You’ve decided to make the choice to move your business to Canada. You’ve consulted with BrightGo Solutions on starting up your business in Canada and growing a team here, you’ve completed your Canadian incorporation, got a local phone number for customers, set-up banking services, and even secured office space such as through a co-working building. Everything in order right? But what about you and your family?
For ex-pat assignments, failure of the family to properly settle is a top reason for assignment failure. Moving an entrepreneur’s family is no different. Given the importance, it is no surprise it is a regular question we get from our clients. So here are the top resources to help you and your family with your move to Canada:
Formal Settlement Support Programs
These will vary by province but look for resources like WelcomeBC, Manitoba Newcomers Guide and Living in Ontario. Most of these resource guides include how to get a provincial drivers licence, registering for health care, and paying taxes. Some will also include free or low-cost language training in English and/or French.
While not a government program, another all-in-one type of support service for newcomers is hiring a Personal Assistant or Lifestyle Manager. You’ll want to find someone local to the city you are moving. They can do a lot of the prep work in advance from short-listing apartments and nannies to arranging for home internet connection and stocking your kitchen before you arrive.
While you may have friends or family to stay with upon arrival, you may also be staying in a hotel or furnished apartment. You’ll likely want to move into something more permanent quickly. Many people choose to rent first to learn the neighbourhood and get settled before purchasing. A handy tool is Mapnificent where you can map your transit time from work to possible home locations.
For renting an apartment,
https://vancouver.craigslist.ca/d/housing/search/hhh (or select your local city)
https://www.kijiji.ca/b-real-estate/winnipeg/c34l1700192 (or select your local city)
For buying a home,
Connect with a Mortgage Broker to help navigate your lending options, especially as a newcomer you may not have an extensive Canadian credit history or record of employment. Self-employed and entrepreneurial individuals will also have some additional requirements as don’t have steady employment income.
Connect with a Real Estate Agent who can give you tips on neighbourhoods of interest based on your needs and help you source the dream home for you and your family
Also, you can search multiple real estate listings, though your Agent may have access earlier to listings
For childcare, there are a plethora of options. Multiple child group care is quite common and typically just called Daycare. Small groups in someone’s home (also called Family Care) or personal care through nannies also occurs. After-school specific care is available and some families also have teenagers as babysitters for that time. Preschool is similar to daycare but normally for ages 3-4. Kindergarten is the first year of required school and also the start of “free” care; it is either a full day or half day depending on where you live. In Canada, children start kindergarten in September of the year they turn 5 (so are 4 or 5 years old upon starting). School then continues through grades 1-12 with people graduating when they are 17 or 18.
The resources to find childcare will vary by city and province but as an example, in British Columbia these online resources are available:
This will widely vary by province, city or neighbourhood. But common in Canada are Community Centres, Neighbourhood Houses, sports teams, and clubs (from playing cards and quilting to curling and craft beer). Volunteering is also a really good way to meet new people and forge friendships - Canada has one of the highest rates of volunteering in the world so you’ll quickly pick-up some Canadian culture by being a volunteer!
Moving your business and family to a new country can seem daunting but with a well developed and welcoming country like Canada, you can get settled pretty quick. Focus on building those friend and community connections which will help your family develop roots and also act as your social net in difficult times. And if you need help with your business set-up, start-up or growth - connect with BrightGo Solutions as we specialize in guiding immigrant entrepreneurs and international companies with their market entry into Canada. Welcome!