Expats FAQ in Canada

What city are you living in ?


Q: What banks are mostly preferred by expats in Toronto?

A: Most expats prefer to use a bank that has a global presence, especially one that has multilingual staff. HSBC is a favorite and so is Citibank. The Scotia Bank, which is local to Canada, is also a hit among foreigners, with its many special perks and saving plans for newly arrived expats.

Q: What benefits are typically offered by an international account opened in Toronto?

A: Most international accounts opened with a Toronto bank are available in twenty currencies, can be accessed from a central location, and offer 24/7 telephone and Internet banking services, forex and wealth management, access to expat tax information and finance guide. More benefits can be offered, depending on the bank and the specific type of international account.

Q: What are the most reliable local banks in Toronto?

A: In Canada, there are the so-called Big Five banks which are the biggest and most trusted local banks in the country. One of these is the Toronto-Dominion Bank which is considered the most stable and reliable local bank in Toronto.

Q: Is it possible for expats to open a bank account in Canada without a social insurance number?

A: Yes. Banks generally require an SIN but there are situations in which expats are allowed to open an account before getting one. To do so, they can call a bank representative who can guide them through the process. Hiring a destination services consultant also works.

Q: What are some of the best banks in Canada?

A: There are many good banks across Canada but the five most trusted are the Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), Toronto Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Bank of Montreal.

Q: Why aren't there pennies anymore in Canada?

A: Because the central bank has decided to phase them out. Cash transactions are now automatically rounded off to the nearest nickel.


Q: What are the prospects for those who are looking to start a business in Toronto?

A: The prospects are bright for business starters in Toronto. The city has a bustling free market economy, and while government intervention is more pronounced here than in any US city, it is much lower compared to other European countries. The market is generally welcoming, not to mention the fact that Canada as a whole is one of the world's easiest places to do business in, according to the 2014 Ease of Doing Business Survey by the World Bank.

Q: How does one start a business in Toronto?

A: The first and most significant step is to establish whether or not the business will be incorporated federally or provincially, and to determine what permits, licenses, and insurances are necessary. It is highly recommended that a lawyer be hired for a more accurate evaluation of one's options.

Q: Are all businesses in Toronto required to register with the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB)?

A: Not all but most. According to the workplace Safety and Insurance Act, employers should sign up with the WSIB within the first ten days of employing their first worker, whether full-time or part-time. Exempt from WSIB registration are banks, trust and insurance firms, trade unions, private health care providers (eg. doctors), travel agencies, funeral service providers and civic clubs.

Q: Which visa is suitable for business travel in Canada?

A: Canada has no special visa class for business travelers, and the requirements for entry depend on the country of origin. They may be able to enter with only a valid passport, or they may have to apply for a temporary residence visa.

Q: How are Canadians in terms of business etiquette?

A: The truth is doing business in Canada is nearly no different from doing business in the US, at least in terms of business customs and etiquette. Loudness and unnecessary body contact, as well as inappropriate greetings and gestures are unacceptable. However, expats should not automatically conclude that Canadians are just like Americans. Locals quite hate the assumption.

Q: Is a business license required for all businesses in Canada?

A: Most do need a business license which can be obtained from municipal offices. Further information is available on the city or town's website or in their phone books' blue pages. There are also businesses that need other licenses and permits, depending on the industry. On their website, BizPal (available in almost all provinces and territories) provides all the necessary information regarding the required business documents.


Q: What are some of Toronto's best attractions for children?

A: Toronto is generally a family-friendly city. Besides world-class amusement parks like Centerville in Toronto Island and Canada's Wonderland, there are also other attractions that are not only entertaining to kids but educational too. Examples are the Toronto Zoo and the Ontario Science Center.

Q: What amusement park in Toronto is the most popular among kids?

A: Toronto’s Centre Island’s Centreville Amusement Park is by far the most popular amusement park that kids love to keep coming back to. Interestingly, the park offers a lot of nostalgic carnival features such as antique Ferris wheels and carousels, old-fashioned pony rides and the like. The park is ideal for kids not older than 12 because it offers a lot of rides that are fun but not scary. The area also has a lot of bike paths and wading pools that kids are sure to enjoy.

Q: Are there centers or schools for autistic children in Toronto?

A: Yes. Two of the most popular are The YMCA Academy along Breadalbane St. and Kohai Educational Centre on Roehampton Avenue.

