helps! And as always, the disclaimer that I’m just a single dude in a country of 35 million, so everything I say should not be taken as gospel.


Nope. Hands over ears LALALALALA! Canada is the straight tops and the bees knees! Printing this out and taking it to the embassy to show them I have Canadian approval.


What you said is within the head space I am in now. Where I don’t think moving will magically fix the issues I have w/ living in the US.I’m excited to see more of the country as a whole though. And If I were to visit, do you have any recommendations on places to visit, that are not just touristy?


Yo, I highly recommend being Canadian, it is very good. I was born here, though, so I can’t really give any advice on how to immigrate but a work visa could work for a while if you’re looking to hide out until the dumpster
fire in the U.S dies down. We have problems, for sure, but we’re better than most countries.
I live in Toronto and it rules, but the housing market sucks so keep that in mind. Montreal has really affordable housing and is a really nice city, too, but it’s less multicultural and is in Quebec. Racism is a thing up here but it less prevalent, open or baked into our country than in the U.S.


I want to visit and keep getting a lot of conflicting reports about where to go. If myself and my GF were looking for a place that would allow for growth. Would you recommend at least visiting Toronto or should we try to see one of the other provinces?

Oh boy do I have recommendations:

  1. If you’re coming during the winter, then there’s no place better than the Rockies. Banff and Jasper National Parks and Whistler Blackcomb are world famous for their skiing. In general, Canadian national and provincial parks are tops and should be visited any time of year.
  2. If you’re more of a city mouse, Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto are lovely cities to visit. Montreal is the “oldest” of the three and there are places that feel quite European there. Vancouver is basically the mildest place weatherwise in Canada and is great to visit year round. Toronto is my hometown, so I’ll Stan for it a bit. It’s got a mini-New York/Chicago vibe with plenty of arts, culture, and great multicultural cuisine. Also, if you’re a sports fan, it can be really fun to get caught up in the national fervor over the Blue Jays and Raptors. Alternatively, pay homage to the national game and visit the Hockey Hall of Fame.
  3. The nation’s capital, Ottawa, is chock full of beautiful historical architecture. Unlike Washington DC, security is much more lax and you’ll be able to walk around and in various government buildings, including Parliament.
  4. Niagara Falls, especially the Canadian Side, is truly a sight to behold. The city itself is a tourist trap, so once you’re done riding the Maid-of-the-Mist, mosey on up to Niagara-on-the-Lake, which is smack dab in wine country. It’s a picturesque area that is basically a cheaper version of Napa or Sonoma.
  5. If you like boats and seafood, Halifax might be your jam. Check out the ships, sing some shanties at the local pubs, and eat fresh lobster! Also, be sure to check out Lunenburg while you’re there. It’s super cute.
  6. If you prefer sea creatures of the mammalian variety, go to Victoria/Vancouver island. The whale watching is incredible. Also, the island as a whole is great, with a super hippy crunchy granola vibe.
  7. Finally, there’s the Great White North. I’ve never been, but have heard from multiple people that it’s an experience with no equal. The night sky, and accompanying Aurora Borealis, make the trip to the snowy wastes well worth it.

That’s a good primer, and as always, there’s plenty more to see!

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As far as I know the easiest way to emigrate to Canada from the States is by becoming an accountant. My father was an accountant and he says that under NAFTA (which was written by accountants and lawyers) there are provisions for accountant and lawyers to be able to live in and work in any NAFTA country without any other red tape hurdles such as work visas or green cards getting in the way. NAFTA is about cross border trade and so making it easier for business people to work cross border makes sense. Last time I checked, you could become an accountant with a 3 year program that you could start right out of high school.

I live in a small town (the surrounding 13 towns combined total roughly 1500 residents) in Newfoundland and it seems to me like all the new businesses are being started by immigrants. There is a hostel that was started by a couple from the Netherlands, a vegetarian restaurant that was started by a retired couple from Britain, a brewery started by a couple from Brooklyn and I know of a Mennonite family from Pennsylvania that came to help rebuild after a hurricane which is trying to get into the fish merchant business.

I like this little town as far as little towns go. Not everybody is a little town person though. If you’re looking for a city I would definitely say St. John’s is a shithole. My limited time in Winnipeg has not left a positive impression, neither of the city nor of the people of Manitoba. I quite enjoyed my time in Halifax. It seemed much more diverse than Newfoundland, with better public works and more local food producers. Contrary to a previous poster’s account though, I will say that it’s seafood was second rate.


I’m white, but even I can tell police treat PoC and (especially) Aboriginal people worse in “smaller town or rural area” like where I live.

But the extremes are far less common here than in the States. Canadian police and RCMP have killed 5 people this year as compared to 952 for American. Of course, we have ~1/10th the population, but that still is a considerable improvement.

That being said, of the 4 cases we have information about (one has still not had details released to the public), all the victims were PoC (3 Aboriginal men, 1 Jamaican 15 year old boy) and all of them could have been prevented with better police training.

Also, of note is that the only province that had multiple people killed by police was Alberta, because of course it was Alberta.


Just FYI rents (and real estate prices if you’re lucky enough to be able to buy) in metro Vancouver are out of control. They’re doing stuff to try to clamp down on that (but it remains to be seen the effectiveness of any of it), but if you’re keen on Vancouver, it’s probably best if your vocation allows you to work from home; that way it’s not a huge hassle if you live further out.

Where in Newfoundland do you live? I live in Mount Pearl (but I work in St.John’s). Newfoundland has advantages and disadvantages for sure but I’m buying a house next year and will likely live here forever. For people not born here, Newfoundland is a hard sell.

Not sure if it is available to US citizens (I’m Australian) but I moved to Canada for a while on a working holiday visa. When I did it I could get a 2 year work visa and then apply for a second visa when that ran out as long as you were under 30 yo. Lived there for 3 years on and off, working summers in the wine industry in Niagara and the Okanagan and winters in the Rockies. Good times!

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If there are any Canadians on here with high level political connections I just want to throw out an offer: my town is 40 miles ( that’s just 64.37km !) from the border of the northern sliver of BC. We could be a great deep water port for the Yukon Territories, you guys could have access to some world class salmon fishing, and I might be able to afford healthcare. We’re open to annexation, just think about it. Until then, at least you are close enough for shopping runs with your great countrywide 20% discount.

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I live in Port Rexton now, but I grew up in CBS (Foxtrap) and lived in St. John’s for six years.

It’s gotten a lot harder to move to Canada and it can be really expensive. I finished my residency this year right before the rules changed and the final cost was over $4k CND. Thankfully as skilled labor I had an advantage and Ubi/EA paying the bills.

Also, Canada is just as racist as the states, sorry.

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Thank you and everyone else who has jumped in to the conversation with your help and comments. We are both aware of the expense, and are more than okay with the process. I think a lot of our trepidation just came in the research, and prep work to become citizens. We are also aware that no one place on earth is perfect and free from racial issues, but welcome a place that at the very least feels safer to us. And could possibly be a better place to start and raise a family. When you filled out your paperwork, was it already with a job in hand, and that made the process easier?


Thanks for this. The holiday kicked my butt here. And I am just getting around to reading this thread. We will give this a listen tonight.

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I moved more than 10 years ago with my family.
Great experience! No regrets at all. Life is beautiful, people friendly, family supporting.
Planning to relocate in October from Toronto to Oshawa. Any recommendation?
Need professionals. Thank you in advance