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

RealLifeIsForWimps Mon 23-Jan-12 03:57:06

First of all, I think you need to do a lot more research than "I talked to my friend's friend who is Canadian" especially if she now doesn't live there(maybe you have, but I'm just taking your post as you wrote it). Emigrating is a huge step and you need to make sure that there are big pull factors as well as push factors (i.e. you actively want to live in Canada because of X, Y and Z and not just be desperate to leave the UK.) Canada will have problems just like the UK does. No country is perfect, so make sure you know what the problems are before you go and that the frequently quoted upsides are what you would prioritise. Also, different cities/towns in Canada will vary hugely. Do you know whereabouts you'd want to live?

It's not inevitable that your son will be hanging around the streets getting into trouble in the UK and refusing to get a job. Most kids in fact don't do this, especially if they come from families which value education, promote a work ethic and encourage their kids to have interests. You can be that parent in the UK just as easily as in Canada.

Re homesickness, most people go through it to a certain degree. One of the challenges of being an expat/immigrant is that you don't have family support and it takes a while to build a network of close friends, so things that would have been a drama at home (sick child and you really really need to be at work for a major presentation) become a crisis overseas because you cant just call your mum/sister/cousin/best friend since primary and call in a favour. That can make you feel very isolated/alone. Also, as you mentioned, you cant respond to family crises as quickly, and possibly not at all if you can't easily afford flights home. Skype and email make things a lot easier these days, but it's not the same as a lot of face to face contact time, and you do drift somewhat just because you're now living very different lives.

Finally, check your work status. Would you be allowed to work? If not, would that be a problem for you?

justaboutisnowakiwi Mon 23-Jan-12 04:04:00

Er - I just emigrated (to New Zealand) and I have to say you sound absolutely the kind of emigrant who is going to get a horrible shock on arrival.

You don't emigrate because you don't like the way some UK children behave. There are teenagers everywhere and kids who hang out on streetcorners everywhere. I know a few people who have emigrated on this basis and no matter where they ended up, they had a nasty surprise. You emigrate - in my view - because you have researched a country REALLY REALLY carefully and you have decided that there are so many huge pluses in that country that it will make up for the inevitable homesickness.
If you don't think you can handle the homesickness, don't do it.

mummytime Mon 23-Jan-12 04:17:04

Someone once told me that when you move you just take your problems with you.
Also Canada is a very very big place. Life is very different in rural Alberta compared to downtown Toronto. I would suggest you read local newspapers (available on line) because some places have problems you would be very unlikely to come across in most of the UK.

Thumbwitch Mon 23-Jan-12 06:03:25

Another one who thinks perhaps a little more research might be advisable. I emigrated to Australia 2.5 years ago because DH is Australian - even though I'd been here a few times before it's still very different when you actually live somewhere, as opposed to just visiting.

Homesickness is a bit of a bugger. We are exceedingly fortunate that we have been able to fly back to the UK 3 times already, and are doing our 4th return visit in 6w time (just me and DS, DH doesn't feel the need). Leaving my family was made easier because my sister is only 10mins up the road from my Dad; if she wasn't, the guilt would have been horrible as well as the missing them.

There are things I miss about the UK but now there are also things I miss about Australia when I'm back in the UK - it can be strangely displacing - but it kind of helps me to know that I do consider Australia as much home now as the UK.

Children in Australia also have similar issues to those in the UK - when you think that most of the English-speaking world seem to share childrens' tv programmes, it's not really that surprising in some respects - and you will probably find the same in Canada.

You also need to be very aware of the weather conditions and what you can cope with - snowy bits can get very very snowy and very very cold - so what you consider to be fun and beautiful to start with can get extremely wearing after a few weeks of it.

You also need to look at the cost of living. I have no idea what it's like in Canada but I do know that with the current exchange rate, Australia is pigging expensive. Good for going back to the UK though! Housing here - very expensive (check online estate agents/realtors in Canada for housing costs).

Jobs - hmmmmm - I'm sure I read on another thread something about you absolutely needing to have a job before you can go - but that could be wrong. Still, if I can find the old thread, it might be worth you having a read...here you are, it doesn't at all start off about Canada, you need to get through to YummyMummy1208 Fri 06-Aug-10 13:35:33 this point before the discussion about emigrating to Canada starts in earnest (don't bother with the rest, it's a nightmare!!)

Well that's taken so long to type there's probably a hundred crossposts now, but I hope there's something useful in here for you.

Fregley Mon 23-Jan-12 06:15:39

You sound nuts

nooka Mon 23-Jan-12 06:25:13

For a relatively fast and secure move to Canada you need to have a job offer, and in order to have a job offer the employer needs to have proved to the authorities that they have offered the position to Canadians and failed to find a suitable person. So your dh needs to be in a field where his skills are not only desirable but in short supply. If you can get an offer like that, and the help with moving costs that should come with it then you should be able to move relatively easily.

The other option is to apply for permanent residency from the UK. This will only work if your dh's occupation is on the official list of occupations that the Canadian authorities have decided they are short of, and it takes I think two years.

We live in Canada, and I've not been homesick although I miss my family (one visit in three years - it's very expensive to fly home with two older children in tow). When my mother broke her leg recently I had to make do with ringing her on the weekends only (8 hour time difference and I work) when they get very frail I won't be there, and although I have two siblings in the UK (and one in Australia) I do feel a bit bad about not being there for them.