Q: What's in store for an outdoorsy kid moving to Canada?

A: There's plenty, although this may ultimately depend on which province or territory he's moving to. Some 10 provinces and 3 territories have lots of opportunities for swimming, skiing and even hiking and mountain-climbing. Canada is a great natural open playground for kids, and it's perfect for both tourist and expat families any time of year.

Q: Is it important for expat kids to learn French even if they are not moving to Quebec?

A: Outside Quebec, kids aren't required to learn French but there are many who do, and there are advantages too. After all, the French are still integral to the Canadian culture. Besides that, learning a new language has been found to improve working memory, which is important to certain subjects like math and reading. Since 2000, enrolments in French immersion have increased in all Canadian provinces, except New Brunswick.

Q: What is the process for adopting a child in Canada?

A: Adoptions in Canada are regulated provincially, which means the process is different from one province to another. It may also differ in terms of whether the adoption is done through the private, public or international system. In all cases, potential foster parents should take a readiness training, and complete a home study by a qualified social worker.

Cost of living

Q: Is it wise to own a private vehicle in Toronto?

A: Toronto's public transport network is one of the best in the world but expats often find having their own car quite economical. Petrol is generally cheap all throughout the country, but note that in Toronto, car insurance could be more expensive than in other cities.

Q: How much do people typically pay for household utilities in Toronto?

A: For an average household, the bill could amount to around $200, including mobile calls, electricity, Internet, and domestic help.

Q: Is eating out expensive in Toronto?

A: A three-course dinner at a medium-range restaurant could cost around $ 45. A Big Mac is around $ 8, while soda would be around $ 2 for 500 ml. A bottle of local beer is around $ 5 and a cappuccino is probably in the $ 3-5 range.

Q: Is food costly in Canada?

A: Food and drinks in Canada aren't what you'd call expensive or cheap. They're somewhat on the mid-range, but still generally cheaper than in the US and in Western European countries.

Q: How much is a typical house rental in Canada?

A: It really depends on the city or region. For example, Toronto and Vancouver rentals are the highest, but there are cheaper deals in suburban areas. Rent in the city centre could range from 900 to 2000 CAD, but outside, it could go from about 800 CAD to 1000 CAD for a similar property. A three-bedroom apartment in a key city would cost anywhere between 1800 CAD and 2600 CAD, but expats can rent a similar property in an outlying area for around 1,300 CAD to 1900 CAD.

Q: How much do public transport tickets cost in Canada?

A: Public transportation in Canada is generally expensive though not as expensive as in other key cities in the world like Tokyo, London or New York. A typical one-way local transit ticket costs around 3 CAD, and a monthly ticket can be bought at around 98 CAD.


Q: Is it important to buy a comprehensive health insurance plan before relocating to Toronto?

A: Yes, because it takes a minimum of three months after arriving in Toronto before one can be eligible for the free basic health insurance given to residents of the city.

Q: How much do childbirth services and facilities cost in Toronto?

A: For normal vaginal delivery without complications and without OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Program) benefits, the cost could be around $2000-3000. A prenatal trip to the OB is usually about $40-75, the cost getting higher as expected delivery date comes closer. Ultrasound goes for $65-85 each.

Q: What dental services are part of Toronto's public health care program for kids?

A: Toronto Public Health mandates that kids in both public and private schools be given annual dental screenings from Junior Kindergarten to eight grade. Parents are usually informed ahead of time about the schedule of the screenings, and may opt out if they want to.

Q: How do expats get a public health insurance card in Canada?

A: Application forms are available at hospitals, doctors' clinics, pharmacies or the Internet, and should be completed and forwarded to the relevant provincial or territorial government as soon as possible. Processing takes around three months, so expats should get temporary private health insurance to cover them during this period.

Q: Does Canada have the same waiting list problems in UK under its public health care system?

A: Yes. While emergency treatments are always given immediately, people may have to wait four weeks for a consultation or six months for an important surgery. The quality of healthcare in Canada is envied across the world, but long waiting lists are as much of a problem here as they are in UK.

Q: What companies provide the best private insurance policies that can supplement Medicare coverage in Canada?

A: Blue Cross, TIC and ETFS are the three favorites among many other similar companies in Canada. The cost can be high and expats are advised to negotiate this into their job contracts before flying in.


