What do I need to know before moving to Canada from the United States?
- It might be a lot colder than where you are from.
- Food, clothing, restaurants, and other things are going to be more expensive.
- Some things will also seem more expensive but really is comparable to US prices if you factor in currency value or the fact that Canadians are paid more (generally speaking, and in terms of dollars without respect to currency value). So some item that is priced higher in Canadian dollars may seems higher on the surface but doesn't account for that fact that minimum wage worker in Canada could be earning $12 an hour whereas a minimum wage worker in the United States Is earning $5–7 an hour.
- Less people have guns here and we have more restrictions for who can buy them but at the end of the day guns that people complain about like the AR-15 can be purchased here by regular people. Criminals also still have guns here.
- There are racist, homophobes, etc. here too. Canadians like to act like it doesn't happen here but it definitely does.
- Canadians aren't as super nice as the stereotypes say they are. There are nice and mean people everywhere. It has a become a stereotype that Americans repeat and that Canadians accept because it's a positive thing about themselves and their country. I would say the average Canadian's morals and values pretty much align with the US person's.
- There are less fancy job opportunities here. If you are career oriented.
- There are longer average wait times for certain medical procedures and tests.
- Though our healthcare is free, drugs and dental still cost money. BTW, you won't get free healthcare right away. I don't know the exact details just know you have to wait.
- Even though we officially use the metric system, the people heavily use the imperial system. Most of the time people only use the metric system for scientific work, school work, talking about the weather, and fluids. Otherwise people use the imperial system a lot due to US influences and the fact that Canada use to use imperial officially.
- We deport illegals too just in case you are one of those people trying to sneak in. We also deport if you lie on your application and it gets found out later on.
- We're overall really similar to the United States in terms of culture. We heavily use American products, if you drove down the street you'd likely see mostly American branded stores. Music, television and movies is pretty much mostly American. You get a lot of American channels, and all the Canadian channels just show mostly American shows. Food is mostly the same too except if you go to most places you'll also get poutine on the menu. Trends and social movements/ideas always propagate from the US. Canadian news will sometimes cove American news more than Canadian.
I would suggest you Google "advice for newcomers to Canada" which will produce a long list of books and practical advice on how to get established in Canada (you didn't mention your province of destination, so I can't be too specific). Of course coming from the US all your appliances and other electrical goods will work in Canada without transformers, so you could bring all that, but I would suggest you leave any guns in the US.
Canadians can own guns, but our laws mandate gun owners take and pass a safety course before you are allowed to possess a gun. If this is an issue you should also be aware handguns fall into a special category with special restrictions - I own a 9 mm handgun, but am only allowed to take it from my house (where it is locked in my gun safe) to the gun range and back again. We have nothing like the "concealed carry" laws they have in the USA.
You didn't mention what state you are coming from, however if it isn't one that gets really cold winters, you should expect to have to buy winter boots and clothes in Canada - our climate is pretty extreme (I've been told that Ottawa, for example, is the third coldest capital city in the world - colder than Moscow or Helsinki, and trailing only Ulaanbaator in Mongolia and Astana in Kazakhstan).
I would suggest a prudent move would be to maintain a mailing address in the US; there are a significant number of companies in the US that won't ship to Canada. However, you may want to find out if there are any tax implications - US Internal Revenue has in recent years become very aggressive in its pursuit of people (resident outside the US) whom it considers have a tax obligation under US law.
Best of luck.
Depends where you're moving. If you're moving to Vancouver, bring an umbrella, not a parka. It doesn't generally snow here. Other places do get snow. Sometimes a lot of it.
We have universal healthcare. You have to live in a province for three months to be eligible for it. This is great if you need something. If you want a non-essential test, have fun waiting. You can go to the US and pay if you don't want to wait.
We don't have guns here. That is just not a thing, except in very specific circumstances like you're a cop (and then you leave it at the office when you go home) or you are going hunting.
Homophobia, transphobia, racism and stuff are not ok here. I'm not saying they don't happen- (we're human!) but they are not socially or legally acceptable.
Hate speech is illegal. Better look up exactly what that means and avoid doing it.
The cost of living is higher in Canada than the US. What are your plans when you arrive? Do you have a job lined up or an entrepreneur?
Buy a warm winter coat and hat.
The summers are warmer than most Americans realize - we don't live in igloos.
Most Canadians know manners. Use yours or brush up on it.
1. Will Canada let you. They sure don't have to even let you visit.