Oh, and whilst most children (well people really) are very nice here, I still get the bus with teenagers smelling of weed, and there are still homeless alcoholics on street corners.

lazydog Mon 23-Jan-12 06:53:18

Ever heard the expression, "Same shit, different bucket"...? grin

Auntiestablishment Mon 23-Jan-12 07:55:31

Why are you so set on moving abroad? There are other parts of the UK which might give you what you are looking for lifestyle-wise.

No idea where you are but to give up on all of England, Wales, Scotland and N Ireland based on whichever place (city?) you are currently based in seems a bit extreme. A rural area near a mid-sized city is totally different from the middle of London, for example.

CanadaCalls Mon 23-Jan-12 08:49:38

Morning all!

Ive just read over my OP and realised again, late night posting is not good for me! I always seem to miss out vital details sad

We have done a lot more research than just speaking to a friend, of course we have, we didnt make a life changing decisions based on chit chat over a coffee.

DP has contacted several employers and asked if if he was to apply for a job, would it be something they would be interested in and what would the likely hood be of them employing him and all have come back with the same answer, no problem.

We've also looked at several different provinces and seem to be swayed towards Toronto. It isn't too rural yet life isn't as hectic as it is where we are now.

We are not ignorant people and are more than aware that there is no 'perfect' place, and that no matter where you go, it comes with its own problems, but we just feel that we've both had enough of London and its fast pace, un friendly and sometimes depressing ways. We haven't just moved here and decided it isn't for us, we have both lived here all our lives. We want a more relaxed lifestyle and one that isn't getting you down all the time. You only live once right?

We've looked into property, the aim is to rent first and then if we decide we like the area, eventually buy property. That's another thing, you can get so much more for your money. In London, if your lucky enough you'll be able to buy a studio flat for £250,000!!

Moving further out has been considered (we are doing this in a few weeks time) but it seems to go far enough away, your looking at high prices for not much property, just because it is a desired area to live.

We're being optimistic but nor unrealistic about this, we know that we could up and go, say our goodbyes, pack up and leave, only to get there and decide 2 years later it isn't for us. In that case, we'll just pack up and come back home (albeit with our tails between our legs, or we could just take the attitude that we gave it a go)

We're at a stop gap at the moment and hope to be either setting plans to up and go in about 18 months, or possibly not. We discover that perfect place after all smile

Atomant Mon 23-Jan-12 09:14:03

Toronto is close enough for a visit.

It's a big- ish city so whilst you may have seen properties online you think are good value, they may not be in an area you wish to bring up your children. Until you are there actively looking it's an impossible task.
I was astounded at the amount of homelessness in most Canadian cities, particularly in TO.
It's a great city with lots to offer, but it's problems are no better than of British cities, in fact teenage pregnancy and teenage drug abuse statistics are worse than the UK in many parts of Canada.

Check out the British expats forum online, you'll get a lot of help there & a lot of real stories of going & being a successful and going and coming back to the UK, it's good to have a balanced view but if you can afford it, definitely go for a research trip (as opposed to a holiday).

Good luck.

CanadaCalls Mon 23-Jan-12 09:37:37

Hi Atomant

Thats another reason we was thinking of Toronto, it isn't as far away as some parts of Canada.

I know my DP did go on the forum and was talking with a few ex pats, he's definitely more of a realist than me (I can sometimes be a dreamer so its good that we have that balance) and he said that a lot of people was saying that it was a struggle, but once they settled in, they didn't regret it.

I suppose as you say, we need to set aside some time, possibly a month to go out there and see what it's actually like instead of trying to make a decision based on what other people tell us ( although we know a month is probably still not enough to be able to really see what life in Candad is like)

Are you in Candad then? Did you move from Britain?

Atomant Mon 23-Jan-12 10:37:07

No we're in the UK but a few years ago we nearly moved to Canada. Had visas (which can take a bit of time to obtain if you don't have a job offer) etc had done research trips to ON, BC & AB but something just didn't click for us. We couldn't see really how life would be better for us. Depending on where you go, yes there is amazing outdoor space, but maybe not great schools or jobs that pay well enough for the lifestyle we would eventually want, we couldn't find that place where we thought had the balance. Small towns are just that and it is a big country so they can be quite remote.

It could be that ultimately we just weren't brave enough or ready to make the move, I'm sure with enough determination you could make it work.

You have to be realistic & don't close your eyes to the problems that really do exist, read the local papers (there's a lot of violent crime same as here except there it includes guns every day).

For us we felt ultimately is was better the devil we knew which has worked out well for the moment. We're a short drive to grandparents, walking distance to close friends, great schools on our doorstep, both have good jobs. Never say never though, if our circumstances changed, we probably would reconsider.

Vancouver had everything we would want except jobs at that time. It's a fantastic city but it is far away & very very expensive.

The beaches area in TO is lovely incidentally, but expensive.

I do love Canada, it's a wonderful country but for us, just for a holiday. Can't wait til DD is old enough to take there.

It's a hard decision!

