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General advice on moving to Toronto

Discussion forum for expats moving to or living in Canada.

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General advice on moving to Toronto

Post Posted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 8:25 pm

Hi Everyone Smile

I really need some help here if you wouldn't mind. I have always lived in the UK but I do have Canadian citizenship and I have been dreaming of moving to Canada for a few years now but have never got around to making the move.

I really don't know where to start but if I tell you my dream it may help you to be able to advise me. I am a single male with no ties as such and I have a good job within Information Technology, I have held a position in this field for approx 10 years now and would like to continue in IT.

My idea is to sort out a bank account at the local branch in Toronto, arrange a Job in Toronto, make the move and then sort out my accommodation but I really don't know where to start!

I have made enquiries with the Royal Bank of Canada regarding an account but I still have not heard back so any advice on this would be much appreciated!

I have been looking into the tax structure in Canada and I don't fully understand it, I note that there seem to be many different types of payments you have to make for example: Tax payments/Health Insurance/Pensions and so on.

Please can someone advise on what employment payments an individual working for a company is required to make?

When looking at postings for jobs, many positions say so much per hour and because I don't understand the Tax system I have no idea how much the net payment would equate to after all employment deductions. (For instance) If I look at a position that is paying $20 an hour for 40 hours per week it would equal $800 or $41600 per financial year gross!

Please can you advise an approx (Take home/Net) amount, a salary like this would equal?

It is very important I have a good idea on how the payment system works because if I do move to Canada my standard of living and accommodation will be determined by my net income!

I have seen many Job postings that I would like to apply for but I will not be ready to make the physical move until March next year so, should I wait until nearer the time before applying for positions or should I apply now with a condition that I won’t be able available until then?

As I will be a single male (hopefully with a job) I am excited to see such a wide variety of housing options but again this leaves me a little dismayed, where do I start?

I have a few questions about Accommodation:

1) Should I wait until arriving in Canada before securing accommodation or should I try and secure it first?
2) What types of accommodation should I be looking for?
3) What sort of deposit is normally required?
4) What types of bills can one expect to get when renting a property/room?
5) Is it advisable to acquire legal representation before signing a contract if you are just renting?
6) Are there any agencies that will be able to help me if I cannot find accommodation?
7) If securing a position with the Goverment would they normally be in a position to help me with accommodation.

I still have many other questions relating to moving but as I am new to this I know it will take time.

I will be reading the posts here to see how much valuable information I can gain and if anyone can help me I really would appreciate it.

Hope to hear for you soon.





Re: General advice on moving to Toronto

Post Posted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 2:38 am

This site has lots of helpful information about renting/buying in Ontario.
Best of luck with that.


Re: General advice on moving to Toronto

Post Posted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 3:21 am


Hello........First explain to me how you have Canadian citizenship, but have never been in Canada? Do you have a Canadian birth certificate? Do you have a Canadian Passport? Was one of your Parents born in Canada? If so you may need to speak to Canada House in London to clarify your nationality status. It is very important that you are 100 percent SURE about your citizenship BEFORE you come to Canada. Otherwise you may find yourself in trouble.

OK secondly, my background.......Born in Toronto, Fathers side of the family came here in 1801, from Northern Ireland, Mum's side from London, in 1923. So Irish/Anglo Canadian, now 59 years old. Spent 30 years in the Canadian Forces, Military Intelligence, and now retired living in Toronto. Wife is a dual citizen Bahamas/Canada, a business manager at the University of Toronto, and a very knowledable source on human resources and taxes.

You have asked a lot of questions, so let me answer a few at a time, OK?

Provided that you really DO have Canadian citizenship, you can move here with very little fuss. You are simply considered to be a "Canadian Citizen Returning to Canada". No visa required.

Banking........Simple, walk into any branch, ask to open a chequing, and a savings account. Takes 15 minutes, you have to have a Canadian Social Insurance number ( know as a SIN Number) which is issued by the Federal Government. Go to a HRDC office ( Human Resources and Development Canada ) to apply for it. Takes about 3 weeks to come thru the mail to your address.

Now that I think about it, you should have a home address before a bank account. I assume that you have a bank account in the UK? If so you can arrange to get funds thru a Canadian bank, by telephone tranfer, or thru your debit card if it is on the VISA or MASTERCARD system here. Speak to your UK bank about which of the 7 national banks in Canada they are associated with.

Employment and taxes in Canada. As an employee, you have deductions taken from your gross pay by the employer, each pay period. They are ......Federal Income Tax, Provincial Income Tax, Canada Pension Plan, and Employment Insurance. Going step by step, Fed tax is the highest amount, Provincial tax is a lesser percentage. CPP is based on your income and is matched by the employer. You can get CPP at age 60, and it is mandatory for all workers who are NOT self employed. EI is a mandatory withdrawal that is paid back to you if you become un-employed. It can cover you for up to 28 weeks while you are looking for another job. It pays you 60 percent of your previous wage. It ONLY applies if you are "let go" not if you "Quit" a job.

