Thinking of moving to Canada? If so then you’ve come to the right place, my friend! Because I’m about to unveil my epic insider’s guide to 22 of the biggest pros and cons of living in Canada!
After all, I’ve basically grown up right across the border from our great neighbors to the north and know all about the pros of living in Canada and even some of the cons of living in Canada too!
So, if you’re considering moving to Canada and want to know what it’s really like to live in this amazing country, then check out this expert’s guide to 22 of the all-time biggest pros and cons of living in Canada!
Fair warning though, after reading this article you may start to spontaneously say, “sorry” for everything and may feel an uncontrollable need to watch hockey while hoovering down a giant plate of poutine.
Yup, consider yourself warned my Canada-loving friend.
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Pros of Living in Canada
1. Universal healthcare
Free healthcare. And yes, I really did just say FREE. HEALTHCARE. Because as an American who is used to paying a ridiculous amount of money for medical insurance, this is easily one of the biggest pros of living in Canada.
I mean, doctor’s visits, emergency room treatments, tests, check-ups, and ambulance transportation? Yeah, they can all be found for free up in Canada.
Honestly, just knowing that if you have to get medical care when you least expect it – and that it won’t cost you thousands upon thousands of dollars – might just be the most important things on this list of the pros and cons of living in Canada.
Plus, the healthcare that you’ll be getting for free (did I mention it’s for free?) is some of the best in the world. Alright, Canada! So, if you’re considering moving to Canada, this might be one of the best reasons to do so.
2. The Economy is Doing Great
For the last 20 years, the average household income in Canada has been steadily and consistently climbing. As a result, the rate of unemployment is also one of the lowest in the world, with plenty of jobs still available for and potential new arrivals who are considering moving to Canada.
Because, guess what? Canada runs on a free-market economy wherever possible. This means that it’s a great place for individuals to set up a new business.
After all, you’ll have more freedom to run it how you want to. And seeing as Canadians are enjoying increased income, they’ll have more to spend at your new business – easily making this one of the best pros and cons of living in Canada.
3. Canada is Beautiful
Let’s face it – Canada is one of the most Instagrammable (read, stunningly beautiful) places in the world. After all, this next-level gorg country has got mountains, forests, lakes, beaches, wildlife … I mean, even the cities have some amazing architecture and historical areas that are just *chef’s kiss” awesome.
So, whether you’re walking along the seafront in Vancouver, hiking through Banff National Park, or taking in the glory of Niagara Falls (yes, the best part is on the Canadian side – I’m sorry but it’s true), you can’t deny that Canada has everything a photographer could ask for.
So, come and see for yourself and enjoy one of the many pros and cons of living in Canada!
4. It’s an English-speaking country
It might be a small detail, but it makes a huge difference – especially if you’re considering moving to Canada from the good old US of A.
After all, one of the many concerns that prevent people from moving to a new country is that they will have to learn a new language as part of the immigration process.
And, come on. How long will that take? Will it be one of the easier languages? What if you just aren’t good at it and can’t communicate?
Well, fortunately in Canada, learning an entirely new language will (hopefully) not be a problem! After all, Canada is the largest country where English is the first official language. So you’ll have no problems with reading signs or communicating with locals.
Yup, talk about a major relief when considering the pros and cons of living in Canada.
5. The people are Hella Friendly
Some stereotypes are based on truth, and I’m happy to report that this is one of them!
And FYI, I’m not just talking about politeness and apologizing for everything (sorry) – Canadians are just generally really happy people who are super friendly and courteous to strangers, including recent arrivals to the country like you.
Doors will be held open for you, seats will be given up for you, and you’ll make new friends regularly when you find yourself having a conversation in a cafe or chatting someone up while waiting in line at the store.
Just remember that although this isn’t true for everyone (there are exceptions to every rule), on the whole, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how friendly everyone is.
6. Very Multicultural and Immigrant-Friendly
Canada is very welcoming to immigrants and a wonderfully tolerant country. In fact, most Canadians believe that diversity makes a country stronger, and they’ve been encouraging people from other countries to make it their home for a long time.
As result, immigrants have such a normalized presence in Canadian society that unlike in other countries, being an immigrant doesn’t immediately set you apart from everyone else.
