Questions about moving to Canada, Toronto area


I’m currently pondering moving to Toronto Canada.

Currently, I live in Chicago, with my wife and baby boy. I’m an IT professional and have a master’s degree, so that helps in immigration.

Does anyone have any advice or suggestions?

How’s the job market for IT folks? How about financial analysts? Or business analysts?

How about flooding? Where in the TMA is a good place to live to avoid floods and weather damage?

Are there areas in the TMA one should avoid living in? (high crime areas, for example)

If I were to move all my stuff with a rent-a-truck, how is the customs check? Is there a huge delay?

At this point, I’m in the initial stages of planning, so there’s nothing firm yet. I don’t have any job offers from there yet.


To have any shot you’d first have to find an employer. The employer then must prove to the Canadian government that there is no one in Canada that can do the job. Even then they’d still perfer to take immigrants from second world (central/eastern Europe) or third world (Asia/Africa) countries over Americans. Some areas of Canada are experiencing larbor shortages, Ottwa is an example. Toronto, as the biggest city in Canada far and away, really isn’t. If you’re not willing to consider another area in Canada you don’t have a very good chance.


I have lived in the Greater Toronto Area my whole life so I know something about it. The job market for professionals is quite good and the unemployment rate is hovering around 30 year lows so finding a job shouldn’t be a major obstacle immigration issues aside. I’m not sure why you bring up flooding and weather damage because neither are problematic issues? On the whole Toronto is the safest large city in North America although there are bad sections but I don’t imagine you will be moving into an area of subsidized housing so it shouldn’t be a problem. Customs I can’t really comment on good luck though.


How familiar are you with immigration laws? A lot of what you said seems incorrect or is related to a foreign worker status which I assume he is either going to become a landed immigrant or is already a Canadian citizen so would not apply? I don’t think they give preferential treatment to any nationality or ethnic group unless our immigration laws are prejudice and nonsensical sense taking people with different language and culture before someone with a common language and similar culture seems highly counter intuitive.?


I’m very familar with Canada’s immigration laws, dealt with them myself when I played for a senior league for a year. If he’s already a Canadian citizen it would seem illogical to ask about it, he wouldn’t require any information. And yes, Canada and the United States give preferential treatment to immigrants from poor countries. The logic is very simple, an American can find work and has oppurtunity in the United States. Why deny someone in a poor country an oppurtunity in Canada to give it to someone that simply doesn’t need it. In fact every western country has similar immigration policy.


I’m not a Canadian citizen. I’m a US citizen and a Polish citizen.

About flooding: I read an article about the “Great flood of 2005” - perhaps it was the local media going overboard? :slight_smile:

CCM08: If Ottawa is experiencing labor shortages, is the IT sector one of them?


I’m sure they do need technical people, though I’d highly recommend going up there and spending some time before moving. The climate, among other things, isn’t something everyone can handle.


I’m trying to remember a flood. I think we had heavy rain a couple of times in the last few years, but I don’t recall flooding…

I’m afraid I can’t help with the business stuff. The immigration requirements should all be online, and easy-ish to find.

There are relatively few bad areas in Toronto. I wouldn’t recommend living right downtown due to parking and traffic problems. It’s hard to generalize about neighbourhoods, since they’re so diverse- Toronto is extremely multicultural.


HI Bob
Will PM you.
I live in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and work in the IT field.
Have been in the GTA for the last 18 years and do not recall flooding.
On your question re - rent-a-truck…I do nto think that should be a problem. A couple years ago some friends moved up here from Oregon that way and do nto recall them complaining…


Here’s some more questions:

Building and zoning codes: How strict do they enforce? If an inspector comes to your house, do you have the right to refuse?

Are radar detectors legal in Canada?


Radar detectors are illegal in Canada. Not sure about the building inspector stuff though - I would expect them to be as stringent as anywhere else.


If you’re in IT, you might also want to consider the Kitchener-Waterloo area which is in Ontario, about an hour west of Toronto and about 3 hours from the border at Detroit, Michigan. It’s a very large IT area (home of RIM for one), and there is a big demand for such labour. Population is about 500,000.