Q: What is Toronto Community Housing and are expats covered by the program?

A: Toronto Community Housing is a government program that provides subsidized housing to Toronto residents. It's the second biggest housing agency in North America funded by the city of Toronto and the Government of Ontario. Rental rates depend on income or can be entirely covered by the government. Expats may apply to this program but only when they have received permanent resident status. Otherwise, they are not qualified.

Q: What is the best neighborhood for families with small children in Toronto?

A: Bedford Park is particularly popular among expats with kids, especially Italian and Orthodox Jewish families, because of its great selection of schools and other useful amenities like a local library, a highly efficient transit system and many playgrounds.

Q: What are the usual costs that go into a property purchase in Toronto?

A: The biggest expense associated with a home purchase in Toronto is the land transfer tax which amounts to at least 1.5% of the purchase price or almost 4% in the Greater Toronto Area. A buyer also pays around 5% in commissions, plus moving and legal costs. Overall, expenses incurred when buying a residential property is almost 10% of the purchase price.

Q: Can an expat get a mortgage in Canada through a bank back home?

A: An expat can get a mortgage in Canada but not through a foreign bank. Only local banks can register mortgages in Canada. It's also wise to hire the services of a local lawyer or notary public for the preparation of documents and land title registration and other necessary steps.

Q: Do non-residents have the same rights as residents and citizens, in terms of property ownership in Canada?

A: Yes, they have the same rights. Expats who intend to stay in Canada for shorter than 6 months a year will be considered non-residents, meaning, they may buy a property and open a bank account in the country. If they stay beyond 6 months a year, they have to apply for immigrant status.

Q: Is hiring an agent really help expats who want to buy a house in Canada?

A: Apart from the fact that most expats aren't familiar with the country's real estate industry, more than 66% of Canadians report their home ownership, which means agents do have a lot of helpful information in their hands. Canadian landlords also don't like the hassle of looking for tenants, giving agents the upper hand over the best rentals in any city. Of course, they're paid too via commissions (around 10-15% of the sale price or monthly rent).


Q: What are Toronto's most popular must-eats?

A: St. Lawrence Market is Toronto's food mecca located right at the center of the city where more than 50 market vendors serve some of the city's most popular gastronomic attractions. These include Italian veal and eggplant parmigiana sandwiches, St. Urbain bagels, and Portugese tarts.

Q: Where are the best bars found in Toronto?

A: The Entertainment District is where most of Toronto's best bars are located. Outside the district are the city's famous underground bars and clubs like Queen West, King West, and the Distillery District. The Cabana Pool Bar and The Guvernment are poolside bars that are very popular among expats.

Q: Which Toronto restaurants have the best views?

A: The Roof Lounge located at the Park Hyatt Toronto offers an incredible view of Toronto's skyline, while Luma, a collaboration between TIFF Bell Lightbox and Oliver & Bonacini restos, overlooks the city's trendy west-end theatre district at 350 King Street. Canoe, an elite restaurant at TD Bank Tower's 54th floor, offers breathtaking panoramas of the city's harbour and downtown area.

Q: Where is the best beach found in Canada?

A: There are many beautiful beaches in Canada, but people are most in awe of the Singing Sands Beach in Basin Head Provincial Park, Souris, PEI (about 93 kilometers east of Charlottetown). It's not only known for its warm waters, but also for the unique swishing sound it makes when the wind swirls or somebody walks on the sand. Nobody knows why it happens but it's a huge crowd drawer nonetheless. Wasaga Beach in Ontario and Brady's Beach in Bamfield, British Columbia are also very nice.

Q: What's the legal drinking age in Canada?

A: It depends on the province or territory, but it's only either 18 (e.g. Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta) or 19 (e.g. Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan).

Q: Are they really moving ice hockey rinks indoor in Canada?

A: Yes, but it's still in the initial stages of the plan. Rink operators thought of the idea after seeing the rinks not freezing when they should, and Canada's warming temperatures are blamed. Ice hockey is the country's national sport, and there are suggestions that rinks be moved indoors, not just on summers but also on winters.

Looking for a job

Q: What industries offer the best job opportunities for expats in Toronto?

A: Toronto is a particularly good city for those looking to work in the finance sector. In adjacent areas, there are great opportunities for professionals in the fields of software development, IT, automotive manufacturing, and communications. The software and IT sectors of the city have been growing steadily for the last few years.

