Moving To Canada

Moving to Canada from Australia can be an exciting life change. If you are relocating to Canada and are interested in finding out more information on how to move to Canada from Australia, you have come to the right place.

Moving to Canada temporarily or permanently

Australian citizens can visit Canada without needing to apply for a visa. However, if you intend on staying in the country for longer than six months, you will need to apply for a visa.

Are you planning on working in Canada? Then you will need to apply for a Canadian working visa. How about studying there? Then the visa you should apply for is a student one. For all visa details, it is best to visit the Canadian Government website and seek out their advice. They have an eligibility form you can fill out to know the exact visa for you and your situation.

For anyone interested in making Canada your new permanent home, you might want to look at becoming a Canadian citizen. To be eligible you must:

  • Have held a Canadian permanent residency for at least two years
  • Have spent at least three of the previous four years living in Canada
  • Be 18+
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Speak English and or French fluently
  • Pass the Canadian citizenship test, which covers Canadian history and culture

Tips on moving to Canada

There is a lot to learn about moving to Canada and many things to plan, here are a few vital points we think should be on the top of your list when considering the move:

  • Request removal quotes: Whether you are looking to save money on moving to Canada or you just want someone to look after everything for you, requesting removal quotes is a great place to begin. You can save a ton of money on your move to Canada by just seeing what is out there.
  • Choosing the right removalist: Once you have received moving quotes, what do you do with them exactly? You may want some guidance on which company to work with, check out our top 10 Australian international removalists.
  • Moving and shipping costs: After choosing a removalist, you may want to understand what other costs are associated with moving overseas and shipping your belongings. Give our shipping costs page and or our international moving costs article a read.

Moving to Canada

Canadian taxes

When living in Canada, you are required to complete an annual income tax return as tax is not automatically deducted from your salary. In other words, you will most likely receive a bill rather than a return when you move to Canada.

It is important to know that each territory has its own tax threshold, and as such the tax rate can and may vary slightly depending on where you move to in Canada. In addition, there are taxable benefits you should be aware of, such as employment insurance, federal tax and the Canadian pension plan. If your employer correctly deducts these taxes from your payslip, then it should reduce your yearly income tax bill.

Other taxes you should be aware of when moving to Canada are:

  • Public services tax (for all home owners to help pay for schools and roads)
  • Sales tax (charged on food and clothing)
  • Alcohol tax


The decision to rent or buy purely depends on whether you know your move to Canada from Australia is permanent or to be decided. It also depends on whether you are moving for work in a city or relocating with your family.

Non-Canadian citizens are eligible to buy a home in Canada; however you need to first check with the bank and or potential mortgage lender what conditions you need to meet.

Rental agreements are usually initially for a year. If you are relocating to Canada and want to live in the city, this is the best option to look for.

Banking in Canada

There are several domestic Canadian banks to choose from, all of which offer an array of services, from everyday transactions and savings accounts to mortgages and credit cards. With choice, comes competition, as such it pays to shop around. Banks will want to ‘get one up’ on their competitors through incentives and the waiving of fees.

Speaking of fees, Canadian banks like to charge an array of different fees. They range from transaction fees every time you use your card and cash withdrawal fees, to monthly account fees. Ensure you understand your bank of choice’s fees and how to avoid paying them.

To open a Canadian bank account, you will need to bring your social insurance card plus additional identification, such as your passport. If you are on a temporary non-residency visa, you will also need a letter of financial reference from your bank in Australia.

If you are moving to Canada from Australia but do not know if you can or will stay permanently, you can keep your Australian accounts open for a short duration and transfer your money to Canada when you are ready. Check out our international moving costs guide.

Moving to Canada

Cost of living in Canada

The cost of living will always vary depending on where you move to in Canada, and where you lived in Australia before. If you would like a specific city to city comparison, use Budget Directs living costs comparison guide.

Healthcare and the Canadian insurance

The Canadian public-funded healthcare system is available to anyone with a permanent residency, which covers far more medical treatments than Medicare does in Australia. However, if you are on a temporary visa, you will need to take out private healthcare to cover you and your family whilst in Canada.

The public healthcare system is excellent. You can expect a similar level in the quality of treatment and medical provisions as you would in Australia but wait times can be a little longer than you are used to.

Note that it can take up to three months to process your application for public health insurance, so if you are moving to Canada, sign up as soon as you can. For the interim, ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance for the first few weeks.

For a health insurance card, you can apply online, as well as at the Régie, local pharmacies and at the doctors.

For any Australian citizens moving to Canada, here are some important facts that might be worth knowing, if you didn’t already, before you move.

Capital cityOttawa
CurrencyCanadian Dollar (CAD)
Drive onRight
Time zonesPST, MST, CST, EST, AST, NST
International dialling code+1
Emergency number991
Internet and .com
LanguagesEnglish & French

Canadian vs Australian cities

Moving to Canada - Toronto

As you can expect the climate in Canada definitely differs form that in Australia, however there are some surprising similarities between popular cities of each country.

Toronto vs Sydney

Toronto and Sydney are both internationally buzzing cosmopolitan cities. They are filled with large expat communities, strong and thriving financial districts, as well as cool restaurants, bars and clubs. If you are a Sydney local, or you have always wanted to live in a big bustling city, with an ultra-modern skyline against Lake Ontario, Toronto is the city for you.

Vancouver vs Perth

Vancouver is located near the ocean, the cities coastline has amazing views and great beaches. The city is known for its natural beauty, where people gain a great appreciation for the outdoors. For those of you who like to hike trails, play sports and one day take up skiing, Vancouver is for you.

Calgary vs Adelaide

Adelaide and Calgary both share the perfect mix of a city and country feel. They are surrounded by vast and beautiful countryside’s that you can explore on the weekends. Calgary is an affluent city with skyscrapers, but also a strong rodeo culture. If you are looking for a city that has that country feel to it, head to Calgary.

Montréal vs Melbourne

Montréal is known for its jazz and Latin music festivals, with a lively art and a strong foodie scene. The city is famous for its French culture, which you can see has influenced everything from the architecture to the food markets. If you are looking for a city with a great night life and cultured feel, this is the city for you, you will not be bored!

Canadian Education System

In Canada, the state education system is internationally recognised and of high quality. There are many similarities between Australia and Canada’s approaches to learning and depending on where you are located there may be differences to structure and curriculum.

It is important to note that the school calendar in Canada runs from September to June. In addition, Canada also has both English and French speaking schools. It may be a great learning experience for your children if they only speak one language.

Working in Canada

Whether you were recruited from Australia or need to find a job after you move to Canada from Australia, language is an important factor to consider. Canada has two official languages: English and French, with French being the most commonly spoken language in Quebec and some parts of Ontario.

Depending on where you will move to in Canada and the type of job you are looking for, you may need to consider learning French or brushing up on your language skills. Some companies offer language classes and there are government run initiatives for expats. Additionally, if you have children who will be attending Canadian schools, you can learn together.

If you are looking for work in Canada but do not know where to begin, here is a list of some of the best employment websites:

What’s next?

After reading this far you must be interested in moving to Canada! Hopefully we’ve made moving to Canada a little easier to navigate with any stage of the moving process you are at. Looking for more information on moving to Canada? Moving2Canada offers a wealth of free, impartial information and regular email updates for people planning a move to Canada and recent arrivals wishing to stay long-term.

There is a long list of factors to consider when moving abroad, but nothing that Sirelo can’t help you with.  Best of luck with your move to Canada!