9 Pros and Cons of Retiring in Canada: The Facts You Need To Know

Cn Tower in Toronto

Retiring to Canada comes with a slew of advantages like universal healthcare, very safe, great people, great food and a multicultural society. If you have thought of retiring to Canada or just to somewhere different then you have to read this article. 

Here are the Pros and Cons of retiring to Canada:


  • Kind & Welcoming People
  • Vibrant Lifestyle
  • Very Safe And Secure
  • Good Public and Private Health Care
  • English Is Widely Spoken
  • Fantastic Landscape
  • Excellent Public Transportation


  • It’s Hard To Become A Resident
  • Cold Climate

Now you know what we will discuss let’s dig in deeper and explore exactly why they are Pros and Cons

Introduction To Canada

Canada is the world’s second largest country with a size of 9.98 million square kilometers. It  is the northmost country of the Americas with three oceans surrounding it: the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic. In reality Canada has the world’s longest coastline. Canada has a nearly 9,000-kilometer land border with the United States to the south. That is the world’s longest border! The majority of Canadians live within a few hundred kilometers of the border with the United States.

Canada is home to enormous mountain ranges and over 2 million lakes among other natural wonders. Would you believe me if I said Canada has  a little more than one million square kilometers of freshwater? Prepare to explore our gorgeous rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans as you explore this beautiful country.

The population of Canada is estimated to be around 38 million people with around 80% of these people living in cities and towns. Because Canada has so much land, Canada has one of the lowest population density ratios in the world. This equates to fewer than 4 people per square kilometer!

Canada has people from all over the world from 250 ethnic backgrounds or ancestries. There are 20 million Europeans in Canada, 2 million Indigenous people and a huge number of people who are Chinese, Indian and Southeast Asian. First Nations Inuit and Métis peoples make up Canada’s indigenous population.

Canada has many religions with various faiths including Catholics, Protestants, Christian Orthodox, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and some other minor religions as well.  There are also a lot of people that are agnostic or have no religion.

What are the Pros of Living in Canada

Kind & Welcoming People

The Canadian people are known the world over for their welcoming and helpful nature.  They are up there with Australians with their view on life and laid back attitude that lead to a healthy work life balance. Canadians share fundamental values such as pride, trust, inclusion, fairness and respect for all people. These values are what distinguishes Canada as a welcoming, peaceful and safe place to live. 

This means they have more time for their family and are inclusive in their social groups and will be happy to catch up regularly. There is a distinct sense of community in this country which is a welcome change of pace if you live in a culture that emphasizes independence above all else.

Vibrant Lifestyle

With much more stress-free work time, longer breaks during the day, and paid extended maternity leave it’s no surprise that Canada is a great place to live. People in Canada are also thought to have a more relaxed way of life than people in the United States. The government and society cares about a healthy life balance and sharing time with friends and family.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Canada ranks higher than other countries in the Better Life Index. We noted that Canadians work fewer hours per year but that doesn’t imply they don’t work hard; they just know how to manage work and family life.  They have a lower unemployment rate and a lower inequity between people as well.

There are many public holidays in Canada so there are plenty of long weekends to spend with family and friends. Family Day, a Canadian holiday dedicated to families, encourages Canadian families to get out and spend the day together.

There are heaps of different foods from all over the world in Canada mainly due to the large range of nationalities but there is also a lot of traditional foods as well.  Poutine and butter tarts are two traditional dishes that come to mind.

Here are a few places you can visit on your day off in Canada:

Very Safe and Secure

According to the Global Peace Index Canada is the world’s sixth safest country which is a position it has held since 2019. Internal disputes, crime rates and political stability all scored well in Canada. In addition to abundant career prospects, excellent healthcare and efficient governance. Canada’s crime rate is around one-third that of its neighboring country the U.S. (1.6 incidents per 100,000 vs. 4.5 per 100,000 respectively). In a Gallup poll conducted in 2018, 84 percent of Canadians said they felt very safe in their country.

Good Public and Private Health Care

Canada is well-known for its high-quality public health care system and relative ease of access to medical care. The national health care system is available to Canadians and foreigners who qualify as permanent residents. Canada’s system is called Medicare.

