or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Welcome to Mothering! › Connect With Other Moms › Moms In Your Area › Canada › Canada: pros and cons?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Canada: pros and cons?

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 
Ok. We just moved to Florida (US) from GA. Not my ideal place to live (i hate being hot-ha). But we had to for Dh's job. I am in school to be an RN. We plan on moving back to GA when I finish school--but I have been contemplating Canada for a while now. I don't know a ton about it though. But it seems like a cool place to live.

I was wondering about the government there. Positives and negatives. What do you think makes Canada a great place to live?
What are the taxes like and does anyone know wages for an RN? Anything.

I had several things in mind before I got on here-and now my mind is blank.
Oh, just in case it matters. We also want DH to only work part time and start up a photography business when I finish school. And we have three children (all of which will be school-aged when I finish in less than 3 years). Right now 6yr dd1, 3.5yr ds, and 2yr dd2

I read on another thread about different areas. And Stevenson (South Richmond) sounds nice. And so does Pemberton (north of Whistler).
post #2 of 80
Taxes vary by province. Which province were you interested in?

Canadians pay some of the highest rates of income taxes in the world, but we have free basic medical services and do not require additional medical insurance for things like emergency care, doctors visits, essential surgeries and hospital stays etc. For example, having a baby in a hospital is 100% free. You can purchase supplementary health insurance for things like dentistry, eye care, ambulance service etc but the premiums don't tend to be as high as those you pay in the states.

As for salary, here is a job ad for a staff nurse in B.C.
https://psjobs-emploisfp.psc-cfp.gc....616&psrsMode=1

There are lots of things about the USA that make me want to live there but until the health care system changes to more closely resemble that of Canada, we're stayng put .
post #3 of 80
Thread Starter 
Thank you. So check ups and sick visits are free? What about prescriptions? Also--this might seem like a stupid question-but how does the canadian dollar compare to the US dollar?
post #4 of 80
Prescriptions are not free and most health insurance drug plans require a co-pay.

The Canadian dollar hovers around (usually just below) the US dollar, but this doesn't matter unless you are doing a lot of international shopping. Unfortunately, I think you will find that most things are more expensive in Canada, so it may be cheaper to by things from the US.

After spending a lot of time on (predominantly American) parenting message boards, I have come to the conclusion that Canada is much more family friendly than the United States. I mean, the fact that we get up to a year of parental leave says something about the government's attitude (also the fact that doctor visits are free), but I have never witnessed negative attitudes from others about nursing in public, for example. There are other examples, but I can't think of them right now.
post #5 of 80
I'll chime in here, I live in Texas now but I lived in Canada for 30 years. To be specific in Alberta, so my info pertains to that particular province, things vary greatly from province to province. In my opinion Alberta is a great place to live. My SIL is an RN, works in a big hospital in Edmonton, and makes I believe 32$ an hour. Pretty good wage. Alberta's economy is good, housing is pricey but has become much more reasonable after the latest economic downturn. (which did not affect Canada in nearly the same way as the US) I understand Florida is a very expensive place to buy a house so the prices may not seem that high to you.

Alberta also has no provincial sales tax, a plus, but is subject to the country wide GST of 5%. They also have a flat rate income tax, another plus.

Prescriptions tend to be much less than in the US.

Also a different SIL has had 2 babies in the last couple years, one in Alberta, one in BC both with midwives, one in the hospital (BC) and one at home (Alberta) both fully covered by the provincial health plan. Also you get a year paid maternity leave.

The dollar varies, sometimes on par with the US, usually a little below. Most big ticket items, cars, houses, boats etc will be MUCH cheaper in the US. Little things like clothes, food, household items will be slightly cheaper in the US but not significantly.

I agree with the PP about it being more family friendly. Attitudes towards breastfeeding are definitely different and there isn't the "doctor is god" attitude like I've experienced in the US. There are small cultural differences. There also isn't the great political polarization, a favorite Canadian past time is bitching about the government (and the weather!) but few people care enough to actually get out and vote.