Therefore, once you’ve been through the Canadian immigration process, you might even get a more positive attitude than you’re used to as a local in your own country!
Yup, just another one of the many pros and cons of living in Canada eh?
7. Canada is a Place to get your Hobby on
Whatever you do to relax and enjoy yourself, you can probably do it in Canada. Because in addition to all of the traditional indoor activities and hobbies you might get up to from the comfort of your own home, Canada is a utopia for anyone looking to get active in the great outdoors.
So, wanna go mountain climbing? Sure, you can do that here. Into skiing? No problem. Canada’s got loads of mountains. Want to try your hand at surfing? Sweet, Canada’s got some gnarly waves. Interested in long-distance running, cycling, swimming, or hunting?
Well, take your pick because you can do all this and more while in Canada. Also, because of the change in seasons and the unique climate that each one brings with it, you’ll have the perfect weather for almost any sport, exercise, or activity you might want to try as you uncover the pros of living in Canada.
8. Enjoy a High quality of life
Canada is home to one of the most highly educated populations in the world. The employment rate is also super strong (as previously mentioned), and there are a large number of social support systems designed to make life easier for Canadian residents.
And, added bonus? The crime rate is extremely low here as well. In fact, it’s almost 40% lower than the crime rate in the US, with violent crime now on the decline.
Add to that free healthcare, stunning natural landscapes, and a booming economy, and you’ve got yourself a pretty sweet package that may make moving to Canada even more appealing once you consider all the pros of living in Canada.
9. It’s Not too far from the United States
Almost all of the major cities in Canada are within 100 miles of the American border. So, if you find yourself dreaming about all of the fun things you want to get up to in the United States, you can easily make your dreams come true since they are sitting there, right on your doorstep!
Trust me on this. Millions of people – both tourists and returning Americans – fly in and out of the US from Canada every year.
Also, because of the geographic location of the USA, lots of people have to spend tons of money and fly over long distances just to visit this epic place.
However, not so if you’re in Canada. Not only will your flight be way less expensive than a trans-Atlantic one, but you might not even have to fly at all if you feel like going on a road trip across the border and enjoying one of the many pros and cons of living in Canada.
Pro Tip: If you’re a Canadian citizen, it’s also super easy to get into and out of the US since the US/Canadian governments have a great relationship and make it really easy to travel to and from both countries. So, no visa is needed for Canadians going into and out of the US for short periods of time.
10. The Quality of the air and water is very good
According to the World Health Organization, Canada’s air quality is consistently ranked as one of the best in the world. And that makes sense since there is so much natural, open land and stunning mountain ranges in the great nation of Canada.
That’s also why anyone who’s just moved to Canada will find themselves feeling refreshed and healthier just by being there!
And that goes for the water too. In fact, Canada is home to 9% of the world’s freshwater resources. This means that in larger cities, the water you drink will still be of the very highest quality – even if you source it from your kitchen sink!
So, no need for nasty and super wasteful plastic bottles of water here.
11. Canada Is Safe
So, I know that for many people safety is one of the factors that they look at when it comes to relocating. Canada is one of the safest places in the world and that is a known fact. The people are friendly, the crime rates are low and the police are extremely fast in their response rates.
You do have to be smart about it though. Don’t leave things unattended. Keep your vehicle locked when not in use. The basic personal safety concepts that you use elsewhere in the world would apply here too.
There are things that you have to worry about when it comes to safety that you probably don’t have to worry in other parts of the world and yes! I’m talking about the infamous wildlife in Canada. In a way, the wildlife pose more security issues that that caused due to mugging, gun violence etc.
Cons of Living in Canada
12. Canada Gets REALLY COLD
Y’all may disagree, but when I picture Canada, I think of snow. I envision mountains and trees and cute little log cabins, all covered in crisp white snow. And I think that for a reason!
That’s because throughout the winter – which can last up to 8 months depending on how far north you live – average temperatures in Canada can hover around 5 °F. And sometimes, when you add in wind chill, the temperature can drop to as low as -40 °F in many places. Now that’s pretty darn cold!