Fregley Mon 23-Jan-12 14:14:38

why moves aborad
Uk doesnt = london

CanadaCalls Mon 23-Jan-12 15:37:03

Of course it doesn't Fregley but as I've said, the further out you go, the more expensive the houses and the less you get for your money.

mummytime Mon 23-Jan-12 15:46:20

But UK doesn't = south east. Rutland for example, you can get quite large houses with acres and stables for about the same price as my house in the SE.
Also companies saying they would like to employ your DH, doesn't mean that legally they could, are you going for the 2 year shortage area route?

ChunkyPickle Mon 23-Jan-12 15:49:15

I would recommend trying it for a year, and seeing how you go. I've lived in a few places around the world, have my favourites, and my less favourites, and in my experience there's a lot of swings and roundabouts with whatever location you choose.

I lived in Canada for a year, it was fine, but didn't click with the place - you don't want to go through all the hassle properly emigrating to find that you don't like it!

BTW, getting the 1 year work visa with a job offer was a walk in the park - we got agreement in principle in a day, then just had to arrive in person to apply at the border for the actual permit - end to end was 3 weeks (and most of that wait was the Ash cloud stopping flights at the time!)

Fregley Mon 23-Jan-12 15:53:57

i dont like the borderline racism in the OP
if you dont like london - move out

outofbodyexperience Mon 23-Jan-12 15:59:14

that sounds very positive. have the companies who are likely to employ dh got experience with lmo's and twp's? lots of companies are very keen to employ until they gt their legal team to look into lmo and then they disappear, so if you think they are genuine (i have lost count of brits whose 'job offers' disappear into thin air when the realities of securing an lmo hit) then you need to discuss whether they have been through lmo process before, and whether they believe their current vacancies will match the criteria.

all this is lovely, and will potentially entitle you to a max 2 year twp. so you still need to look at how to convert that to pr status. if the employer is in a position to offer you a ft permanent job (as opposed to the max 2 yr contract you will be offered on the back of the lmo) then you can apply after i think 3 mos. if they can't then you need to wait until you qualify under cec, or apply as a sw anyway (if dh's noc code is on the list).

we aren't in to. so i can't offer you regional advice, but do be aware that the whole 'let's move to canada' thing isn't usually quite as easy as it seems on the face of it! grin but alberta is lovely, if fecking cold.

chunky, were you one of the lmo exempt jobs? there are a few, usually catering etc and they fly in mexicans grin. 3 weeks wouldn't happen if you had to go through lmo... i think the wait for lmo is about 6 weeks min at the mo. that said, if you are on the list and meet the other criterai for sw in terms of point s etc, then it's only about 6-12 mos currently. when we applied, the wait for sw was 36-48 mos. grin grin

ChunkyPickle Mon 23-Jan-12 16:11:35

I got my visa under the Temporary Foreign Workers scheme (max 2 years) - the lawyer that the company was using submitted all the stuff we'd had to fill in, and now that I look back, it was actually the same day that we got the agreement in principle and the paperwork we had to submit at the border for the actual permit.

We asked the lawyer about switching to PR after a couple of years if we liked it out there and they didn't anticipate a problem.

I assumed that it was a combination of my profession, and that as Brits we have pretty close ties that made it so quick.

Popbiscuit Mon 23-Jan-12 16:14:11

Toronto is a lovely, cosmopolitan and bustling city. Lots to do, lots of culture but very expensive to live in the city proper and there are lots and lots of dodgy areas. If you're set on Toronto as your city, look at the suburbs: Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga are very nice places to raise a family (very little in the way of the social problems that you are trying to escape), great commuter links to the city and much less expensive than Toronto itself. The public school system is excellent so there's none of the state/private angst that you'd find in the UK.

Have a look on MLS for housing prices in each area to get an idea of the cost of living. I live in Oakville with my family, feel free to PM me if you'd like any more specific information.

We emigrated here when I was a tween (my Dad was transferred). My Mum was very homesick for the first two years or so...there is culture shock. Now however, she wouldn't contemplate going back and I do think that my quality of life growing up was better here than it would have been in our specific location in the UK. There's lots to consider! Good Luck!

ChunkyPickle Mon 23-Jan-12 16:17:10

That's a good point about Culture Shock PopBiscuit - I found it more of a jolt moving to Canada than to any of the other places - I think because everyone was speaking my language, and everything seemed slightly familiar yet slightly wrong.

Popbiscuit Mon 23-Jan-12 16:21:58

Winters are horrible though and probably take quite a bit of getting used to. Best practice is to get out there and embrace it; winter sports are right on your doorstep smile

Popbiscuit Mon 23-Jan-12 16:26:59

That's a good way to put it, Pickle. Slightly familiar, yet slightly wrong.

Canadian culture is an odd mixture of British / American with a slightly quirky twist of it's own that defies description.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 23-Jan-12 16:32:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kenobi Mon 23-Jan-12 16:34:35

You'll still get:
gun crime
racism and ultra right-wing attitudes
kids sucking their teeth at you - it's an american thing, and Canada is much more American than the UK
Massive drinking probs in the cold winters
teenage pregnancy (probably also related to the winters).

I don't blame you for wanting to move to Toronto, we've also considered it, but some of your reasons are pretty naive.

