I recall when my husband and I made the decision to immigrate to Canada, even though we hardly knew anything about the country. We knew there was likely more work opportunities, and certainly safety, but it’s a massive country, so how does one decide exactly where to go? Some people may be moving over on work or student visas, which will dictate this for you, but many others, like us, received Permanent Residency upfront and could go anywhere in Canada.
With unique circumstances of an accelerated timeline to move (that would be a good story to share one day), we really didn’t have the finances or time to vacation to Canada and check things out. We were fortunate to have my childhood best friend living in Canada to help us out with many of our questions, but not everyone has that blessing. What do you do? Do you get onto social media chat groups? Do you rely on google searches or consultants? If you didn’t already know, there is no perfect answer. Much like parenting, we can do all the “things” to prepare ourselves for the changes and new phase of life, but nothing fully prepares you and there are always surprises. But don’t fear, there is some comfort when you have tried your best to research your country and let go of what is out of your control.
For a country like Canada, one province is not the same as another. I’m not just talking about geographical location and weather of course, but population, politics, language, public services, and the list goes on. So, let’s talk research. You could go to a statistics website like statista.com to find out the number of immigrants arriving in Canada by province or territory. I went to look at the numbers for 2022 and created this graph to give you a visual reference:
Maybe you think that is enough evidence that Ontario must be the best province to go to, or maybe you notice that British Columbia is listed as second, and you’ve heard they have a better climate, so you go there instead. I don’t want to naysay an adventurous risktaker, but for a costly process at minimum, most people would not take that gamble. It is not to say that information like this is not helpful, it does give one a general idea of a few helpful question marks. If like us, you really knew barely anything aside from having heard of three of the largest cities names of Canada, every bit of information helps. This data will help you determine that those lower ranking provinces either do not have as much opportunity for new immigrants or any other number of possible factors. Or who knows, depending on your line of work and your desires, you may want to go to a place that you now suspect is maybe less populated. What we do know, is that we do not know exactly why Ontario is the province that attracts the most immigrants.
Some people have been known to do internet searches on immigration consulting websites or hire an immigration consultant. That could be very helpful, or not so much. This is not my place to speak negatively about any specific company, so I will give general opinions of things I’ve read on more than one website. A website could make the broad statement that Ontario is most popular because of work opportunities, but firstly, is that your only or main concern? Next, ask yourself what type of work opportunities are available. Certain industries have more popularity in certain provinces, cities, and towns in comparison to others, naturally. One of the most obvious exercises you can do is to search several different job sites to see what is available where.
Other possibilities for popularity besides the most obvious being work opportunities, could be the multiethnicity of a place, their healthcare, education, weather, taxes, or even public transportation. On this last one, I once saw an immigration consulting website mention three reasons why British Columbia is popular with immigrants – weather, healthcare, and public transportation. Now if I hadn’t known any better, I may have moved to northern parts of British Columbia and had the shock of my life in terms of weather. Then don’t quote me on this, but I have my doubts that BC is known for the best healthcare in Canada and lastly, even I was caught out on public transportation. I was silly enough to assume that the city I moved to in BC had impressive public transport and I hate to tell you, it doesn’t.
When it comes to agents, it breaks my heart how often people have their lives turned upside down because of bad agents. Just recently another lovely family I met who had already moved to Canada, had to start their process from scratch on their own because their agent let them down, not to mention the small fortune they wasted in the process. This particular agent came from the same country as they did originally and had been living in Canada for twenty years, they truly believed they were in good hands. There are sadly a lot of scammers out there and they may tell you everything you want to hear about the province they are trying to get you into.
I could chat on this topic for days, but I’ll end off by saying that one ideally need to throw a wide net in terms of research and then do comparisons on the information. Numerous solid references are ideal if you can find them independently from the website. In an upcoming post, I’ll talk more about research on social media chat groups.