And if you’ve read my article about what to wear in New York in winter, then you know that as an NYC local I know what I’m talking about when I say I know what cold really is!
So, if you plan on moving to Canada any time soon, be sure to bundle up because this is one of the biggest pros and cons of living in Canada.
13. Getting Around Between Cities can be a Problem
If you think there’s a lot of space between cities in the United States, just wait until you get across the border!
After all, Canada is the second-largest country in the world. And a lot of that giant landmass is made up of rural areas and extreme wilderness. Therefore, that means long drives between places – sometimes up to five hours or longer between populated areas – and not necessarily on big, straight, easy-drive highways either.
Yeah, there are a lot of giant mountains and lakes scattered throughout Canada too. So, you might find yourself having to go a long way out of your way just to get around a lake, river, or mountain that sits between you and your final destination.
And one broken bridge? Well, that just might stop you dead in its tracks, making this one of the biggest cons of living in Canada.
14. City Life is Expensive
It’s a sorry situation, but the things you buy in Canada just cost more. From food and clothes to the smartphones and other devices necessary for life in the 21st century, you’ll find yourself with a lot less leftover for a proverbial rainy day up in the great north.
And while this varies between districts and provinces, in general, the cost of living is just a lot higher – making this one of the biggest cons of living in Canada.
This is largely because Canada incurs high import taxes since many of its goods are first shipped to the USA before eventually being transported to their final destination.
As a result, prices to consumers increase so that companies can still make a profit on the products they sell. Oh, and just like in the USA, tax isn’t included in prices. So, you may end up paying way more for something than what is listed on the price tag.
15. Taxes are higher Too
Who likes paying taxes? Yeah, me neither. But sadly, they’re a necessary evil, especially in a country with a wealth of social programs like Canada.
That’s why, it comes as no surprise that Canada has one of the higher tax rates in the world. This is due in part to the fact that their universal healthcare program has to be funded somehow, though plenty of Canadians will agree that it is 100% worth it.
Additionally, almost all of the national parks and recreational areas in Canada are free for visitors to use and regularly maintained. And while this is awesome news for Canadian children (and visitors/Canadian parents too!), that standard is maintained by workers employed by the government, which means higher taxes to cover the cost of all that labor.
So, although this is something that won’t be a huge issue if you’re just visiting, it is something to consider if you’re moving to Canada and want to weigh out all the pros and cons of living in Canada first.
16. Limited Availability of the Goods You’re Used to
Along with paying more for things, one of the cons of living in Canada is that there aren’t as many of those things around to pay more for in the first place!
See, because towns are spread out all across this vast country, it can be difficult to distribute things like groceries and household items to settlements in rural parts of the country. This means that many local businesses may not have things you need in stock.
This is a fact that can be hard to adjust to, especially if you’ve moved to Canada from the United States, where we have pretty much everything available all day, every day – making this one of the many pros and cons of living in Canada!
17. Houses are Expensive and Getting Even More Expensive
One of the biggest problems that Canadians currently face is the price of housing and the lack of affordable options. Because guess what? Owning your own home is becoming increasingly difficult (read, expensive), especially in major cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.
And to save money, many people continue living at home with their parents before renting and then maybe buying something way down the line.
That being said though, the cost of renting in Canada is still significantly cheaper than the cost of renting in the US. I guess sometimes the pros and cons of living in Canada come hand in hand!
18. Healthcare Can Come with Delays
Yay, healthcare is free! And you’ll only have to wait for … 3 months? Seriously?! Yeah, that’s right. Wait times for procedures can be extremely long in Canada.
Now, sure, smaller health issues can be resolved pretty quickly and easily. But, if you have a major medical condition that requires a specialist, then you may have to wait for awhle since there will only be a couple of doctors to choose from – specialists who may not be located close to where you live.
Plus, once you get there you may find that there’s a waiting list because they can only treat so many people at a time. And while you might have the option of paying more to get private healthcare, if you want free coverage it might take a while to get seen by a doctor.
19. You may have to learn some French, Oui
Parlez-vous Français? Non? Uh oh!
Ok, so this may only apply to eastern Canada, but if you want to live in Ottawa or Quebec, speaking French might be required for you to get a job.
