Snowman in Canada

Top 7 Reasons Not To Move To Canada!

While you might have heard a lot about the benefits of living in Canada and how Canadian cities always show up in the best places to live in North America, you should also know about things that you might not like about Canada. It’s definitely something to consider if you are planning to migrate to Canada.

Here are some reasons why you should not move to Canada! –

Harsh Winter Weather in Canada

Winters can be really harsh in Canada. Temperatures can drop as low as -30C depending on which city you are residing in. If you are not used to the cold weather, it might make you stay indoors and not enjoy going out for a few months every year!

My Personal Experience With Winters In Canada
I got used to the weather pretty quick as I had been living in Midwest US before moving to Toronto, Canada where the weather gets as cold. But I remember that when I had moved to the UK from India, it took me a while to get adjusted to the cold weather there.

Photo: Cold Weather in Canada! (Mont Tremblant)

Winter Clothing Tips
Here is my recommendation on what to wear during Canadian winters –

  • A well insulated winter jacket
  • A light jacket – layering jackets helps a lot
  • A winter hat – beanie or trapper hat
  • Snow boots – with good grip
  • Wool based socks – keep your feet warm
  • Thermal pants – inner wear for legs
  • Wind/water resistant pants or lined jeans
  • Winter gloves – great if wind resistant
  • Wool based top (innerwear)

Driving Tips for Winters
Since it snows quite a lot during winters, driving can be quite challenging. It is no surprise that it is recommended to equip your car with winter tires or even snow chains in some of the regions.

Some provinces like Quebec legally require you to have winter tires. It might be beneficial to carry a snow brush with you as well.

If you enjoy warmer weather, that will leave you to either go for Vancouver or Victoria as your preferred destination since they experience milder winters than the rest of the country.

High Cost of Living in Canada’s Major Cities

The lack of housing supply and money laundering in major cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal has caused real estate prices to go way beyond the yearly inflation rate while the same thing can’t be said about the salary that an average Canadian makes.

Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities in the world

Not only do you have to pay a lot of money for housing in those cities, but also the quality of the unit tends to be poor. If you are planning to get housing, make sure that you inspect the unit before you submit your housing application.

Where To Live For Cheap In Canada?
Here are some cities that have a relatively lower cost of living (rent) compared to the major cities but note that they might not have ample job opportunities –

  • Red Deer, Alberta
  • Sherbrooke, Quebec
  • Quebec City, Quebec
  • Saint John, New Brunswick
  • Regina, Saskatchewan

Relatively Poor Wages and High Taxes in Canada

In general, wages in Canada lag way behind wages in the United States. There is a reason why a lot of Canadians decide to move south of the border and get a skilled job there as there is potential of making a lot more money in the US when you take into consideration stock options and bonuses that the American companies handout to their employees. This is despite the federal minimum wage being much higher in Canada than in the US.

Median wages in Canada 2022 (Source:

Not only are the average wages lower in Canada, but also the taxes are higher, meaning after tax deductions and paying living expenses, you will have very little or no savings at all while living in major Canadian cities.

I remember when I had just moved to Canada, I used to get calls from Canadian companies and many of them were paying less than half of what I was making before moving to Canada. I just had to reject such jobs outright as they barely would have covered my monthly living expenses and it would just have been too stressful for me.

How To Find High Paying Jobs In Canada?
Jobs in specific industries can pay you very competitive salaries. Those jobs usually tend to be in Healthcare, IT or Finance if you are looking in the service industry. But you will also find high paying jobs in the Resource/Energy industry and manufacturing to a certain extent.

To secure such jobs you must have good academic credentials or professional experience. Sometimes those credentials can be supplemented with any additional educational courses or certifications that you might have completed. Make sure to have an impressive resume before you even apply for jobs.

You could try looking for a US based company and work remotely for them from Canada as American companies tend to pay a lot more than Canadian companies however it will require a lot of effort on your part to secure such job.

