Considering emigrating to Canada from britain....Help!!!

(88 Posts)
CanadaCalls Mon 23-Jan-12 01:11:49

Basically, we've had enough of England and where it seems to be going - down the bloody pan, and have started looking into Canada......

Initially, we looked at Australia but then several factors and loads of research, we decided it wasn't for us.

Then we got speaking to a friends wife who is Canadian and she sort of helped us make our minds up, Canada it is!

We would be accepted easily as DP has a very desirable job and in high demand in canada and me and DS would be allowed in on the back of this.

My only concern is, how to cope with being homesick?

I have always been really close with my family, same as DP with his, yet since given birth to my PFB 9 months ago, nothing has made me want to move to pastures new and build a better life for us all.

IMHO, todays generation (by all means I don't mean every person) seem to have no drive for life, motivation, respect or ambition.

I want a better life for my child, I dont want him coming home from nursery and using slang words such as 'dat' instead of 'that' (believe me, its happening, my own nephew is doing it!) I dont want to hear him 'kissing his teeth' at me as they call it, nor do I want to look back in 15 years time when he is hanging about on the streets, getting into trouble and refusing to get a job and think 'why didn't we get out??!!'

Everything makes me think there is no question about it, make the jump, but the other part of me is wondering how i'll cope with being away from my family? I keep telling myself that I have my own family now and they have to come first, but I'm still really struggling with the fact that inevitably I am going to get the phone call from my brother telling me 'Mum's not well' and know that it isnt just a cold this time.

Has anybody else been in the same situation? What made you leave? How did you handle being so far away from family and friends?

All answers would be much appreciated smile

lazydog Mon 31-Dec-12 19:49:56

canadahome - So sorry to hear your move hasn't lived up to your expectations. Thankfully our experience of life in a small Canadian town (well, small village!) is the total polar opposite of what you describe (other than everything being expensive, but we feel that's a small price to pay for what has been a huge improvement in all other aspects.) Do you not have the option to move back to the UK if you've not been here very long, or maybe to try another location within Canada...? Sounds like whereever you are now is not somewhere you're ever going to be happy.

canadahome Sun 23-Dec-12 05:49:57

If you haven't yet moved - consider VERY, VERY carefully!!!!! we moved to Canada in July as my husband had a job and it's not all you hear about it - the small towns are very narrow minded - most people have never left which is a worry. It is VERY expensive for everyday living such as food and clothing to the point we are struggling unlike we were in the Uk and we lived in Oxford. The Canadians do not like being told no and the school system is horrific, if you want drugs this is the place to live!!! I also moved here to give my children a better life and I must say the UK is far superior, the education here is appalling, I so miss the wonderful schools in the Uk - yes I know some have problems but not compared to Canadian schools on the East coast. It would upset you if you thought you would get a better life here, you don't. It upsets me every day knowing I pulled my children away from a better life in the UK but I didn't know that at the time - so consider VERY hard before you move or you will regret it.

lazydog Mon 13-Feb-12 05:06:43

"you may think it's cheap to live in Canada it's not necessarily"

Totally agree! About the only thing I can think of, off the top of my head, is fuel and then that's cancelled out by considerably longer distances between everything (well, maybe not on Van.Island, LOL!)

It used to be that cost of living (to a Brit not yet thinking in terms of a CA$ wage) was much better in Canada because a pound was worth well over 2 dollars. It was 1GBP = 2.15CAD when we moved in 2005 and that was a considerable drop from when we decided to make the move, only months earlier, when it was about 1GBP = $2.30. In comparison, now it's 1GBP:$1.59!!!

westcoastnortherner Sat 11-Feb-12 06:36:34

We live in Victoria, it is beautiful. We came out on work permits and now have permanent residence, please note that although you may think it's cheap to live in Canada it's not necessarily, the food shop is expensive, as is property, clothes, etc it's all cheap in the states but not here.

eternallyoptimistic Fri 03-Feb-12 03:47:39

Have lived in Ottawa for 5 years now and would highly recommend it, fab snowy winter- kids skate and ski, and lovely hot summers. Happy to answer questions about schools, work etc.

tropicalmum Fri 03-Feb-12 03:24:28

I've been to Toronto a few times and I would say that Toronto is still less hectic than many parts of London but if you want to live in a city but have a more relaxed feel you might want to consider somewhere such as Vancouver (west coast) or even Montreal (east coast French part).

