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Old 01-19-2014, 12:41 PM
 
145 posts, read 279,774 times
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Just a little background, my wife and I are looking to move away from the current area we live in; not restart completely, but offer our family different experiences from what we grew up with. The company I work for has locations all over the US and in most major cities in Canada so we can pretty much choose to go wherever we want to go. I have been to Canada twice before when I was about 10 to 15 years younger for vacations and loved what I experienced. So basically we have decided to explore the idea of expatriation and look into life in Canada a little bit more.

I have been reading blogs, news articles, talked to friends, etc. to do some initial research, but thought I would ask those who live the life daily. I know that some of this information is available via statistics, but I am more interested in your thoughts on these issues rather than stats.

What are some of the less commonly known differences between our two cultures?
How is the cost of living? Adjusting for the currency exchange difference does $1100 Canadian have similar buying power in Canada as $1000 US has in the US?
How are the schools? How is the special needs education? What about college?
If you had a solidly middle class income say $85,000 CA, and could live anywhere which province would you choose, what cities?
What are politics like? Are they as divisive as in the US?


I am sorry if this has been asked before, but I didn't see it listed in the first 6 or so pages.
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Old 01-19-2014, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Calgary, AB
681 posts, read 1,329,340 times
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Canada is obviously a huge country with extreme differences in cost/quality of living, attitudes and climate.
I would have to generalize to answer the majority of your questions, so the answers will likely have little value.

In general, the cultures are very similar, but Canadians are less patriotic and maybe a bit more world-wise/travelled. Politics vary from province to province.... but I think in general is much less of a focus here than it is in the US. College (which is referred to as University in Canada) is *typically* less expensive than the US for Canadian citizens... not sure if your children would be classified as "international" students, in which case there would be a hefty surcharge.

Typically Canada is more expensive in terms of housing, food and other consumer goods. eg. the AVERAGE house price in Calgary was $517,887 for 2013. A 2 bedroom apartment will cost on average $1224/month to rent. As you can imagine, 85K won't go very far in Calgary and this picture is worse in Vancouver and large swaths of metro Toronto.

It would be like asking someone who lives in Manhattan what living in the US is like when they are thinking of moving to rural Georgia....

If you have some *general* idea of which areas in Canada appeal to you, it might make answering your questions a little easier and more relevant.
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Old 01-19-2014, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Colorado
1,524 posts, read 2,262,176 times
Reputation: 2168
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwoelfe View Post
What are some of the less commonly known differences between our two cultures?
Culturally, English Canada is extremely similar to the bordering Americans states, and daily life will be more or less the same. Canada is a constitutional monarchy, while the US is a democratic republic. English Canada has a bit more British influence due to remaining part of the British Empire into the 20th century. Canada is not bilingual as often advertised; Britons are more likely to be proficient in French than English Canadians.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwoelfe View Post
How is the cost of living? Adjusting for the currency exchange difference does $1100 Canadian have similar buying power in Canada as $1000 US has in the US?
No, but where you live still makes a difference. $1000 goes a longer way in Calgary than it does in Vancouver, but that $1000 will still go even further in most of the US. Canada is significantly more expensive to live in than the US, generally poorer quality goods and services and overall fewer options.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwoelfe View Post
J
How are the schools? How is the special needs education? What about college?
Canadian schools are more even in terms of quality of education. This is because school systems are funded according to the province they are in, while American schools are funded according to county. Generally, the best American school are better than the best Canadian schools, but the worst American schools are worse than the worst Canadian schools. I am not sure about special needs education (I did not attend primary schools in Canada). As for college, the US is better quality with many more quality options.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwoelfe View Post
What are politics like? Are they as divisive as in the US?
Yes. Canada's second most populous province has been threatening to secede for a few decades. The Québecois are often the scapegoat for a variety of economic and social problems.
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:50 PM
 
Location: Toronto
12,581 posts, read 11,133,432 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbesdj View Post

Canada is significantly more expensive to live in than the US, generally poorer quality goods and services and overall fewer options.
While rent and general day to day products and services are cheaper in the U.S - the great equalizer is cost of health care and education. It is far more expensive for both of these things in the U.S.. I'm not sure what the comparison would be like with Obamacare as I find it confusing. Anyway Canada has universal health care and the U.S doesn't and for Canadians it is cheaper.. I read somewhere for every dollar on health care we spend - the U.S spends two... for the average person in the U.S, that does not equate to a doubly better health care system either. Additionally, the public social system is more comprehensive for Canadians and is a further equalizing force if you get fired, go on parental leave etc. Even labour laws in Canada are more favourable to the employee... in Canada you are less 'on your own'

As for quality of goods and services -what are you referring to? I drive a 2012 Hyundai Elantra built in Birmingham Alabama, it is the same quality car as an Elantra driven by someone in Oregon - came off the same line and went through the same quality control methods. Are you referring to Milk and eggs lol..? I don't find the quality different in Canada but what I find is that in the U.S you have more choice of goods and services generally speaking! That is a definite advantage in the U.S.. More choice of good things and bad things (like 1 dollar cheap frozen entree's at Dollar Tree for instance ) - Though one could find a cheap 1 dollar frozen entrée at No Frills in Canada as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbesdj View Post

Canadian schools are more even in terms of quality of education. This is because school systems are funded according to the province they are in, while American schools are funded according to county. Generally, the best American school are better than the best Canadian schools, but the worst American schools are worse than the worst Canadian schools. I am not sure about special needs education (I did not attend primary schools in Canada). As for college, the US is better quality with many more quality options.

