This article is intended to be of support to the thousands of expatriate Canadians in the U.S. and around the world who intend to move back to Canada in 2020 or are in the process of doing so already.
The events that began in February 2020 and continue to unfold are unprecedented in their scale, scope, and future uncertainty. We are in "new territory" as a country and as a world.
What we know for sure is that there will be major impacts on the economy of Canada and the U.S. and those of most other countries.
There will also be social and political impacts.
I think of this time as the end of the children's game "musical chairs". Since 2017 I have witnessed Canadians abroad and others wishing to live in Canada migrating at an increasing pace and with more and more urgency. Many were looking for their proverbial "safe chair" to be in if challenging times hit their world. This peaked in the months leading up to February 2020 where immigration hit a record high in Canada and returning Canadians were even impacting real estate prices in certain markets because of their numbers.
The music came to a stop in March 2020. You were either in a proverbial "safe chair" or you were caught without one. Sadly, millions of people in Canada and the U.S. have no "chair". They do not have the financial, health, and personal resilience to weather these challenging times. I have compassion for them all.
In summary, yes, more Canadians have been returning to Canada recently. Many, many more than in previous years. And from my work with lots of these returnees as my clients I can say that almost all found what they were looking for: Safety and the opportunity to create the life in Canada they desired.
America has typically been the land of opportunity. Canada has typically been the land of safety. This is still true to a certain extent, but Canada is now a place of opportunity, too, if you can get in alignment with how Canadians think and how wealth is created here.
However, many people trade opportunity for safety and find it a pyrrhic victory. If you consider a move to Canada to be both - safety AND opportunity - you can do really well. But if you are only looking for safety? You might not be satisfied with your choice to return to Canada at this time. Canada is not immune to the challenges facing the world. We will go through some changes in 2020 and beyond. Are you ready to take the good and the bad of those changes if you move back now?
Once the virus scare fades Canada will be stronger and opportunities will abound. My "read" on the U.S.? As a country they still have a ways to go before the systemic challenges in their country are realistically acknowledged, faced, and addressed. The transition for them will not be easy. But in the end a stronger U.S. will emerge. A different U.S., but a stronger one.
And the UK? Europe? Australia? Latin America? India?
The challenges of this time will impact each country and region differently. Some will rebound fantastically, seeking and embracing this time as an opportunity. Others will struggle for years with the changes that are underway.
In summary, yes, there will still be opportunities to find work or start a profitable business, to find a great place to live, and to build a wonderful life in Canada if you come back in 2020.
There are many opinions out there about whether you should move or not move. I suggest not taking these opinions too seriously. Gain new perspectives and ideas from the thinking of others but keep their opinions at arms length from your unique context and considerations.
Only you know what is best for you.
Here are a few questions that might help you determine if moving back to Canada during the remainder of 2020 and into 2021 is right for you:
In summary, there is no "should" about whether to return to Canada in 2020 or not. There is only what you and your family need, whether this is a good time to do so, and whether you have the resources, strength, and patience to make the move happen right now, during these times of change and upset in the world and in Canada.
Marie Galarneau shares her family's experience and decision: (thank you, Marie!)
Thank you for writing this article, it made me realise that we made the right choice. My family and I were meant to move to Canada from Australia in early May to be reunited with my family.
After having lived in Australia for 13 years this was a particularly big and emotional move for me. I was mentally ready, the boxes had been picked up for shipping, we had found an apartment in Quebec and given our resignations and then our flight was cancelled and we realised that our chances of leaving in the next few months was, well, uncertain.
Considering the current situation we realised that we were much better off staying than rushing to leave. We were lucky enough to keep our rental and at least one our two jobs (the other one we still don't know yet). Deciding to stay for up to another year was a very emotional decision to say the least, but I know we made the right one. Keeping some normality going for our girls in an environment that they know was also at the forefront of making this decision.
My heart is with everyone in a similar situation, but just keep in mind that we will get there eventually!
I hope this article helps you!
Consultant and Advisor - Moving Back to Canada