Just don't move to Saskatoon - a native friend once described it as "where boredom goes to die" grin

ChunkyPickle Mon 23-Jan-12 16:38:54

Vancouver has weather very, very much like the UK, but the city feels half-empty - all 3 lane roads, with really very little traffic, the most crowded bits really aren't, and I think it's probably 50% dog (by number, not by volume - they tend to be little dogs). It's obligatory to stride around with a cup of coffee in one hand and a yoga mat in the other wink.

It is very expensive, and mail-order anything seems to come by donkey from Toronto it takes so long.

The pavements are wide, tree-lined (beautifully coloured in winter, dappled shade in Summer), you're a couple of hours from the US for shopping, or Whistler for skiing, canoeing and walking right on your doorstep, and snowy mountain views at the end of city streets - the couple of hours extra on the flight vs. Toronto doesn't make any difference I don't think, might be an option if like me you're not sure how you feel about the ridiculously cold weather in other bits of Canada

Popbiscuit Mon 23-Jan-12 16:43:56

I just snorted water out of my nose at the Saskatoon comment.

No need to elaborate on that grin.

Popbiscuit Mon 23-Jan-12 16:50:36

Vancouver is my idea of heaven. Outdoorsy, oceans, forests, more temperate seasons. We lived there for two years as newlyweds in a revolting, dingy, astronomically dear basement flat in a gorgeous neighbourhood very close to downtown and the beaches etc. I'd love to live there again but it is really, really, really expensive to live near downtown and the suburbs are not as nice as Toronto's. That said, it might be a tradeoff worth making if the proximity to ocean and forest is important to you.

ChunkyPickle Mon 23-Jan-12 17:02:39

Oh yes, fibre to our flat for t'interwebs, healthcare was great, and has hands down the best steak I've ever eaten on 4 continents (I'm told it's even better in Alberta)

but something wasn't right for us, I can't put my finger on why though. I can see that for many people it would be heaven.

wannaBe Mon 23-Jan-12 17:08:01

IMO you need to want to emigrate because you want to live there, not because you don't want to live here.

Every country has issues, so what you might have here you won't abroad and vice versa. And there is no country without crime/teenage kids hanging out on the streets, unless you want to go and live out in the middle of nowhere (and believe me in a country like Canada the middle of nowhere is much more remote than here).

What you also need to think about is your own children and their relationship with their extended family, and how a move abroad will change that. Yes there is skype now and that does make things easier, but in truth you don't really realize what the impact is until you are older and can think it through.

I grew up abroad and while it was exciting to talk to grandparents and aunts etc on the phone, telephone communication just isn't the same as face to face, and when we returned to the UK I found that in fact I had nothing in common with any of my extended family and in truth they meant fvery little to me and neither did I to them - that relationship just isn't there, but I didn't really realize it until I had dc of my own.

And while it's easy to sit here and say that you can always fly home, the reality is that the thought is far easier than the reality - ok so it's a nine hour or so flight back, but at the cost of probably a couple of grand a time (for all of you) that is something that you may well find you can't necessarily afford on a regular basis, and family may either not want to or be able to afford to come and visit you.

And don't rely on companies saying they have a job - if it was that simple people would be going there in their droves - it really isn't that easy.

My neighbours emigrated to Canada and it took four years for the visas to come through, and he was on the list of desired occupations, so don't kid yourself that you'll be ready to go in eighteen months or so - things will proceed according to their timings, not yours.

I would go and live abroad again tomorrow, but it wouldn't be because I want to get out of here, it would be because I wanted to experience new places etc.

If you're desperate to get out of London then get out of London. There is far more to the UK than London, and moving to another big city isn't going to change anything apart from on an emotional level..

lottiegb Mon 23-Jan-12 17:09:03

I don't understand your idea that London is the only city in the UK either. Are your jobs so specialised that they can only be done in London? Really? Not Bristol, Exeter, Nottingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Cardiff or Edinburgh? You can find lovely communities, schools and teenagers all over the place if that's what you want.

On Canada, my parents came here from there (London was considered quite excting in the 60s. They then settled in a lovely northern town), I've visited many times and my younger half-siblings grew up there.

Some scattered thoughts:

Teenagers can be crap everywhere. I once travelled by bus from Vancouver to Ottawa and everywhere, especially the small places with the most intriguing names (Medicine Hat, Moose Jaw) the one consistent feature was the 'bored bus stop kids' just hanging about, exactly as they do in every town and village in the UK.

My own observation has always been that Canadian kids are very self-confident and talk in a very equal way to adults, though, especially when a (reserved British) teenager myself, I've sometimes wondered what it is that they have to be so self-confident about - healthy self-esteem perhaps bordering on bumptious entitlement.

There is a more egalitarian, meritocratic, pragmatic society there. Less of the tradition, red-tape and class-based 'who you know' networks that still affect some fields of work and life here.

Society generally is also more right-wing, economically if not always socially, taking what we'd see as Tory ideas about free markets, enterprise and self-reliance completely for granted so that everything is very commercial, and viewing what we'd see as mainstream left of centre as raging socialism. It's a lovely place to be if you're well-off but you wouldn't want to have to fall back on state support in any way.

Schools and health provision are generally very good though and hardly anyone goes to private schools, which contributes to making the state schools good and, as people just seem to go to the nearest one, much more dependent on their neighbourhood for general standards. Secondary education is more broad-based, less specialised, so the school-leaving standard is lower, university takes longer and you have to pay for it, though that's no longer a difference.