And as mentioned above, I can’t think of any floods ever in Toronto. Must have been a local paper blowing things out of proportion.


What is the penalty for having one?

And about: Kitchener-Waterloo area, is there a lot of software development going on there? How’s public transit there?


I live in Toronto.

About flooding:

I have cousins in the Chicago area and they are always getting flooded! But in Toronto it’s really rare.

There was a flood in 2005 in some areas of northern Toronto, my in-laws’ basement was flooded. But again, this was a rare occurrence that happened after a massive storm.

Good luck with the job hunt!


I went on a reteat in Canada last year near Toronto, so I can tell you my impressions as a visitor.

I was surprised how populated that whole area of southren Canada is. Later I looked at a picture of the earth at night and saw that yes, it is quite populated there. Here in Western NY its more rural when you aren’t in the city. Driving there, once I hit Buffalo I had intense traffic all the way to my destination outside Toronto. I guess its like the NYC/North Jersey area. This surprised me, as I always thought of Canada as rural. That doesn’t happen till you get much further north, apparently.

Also I see a lot of national pride. You can see how also a lot of the building is regulated. More plain, sometimes pretty, so less clutter for the eye. Also, in the somewhat rural areas (all criss-crossed with major highways), you see very many tidy housing developments that are close and tight and compact - not much green for the individual, but the developments themselves are surrounded by green. I get the idea they are preserving the green spaces, so government chooses areas for people to live in, and pack the people in a patch of land for that purpose. The deveopments are attractive, but so tight and packed. Like a little city in the country plopped in the country.

I find people from that area are very friendly, though. Not so much the same in Quebec. Also, I suspect the cost of living is high, but I can’t say so authoratatively.


Kitchener’s a nice place. I think the public transport is decent, but not anything like as good as in Toronto. The cost of living would be considerably lower than in the GTA. Kitchener is largely German Mennonite- there are a lot of Old Older areas around the city. Lots of good sausage, quilts, preserves, and horses!

The weather in general is pretty moderate in Toronto. I can’t think of any big floods/windstorms/hurricanes in the last twenty years, at least. We’re not even in the snow belt here, and it doesn’t get nearly as cold as it does a little farther north.

As Eliza said, southern Ontario is pretty heavily populated, with lots of cities, especially along Lake Ontario. If you head about three hours north, it starts getting wilder and more Canadian Shield-looking, all rocks, pine trees, and water. Pretty.


Currently I am working as a consultant (contractor, non-employee) - because of high health care costs, no company wants to hire anyone as an employee with benefits.

I’m thinking that because of Canada’s universal health care, this is not a problem and companies are more likely to hire on a permanent basis? Or is contracting still very popular there?


In the IT world there are both contractors and permanent employees.
However, contractors get more $$, though of course no benefits.
Many I know prefer working as contractor, that way they can write off a lot more on taxes.


How about the Catholic schools there? I’ve read that they are taxpayer financed in Ontario (though maybe not in others) - so does that mean they’re free for Ontario residents?

Are the Catholic schools in Ontario orthodox or do they have a lot of dissenters in them?


Kitchener is the place I went to! I agree, its a very lovely city, and it looks like a nice place to live. I went there for a prayer ministry, and I went to Crieff Hills to stay - its a retreat community in Puslinch (but thats hard to find on a map). I stayed in this *cute *little “Hermitage” which I just mentioned in another
My trip to the prayer ministy was a retreat for inner healing. A year later, I can affirm that it truly healed me and the fruit has been evident.

Staying in Crieff Hills and driving to the nice city of Kitchener each day was all very pleasant. But I do have to say, those are MAJOR massive highways roaring through that lovely Canadian countryside.

I also have to say that it would be okay to call the weather in this area “moderate” to someone from Chicago, but a lot of people the U.S. would think thats crazy. We do have four beautiful and distinct seasons up here, but sometimes the best seasons can be awfully short!

This reminds me of the countryside by Crieff Hills:

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