Hope that helps!
post #6 of 80
Prescriptions actually depend on the province - Quebec, where I live, provides excellent prescription coverage for anyone who doesn't get insurance through work and I believe that other provinces are starting to talk about developing systems. Health care also varies by province but is very comprehensive everywhere - far, far more than simply check ups and sick visits are covered. All medically necessary procedures/care are "free," and preventive programs abound. I can't think of a single time I've ever paid for a medical service of any kind and I've had broken bones, physiotherapy, major surgery, superior midwifery care through two pregnancies and one birth (soon to be two), etc. You'll hear us complain about wait times and service standards but for the most part our system is exceptionally good (IMO). I agree also that Canada, and Quebec in particular, is far more family friendly than the US. Your public policies in regards to maternal care, maternity/parental leave and benefits, childcare, etc, sound negligible in comparison. Many of these policies and services also vary from province to province but in general folks are pretty well taken care of here...

...and thus brings me to how I would sum up the biggest difference between Canada and the US, and it's largely a philosophical one - here we have chosen to have big government and high taxes in exchange for being more "looked after" by our central agencies. You don't have to save up to take a decent mat leave for example, it's legislated in law and we pay into a system to ensure that everyone has access more or less equally. However, this means that individuals have less choice when it comes to many services, such as health care. And you have no choice but to pay for services you may never use, all in the benefit of the society at large. Because of this, we grumble A LOT about how our taxes are being spent and who is benefiting and who's not, etc... But I'm pretty sure that most people wouldn't have it any other way.

I'd say that across Canada you can encounter so much diversity in way of life and political outlook - we're a huge country and the geography plays a big part in the variety of regional character - that it is impossible to be specific about what makes Canada special and different from the US. No matter what you are looking for, you will find it somewhere in Canada. But there will always be that over-riding philosophical difference between Canada and the US.

PS Don't be deceived by our northerness in regards to the weather - though most parts of Canada have awesome winters, it still gets BRUTALLY hot in many areas. We melted this summer. I hate being hot too and could not be happier to see the leaves changing colour.
post #7 of 80
I have to add that you will find here a lot of policy areas where we lag far behind the US - many aspects of environmental policy would fall into this. Because our economy is so dependent on yours, we often wait to see what the US is going to do in terms of a regulation on a chemical (or whatever) so that we can fall in line instead of doing differently if that is what we believe is best. I can't think of an example off the top of my head but I feel like I hear stories like this in the news all the time - times when the Canadian collective values on a particular issue may be different than the US but we follow along so as not to jeopardize trade. Hrmph. We're also increasingly hearing about US lobby groups pressuring our government - I just heard how the NRA is all over our long-gun registry debate!!! So I guess in some ways we are very proud to carve our own path but in many ways we are very dependent and therefore similar to the US.
post #8 of 80
I'm in Nova Scotia, on the East Coast. People have summed up a lot of the differences. The general outlook on life also tends to be much different, sometimes in unexpected ways. Overall, for example, Canadians are less religious. OTOH, you tend not to see the same kind of vilification or fear of religious groups like Muslims. Many Canadians hunt and have guns, but few have strong philosophical commitments about gun ownership.

Taxes are indeed higher, but there is also a lot less difference between the poor and wealthy. Overall, at the moment, the Canadian economy is very healthy. There seems to be less differences between the quality of public schools, overall, than in the US.

Doctors appointments are free. Drugs are not, though most full time nursing jobs will have a good drug plan. For example, through my dh's job we pay under $10 a month for a plan that pays most of the cost of drugs, dental, glasses, and so on.

There are a lot of nursing jobs available here.

FWIW, I love Eastern Canada, and wouldn't live anywhere else. Jobs here pay ok, and the cost of living is reasonable. People are pretty laid back. My BIL is a nurse in a smaller town here, so if you want more info, feel free to PM me.
post #9 of 80
I'm an American who married a Canadian and moved here 8 years ago. We lived abroad prior to that so the last time I lived in the states was 1994 but still have family/friends etc. there.