There is an odd cultural mix between brash, commercial, uber-confident American and repressive Scottish protestant (early eastern settlers), so that films on TV can have endless violence but no nudity and alcohol can only be bought from government-run liquor stores and was wrapped in anonymous brown paper bags until about 15 years ago.

I once asked my brother whether he'd ever regretted or even thought about growing up there rather than here. He looked quite horrified and said no and why would he since he was able to grow up skiing (including at school, like swimming lessons) and spending summer weekends at people’s lakeside cottages, as if wanting to be in the UK was the most ridiculous idea ever.

Think about how you'll cope with long winters at -10 to -20, followed by a long, muddy, grotty thaw. Toronto isn't the coldest place, but will be gloomy and cold in winter.

How's your French? If you work in the public sector you will have to undertake to improve it and, above a certain level, will have to be able to work in both official languages.

The eastern side is only seven hours or so from here and there is a low cost airline with rtn flights for approx £500 rather than £750 on AC or BA. So, if you have the money, you can get back in an emergency.

The things I always notice on coming back to the UK are (in summer) how green it is compared to their wilted foliage but with so little urban green-space and how much dog shit there is everywhere – Canadians have picked up consciencously for years.

I'd agree with trying it for a year, there's so much you won't know until you get there.

wannaBe Mon 23-Jan-12 17:19:48

tbh I think the answer to why it has to be London probably comes down to money. I'm guessing but of course could be wrong, that the op's dh probably works in either IT/law/the financial sector, in which case the salaries that are commanded in London are much, much higher than anywhere else in the UK.

But you don't have to live in the centre of London to work there - we've recently moved to what my sat nav describes as greater London (bromley area) and although it isn't cheap it's a nice area and isn't the hustle and bustle of mainstream London.

lottiegb Mon 23-Jan-12 17:32:11

I think you're proabbly right wannaBe but I also know people who work in law, IT and accountancy and have chosen to live well outside the south east because they value the quality of life available, housing is cheaper to the extent that, in many ways, they can live as well but without the commute, they aren't surrounded by people who spend money like water so feeling any need to keep up, thus feeling their life over-all is better than if they were making a much bigger salary in London. I think that's a lifestyle choice.

CanadaCalls Mon 23-Jan-12 21:35:30

How did I know it wouldn't be long before the word 'racist' came into it fregley!!

RACISM has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with it am I'm amazed that somehow you've been able to extract something from my OP and turn it into a "racist' view.

Sort it out

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 23-Jan-12 21:38:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lottiegb Mon 23-Jan-12 21:41:56

Actually trying to answer your question OP, on homesickness and family, well... I think it was significant that my maternal grandmother was a tyrant whose rare visits here were difficult and my mother was quite happy to put some distance between herself and her parents for a few years at least. They didn't really mean to stay here for more than a few years though, it just worked out that way.

Similarly when my Dad went back with his second, English, wife they didn't mean to be there for more than ten years, almost thirty years ago. She is close to her family and very good at phoning, visits once a year and has recently been through the decline of elderly parents phase, which meant at least four visits in a year for illness, funeral, relocation to a home and house sale.

So I suppose my answer is, skype, e-mail etc are great but, to see people regularly, either by flying them to you or visiting here, money really helps, as does willingness to allocate a chunk of each year's holiday for the purpose.

n.b. holiday allocation in Canada is really poor, people start on two weeks and might make it to five by the end of a successful career.

lottiegb Mon 23-Jan-12 21:43:20

No, paternal GM, not that it's important!

CanadaCalls Mon 23-Jan-12 21:49:39

Because Stewie its what happens, mention a way of speech and people jump on the band wagon and start pointing fingers and assuming.....Fregley has proved my point. Anyway, I'm not getting into it as its a ridiculous accusation and one which i'm not prepared to spend any more time on.

Speaking with DP tonight, he has corrected me, its Alberta he was looking into. I really appreciate all your comments and insights, DP will sit down and have a read of it all when he has a moment.

There is a hell of a lot to think about and a lot more research to be done. As I said, we aren't looking to go anytime soon, for exactly the reasons you have all put forward, there's a lot to be done and thought about before anything is set in stone.

Its not just that we want to get out of London, there are probably a million and one other nice part of the UK that we haven't even given a thought to, we would just like to live overseas and enjo the experience, if it works for us and we're all happy, then we wont have any regrets.

I dont think there is anything wrong with wanting a better life for your family, be it abroad or at home.

Thank you so much to everybody who has contributed to the thread, you've all been an enormous help grin

momnipotent Mon 23-Jan-12 22:08:26

[Am in Canada]

Where in Alberta? I would do Calgary in a heartbeat but I would think twice about Edmonton (I used to live there). Alberta is very 'red-necky' in general. And they hate people from Ontario I found out!

If you're looking for other people's perspectives, I would consult the forums at www.britishexpats.com. Not just the Moving to Canada section, but the Moving Back to the UK section also.

We considered moving back to the UK last year but for various reasons it wasn't practical. If it was just DH and I we'd go in a heartbeat.

I find it very difficult to 'fit in' here and it has never felt like home to me. We haven't been back to the UK for 12 years because we can't afford the flights. The paternal grandparents come and see us about once every 2 years, my kids have never met their cousins.