Yeah, there’s a huge, mostly French-speaking population in these places that descend from French colonists who settled in the area way back when.
So, having certification in both French and English may be a requirement for potential employees at some companies. Therefore, you better get practicing yo!
And even if you do learn the language, there’s another part of this that might prove more difficult: Canadian French can be different from the French they speak in France.
Yeah, Quebec uses its own special brand of French. So, you may still find yourself sticking out even after you’ve learned a second language!
Yup, just another one of the pros and cons of living in Canada.
20. The Immigration Process isn’t Exactly Easy
On top of relocating to an entirely different country – which can be difficult in and of itself – there’s one thing that’s absolutely one of the worst cons of living in Canada: bureaucracy. Wow, I feel bored just saying that word!
Because believe it or not, Canada actually has a limit on the number of now people who are allowed to settle in the country every year. And that limit is around 250,000. Total.
And yes, that number includes any refugees that they choose to shelter. As a result, it can be difficult to meet the strict requirements that the government puts forth to regulate the number of people trying to get in.
However, there is a points system in place that may help those with in-demand skills who are looking at moving to Canada. So, good luck and consider all the pros and cons of living in Canada before making any major life changes.
21. Being in Canada May Affect Your Streaming Options
So, I know this may seem petty and is probably one of the least important pros and cons of living in Canada. But, we all like our online TV and movies, amirite?
Of course, I am. I mean I know I am all about the Netflix and chill for a party of one. But, because Canada is in a different region than the US, shows that can be streamed in the US may not be available in Canada.
So, some things you’ll never have heard of may suddenly appear. And some programs that you felt sure would be available are suddenly missing!
It’s a small difference, but if you’re living in a new country and you want to watch something familiar that reminds you of home, it can be soul-crushing to log in to Netflix only to find utter disappointment.
Therefore, be prepared and consider these cons of living in Canada before moving to Canada.
22. Canada Does Not Recognize International Credit
So this is a biggie! Most people transfer their credit history from one country to another. Canada doesn’t accept credit history from other countries. That means that once you move to Canada you have to build up your credit score from scratch. This however makes it a great reason to move to Canada if your credit history abroad isn’t great.
It is also important to note that while your credit history abroad isn’t important, the immigration process and the banks will pay close attention to your criminal record.
I find this particular con something that works against my choice of moving there but that’s largely because I’ve spent a long while building up my credit scores. If you are young and haven’t yet worked on your credit history, this shouldn’t be much of a problem.
Additional Canada Resources You’ll Love
- Best Places to Live in Canada
- Quebec Road Trip itinerary
- Best Provinces to Live in Canada
- Best Brunch in Vancouver
- Best Time to Visit Canada
Saturday 7th of January 2023
French is not just a requirement in Quebec and Ottawa, but also for jobs in the government and in many not for profit organizations, such as universities, unions and professional organizations. Moreover, we have somewhat extreme nationalism in Quebec where wearing minority religious gear, (head scarf) is frowned upon. Although we supposedly have multiculturalism, most communities live in enclaves and in certain municipalities, e.g, Chinese in Markham, Italians in Vaughn, and South Asians in Brampton. The reasons for this are not accidental.
Saturday 24th of December 2022
Thank you Kelly. It is probably the most informative article on this subject. My brother just moved recently and he is experiencing all the cons:)! Personally I see the cons outweighs the pros.. probably one of the pros is that if you are married and having 5-8 children's you get paid on them so you dont have to work🤭. At least this is what I heard that some refuges from certain country is doing!!
Saturday 7th of January 2023
Yeah, I've heard a lot of the same things. Best of luck to him.
Tuesday 29th of November 2022
Thanks for the info! I'm currently a high school student and I was thinking about moving to Canada once I'm old enough. This list really helped! Also, your writing style is great!
Saturday 7th of January 2023
Thanks for the kind words and for reading.
Thursday 3rd of November 2022
Thank you for this information.. I am planning to apply and move to Canada soonest😊😊
Saturday 7th of January 2023
Friday 14th of October 2022
Thanks for the insights I'm a carpenter that wants to move to Canada for a better life and further my education to become an engineer in the future
Saturday 7th of January 2023
My pleasure and good luck.