I generally really like it here and feel especially blessed that we live in a place with provided health care. As a nurse, you will likely have good extended health to cover prescriptions ,etc. We are self-employed and finding a decent extended health plan has not been easy. My son has special needs so this is a very necessary thing. In general most of his needs are covered but the health system is more conservative and a very expensive treatment that he needs is not covered by the system. This is due to reluctance to cover it because of the cost and it being an "off label" prescription. But if I were to move to the states, he would be uninsurable due to his diagnosis (unless we got jobs with a company with a stellar health insurance program)
We paid nothing for his extended stay in the NICU whereas in the states I know people who had to pay thousands in copays.
We never pay to see a doctor or get an xray or see a specialist.

Taxes are higher. In BC we have 12% sales tax. Housing here in the Vancouver region in particular is very costly. You will not find a detached home for under $500k anywhere in Vancouver and probably a 50 mile radius. Other areas of the country are much more affordable.

I find it much safer here. When we first moved here, my husband drove me around the "worst neighborhood" in Vancouver - east hastings street. Yes, the street were littered with addicts but where I come from in California the worst neighborhood will get you carjacked, shot at, and worse. Violent crime is much much lower. Personal property crime, (home break-ins, car break-ins), however, is not better and sometimes a bit worse depending on the area.

Definetely less religous, especially the evangelical type. Religious differences respected.

Um, no Fox News type channel.

Shopping, I must say, is much better in the states. Better variety, better pricing. But that stands to reason since our population is about 10% of the states. People living in border areas often go over for shopping and to fill up the tank (gas is about 1/3 less over there)

The immigration process can be long but since you are in an in-demand field it might be easier. I was sponsered by by husband so I don't know how it works for a family.
post #10 of 80
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for all the help!! Yall are being very helpful. Does anyone know how the small towns are? And what areas are close to the border? What are the winters like?
post #11 of 80
Close to the border is where the majority of Canadians live, so there are a lot of settlements. Is there a place that you are particularly interested in being able to get to?

There are a lot of nice small towns in all the provinces. They can vary a lot in character too.
post #12 of 80
Thread Starter 
I don't know too much about any of the towns there or provinces. I want something that is on the smaller side-with shops and that I may can walk more than drive. And of course good schools (public is fine with me). Are there places close to the border that are wooded? and with very low crime.
post #13 of 80
PIck a province .

Right now we're in south eastern Manitoba. Really long, cold winters (think Montana or Northern Minnesota but colder) but really dry cold and really hot summers for the most part. Nice spring and fall. It's about 3 hours to Grand Forks North Dakota for me. If I lived in the city, it would be 2 hours.

I live in a small farming town about an hour from the capital city. Housing is really, really, reasonable where we are and considerably more expensive in the city. There are lots of services available to us, but for big shopping, we go to the city. An hour really isn't a big deal.

I've lived in the maritimes which are further from the US border, but they're just amazingly beautiful. More moderate climate than the praries (warmer in winter, cooler in summer).
post #14 of 80
Thread Starter 
Does everywhere in Canada snow in the winter?
post #15 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenhill View Post
Does everywhere in Canada snow in the winter?
Not necessarily -- the winters in lower mainland BC (Vancouver and area, Vancouver Island) are generally mild but may still get some snow. It really depends. However, the winters are wet and rainy which I personally find harder to deal with than snow and cold.
post #16 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by RaeDyCo View Post
Not necessarily -- the winters in lower mainland BC (Vancouver and area, Vancouver Island) are generally mild but may still get some snow. It really depends. However, the winters are wet and rainy which I personally find harder to deal with than snow and cold.
Yeah, the west coast is warmest but it rains all winter. The east coast gets snow, and it's damp, which makes it seem colder that central, which are actually colder temperature wise.

I can think of a lot of towns like you have described in my province, and I'm sure in other provinces too. My dad is in Parsborro, a town of a few thousand, with little shops and a hospital, and there is a professional theater, so lots of artists and so on too. It's about 45 min from the bigger town, and 2 hours from the city.