The federal government establishes the principles and criteria for Canada’s health care system. The program’s major goal is to ensure that citizens and non-citizens living there have equal access to medical care across the country. However each state is responsible for the actual management of the national insurance scheme.

Both Canadian residents and non-residents benefit from the country’s superior healthcare services but if you are not a resident you just have more out of pocket expense. However critical services are only provided at public healthcare centers to individuals who are insured by the Medicare health insurance plan. 

Private health insurance plans on the other hand are more expensive but provide less waiting times and staying in private hospitals.

Here are some private healthcare provider you might want to look into:

English Is Widely Spoken

Canada recognizes both French and English as official languages. The government departments believe it or not use both French and English. This means Canadians can get assistance from government departments in either language as well.  French is more predominant on the south east side of the country around Montreal and Quebec.

In Quebec, 95% of the people speak French and 45% are bilingual with English and other languages. The majority of Canadians are able to speak English so this means you would not have to learn another language. The advantage is that if you are wanting too there are plenty of schools teaching French there as well.

Fantastic Landscape

Mountains, volcanoes, prairies, seas, rivers, lakes, arctic tundras, glaciers, rain forests, grasslands, beaches, wineries, basins, canyons, slopes, hills and pastoral land can all be found in Canada. The majority of Canada is still uninhabited land which means for nature lovers this is a great country to visit.

Large bodies of water such as Lake Winnipeg, Fraser River, the Saskatchewan River, and the Mackenzie River may be found throughout western Canada. The Mackenzie river is 1,738 kilometers and is Canada’s longest river flowing from Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories to the Arctic Ocean.

The four biggest lakes in Canada are Great Slave Lake, Great Bear Lake, Lake Superior, and Lake Huron with Lake Superior and Lake Huron being part of the “Great Lakes”. The Great Lakes are made up of five bodies of water, four of which are on the border of Canada. 

The Great Lakes also include Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Niagara Falls in Ontario as well as the spectacular Virginia Falls in the Northwest. This waterfall is twice as high as the famed Niagara Falls but not seen as not nearly as impressive due to the amount of water flow.

The powerful Saint Lawrence River runs across eastern Canada widening into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence which stretches all the way to Newfoundland. The Bay of Fund, which is noted for having some of the world’s biggest tidal action separates New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Excellent Public Transportation

The majority of Canadian cities and larger towns have great public transportation systems and cities have bike lanes. The biggest public transport is buses across the whole of the country as well as flying but the bigger cities also have a subway or metro. 

For example there is a Subway in Toronto, a Metro in Montreal, the SkyTrain is in Vancouver and the O-Train is in Ottawa. Fares are inexpensive with daily, weekly and monthly tickets as well as other flexible ticket options like a 10 pass.

Here are a few available public transportation in Canada:

  • Bus
  • Train
  • Skytrain
  • Metro
  • Taxis
  • Subway

What are the Cons of Living in Canada?

It’s Hard To Become A Resident

For people considering retiring to Canada the issue of visas and residence is a major concern. There is no pension or retirement visa for foreigners in Canada which makes the process difficult and expensive.  If you try to use the eligibility tool you can not even complete it. The two paths are via a skilled working visa or a startup business visa where you hire other people to work for you.

Canada is known for its strict immigration regulations with just 250,000 refugees and migrants allowed in each year. Obtaining a work visa in Canada is a time-consuming and difficult procedure that can cost around $1,500 Canadian dollars per visa. 

Skilled workers who apply via Express Entry have it a bit simpler especially those where there are skills shortages.  If you are planning ahead this may be an option to reside for the last few years of your working life or just to work a few more into retirement.  Once you have the residency you will then be able to stop working.

Cold Climate

Lets just face it Canada is cold and even in the summer in the southern part of the country it still only has 4 months where the low temp overnight is in double figures. If you are looking for a warm beach location this definitely won’t be for you. However if you love the cold and sleeping in late then it definitely could be for you. 

In remote locations you will still be working with log fires and there will be access issues in the winter. So my suggestion is for access to the healthcare system and more frequent public transport with milder temperatures to stay in southern Canada on the east or west coast. Another option is to stay in Canada for the warmer months and then go to somewhere like Mexico for the colder months.

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