Q: Why do many expats prefer to settle in the Greater Toronto Area instead of Toronto proper?

A: It's because GTA has some of the best work opportunities for expats, particularly in Peel, York, Durham, and Halton.

Q: What is the best way to get a job in Toronto?

A: Intra-company transfers are the safest and most convenient way of getting a job in Toronto. People who want to relocate to the city and are working for a multinational company with a branch here can request to be moved. There are many attractive incentives offered by the government to companies that invest within the GTA, not to mention that the process for setting up a business here has also become a lot easier.

Q: If an expat has a temporary work permit in Canada, does he have the same rights as one who has a resident permit?

A: Technically, they both have a right to live in Canada, but a residence permit holder can stay permanently while a temporary work permit holder can only stay until his permit expires. Also, residents have the right to many of the country's social systems, like education and healthcare, and may work in any sector; temporary workers do not enjoy such rights and may only work in the position indicated in their permits.

Q: Around how much do expats earn in Canada?

A: This depends on the city, province and sector they work in. The highest paid workers in Canada are those in the mining, oil/gas drilling and utility (water, telecommunication and energy) industries, healthcare professionals such as nurses, medical technologists, radiologists, etc., and financial analysts. Those who work in the hospitality and entertainment sectors, like waiters, hotel receptionists, etc. tend to be paid lower. Also, the bigger the city, the higher the pay.

Q: How can a temporary worker apply for permanent residence in Canada?

A: Temporary workers in Canada have to leave the country upon the expiration of their permits, and then apply for permanent residence from their home countries. Applying for residence from within Canada is possible, but not until they obtain provincial approval.


Q: Are traveler's checks accepted in Toronto?

A: Most people in Toronto mainly rely on ATMs these days for cash accessibility reasons. However, traveler's checks are still accepted, and as opposed to cash, they are still safer to use since they can be replaced if they ever end up stolen or misplaced. Traveler's checks can be bought at most banks in Toronto, and come in $20s, $50s, $100s, $500s, and $1,000. Service charge can be anywhere from 1- 4%.

Q: Do Toronto banks charge fees for international withdrawals?

A: Generally, yes, but the fees can vary significantly so it's important to inquire from the particular bank itself. If the bank is a member of the Global ATM alliance and the person withdraws from an ATM of a member bank, there will be zero transaction fees. This alliance includes Scotiabank of Canada, Mexico, and Caribbean, Deutsche Bank of Italy, Poland, Spain, and Germany, Barclays of UK and some areas in Africa, BNP Paribas of France, and Bank of America.

Q: Are US dollars accepted in Toronto?

A: US dollars are sometimes accepted, especially in the Niagara region which is very near the border. In some cases, establishments like restaurants and hotels may hesitate to take Canadian dollars more than $20 because of counterfeiting concerns. It is important to get small bills when withdrawing money from an ATM or going to a money changer.

Q: Do all expats need to pay taxes in Canada?

A: Yes, all expats need to pay taxes in Canada but different guidelines apply, depending on their status. Residents have to pay taxes on all income they receive in and out of Canada while non-residents have to pay only for what they make in the country. Residents have to file annual tax returns, but non-residents don't. An expat staying in Canada for more than 183 days is considered a resident.

Q: What is "Direct Payment" and how does it work in Canada?

A: Direct Payment is the most popular way of paying for goods and services in Canada. Customers use a bank card (different from an ATM) through which the total purchase amount will be paid, via a direct deduction from the customer's bank account. In a way, a bank card is like a debit card, but it cannot be used for ATM withdrawals.

Q: Do people pay taxes to their provincial government or the federal government?

A: People in Canada pay taxes to both their provincial and the federal government. The good thing is this can be done at once using one form, except for those who are living in Quebec where different rules apply.


Q: What is the size of the expat population in Toronto?

A: Huge! In fact, Toronto has the highest number of foreign-born citizens compared to all other cities in the world. More than forty percent of the population is of South Asian or Chinese origin, while more recent immigrants are Greek, Scottish, Italian, or French.

Q: What is the weather like in Toronto?

A: Toronto has all four seasons, but its weather is generally moderate because of its southerly location. Temperatures can swing significantly within the year, with summers being warm and humid and winters being extremely cold. A winter coat and pair of boots are absolute musts.