It's true what many other posters have said that you take your problems with you. I have traveled a fair bit and am now living in Thailand. Although you always get a "buzz" when you first arrive at your new "home" it doesn't take long before life becomes normal again - in good ways and bad ways in that many of the problems/concerns you had in the UK are likely to be part of the baggage that comes with you to your new country.

That said, Canada is a lovely place and I always think it is worth taking a risk and broadening your horizons!

WillCrossThatBridge Fri 03-Feb-12 03:00:24

We moved from Ireland to Toronto last year.
My OH is Canadian so when he was offered a job after being made redundant in Ireland, it seemed sensible.
I was then lucky enough to be offered a job. I had to sort out my work permit and, because it was in the science/research area, I didn't need the "Labour Market Opinion" which is basically saying that the employer had to source a worker from overseas as there was no Canadian who was suitably qualified. My employer would not have given this - it means that job has to be suitably advertised etc. and I got this job through word of mouth - and he was not very informed about entitlements to work so, unless the companies your OH is contacting are large multinationals, and even then, I'd check out with them what would happen with regards to getting a work permit
I have been much less homesick than I expected and I think this is mainly down to full-time work and having 2 children who mean you kind of have to get on with things and don't have time to dwell.
BOth my OH and I only get 10 days/2 working weeks + statutory holidays of annual leave which is pretty damn shitty. Not sure what the chances of getting more are....probably will negotiate at my annual review.

Toronto is expensive and I say this having lived in London and pre-recession Dublin. We first thought that property prices were way better than (pre-recession) Dublin when looking on the internet but I don't think there is a huge difference really for similar areas etc.

I love Toronto, though! It's a fab city. Thankfully, we have had a relatively mild first winter which is especially welcome as my 17month old son will not keep his gloves on. Hopefully he'll be better at understanding the link between freezing cold hands and not wearing his gloves by next winter!

Feel free to PM me with questions!

lazydog Thu 26-Jan-12 05:30:53

FWIW, my DH works in a technical role and he gets 4 weeks holiday a year, plus all the statutory holidays (bank holiday equivalents) off, paid... He has done since he started there, 5 years ago. It's not something he's negotiated or that's come with "time served" - all his colleagues get exactly the same, even ones who have been there over twice as long.

nooka Thu 26-Jan-12 04:08:45

I work in a specialist management role and I get four weeks, I used to get six in the UK and I really miss the two I've lost! Seniority is a big deal here, the longer you work somewhere the more leave you get (I have colleagues who have accumulated seven weeks) in fact the deference to seniority is one of the cultural differences I find a little hard. I took a job significantly below my experience level, assuming that I could show my skills and move up quite quickly and it's not really worked out like that. The other thing to note is that Canada is very strong on networking - who you know does really make a difference. It's not really an old boy's network because there isn't much of a class system or very many public/private school but it can be a bit of a barrier to newcomers.

outofbodyexperience Wed 25-Jan-12 19:00:14

yy, without a doubt. they needed him though and so were ok with the agreement. most of the other employees have 3 weeks. it's a bit of a shocker when you're used to uk terms and conditions. it isn't public sector, but it's sort-of aligned.

dh is job hunting at the mo. without a similar agreement and a pay rise, he won't bother to move. it's much easier to negotiate when you have a canadian comparison for employers to match. otherwise it is likely to be low.

momnipotent Wed 25-Jan-12 18:44:45

Your DH was exceptionally lucky to get 5 weeks' leave, I don't know of anyone with that much, except my Dad when he retired, but he had to work at the company for 20 years to get it. My own DH has 20-25 years experience and is working a management level job with 2 weeks' leave.

outofbodyexperience Wed 25-Jan-12 16:33:40

annual leave is poor if you are of low experience or working in an entry level job. dh has about 20-25 years experience and gets 5 weeks a year vacation plus i think 6 'personal days'. but a lot of it is about what you negotiate at the offer stage. certainly annual leave entitlement is generally much lower than the uk, and this is one of the first things that people seeking their first canadian job need to be on the lookout for. there is also (around here at least) much more of a secrecy about pay. so unless you are working in a govt service type job with set pay scales, it's very difficult to work out what you should be paid in context. that said, with the lmo process, the employer has to disclose the wage and all the advertising and why no canadian applicant is suitable and you are, etc when they apply for the lmo, so at least if you get an lmo you know it's a fair wage.