Holiday allocation here is 2 weeks. That is to include Christmas, etc, so throughout the entire year you can have 2 weeks off. If you are heading to the UK that more or less takes your entire vacation allowance for the year. It takes 5 years before you make it up to 3 weeks! This doesn't sound like a big deal but it grinds you down, you work work work work work and there is just no break to it.

School holidays also suck I think! School goes September to June, 2 weeks off at Christmas, 1 week off in March, then about 10 weeks off in the summer. The breaks during the school year are too short and the break in the summer is too long! There are no options regarding what school you go to - you go to the school whose catchment area you are in.

It isn't cheap to live here at all. And there are not a lot of jobs around. The health care system is free but not very efficient. You can easily wait months for a specialist appointment. My DD was on a waiting list for speech therapy for 18 months and during that wait we paid for private therapy. Same for DS needing OT and an ed psych assessment - it was a 4 YEAR wait to do it through the school so we paid privately for that also.

Seriously, read the expat forums and especially the posts from the people that want to move back. And really THINK about what they're saying.

momnipotent Mon 23-Jan-12 22:10:00

Oh and whoever said it is familiar but slightly wrong is dead on. I think you (general you, not you specifically) expect it to be the same because everyone speaks English but it isn't the same. At all.

Thumbwitch Mon 23-Jan-12 22:21:41

That's the same in Australia as well, momni and pickle. It's even worse here (possibly) because we drive on the LHS of the road, same as the UK - so you could occasionally forget you are in a different country. But the people, the attitudes, the way things work are all subtly different and it can be hard to get to grips with it. I have been incredibly lucky, considering I am not in an Australian city - nearly all the friends I have here have a strong connection to the UK, either family or working there themselves. So they are less "strangery" than some of the others, iyswim - they know more about the UK culture and are more open to differences.

Imperfectionist Mon 23-Jan-12 22:46:27

Why not view it as a gap year (or gap-two-years) or something, rather than emigrating. At least initially - many people go to work abroad for a fixed period and end up settling. But there is less pressure on you now to make a big decision. When your child is a baby, and you don't seem to be tied to a career as well as your DH, it's a good time to go.

But to be honest, emigrating has got to be REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY worth it for expats to be happy away from their home country. And yes, the UK always will be home to you (but not your son). Also, once you go abroad, your family relationships will inevitably deteriorate. You can spend a lot of money and time and energy fighting that deterioration, but you will never be as close as you were when you lived in the UK. Think about the implications of that for your son.

And finally, as an expat who has lived all over and has friends who have emigrated to Oz and the like - the golden rule is that when you're mulling this over with friends and family, and they vow to visit you, do not believe them. Once you're further away than Europe only one in every ten promised visits usually materialises, especially in a recession.

Good luck!

roary Tue 24-Jan-12 03:17:52

Alberta is great. I am from Alberta and just to clarify some of the points that have come up so far:

1. I disagree about the social safety net - it is very similar to that provided in the UK, with some parts better and some parts worse (ie, fab education, but no NHS-subsidized prescription medicine). Like many things it is swings and roundabouts.
2. In Canada health and education provision vary by province, so you have to know where you are going to live to do a comparison.
3. Alberta's school system is routinely ranked in the top three of OECD countries. In Edmonton, it is an open boundary system so you can go to any school you want (no catchments). THere are effectively no private schools (some religious ones) as the state system is so strong.

Periodically when I visit my family in Alberta I have massive moving home fantasies. I think Edmonton is actually a lovely city, with great cultural opportunities (NOrth America's largest fringe festival, for example), huge parks, cross country skiing and skating in the winter...in the long summer school holidays there are free rec programs put on for kids at local parks and amazing daycamps (paid but cheap) run by the city throughout the river valley where kids can learn outdoor skills, mountain bike, do drama camp, all sorts of things. Excellent health care.

Vacation provision varies massively by job, so you'd have to look in to that. Most white-collar employers provide excellent supplemental health insurance, which will cover prescriptions, dental, glasses etc.

Winter is cold and long but tends to be sunny. SNow is more fun than rain and Canadians do tend to have better facilities for outdoor play on dark days - there are lots of lit skating rinks, or floodlit skiing trails or toboganning hills. Easier to be outside in many ways than SE England where everything is completely dark at 4 and nothing outdoors to do - but then it is not -30!

I am trying to give a positive view but there WILL be culture shock, it is inevitable. I have found the UK very different from Canada but have enjoyed living in both places, and would live in either place. At the moment, with two young DCs, the quality of free education would sway me completely. I also really don't think that the school leaving quality in the UK is better. I'd say it's quite a lot worse than Alberta/BC and a bit worse than Ontario (and I say this as someone who has taught in universities in both countries). Of course this depends on the school a bit.

Definitely go for a visit in winter if you can - summer is lovely, lovely, lovely but it is shorter than winter! Alberta only has three frost free months a year.

nooka Tue 24-Jan-12 04:24:45

I wouldn't move to Toronto personally, we didn't like it very much when we visited and having moved from one big city to another (we did London to New York before moving to Canada) I don't think that it's different enough to justify the huge cost and upheaval of moving. Essentially life in one big city is pretty much like life in another, and the traffic around Toronto is really not much different to the M25. Plus I think you can get more homesick over subtle difference than big ones.

