Is it Time to Leave Canada and Move Abroad?
The past year or so I have been thinking and planing to relocate from Canada, and I know many other people have too. I don’t know if I’ll move permanently or temporarily, but I do know that I want to get away from here at least for a little while. So how did I come up with this big life-changing decision? It wasn’t that difficult actually. I took a step back and evaluated how my life would improve once I leave Canada.
In today’s article I want to share those reasons with you, so that you too could make an informed decision for a better future. You don’t have to move permanently from the start. You can go abroad for 1 year at first, see how you like it, then adapt as you go. You can always move back or go on to other places and see what life is like there.
That being said, here are 10 reasons it may be time to leave Canada:
You were forced to work online
The fist reason to consider leaving Canada is that you are no longer tied to a job. Canada had some of the most rigid restrictions in the world over the last two years. Many businesses have shut down permanently and many people have lost their incomes entirely. For many of us in that situation it meant adapting and figuring out how to earn an income online. As a result, we now have the benefit of being location independent. And when you are location independent why not live somewhere else? Especially if that place is safer, has lower costs of living, lower taxes, better weather, and nicer scenery?
High cost of living
Canada is one of the most expensive countries in the world. When it comes to costs of living, many indexes only look at a few categories. However, you don’t live in isolation of other (overlooked) categories such as dental and eye care expenses. According to Numbeo, Canada is the 25th most expensive country, while Denmark is 8th. As someone who actually lived in both countries, let me tell you that living in Denmarks is a lot more affordable than Canada. Here are some examples why I say that:
- With very few exceptions, almost everyone who lives in Canada HAS to own a car. You don’ need one in Denmark and you save so much money by not owning one.
- As a single person I could buy all my groceries and household necessities (soap, shampoo, cleaning products, etc.) with $200 per month in Denmark. In Canada I spend at least $500.
- My internet bill in Denmark was $30 per month, in Canada it is $80.
- Despite all the high taxes, a scarf I bought at Zara was the equivalent of 20 CAD with taxes in Denmark, while the EXACT same scarf was 25 CAD before taxes in Canada.
Aside from electricity and (sometimes) rent, everything else is more expensive in Canada than in Denmark, a country well known for its high costs of living. And if you decide to move to a country with an even lower cost of living, you could really save a lot of money. So is living in Canada worth paying so much? Is it worth sacrificing your health with low nutrition food items and high stress?
Here are some costs to research when deciding whether to leave Canada or not:
- rent/ mortgage
- transportation and whether you require a car to get around
- groceries and household items
- personal care products
- utilities (electricity, water, internet, gas, media fees)
- eating out and entertainment
- health care quality and costs
- dental and eye care costs
- ease and costs of travel
And if you think other countries have high healthcare costs for foreigners, you’ve been lied to. At this private clinic in Romania you can get a general consolation with a family doctor for around $37 while a more expensive procedure such as a gum graft is around $780 flat. The same procedure in Canada is around $2-3K per tooth!
Among the reasons to consider leaving Canada or are poor services; especially when it comes to utilities where there are not many providers to choose from. Over the years I have had numerous interruptions to my cable, internet and phone signals. I will never forget the last incident that made my cancel my cable TV for good. Due to some “technical difficulties” my cable had been down for 5 continuous days. And the problem was only fixed after calling and begging them to look into the issue. Which took several attempts because they kept insisting I had signal, despite me seeing nothing but a blue screen.
I had absolutely ZERO signal for 5 days; that’s 16% of the month. Was my bill 16% less expensive? Nope! The same provider also deactivated the voicemail for my home phone without any notice. I found out about it when I missed some important messages from my doctor. When I asked the company about the why the voicemail wasn’t working anymore, they told me their plans changed and I need to pay them more if I want it back. I also went through a period of a month where my internet was down every day for one hour at the exact same time. When I asked them about it they blamed it on my hardware. Well it is a few years later, I still have the same hardware but the problem seems to have been (mostly) resolved. I guess it wasn’t the hardware after all. But this makes me wonder why am I paying for services I don’t receive? Why am I giving money to a company I constantly have to beg to restore my access to services I PAID for? Not only is this frustrating, but it’s also incredibly stressful.
As bad as that sounds, it is much more frightening when people receive poor (sometimes unnecessary) treatments from health care “professionals” like dentists. Over the years I have come to avoid going to the dentist in Canada because of this issue. I already had my wisdom teeth extracted unnecessarily because my orthodontist didn’t feel like dealing with them. I’d rather not take the chances and suffer much worse injuries, like this child who was left with brain damage after visiting the dentist. And that brings me to my next point.