Q: Is travel insurance necessary for those coming to work in Toronto?

A: For those coming to Canada on a working holiday program, travel insurance is required. Border control may actually check to make sure that a person has enough cover before he is allowed entry. It is important to note that provincial health insurance cannot take the place of travel insurance because it does not provide travel-related benefits such as repatriation coverage.

Q: Is Canada a big country?

A: Very big. In fact, expats are often surprised to learn how much driving they have to do just to get to the next town, which might feel like driving to the next coast in England. Driving around Canada itself covers about the same distance from UK to Saudi Arabia. It's that big!

Q: How are Canadians towards expats?

A: Mostly nice and warm. Canadians seem to have a constant air of cheerfulness, even when dealing with strangers. Canada has a huge immigrant population and locals hardly, if at all, discriminate against them, unlike in the US and Europe.

Q: Is Quebec an autonomous part of Canada?

A: It is part of Canada but it is not autonomous though that's how it often looks like. Quebec is the only Canadian province where French is the predominant and official language. There are constant sporadic clamors for secession, but none has been successful so far.


Q: What are the vaccination rules for pet imports to Toronto?

A: Animals imported into Toronto should have rabies vaccination not older than one month, but not exceeding one year (for yearly vaccinations), or not in excess of three years (for three-year vaccinations) before departure date. In short, rabies vaccinations must be recent in order to be valid.

Q: Do dogs need to be licensed in Toronto?

A: Yes. Dogs and even cats have to be licensed. This is a requirement as per the Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 349. Currently though, only 10% of cats and 30% of dogs in the city have a license.

Q: Where do people go to report lost animals in Toronto?

A: Lost animal reports may be filed by calling 416-338-PAWS (7297). The pet owner will be required to provide a description of the pet, the animal's microchip number, and license number if applicable.

Q: What dog food brands are popular in Canada?

A: Mars Canada Inc and Nestlé Purina PetCare Co are two multinational brands that are very popular in Canada, with some local and smaller companies such as Champion Petfoods LP also gaining ground. The good news is pet care products have just gone mainstream, which means they can now be bought from huge supermarket chains like Walmart and Loblaws, where they are cheaper than in pet specialty stores.

Q: How much does spaying/neutering cost in Canada?

A: Spaying or neutering cats in Canada costs around 250 - 300 CAD, and for dogs, it's about 330 - 420 CAD. This usually includes everything, from heating pads to surgery.

Q: What is the life expectancy of dogs in Canada?

A: Any dog's life expectancy mainly depends on its breed, but in Canada (and the rest of North America), dogs tend to live an average of 13 years. According to calculations of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, a 13-year dog ownership in Canada is equivalent to about $28,700 in annual vaccines, food, pet insurance and vet bills.


Q: Are expat children admitted into public schools in Toronto?

A: Yes, but only expat students who have a resident permit can be admitted to public schools at zero cost. Those without a permit have to pay around $8,000-10,000 in fees annually.

Q: What are the common reasons expats might choose to send their kids to an international school?

A: Convenience is one common reason, since there are no catchment zones for international schools. This means students have the option of boarding, giving their parents more flexibility. Another reason is when parents want their kids to continue with the curriculum in their home countries.

Q: How much does it cost to send a child to an international school in Toronto?

A: This depends on the school but on average, the fees are around $25,000-30,000 yearly.

Q: Are expat students also entitled to free public school education?

A: If they have a residence permit, yes. Otherwise, they have to pay the fees which range from 8,000 to 10,000 CAD, depending on the province or territory.

Q: Are there homestay programs in Canada?

A: Yes, international students in Canada have homestay programs as an option. Depending on the institution, the costs range from 10,500 to 23,000 CAD.

Q: What types of private schools are there in Canada?

A: There are all sorts of private schools in Canada. There are international schools, special-needs schools, religious schools and even military schools. Religious schools tend to have the most reasonable rates while international schools have the most expensive.


Q: Where does one go for one-stop shopping in Toronto?

A: Toronto Eaton Centre is the city’s biggest and most popular one-stop shopping center in Toronto located just across Yongde-Dundas Square. In Mississauaga is Square One which is a sprawling 1.6 million-square foot space that bustles with over 360 retail stores and service offices.