Tips For Reducing Taxes
To reduce your personal income taxes, you could setup an RRSP account (retirement savings) with your bank or another financial service provider. I had setup my RRSP and TFSA account, immediately after moving to Canada and I would recommend you to do the same.

Poor Public Transit System in Canada

While you will often hear how Canadian cities like Toronto have the best public transit system in North America, it is still generations behind European/Japanese cities. In a lot of areas throughout the country, public transport is almost non-existent.

You will find that the public transit system is always overcapacity during peak hours and breakdowns happen quite often meaning your commutes are delayed and what was supposed to be a 15-minute commute becomes more than 2 hours! Not only that, but during peak hours it reeks of sweat and you will often end up having interaction with crazy people on the transit on a regular basis who can sometimes get aggressive for absolutely no reason.

Artistic impression of long waiting lines at a Toronto Bus Stop

While I was living in Toronto, I decided to live at a walking distance from my workplace and it worked out great as I didn’t have to take public transport even during winters. This helped me avoid public transport completely.

Should You Get A Car In Toronto?
It can be really expensive to own a car in Toronto. Insurance rates are usually very high, parking is expensive and traffic is one of the worst in North America. Only go with a vehicle if you really need it. If you have a family and need to take your kid around, yes go get yourself a car. But if you can live without a car, that’s what I would recommend especially if you are living in downtown Toronto.

Broken Healthcare System

While Canada does have a public healthcare system, it can be really hard to find a family doctor. Millions of Canadians are on waitlist to have a family doctor assigned to them, and it can take months or even years before you get a family doctor.

The healthcare system has been overburdened for years and delays in treatment can cost someone’s life. While, these issues are very well known, there is very little effort by the Federal/Provincial Government to resolve issues around delays in healthcare and many Canadians now prefer to go and see a private doctor instead of waiting months to be seen.

What To Do If You Cannot Find A Family Doctor?
In case you need to see a doctor but have been on a waitlist, I recommend that you try for a walk-in clinic. Even though the name ‘walk-in clinic’ suggests you do not need an appointment, you should call them before your arrival to see if they would be able to see you. In case of any serious issue, you should just go to the Hospital or call an ambulance.

Driving in Canadian Cities Can Be Frustrating

Unlike American cities, Canadian cities do not have a downtown loop (connecting highways) meaning if you have to enter or leave the city, you will have to stick to the narrow city roads with signals every then and now. Driving in Canadian cities can be a really tiring experience, especially during peak hours.

Traffic on highways in Montreal

While the population in cities has gone up drastically in the last decade, there has been very little effort by the provincial and federal government to build the necessary transportation infrastructure that supports growth.

Driving Tips
Here are some of my tips to avoid traffic –

  • Avoid driving during peak hours if possible
  • Use Google Maps to avoid construction zones
  • Consider public transit (if it’s more convenient)

Noise Pollution in Canadian Cities

This one might not apply to all major Canadian cities but something I really hated about living in Toronto’s city center was that it was just too noisy. Construction would start up early in the morning and would disrupt my sleep. While you can complain to the city about the issue, they would be very unwilling to do much about it since real-estate contributes a big portion to the economy.

Ottawa Downtown can be quite noisy

Another thing that might bother you while living downtown is the constant sound of vehicles. Most of the apartments and condos in the downtown area have poor sound insulation and you will hear almost everything that goes around your block even if you are living on the high level floors.

How To Minimize Noise Pollution?
It might be worth considering the following to have a peaceful living environment

  • You can try using ear plugs or noise canceling headphones
  • Add noise insulation for the walls
  • Add soundproof curtains for windows
  • White noise machines can be beneficial for sleep
  • Seal gaps or cracks in windows/doors/walls

Is Canada Still a Good Place to Move To?

While you can avoid the high cost of living, and traffic issues by moving to a small city, there might not be a lot to do in those cities and the smaller cities might be lacking on infrastructure like transport and healthcare.

It would be good to ask yourself what kind of lifestyle do you really want?

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