I am always shocked when I hear people admire the amazing “free” healthcare in Canada. Where do those people live? I have experienced nothing but the opposite. I have now been without a family physician for over 5 years because my old one retired and I can’t get a new one. And even if I could get one I don’t think it would be very helpful. Last time I tried to book an appointment I had a very bad sinus infection and I was told I’d have to wait 3 months before I could get an appointment. I’ve also been repeatedly denied checkups on my thyroid, despite me having been exposed to radiation since I was born close to Chernobyl. If I want access to any tests or treatments I have to visit private clinics in other countries. So why am I paying taxes for the “amazing free healthcare” when I don’t even have access to a consultation or a blood test?
Speaking of taxes, there are numerous countries around the world you can move to that will charge you lower taxes. When it comes to personal income, the highest rate is 54% in Nova Scotia. Even Greece (not exactly know for its low taxes) has its highest income tax at “only” 44%. Some countries like UAE, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and more, have no income tax at all. While countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, and Georgia have flat income taxes of 10, 15, and 20% respectively. If you wish to learn more about tax rates in other countries, consult this list.
Most of these countries with lower taxes also have a lower cost of living, and they are easy to get around without having to get a car. So you’re saving money in multiple areas which adds up to a huge monthly and yearly saving. And this allows you to spend more of YOUR money on yourself and your health, on traveling and enjoying life, or even on starting a business.
As an added bonus, the taxes you do pay in other countries are actually used properly. If you’re going to pay taxes, you would want them to be used for essential things like infrastructure and creating a safe society with a high standard of living, right?
While we’re on the topic of standard of living I’d like to bring up safety. According to Statistics Canada, in 2020 there were 743 homicides across the country. That is 19.6 per million people. Compare that to 39 in Croatia, or 9.7 per million people. In addition to homicides, there have been increases in other types of crimes too. And no, this is not a result of the restrictions implemented in the past 2 years. Even before the pandemic I could see more and more criminal acts, such as this guy setting cars on fire with people inside! Every time I watch the news now it seems there is a new shooting of the day. Even if these incidents are gang related only, you still risk getting caught in cross fire. As someone who likes to go out for walks, I’m hyper aware my my surroundings now. I never had to worry about getting stabbed or shot when I lived in Europe. So is living in Canada worth the possibility of getting attacked? Is it worth spending your whole life inside due to safety concerns?
And speaking of being inside, my next point is poor weather. Summer is nice across the country, although at times it can get too hot and there are wildfire concerns. But after summer ends, the weather is quite terrible.
Extreme winter weather limits the amount of time you can spend outdoors. Not to mention that limited daylight makes you feel sad and unmotivated. In addition, you also need to buy winter gear, which is not cheap. This becomes even more expensive if you have children and you have to buy them new winter clothes every year. You could save a lot of money by living in a climate where children don’t need winter coats and can wear the same sneakers year-round.
And another issue you may face is if you have a small car that gets stuck in the snow all the time. Having to get out of your car multiple times to shovel the snow away from your wheels is not fun!
Loss of freedom
Do you think there has been too much government interference lately? Do you disagree with someone else telling you whether you can run your business or not, whether you can go for a walk in the park (despite there being no one around you and no risk of transmission), or whether you can get a new passport or not? Then it might be time to consider moving abroad.
Too much stress
Speaking of loss of freedom, do you wake up worrying what the government will do next to further complicate your life? Do you worry about not being able to get medical treatment for a health issue? Do raising prices of essential goods and services keep you up at night? Are you concerned about your safety taking the public transit? If you answered yes, you are not alone. According to an Ipsos poll, 50% of Canadians indicate that stress interferes with their ability to sleep at night. If you want to improve your quality of life and live more happily, then it may be time to move abroad.
You don’t belong anymore
And finally, the last reason to consider leaving Canada is that you feel out of place. The last few years have changed everybody in one way or another. If you feel like you no longer have anything in common with your friends, neighbours, coworkers, and/ or family, it could be a good time to consider moving abroad.
Related: Before you Move Abroad, Ask Yourself These 10 Questions
In summary, the 10 reasons to consider leaving Canada:
- you were forced to work online
- high cost of living
- unreliable services
- poor healthcare
- high taxes
- declining safety
- poor weather
- loss of freedom
- too much stress
- you don’t belong anymore