Calgary on the other hand is really quite a small city, and it's only two hours away from the Rockies, which are fantastic. I think that life there would be quite different. Plus Alberta is the boom province right now, so jobs are more likely. Please do bear in mind though that it is not unusual for Canadians to tell you that something is quite possible but then find in practice it isn't at all - they are an optimistic lot grin so don't take that 'no problem' totally at face value, although if someone does want your dh then that's fantastic obviously (get them to pay for your move and your start in Canada will be a great deal easier)

Otherwise I think lotteigb has really said much of what I would say, and I agree losing holiday entitlement is a really bummer. The only mitigating factor where I live is that I can get away every weekend in the summer, as you only have to drive for half an hour or so to get to a beautiful lake in the wilderness. Or in the winter 45 mins to gte onto a ski mountain, and driving here really is a pleasure.

nooka Tue 24-Jan-12 04:30:00

roary we are in BC and the education is one of the main reasons for us to stay (apart from the privileged of living in beautiful British Columbia that is smile) the fact that no one here worries about the school their child is about to go to is just so nice - my dd and ds are at the top of elementary and it's just not something people really even talk about, virtually all the children I know go to their local catchment school and whilst people have their niggles it really isn't a source of angst at all. Where I lived in London it was a very different matter.

ggirl Tue 24-Jan-12 09:27:57

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

as a parent of a teen I find this quite an insulting statement.

I grew up in Canada , have canadian citizenship and my family all live there. I never get why people want to emigrate there.Bores the pants off me when I go back.

CanadaCalls Tue 24-Jan-12 09:30:19

ggirl

I'm sorry you find it insulting, as I said I don't mean every brit teen is of the same disposition, just the majority, there's no denying it i'm afraid.

CanadaCalls Tue 24-Jan-12 09:32:46

roary

Thanks for the insight, a lot of the info has been on the down side so its nice to hear some positives. Not that I dismiss the inevitable truth that it will be hard, it's just nice to know that some people do actually see the possible move a positive thing.

I have taken all thats been said on board and I really appreciate everybody's help smile

ivykaty44 Tue 24-Jan-12 09:41:30

If you are the type of person that thinks a country is going down the pan - then possibly think about the type of person that is needed in the country to stop it going down the pan. If you are not the type of person to stop it going down the pan...then best move somewhere else.

As for your problem of being homesick - what exactly are you going to be homesick for? As you said the country is awful.

You make the life you want to if you come on to a forum and insult a countries inhabitants then you are likely to be given negative comments.

I adore Canada, well the west coast, it is one country I could see myself living a good life and feel at home. There are still problems within the country it is just their problems are different from USA and UK

ggirl Tue 24-Jan-12 09:42:42

well I know loads of young people and none of them are as you describe , so I disagree that it is the majority

CanadaCalls Tue 24-Jan-12 09:49:20

ivykaty

The problem is, the people that want to make a change are becoming increasingly very few and far between.

I am British and I'm not passing judgement on anybody's country other than my own.

This is my country and I am every bit entitled to have an opinion on it be it good or bad.

And being homesick? I had my family in mind, not Britain itself.

CanadaCalls Tue 24-Jan-12 10:01:44

ggirl

Lucky you, must just be me thats surrounded by all the idiots then hmm

QuintessentiallyShallow Tue 24-Jan-12 10:04:05

How you can just pick a random country and a random town out of a random hat and chose to live there without ever having visited the place is beyond me.

Foreign grass is not necessarily greener you know. You do sound very naive.

Toddlers coming from nursery and saying "dat" rather than "that"? You think this is a reason to leave Britain? You have a baby yourself, so will not necessarily be aware of the way children learn to speak. And some children DO have problems blending sounds and making the TH sound when they are little. They are not all going to grow up not speaking properly! You should have listened to my little bilingual son talking about grandmas "led house" when he was 3, does not mean he will grow up to believe houses are made from led, and never manage the "R" sound!

The problem with moving abroad is very often that you think from the perspective of what you know, and what you are used to. As do the people who live in your new destination. Neither knows how different it is in the other place, so cant advice. Taxes for example, can be a minefield for foreign workers. Do seek proper advice and dont rely on "chit chat" and do get advice from the proper authorities, as other expats may not know any better than you.

CanadaCalls Tue 24-Jan-12 10:11:01

quintessentiallyshallow

So what do you suggest we do? Visit every province, state, city, town and village across the world and THEN decide where we would like to live??? How does anybody decide where they want to go?! Research, not actual visits, not at least until they are seriously considering the place anyway.

With regards to the speech Imentioned, of course I never meant the usual speech of a child while theyare learning different sounds and how to pronounce them. I'm talking the kind of speech that is now used on the streets, that every child / teen seems to be using now.

Naive? Think not. Realist? Think so

I'd love to know where you all buy your blinkers from, maybe thats where I'm going wrong hmm

ggirl Tue 24-Jan-12 10:13:31

Where in Canada have you visited and liked?

marshmallowpies Tue 24-Jan-12 10:28:00

I went to Newfoundland last summer, a place I had dreamed of going for years, and it's only 5 hours away from the UK, so the further east you are, distance is not quite such a barrier as you might imagine. Lots of Irish expats there who hop back and forth from Ireland to Newfie regularly.