I also really like Annapolis Royal. I lived in Truro, which is a farming town, which has a lot to recommend it, and they are building a new hospital at the moment. The South Shore has a lot of nice towns too.

For something a bit bigger, Charlottown in PEI is a small city which is really a nice place.
post #17 of 80
Wolfville NS is gorgeous . Lived there for 10 years.
post #18 of 80
I'm an American with a Canadian DH & we've lived abroad for the last 13 years. This year, after having my DD in January, we spent the summer in North America & I have to say that I found Canada preferable to the States. Apart from things like health care, people just seem (in general) more open & tolerant... I dunno, there's just a good feel there (ok, I was in the Toronto & Vancouver area & obviously I'm generalizing wildly). But we are now considering leaving urban Europe for backwoods BC - problem is we're looking for the same sort of place as you Jenhill - smallish, but walkable - seems pretty tough to find a place you don't need a car, even in the city.
post #19 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenhill View Post
Ok. We just moved to Florida (US) from GA. Not my ideal place to live (i hate being hot-ha). But we had to for Dh's job. I am in school to be an RN. We plan on moving back to GA when I finish school--but I have been contemplating Canada for a while now. I don't know a ton about it though. But it seems like a cool place to live.

I was wondering about the government there. Positives and negatives. What do you think makes Canada a great place to live?
What are the taxes like and does anyone know wages for an RN? Anything.

I had several things in mind before I got on here-and now my mind is blank.
Oh, just in case it matters. We also want DH to only work part time and start up a photography business when I finish school. And we have three children (all of which will be school-aged when I finish in less than 3 years). Right now 6yr dd1, 3.5yr ds, and 2yr dd2

I read on another thread about different areas. And Stevenson (South Richmond) sounds nice. And so does Pemberton (north of Whistler).
I work as a Long Term Care Aide and work directly with RN's. Starting wage with HEU I believe is $32.00/hour with lots of overtime since we have a nursing shortage in BC.

I really love living in BC Canada. It's beautiful. Doctor visits, emergency room visits, surgery, etc is free. Perscriptions need to be paid for unless you have optional coverage that you pay for. DH's work place pays for optional medical coverage so we get 80% back for perscriptions, 100% of everything paid for with dental, $250.00/year for glasses, 80% back for naturopath/accupuncture/massage, etc.
post #20 of 80
If you are from Georgia think long and hard before you move to the Pacific Northwest. It is a rain forest. Literally. Winters are LONG and GRAY.

BUT, there are a lot of good things about BC. If you want a small town Richmond is not what you want. Pemberton, maybe. I don't know much about it but I picture it small.

Health care here is definitely less stressful on the paying side, but as far as waiting for services it's really different. One relative of mine waited 6-9 months for hip surgery. She was just waiting for a spot on the table that whole time - it was all arranged and she was ready to go. Emergent services seem to be timely, but anything that can possibly wait seems to have a wait-list. Public health care isn't actually "free" in BC - we pay about $110/month for a family of 4. But compared to the US prices it's free. Drug coverage - drugs are cheaper here, and often secondary insurance provided by an employer will bring costs down even more. I did end up paying over $100 for an epipen, but other than that we've had nothing crazy/suprising in that department.

In the lower mainland there are places to buy homes that cost less than $500K. www.mls.ca is a fun site to play on looking at houses. The further out you go, the cheaper they are, but there are normal neighborhoods in Abbotsford where you can get something for $300K (I *think*, I haven't looked lately, but it hasn't gone up a ton lately anyway).

On the healthcare side, since you work in nursing - I think there is a lot less equipment here. Ultrasounds are done in special U/S clinics, not at the Dr's office hardly ever. MRI or CAT scan - you WAIT. Patients go here and there to get blood draws, U/S, X-rays, etc. It isn't as streamlined as it was where I lived in the US.

Tjej
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Canada
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Welcome to Mothering! › Connect With Other Moms › Moms In Your Area › Canada › Canada: pros and cons?