.
The U.S has more top universities that is for sure (top 200) but it also has a significantly larger population. In terms of just your average University or community College I'm not so sure If they are that much different in terms of quality of education, pretty much i'd imagine they are comparable for the vast majority of attendees in both countries. I do agree with your sentiment that the Best of the U.S are better than Canada, and that the worst is worse than Canada and that probably rings true in pre and post secondary realms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbesdj View Post

Yes. Canada's second most populous province has been threatening to secede for a few decades. The Québecois are often the scapegoat for a variety of economic and social problems.

While the secessionist movement is a concern, it has been going on for decades and with decades the same result in that a solid majority of Quebecers do not want secession. Greater autonomy and Provincial powers yes but when push comes to shove it has not and probably won't happen because at the end of the day our country is better united than divided - we all know that. Canadians are more alike coast to coast in so many ways than different and in fundamental values and views.

What I do find about Canada, politically is that it is actual easier to push through change when the government in power has a majority - something I'm not seeing in the U.S. I find the U.S is starkly more divided down the line for both big and small and less bipartisan than Canada.. I just find that the spirit of cooperation amongst the political parties and people here in order to just move along with change is far more pronounced and is why Canada has been the more progressive country in the last few decades, socially and pound for pound even economically as the latest financial crisis bore witness. Regardless if we have had Liberal or Conservative governments in Canada, good public policy and governance is a general hallmark of the Country and why it is ranked highly in QOL year after year and why Canadians are usually on the top 10 happiest countries list time and time again.

As for The Quebecois being scapegoated for economic and social problems causing divide - meh.. day to day its hardly even thought of or practiced. Read or watch Canadian media outlets and that topic if barely if ever the soup de jour. I had to laugh when you even wrote this because I haven't heard of such a notion and if I have its few and far between.

As a matter of fact - day to day the unity issue doesn't even register for most Canadian both in English Canada and French... In the U.S however, the constant struggle between the Executive and Legislative branches of the United States makes the country look like the poster child for governmental dysfunctionality, particularly in the last two Presidential administrations.

Last edited by fusion2; 01-19-2014 at 05:43 PM..
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:34 PM
 
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Sorry hobbesdj, not sure how long it's been since you lived in Canada but that seems fairly inaccurate on most fronts, particularly anglo Canadian's lack of French and Quebec as a scapegoat for problems.
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Toronto
12,581 posts, read 11,133,432 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aliss2 View Post
Sorry hobbesdj, not sure how long it's been since you lived in Canada but that seems fairly inaccurate on most fronts, particularly anglo Canadian's lack of French and Quebec as a scapegoat for problems.
Yeah that was the funniest thing I read too
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:44 PM
 
3,072 posts, read 4,275,626 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fusion2 View Post
Yeah that was the funniest thing I read too
I'm in rural Quebec. Separatism hardly makes a peep on francophone media here, not sure how it has made louder waves across the border.
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:49 PM
 
Location: Calgary, AB
681 posts, read 1,329,340 times
Reputation: 746
Since hobbesdj lists their location as Maryland... I would take a lot of what they have written with a grain of salt.
Britons being more proficient in French than English Canadians?... not likely. LOL

Most (every?) public school in Canada teaches French - it is often optional after Junior High School, but that still means that many more students are exposed to the language than the general population in Britain. When I took my BA I had to have a second language at a 2nd year university level in order to graduate - no... I'm not fluent, but I can certainly understand French and communicate the necessities.

I also don't agree with the assessment of the PUBLIC education system. I think in general the Canadian education system is better. Our teachers are actually paid a decent salary and have great pensions which encourages quality individuals to teach and STAY teaching. See this article to show how the two countries stack up:
US 17th In Global Education Ranking; Finland, South Korea Claim Top Spots

Also as Fusion2 mentions hobbesdj is WAAAYY of base when it comes to the seccesionist threat and the scapegoating. Not sure where they came up with that??

And poorer quality goods?? Huh??
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:51 PM
 
Location: Toronto
12,581 posts, read 11,133,432 times
Reputation: 3738
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwoelfe View Post
Just a little background, my wife and I are looking to move away from the current area we live in; not restart completely, but offer our family different experiences from what we grew up with. The company I work for has locations all over the US and in most major cities in Canada so we can pretty much choose to go wherever we want to go. I have been to Canada twice before when I was about 10 to 15 years younger for vacations and loved what I experienced. So basically we have decided to explore the idea of expatriation and look into life in Canada a little bit more.

I have been reading blogs, news articles, talked to friends, etc. to do some initial research, but thought I would ask those who live the life daily. I know that some of this information is available via statistics, but I am more interested in your thoughts on these issues rather than stats.

What are some of the less commonly known differences between our two cultures?
How is the cost of living? Adjusting for the currency exchange difference does $1100 Canadian have similar buying power in Canada as $1000 US has in the US?
How are the schools? How is the special needs education? What about college?
If you had a solidly middle class income say $85,000 CA, and could live anywhere which province would you choose, what cities?
What are politics like? Are they as divisive as in the US?


I am sorry if this has been asked before, but I didn't see it listed in the first 6 or so pages.
The experiences you will have will vary in different parts of Canada.. as would be the same in the U.S. If you want something different but not 'too' different where are you from in the U.S? There are some regional similarities between the two countries. Are you living in a rural area or small city or large city. What industry do you work in... all things are important to helping lead you down the right path
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:55 PM
 
Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
11,265 posts, read 13,152,847 times
Reputation: 13459
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredOfyycCold View Post
And poorer quality goods?? Huh??


Yeah. I laughed at that too. We buy the same crap the Americans get from China, just with jacked up prices.

Except food. The quality of our food is better.
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