our mortgage payments are about 60% of our monthly income. we live in a 2 bed condo with 3 kids and 2 dogs. there are cheaper areas, but we can't sell due to the economic situation - there are no buyers and a glut of similar properties that aren't shifting... family friends are moving back to the uk next month and are having to go with tenants in their house as it's been on the market for well over a year with no offers despite slashing the price. fortunately they have found tenants...

that said, it's grand at the mo. but nooka is quite right - think of it as doing something different for a few years with the possible option to extend, rather than rubbishing the uk and looking for a lifelong alternative. smile

Selks Wed 25-Jan-12 06:57:45

Look into working conditions out there. My friend emigrated (lives in Ontario) and works full time which is longer hours than the UK and only gets two weeks annual leave a year, including bank holidays. None of this 27 days or whatever that e get here. Two weeks to last the entire year.

crazyforbaby Wed 25-Jan-12 06:33:27

I second the views put foreward by QS...if you are going to make such a big move, then make sure it is for the right reason. We moved to Vancouver almost 4 yrs ago and I still get pangs of homesickness, more for my friends than family. Take the good advice and experiences offered by the MNers and run with it, because it is GOLD op! Van's winters are the warmest in Canada. We sold TWO houses in England to buy ONE average-sized Van home! People are v PC in a very polite laid back way here- I know that I have to keep a check on my sarcastic gob! grin

nooka Wed 25-Jan-12 04:04:36

Teeth sucking to me is what builders and other general contractors do when they come to your house and tell you that whatever you had planned is far more difficult, time consuming and expensive than you had possibly imagined (dh's uncle and cousin are painters and decorators and do great teeth sucking grin)

dh wanted to move for very similar reasons to the OP, he thought that Canadians were just much nicer than English people and had started to hate the commute into central London. Not long after we moved he told me that he had realised that it wasn't where you were but who you were with that mattered.

I don't regret our move, but I do sometimes reflect that we could have done so many other things with the money we have spent. Not just the direct cost of the move, but the cost of renting out here plus renting our house out back in the UK (we've lost a huge amount on our house because of bad tenants), and all sorts of extra costs, the work permits and applications, the extra taxes and higher interest on our mortgage (plus no eligibility for tax breaks or benefits).

I think that if you approach living abroad as an adventure to live a different way of life for a while (or forever) then the chance that you will enjoy the experience are much higher. It can be very stressful and most people will get homesick at times, so you have to really feel that it's worth it.

Auntiestablishment Tue 24-Jan-12 18:43:41

Sorry but what is teeth-sucking, anyway? <doesn't live in London>

outofbodyexperience Tue 24-Jan-12 17:46:27

i live in alberta. dh works in calgary. we live in the mountains. it's an hour-ish commute.
(and lol at lottie - i used to live in medicine hat grin it ain't all that, for sure, but is the sunniest city in canada. funny old world)

slavetocat Tue 24-Jan-12 16:54:17

I have been living in Canada for 15 years now and have taught in both countries. Canada has an excellent education system, with good standards generally. In international studies Canada ( especially Alberta) outranks Britain in many areas. Class sizes are much smaller and students are not behind their English counterparts. my friend returned with two teenagers to the UK and thought her kids would be behind, when in fact the reverse was the case. They are unlikey to be behind the Uk on leaving school. Taking the IB is an option before heading off to university. Students that are high achievers are possibly not as well served at times as we don't differentiate as much. Average and lower achieving kids get a lot of support. The morale of teachers tends to be good and Canadians do not knock the system all the time. The school year is a little longer as we get a long summer holiday, but no half terms and spring break is around 6- 10 days depending on the area.

Winters are colder, but sunnier. Outdoor sports are fantastic. The air is clean and fresh. Houses are well insulated and much warmer than in the UK. The summers are warm, but we get mosquitoes! We get less holidays than in the UK generally.

it is a good place to bring up kids. There are badly behaved kids everywhere, but youdo not see that too often. There is poverty here, but it does not seem quite so bad as in the UK. Canda has a positive, sunnier outlook than the UK.