St Johns in Newfie is also surprisingly cosmopolitan partly I think because it's got a university, so there is a thriving student population, and partly because of being only 5 hours from Europe - makes it an ideal central location for conferences and events which both European and US travellers can reach easily.

However it IS still pretty much middle of nowhere and I'd dread to think what the winters are like...very foggy and windy in July. Also I imagine it's not an easy place to find work.

I also went to Toronto very briefly and loved it as a city to visit but it IS still a city like London or New York or wherever. The outskirts of Toronto when you travel from the airport are some of the grimmest looking suburbs I've ever been through - that in itself was a culture shock as I'd bought into the image of Canada as 'like the UK only bigger, cleaner, greener'.

CanadaCalls Tue 24-Jan-12 10:33:14

As i've said in an earlier post, we are only at the begining of considering this as an option ggirl so no we haven't visited anywhere. When we are more decided that this is what we want to do, then the visits will start.

momnipotent Tue 24-Jan-12 10:35:55

Wouldn't it be a better use of your time to visit before you do any investigating and research? You might step off the plane and hate it!

Although, to be fair, when my parents dragged us here they did it on the basis of photos our neighbours brought back from a visit and my Dad securing a job. They had never set foot outside of the UK until we flew here the day we moved.

Cinders22 Tue 24-Jan-12 10:46:44

We have some close family friends who have emigrated to Canada last July and they absolutely love it. They went because they liked the country, they wanted the outdoors lifestyle and choices for their children which for them was better than the UK. They have moved to Vancouver and live about 45 minutes out of Vancouver itself which they travel to by train for work. They are currently renting as despite having visited several times, they did not want to commit to an area and get a feel what areas were like to live in which I think is a great idea.

I have to say we are having the same dilemma as you, my DH would go tomorrow but it is me worrying about missing my family. They do not live close to us at the moment so I do not see them that regularly but I do still fear being a plane journey away.

Have you been to any of the emigrate events? My DH has and brought back some very useful literature. For our friends they were recommended to apply and get their visas as this does take a little while so I would suggest you do this and then decide for definite when you have all your paperwork in progress/ready.

QuintessentiallyShallow Tue 24-Jan-12 11:06:01

What is it about Toronto that you cant find elsewhere?

Is it the great outdoors?

Norway and Sweden has great outdoors, Finland too! And closer to Britain if you want to visit family.

Will you be able to get a mortgage and buy a house on a temporary work visa? Will you get a full visa straight away?

Why do all the research if you find that you absolutely dont like the place when you see it?

Have you considered what it takes to uproot your uk connections, pay for an overseas move, and start again from scratch elsewhere? It is an enormous upheaval.

I think your attitude is pretty insulting, you know, talking about all our "blinkers" just because we dont all shout "oh, clever you what a great idea".

CanadaCalls Tue 24-Jan-12 11:21:20

cinders22 Hi smile

We are hoping to go to an emigrate event as we both need more info, need to weigh up pro's and cons before we can set our mind to it.

I have family in Toronto ( they have lived there for over 30 years now) and they are always asking us to 'pop' over for a visit. Thing is, a holiday is a lot different to actually living there. Once all the excitement dies down and normal life goes on, I think thats when the loneliness sets in.

It is a big sacrifice leaving family behind, I just keep telling myself that its for a better life for my DS, I have to put my issues to one side and learn how to cope with them (skype, telephone etc) and put him first. It is still really hard though.

quintessentiallyshallow

I find your attitude quite patronising. I started this thread to get information and views, from all angles. Not to be told that I'm naive and insulting, who are you to judge me on my decision? As I said over and over, we've only just started thinking about the idea so No, I haven't got a wealth of knowledge about area's etc but that all comes after. I didn't mean apply for visa's, jobs etc, then visit and decide we didnt want to go, I meant decide that we want to go then start putting the wheels in motion. As you said, whats the point in wasting time and money if we decide we don't want to go to Canada, or in fact any country?.

We are in no rush so are willing to take our time and do things properly.

wannaBe Tue 24-Jan-12 11:53:03

the problem though op is that you are only open to the positive views not the negative ones.

It seems abundantly clear from your op and subsequent posts that you thought you'd come on here, slag off Britain and its inhabitants (of which you are one, might I remind you), say that there's a better life out there and a host of people would come on and say "oh yes, Britain is a shit hole and all British teenagers are horrible, do escape now to another country where life is beautiful all the time.."

It's not like that.

The majority of teenagers are not delinquants in Britain.

And Canada's teenagers are no different to British ones. Why would they be?

There is crime everywhere.

Rough areas everywhere.

Houses are expensive everywhere (the days of being able to move to another country because the cost of living is so much cheaper are long gone).

Family and friends are thousands of miles (and for that matter thousands of £s) away and the promises of visits rarely materialize for the simple reason that people either A can't afford it and B have more exciting places to go.

There are pros and cons to living in every country, and wherever you live there will be things you don't like, and wherever you move to you will have to sacrifice things you like about the place you have moved from.

Nothing wrong with wanting to emigrate. But you have to do so with your eyes open to the fact that it's not going to be a picnic in the park and that you may in fact hate it. And that if you think that you won't find sullen teenagers in Canada or social problems you are being very naive.

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

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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

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.

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)

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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 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.

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.

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.

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!

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!

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.

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.

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!!!

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 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.

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