Moving to Canada with your family is a great idea! What's it all about? Expatriating as a family is a thrilling adventure that offers the chance to discover new countries and immerse oneself in a different culture. Among the most popular destinations for families looking for a change, Canada stands out for its diversity, safety and professional opportunities. Canada also offers a high level of education and a welcoming society, making it a destination of choice for families seeking a better quality of life.
Are you planning to move to Canada with your family in the near future, but don't know where to start? Don't panic! Here's a guide to the steps you need to prioritize to make your family project in Canada a reality.
Living in Canada as a family | How to obtain a work permit?
One of the most important steps in any expatriation project is to obtain a work permit. In the case of a family expatriation, you may be interested in a closed work permit.
Why should you? Because a closed work permit allows you to attach your spouse to your permit!
☝️ A closed permit will also make you eligible for the public health system. If you're moving abroad with children who are minors, they will automatically have access to the public health and education system, with no waiting period.
To obtain a closed permit such as the Young Professionals Permit or theEIMT, you need a promise of employment from a Canadian employer. Don't hesitate to consult theImmigration Canada to find out which type of permit is best suited to your family expatriation project.
ℹ️ If you'd like more information, Maplr also offers a webinar on the expatriation process in Quebec. You can register now, it's free!
Moving to Canada with your family | What to do before you leave?
Carrying out a health check :
Once you've arrived in Canada, it will take a little time for you and your family to build up your new network of healthcare professionals. To avoid unpleasant surprises when you arrive, it's always a good idea to carry out a medical check-up for all family members before you leave! This will also enable you to collect your health diaries and your various prescriptions.
Preparing your expatriation budget :
An expatriation project comes with its share of expenses. Let's face it, expatriating as a family also adds extra expenses. You'll need to buy plane tickets for all family members, for example. You'll also need to find a temporary and permanent apartment big enough to accommodate the whole family, buy equipment for the different seasons, make school purchases and so on. You'll need to budget accordingly!
🙌 Maplr community member tip:
Get a travel bank card. Using a foreign bank card in Canada will incur fees. Using a travel card like Revolut or N26 then becomes an interesting alternative. You can use this type of card during your first few days in Canada while waiting for your Canadian accounts to be opened and your funds transferred.
In fact, we wrote an article on the Canadian banking system.
Find out about the different services :
Moving to a new country means that you and your family will be discovering a new health and education system. So it's best to gather as much information as possible before you leave!
Are you immigrating to Quebec with your family on a closed work permit? You and your partner can join the Régie d'assurance maladie du Québec. Your minor children (under 18) will also be eligible. It's important to find out in advance what is and isn't covered by this plan.
The city, and more specifically the neighborhood, in which you decide to settle is also very important. These variables will determine which schools and daycares will be eligible for your children. Indeed, in Quebec, it's the geographic area in which you live that determines which schools and daycares are available for your children.
Do you and your family have your heart set on Montreal for your expatriation project? Don't hesitate to consult our article on Montreal's different neighborhoods to find out which one best suits your lifestyle and search criteria.
Getting your plane tickets :
Once you've obtained your work permit, you can finally start shopping for your plane tickets! We always recommend waiting until the work permit process is complete before buying your plane tickets, to avoid complications. It's always possible that administrative delays or delays in receiving the permit may be longer than expected. If not, make sure you buy changeable or refundable tickets.
To find the most advantageous option, using a price comparator like Ulysse is always useful! Within the Maplr community, the most popular airlines are : Air Canada, Air France and Air Transat for a more economical option.
As a work permit holder, you won't need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). In fact, your AVE will already be included in the letter of introduction linked to your work permit. However, your spouse and children will each need their own AVE.
Get your travel insurance :
Depending on the work permit you hold, you may be required to take out travel insurance. This is the case, for example, for a young professional work permit. This insurance must protect you for the entire duration of your work permit. It's important to check the eligibility criteria of your work permit to see if it applies to you!
You will find interesting information in our article ontravel insurance in Canada.
Please note that if you fail to obtain one, immigration may reserve the right to refuse you entry orshorten the duration of your work permit.
This insurance must cover health care, hospitalization and repatriation costs in the event of serious illness, injury or death. This insurance will also cover you during the three-month RAMQ waiting period.
The obligation to have private travel insurance will not apply to your spouse. However, the three-month waiting period will also apply. Your spouse can take out private insurance such as Blue Cross or Manulife during these first months.
Prepare all necessary documents:
Here are all the documents you'll need to prepare for you and your family's arrival in France!