Q: Where do people go to buy used yet good quality clothing in Toronto?

A: In Queen West, there's a whole line of unique used clothing sold at consignment shops. In Ossington, there's also a whole strip of boutiques selling chic used clothing, and then there's Bloor-Yorkville, which is like New York's Fifth Avenue where a lot of tourists go to buy posh pre-loved items.

Q: What are the best flea markets in Toronto?

A: The Leslieville Flea Market is very popular and is open on the first Sunday of each month at Harbourfront Centre. Here are more than 50 stores offering a whole range of goods, from footwear to jewelry. Another favorite among tourists is the Merchant’s Flea Market which has more than 250 stalls in a 45,000 square foot warehouse space right at the core of Scarborough.

Q: What taxes are paid for online-bought items that have to be shipped from another country into Canada?

A: Canadian Customs will charge Goods and Services Tax or GST, plus an inspection fee which could be higher than the GST on small purchases like DVDs or clothing (unless ordered in bulk).

Q: Are there East Asian stores in Canada?

A: Yes, and they're not just stores. The Pacific Mall in Markham, a suburban city of Toronto, is the biggest indoor Asian mall in all of North America, with more than 450 stalls selling everything, from fashion jewelry to oriental medicine products.

Q: Is haggling part of Canadians' shopping culture?

A: No, it's not part of their culture but it does happen, though not as commonly as in places like Hong Kong or Singapore. When shopping in Canada, also note that price tags don't include GST (tax) because this is instead added at the cash register.


Q: What are the most popular telecom service providers in Toronto?

A: There are many telecom service providers in Toronto. Bell Canada is one of the biggest, offering internet, satellite, mobile, landline, and high speed data services. Rogers Cable is also a favorite, especially in terms of video-on-demand and interactive TV services. Primus Telecommunications, Teksavvy, and Contact are three other big names name in the city's telecom industry.

Q: What are the cheapest Internet services in Toronto?

A: There are at least 119 smaller Internet service providers in the city and they charge way cheaper rates. Note, however, that these cheaper companies are third party carriers that resell Internet services they've bought wholesale. That means the big guys (Bell, Rogers, etc.) will still be getting their share of the money that the smaller guys make.

Q: How much can a subscriber save with bundled instead of separate telecom services in Toronto?

A: It depends on the company and service combinations, but with Bell and Rogers, getting a bulk package could lead to around $20 in monthly savings in unlimited Internet, 25% in discounts per year, or maybe a free PVR HD box for cable or Internet.

Q: Where can consumers file complaints against their Internet providers in Canada?

A: Complaints can be forwarded to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, an independent public body that regulates telecommunication and broadcasting systems in the country. Information on how to file a complaint is available on their website.

Q: Do Canadian schools have free Wi-Fi for students?

A: Yes, there's a good number of Canadian schools that provide free Wi-Fi for students. However, there is an increasing clamor to remove it because of radiation concerns. Groups behind this call are taking inspiration from European countries like France and Switzerland, which have either minimized or totally pulled out Wi-Fi from their schools for the same reason.

Q: Do people still use landlines in Canada?

A: Yes, but the numbers are decreasing. As of 2014, only about 40% of households in Canada have landlines, and the rest have learned to rely on their mobile phones. The scenario is pretty much the same as in the US. One common reason people hold on to their landlines is they tend to connect faster to emergency hotlines like 911, compared to mobile phones.


Q: What are the main transit agencies serving commuters in Toronto?

A: Toronto commuters have a number of options, but two of the most popular are GO Transit for those traveling within the city and surrounding areas, and the TTC or Toronto Transit Commission which serves Toronto proper using a single fare system. TTC sells daily, weekly, and monthly passes, as well as discounted tokens, but cash is also accepted.

Q: What's the best way to get around Toronto?

A: It depends from person to person but streetcars are known to be one of the best ways to commute in the city since they run on time and reach areas that subways and other local modes of transportation don't.

Q: What time do public transport vehicles begin their daily operations?

A: Mondays thru Saturdays, subway services usually begin at 6AM and the last trip starts at around 1:30AM. They start a bit later on Sundays though - around 9AM, and end at almost 1AM. On the other hand, streetcars and buses operate from 6AM to 1AM everyday.

Q: Is it better take the train or bus when traveling within Canada?