In general terms, about 45 percent of your gross pay will go to taxes and mandatory deductions. After 3 months in Canada you will be eligable for Provincaial health insurance, and a deductioin for that will appear on your pay stub. I'm covered thru my Wife's employment, so I'm not sure of the exact amount.

In your example of $20 an hour ........that is a good starting amount for you, but not a really high hourly wage for an IT person. Many employers have what are called "non-Taxable" benefits for their workers. such as free transit passes, or a health club membership, or some other way of rewarding them that is not income, so not taxable. Each company has it's own series of in-house benefits, ask at the interview stage about that toiic.

Given that you are in the IT field, you will probably NOT wind up living in a fishing village on the coast, or a small town in the Arctic, so lets assume it will be one of about 10 cities in Canada.

The largest city in Canada is Toronto, where I was born and now again make my home. It also is the business center of the country as London is in the UK. About 60 percent of all the national corporations in Canada have their HQ in Toronto. It is the place where many new comers come to live. It IS expensive to live here, BUT there are ways to get around that.

Share, rather than live alone, and rent as small a place as you can stand for the first year in Canada. Rent furnitiure, don't buy at first. Don't bring ANY thing that is electrical, the power system is completely DIFFERENT so they wont work here. Buy a city map on day one, and make notes on everything that you do , and see here. Read the newspapers, listen to the radio news, and watch telly, to LEARN about the country and the city you are in. Get a library card, which is cheap entertainment, as you can get videos and music cds and books too. Buy phone discount cards to call back to the UK at a better per minute rate than the regular phone company gives. These are for sale at corner stores in 10 or 20 dollar face values.

Coming in March is a good idea as that is the very begining of early spring and the weather will be getting better then. I would suggest using the INTERNET to find accomodation in Toronto if that is where you want to come to. Many places that have furnished rooms or apartments have web sites that show the roms and the rates. Stay there for a few weeks to allow you to get a job and then look for a more permanent place to live.

Most rooms are rented on a weekly or monthly basis, and the usual term is "first and last" which means either two weeks worth of rent on a weekly place or 2 months worth of rent on a monthly rental. Landlords are NOT allowed to charge any extras above the rent for "key money" or "damage deposits" . In Ontario there is a Landlord and Tennants act that sets out what can or cannot be done . A yearly lease is common in larger apartment buildings. You should look for "shared accomodation" which is usually where you share a 2 or 3 bedroom unit with others, splitting the rent equally. You buy your own food and do your own cooking, with your own bedroom and share the kitchen and bathroom. In a case like that the heating, water, and electric are all in the rental amount. You don't need a lawyer to review a lease agreement, as the Provincial laws set down a standard form that everyone uses.

A good rule of thumb is to only pay one weeks net salary for your months rent payment, with the other 3 weeks pay being split for food and savings, and maybe furniture rental. The object is to not spend any of the money you brought with you, and to ADD to it as much as you can, to be able to get established and have savings in the bank.

By the way, your consumer credit here will start out at ZERO, as if you were just born. You will NOT be able to borrow here in Canada, for at least two years, as you are considered to be like a new born baby, regardless of your credit history in the UK.Sorry but that is the truth. Slowly establishing your credit is the way to go, with small purchases that show you can be trusted to pay on time and in full. Say away from the credit card trap, pay cash and be happy. Nobody can take it away from you if you paid in CASH. Save untill you have the money, then pay , with no interest payments.

OK Mike, lots to think about, right?

Ask me anything that comes into your head. I usually check in here every day. If you would rather use private e-mail, you can reach me at

jimbunting @

Jim Bunting. Chief Warrant Officer , retired.

Toronto. Ontario. Canada. Home of the Maple Leafs. GO LEAFS.


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Re: General advice on moving to Toronto

Post Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 5:40 am

Thanks Jim, have sent to your email address Smile




Re: General advice on moving to Toronto

Post Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 10:47 pm

Just to follow up here.

Mike and I have been e-malling back and forth, and he will be coming to Canada for a visit in the spring of 2006. He IS a Canadian citizen, because his Father was born in Canada, in Winnipeg in the 1930's.

I will be assisting Mike with his visit and I am looking forward to finally meeting him in Toronto, in April or May.

Jim Bunting. Toronto.


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Forum Legend
Re: General advice on moving to Toronto

Post Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 2:03 am

A very useful post for anyone thinking of moving to Canada in the near future.

I am in a similar position to Mike in that I plan to move in 2006, the difference is I am married with 2 kids. Thinking of going to Canada this spring on my own first to have a look around and also explore the job market and then hopefully move there with family very soon.

Looking forward to it.


Re: General advice on moving to Toronto

Post Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:24 am


Mike is also planning on coming to Toronto in the period around May or June 2006.

We have been chatting on MSN and I have promised to be his guide and driver while he is here. I am retired and have nothing but time on my hands, so I will extend the same offer to you, if you would like to see Toronto and the area of southern Ontario.

You are following a "time honoured tradition" by coming out on your own first. In the post WW2 period this was the common way to do it.

You can reach me at

jimbunting @

Cheers............. Jim Bunting. Toronto.


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