I keep in touch by regular visits, phonecalls and skype. If you make the effort to stay in touch, then you will.

hillbilllyhell Tue 24-Jan-12 12:51:18

Hmmmm, we are moing to Winnipeg next month. I am American, dh is Trinidadian and we have 2 Essex born ds's. We have been in the UK for nearly 7 years, 4 in Essex, 2.5 in village near Edinburgh. I'm not sure if I have done myself a massive service or disservice by not researching much about where we are going only because when I started the research process I started making myself insane. I know basics about it, primarily how damn cold I am going to be but I am different from the op, because this is where dh's career has taken us. We don't really have much of a choice, as every interview he has gone on in the last year he wasn't the selected canidate. The career opportunity in Winnipeg was too good to decline.

I went through massive culture shock when I went from California to Essex 7 years ago, and just as was mentioned up thread, I felt like nothing was really that different except everything was in odd little ways. I will be going to Canada possibly more with British eyes than American as I have been here so long and have had both of my children here.

We have a lovely sublet until May in Winnipeg and then we have to find a place to live. That gives us a few months to get our bearings and figure out where we want to live. I am a bit overwhelmed but trying to embrace the massive change that is right around the corner. One thing I am grateful for is no one will ask me where I am from because I won't sound so different from the Canadians when I talk. smile

TheCatInTheHairnet Tue 24-Jan-12 12:28:32

We picked a random foreign city and moved there on a bit of a whim. That was 5 years ago. Best thing we ever did!

QuintessentiallyShallow Tue 24-Jan-12 12:11:07

Well, my view is that it is pretty daft to plan an international move based on what you say. I understand that this view is not welcome.

We uprooted the family and moved to Norway in 2008. There is more to life than clean air, "country living" and mountains. Uprooting is hard. What we thought were going to be a great move for the kids, turned out to be quite the opposite for a number of reasons, and we returned to the UK this September. I can assure you, I have no blinkers on, and honestly think that British teenagers are not as bad as you think. People are people. The moves have cost so much, financially and emotionally, it is exhausting. We have coped with double taxation, bullied kids, and now have to deal with owning two homes in negative equity and STILL be liable for tax returns in two countries for the next two years.

Just make sure you get ALL the facts.

Mumsnet is a great site, with people from all over. It can be a great resource, and rather than alienating people whose brains you can pick with insults you could try and be a little friendly and welcoming to all opinions, not just read what you want to read because it suits your little rosy dream. It could end up costing you.

Kenobi Tue 24-Jan-12 12:08:21

x post wannabe grin

I also have 10 male cousins, the youngest of whom is 19, I know teenagers. They were all horrible aged 14-16, and probably said 'dat' so they sounded cool. They are all delightful now. And hardworking.

Kenobi Tue 24-Jan-12 12:05:27

I don't think quint meant to be insulting CC, but if you state that the reasons you're moving are because children say 'dat' and suck their teeth, and because the majority of British youth are apathetic, well, it does sound quite naive.

ALL western teens perfect the art of apathy then most lose it somewhere around university (it's part and parcel of being a teen, as is hanging out, bored, on the street because you can afford to go and have coffee, and you're too young to go to a pub), and 'dat' and teeth sucking are AMERICAN traits, ones which most certainly have infiltrated Canada.

I don't have blinkers on, I live on the outskirts of one of the biggest council estates in west London and use the playground there, and I can tell you that even on an estate where I have been, ahem, privileged to witness some elegantly orchestrated drug deals grin, even THERE there isn't a homogenised blob of apathetic teeth-sucking youth. I've never been sucked at, and one of the scariest-looking kids I see around helped me, my DD and mountains of luggage into my house without even being asked, at 11pm at night. This was more than a year ago so no, he wasn't casing the joint.

On the flip side you are clearly researching it heavily, which is not naive, and I'm reading your thread because I totally see the appeal of moving abroad (we are planning to leave London very soon because of house prices, transport-related aggression and a general feeling of the city being just too full) it just would be really rubbish if you moved overseas and STILL ended up being irritated by all the things that irritate you about the UK, because they are universal.

Some wise PP said you should move because you want to go somewhere, not because you want to leave somewhere, I've certainly taken a note of that.

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 24-Jan-12 11:58:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ggirl Tue 24-Jan-12 11:54:33

wel saying - "I'd love to know where you all buy your blinkers from, maybe thats where I'm going wrong " does rather suggest we are all mad for not thinking UK is going 'down the bloody pan'' as you say

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