A: Although more expensive, the train is highly preferred because it's faster and more comfortable. Additionally, there are special discounts given to people traveling in groups. (Note that VIA Rail, Canada's rail service provider does not operate in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.)

Q: How much is car insurance in Canada?

A: It depends on the usual factors like the car's make and model, the driver's driving record, the deductible, etc. In general, car insurance in Canada is expensive, and all cars must be insured and registered with the owner's territorial or provincial government as required by law. Expats who have car insurance at home need not get a new policy, but only if they have confirmed that it covers them in Canada.

Q: Who can rent a car in Canada?

A: Individuals who are at least 25 years old and have a valid driving license and credit card will be able to rent a car in Canada. Some companies may reduce the age limit to 21-24, but the total charges will be higher.


Q: How strict are customs officials at Toronto's airports?

A: Not very strict in general, but for certain passengers, they can be stricter than usual. For example, under 18 visitors can only bring up to 200 cigarettes and one bottle of liquor. Anything more than the allowed amounts of certain goods will be automatically confiscated.

Q: When is the most convenient time to move to Toronto in terms of the weather?

A: It depends. For those who are coming to ski, November thru March is the best time because this is when temperatures go below freezing. Hotels also offer lots of discounts, sometimes up to 50%, during this time of year. For those who don't plan on skiing and would simply like to explore the city or those who are coming to relocate permanently, between late spring and early fall is the best time.

Q: Do people traveling from the US need a visa to enter Canada?

A: No, but a valid passport is required. Minimum validity is up to a day after the scheduled departure.

Q: Are Canadians environment-conscious?

A: Yes, and it shows in their day-to-day lives. For example, littering is a very big deal for Canadians, and travelers should make sure their own trash goes straight in the trash bin. It's not uncommon to find a local holding on to a piece of rubbish until he finds an appropriate place for it.

Q: Are there special requirements for traveling with kids across the border to Canada?

A: None if the child is traveling with his or her own parents. Otherwise, the accompanying adult should present a written note from the parents, indicating their consent as well as their contact information. If a child is traveling with only one parent, a note with the same content from the other parent should be presented at the booth.

Q: Up to how much liquid is allowed when flying out of a Canadian airport?

A: As per Canadian travel regulations, only up to 3.4 ounces of liquid may be allowed in carry on, and anything in excess will have to be left at the airport or stuffed into checked baggage.


Q: What are the requirements for maintaining permanent resident status as an expat in Toronto?

A: The most important requirement is for the expat to be physically living in Canada for a minimum of two years within a period of five years. However, there can be exceptions to this rule. For example, if the person is traveling with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse or partner, if a child is traveling with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident parent, or if an employee is working for a Canadian employer, time spent outside Canada can still count towards the two years.

Q: Under what circumstances can an expat lose permanent resident status?

A: When a permanent resident is convicted of a serious crime, he could lose this status. The same thing happens when he misrepresents himself and his identity to the federal or provincial government, commits international, human or security violations, or is involved in organized crime.

Q: What is the Transit Without Visa program and who may apply?

A: The Transit Without Visa program is created for foreigners who want to pass through Canada en route to the United States. However, there are certain requirements to be met, such as the foreigner being from Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, or Taiwan, having a valid US visa, and using an approved airline and Canadian international airport. A similar program, China Transit Program, is created for people coming from China and leaving from an approved list of cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manila and Taipei, as the last point of embarkation prior to arrival in Canada.

Q: Can expats file for a Canadian temporary residence visa in Canada?

A: No. All temporary residence visa applications are filed in the applicant's home country. There should be an allowance of at least six months between the date of application and the intended date of departure. In most cases, personal appearance is necessary.

Q: What are the different visas people can consider if they want to move to Canada?

A: There are six: Skilled Workers and Professionals, for those who want to work in Canada (except Quebec) in a field short of local candidates; Quebec Selected Skilled Workers, for those who want to live and work in Quebec; Canadian Experience Class, for expats who have worked in Canada recently; Investors, Entrepreneurs and Self-employed, for those who want to open a business in Canada; Provincial Nominees, for those who have skills specifically needed in certain provinces; and Family Visas for those who want to join a spouse or any family member who is already a resident of Canada.

Q: Do kids need a student visa to study in Canada?

A: No. Expat kids in primary or secondary school do not need a student visa to study in Canada. University students do.