Please note that these documents must be printed, not scanned onto your phone... so you'll need to print them out.
📄 Required documents :
- The letter of introduction for your work permit;
- The job offer letter attached to your work permit ;
- If applicable, proof of travel insurance valid for the entire duration of your stay in Canada;
- All passports valid for the duration of your stay in Canada ;
- Proof of downpayment of at least
2,500 CAD per adult;
- Your proof of common-law status or marriage certificate * ;
- Your children's birth certificates ** ;
- If applicable, your medication prescriptions.
🧳 We also recommend that you pack the following items:
- Adapters for American electrical outlets;
- Your driving licences ;
- Keep your health records up to date.
*If you are married, you can present your marriage certificate to immigration. Otherwise, you can prove your common-law status.
** A birth certificate is required when registering a child for school or daycare.
Several proofs can be used:
- a lease in both your names;
- joint bank account ;
- tax return.
Note that a PACS is not recognized in Canada, but your form can be used as proof. You can also fill out a signed de facto union form at your nearest town hall.
Want more reasons to move to Canada with your family in 2023? Don't hesitate to consult our article on the advantages and disadvantages of living in Canada.
Moving to Canada with your family | What to do once you arrive?
Congratulations! 🎉 You and your family have now arrived in Canada! It's the beginning of a wonderful adventure. To settle in comfortably, there are still a few steps to prioritize.
Recover your NAS :
A Social Insurance Number ( SIN ) is essential for working legally in Canada. So apply for yours and your partner's as soon as possible! To apply for a SIN, you'll need to go to a Service Canada office nearest you.
You will need to bring the following documents with you:
- Passport (ID);
- Proof of address in Canada (permanent or temporary);
- Your work permit.
You'll get your SIN directly after the appointment. Your children will be on the territory with visitor records, so they won't need a SIN, unless they become permanent residents one day or wish to take up student employment later on.
Register your family with the Régie d'assurance maladie du Québec :
As mentioned earlier, holders of a closed permit for more than six months are eligible for RAMQ (if you choose to expatriate to Quebec). If this is your case, you'll need to register yourself and your family! This plan covers most medical expenses, such as visits to the doctor, hospitalization and part of the cost of medication. You can register online!
Please note Once you've registered, there's a three-month waiting period for you and your spouse. Your private travel insurance will protect you during this period. Don't forget that this waiting period does not apply to children!
Register your children for daycare or school:
Depending on the age of your children, they may be ready for daycare or school. In Quebec, children are normally enrolled in daycare from an early age, until they are five. To register your child, you'll need to use the platform "La Place 0-5 ans. This platform centralizes all the information you need to find a childcare space in Quebec. It will introduce you to the four types of childcare services recognized in Quebec, and enable you to register your children. Don't hesitate to register your child as soon as possible!
🙌 Advice from Maplr community members:
If you can't find a place on La Place 0-5 ans, you can use this website: http://www.magarderie.com/ to do a search on your own. You'll be able to contact the different types of establishments near you!
In Quebec age five that children enter the school system at kindergarten. If you decide to move to Montreal with your family, you'll need to use the Center de services scolaires de Montréal (CSSDM) to register your children for school. This platform is used to register for preschool (kindergarten) through to high school. In the public system, primary and secondary education are offered free of charge. School admission is determined by the student's address. Public schools are obliged to admit students from their respective geographical areas.
To register your children for school, you'll need the following documents:
- Documents received by the Ministère de l'Immigration du Québec (the child's AND the parents' documents);
- The child's birth certificate ;
- Proof of residence to enroll the child in the local school.
Equip yourself for colder weather:
Living in Canada as a family also means discovering the joys of winter with your children! Snow, winter sports, hot chocolates by the fireside: what wonderful memories for the whole family. However, to make the most of the winter season, it's important to be well equipped!
Most of the time, Canadian winter temperatures range from -10 to -35 degrees Celsius. Your current coats may not be suitable for Canadian temperatures. Equipment sold locally will be more suitable. A good coat, boots, hat and gloves are essential. For children, don't forget waterproof snow pants and a neck warmer, so they can play in the snow without any problems. If you'd like to try out some winter sports, many resorts and parks offer equipment rental services, including skates, sledges and snowshoes!
If you're thinking of moving abroad with your family, Canada is the obvious choice. From education and professional opportunities to quality of life and work/family balance, this country opens its doors to you and your family, offering a unique experience.
Do you work in the IT sector and are you planning to move abroad soon? Don't hesitate to apply for our support program ! Maplr may be able to help you and your family make the most of your new life in Canada!