Pros and Cons

Canada: so similar, and so different

The USA fought a revolutionary war to gain independence from Britain. Canada talked the British into granting us independence. And thus you, as a prospective citizen of Canada now have your first lesson in why we Canadians are the way we are, and whether your life would be more fulfilling being one of us.

Let’s work through some of the endearing parts of becoming Canadian, and the flip sides that take getting used to. There is more than merely civilization, as Americans know it, north of the border.

Attribute Pros Cons
Housing A Canadian home, and everything in it, is pretty much the same as an American home in the northern states. Except better insulated against both cold and heat. Housing can be more expensive in Canada. Vancouver and Toronto are about on a par with cities like New York and San Francisco.
Weather Much like New England, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, or the other northern states. Fall in eastern Canada is magnificent. Winters are long, cold and dark. Summer can be as hot as Florida. British Columbia is as wet as Washington State.
Professions For accountants, lawyers, doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists and similar regulated professions, doing business is almost exactly the same. Your professional credentials need to be assessed. The professions will require re-certification, though likely not much re-training or re-qualification.
Trades The tools and techniques of the trades are virtually the same in Canada as in the USA. There is a shortage of many skilled trades in parts of Canada. Wages and benefits are excellent. Certifications are normally done by the provinces. You will need to be re-examined and licensed by a provincial or territorial authority. It will take a little time, and ought to ensure that your expertise is up-to-date. If you have the Red Seal certification, you can work in any province.
Businesses Setting up, running and managing a business is almost the same in both Canada and the USA. Selling into the USA is easy through NAFTA. Canadian buyers behave differently than Americans. Canadian domestic markets are smaller, though the Canadian market is really the North American market.
Education The Province of Ontario offers the best (according to the OECD) primary and secondary education system in the world. Schools are well-funded, modern, clean and safe. Residents of all Canadian provinces have free access to the school system. Relative to the United States, there really are few, if any, cons or drawbacks. School systems in the other Canadian provinces are also excellent.
 Health Care Medical care is funded through the tax system. After a three-month waiting period, you are eligible for health care insurance in the province you live in. Find a doctor of your choice and get treatment.  Some types of treatment, such as vision and dental care, cosmetic surgery and other elective procedures are not covered. Most companies offer employees third-party supplemental insurance.
 Taxes On balance, you should come out slightly better on Canadian business taxes, and about the same on personal taxes. Taxation in Canada pays for some things that you pay for after-tax in America. Utilities are generally less expensive. The provinces vary in their tax treatment. Sales taxes are a little higher and more visible. Income taxes are a bit lower in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia than in the USA.
 Safety  Canadian communities are among the safest in the world. Urban neighbourhoods in particular are fully-integrated. Folks get along with one another.  As in nearly all of the rest of the world, there is no equivalent of the U.S. attitude toward ownership of firearms. As a rule, Canadians do not carry or own firearms.