Moving to Canada

In Moving Guides by Steven Kane

We are pleased to provide you with our guide on moving to Canada from Dubai, UAE. Please make note of the special links at the foot of this page.

Capital City: Ottawa
Population: 35 Million
Official Language(s): English, French
Currency: Canadian Dollar (CAD)
Time: GMT -5 to -9
Internet domain: .ca
International dialing code: +1


The second largest country in the world, (behind Russia), Canada covers 6 time-zones expanding almost 10 million square kilometers. Despite its size 4 out of 5 people live within 175 km of the southern border with the USA, with 70 per cent of the population urbanized, living near major cities/towns.

Native Aboriginal and Inuit tribes originally inhabited Canada, but in the early 16th century French and British colonialists made claims to various parts of the country. In 1931 Canada became an independent country.

Today Canada is a prosperous, highly developed commonwealth country with the 10th highest per capita income in the world. It comprises 10 provinces and 3 territories, each self-governing under the umbrella of the national parliament.

Canada is truly multi-cultural with one of the most ethnically diverse populations. This is, in large part, due to an immigration policy, which has attracted many people from all corners of the world who have contributed to creating the 11th largest world economy.

Expats in Canada

Canada has been warmly welcoming new arrivals for many years. Most expats move to the urbanised areas of Canada, especially the major cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal and Calgary.

With a very high standard of living, relative safety and numerous employment opportunities, particularly for skilled workers, Canada ranks very high as an ideal destination for many expats. British, European and Americans will find many aspects of daily life very familiar.

Many people take advantage of the natural beauty of Canada enjoying an active outdoor lifestyle.

Expats also benefit from high housing standards, excellent public transport and very good schooling and health services.

Cost of living (Canada Average)

A meal at the standard restaurant is likely to cost roughly CAD18-20 per person with a beer priced around CAD5.50 and soft drinks around CAD1.90 per can. A reasonable bottle of wine costs approximately CAD15 and a coffee typically sets you back around CAD3.80

At the local supermarkets a loaf of bread is priced around CAD2.80, a litre of milk approximately CAD1.80 and a dozen eggs roughly CAD3.75

Public transport in most cities is excellent with monthly passes at around CAD90. Taxis start around is CAD3.50 and then around CAD1.80 per kilometre thereafter. Petrol is around CAD1.10 per litre.

Accommodation is reasonably priced in most cities. A typical 1-2 bedroom apartment in the city would be approximately CAD1,300. Outside of the city rent would reduce to around CAD950

Basic utilities for an average two-bedroom apartment will be around CAD160. Prepaid mobile phone charges are approximately CAD0.30 per minutes and broadband Internet us roughly CAD50 per month.


Canada is the one of the most highly educated countries in the world; in fact it ranks first with most organisations such as OECD. Almost 90% of adults have at least a high school diploma, and over 50% have the equivalent of a university degree.

Tuition in both English and French is available in most parts of the country, with each province/territory regulating educational policies. In general it is mandatory for children between the ages of 6 and 17 to attend school. Kindergarten is very common and in some areas state kindergartens are free but subsequently oversubscribed.

Like most of Europe the school year starts in September and runs through until June there are mid-term breaks including Christmas and Easter. School generally starts around 8 AM and finishes at around 3 PM.

Children with a permanent resident status are entitled to a free/subsidised state education for primary and secondary years. For enrollment at a state school an entrance exam may be required. Available schools will be based on the area in which you live. Naturally these institutions are extremely popular and many have waiting lists.

Private schools are common and generally of an excellent standard with small classes, however fees can start at over CAD 20,000 per yea

Moving Documents

When moving to Canada from Dubai, importing Household Goods and Personal Effects

  • Passport copy
  • Proof of Residency overseas
  • Customs Form BSF186, (formerly B4)
  • Immigration paper, (if applicable)
  • Work permit / student visa
  • Customs declaration
  • Liquor permit (if applicable)
  • Detailed Packing list in English or French
  • Receipts for new items
  • Bill of lading / AWB

Helpful Website(s):

Note: This document is provided as a guide for people moving to Canada from Dubai, UAE and for information purposes only. Customs regulations can and do change at any time, usually without notice. Your mover will provide you with more information.