Moving Back to Canada
Moving Back to Canada

Moving Back to Canada from the UK


Introduction

Moving to Canada from the UK considerations

Returning to Canada from the UK would seem to be a pretty straightforward move. After all, Canada is a former British colony, we share a common national language, and both countries are progressive and modern societies.

Whether you considering moving to Canada from England, Ireland, or Scotland, there are many similarities. But there are also many differences between the UK and Canada. This resource is designed to help you with some of the differences in order to empower you to decide two things:

  1. If the move back to Canada makes sense for you at this time. And...
  2. How to make your move back to Canada a smooth and happy one if the answer is "yes!

Most of the questions I have received from Canadian expatriates living in the UK come from indecision around whether it makes sense to move back given their particular situation. Unlike their counterparts living in the U.S., who generally want to know the "hows" of moving back, Canadians living in the UK are more focused on the "should I move back?" question.

Let's start by looking at the commonalities and differences from the context of consideration of a move back to Canada:

Some of the commonalities between Canada and the UK:


Some of the differences between Canada and the UK, in the context of a potential move back:


How does this help you understand whether to move back to Canada?


Perhaps the following three questions can help with clarity on moving back, and whether it makes sense for you:

  1. Are you deeply embedded in the UK culture and society? If yes, removing yourself from the UK culture and trying to establish yourself in Canada may be a shock...and perhaps an big shock one that could take years to come to grips with. One client I worked with was so torn between very close cultural and social ties in the UK and his desire to move back to Canada that he decided to stay in the UK.

  2. Canada is a vast place. It is not a "hop, skip, and a jump" away from Paris, per my example above. While the UK is more costly to live in than Canada, wages and salaries in Canada are much lower, on average. This makes it harder to live an easy-flowing international lifestyle in Canada. If you live an urban, sophisticated, European-connected life in the UK, are you willing to give up that geographic accessibility and lifestyle to live in Canada?

  3. How are you oriented? Toward creating your own life and culture or toward fitting into another? If you are a free thinker and love creating your own life amid tremendous physical, mental, and social freedom, Canada is for you. If you want to instantly plug into a culture that fits who you are and that gives you a sense of personal security, the UK is perhaps a better choice (assuming the UK culture is the one you want to plug into!)

Feedback shared with me by someone considering moving back to Canada:

My biggest concern is whether or not I can fit in after living away for 30 years. All my friends and professional contacts are in the UK. Also, I still have a son and grandson here too. But my brothers and sister, nieces, nephews, cousins live in Ontario (family) although I have few friends there anymore and very few professional contacts. But the desire to return to be near family was strong...Most of all I want to get re-acquainted with family but can I adapt to the culture after so long away??

A final note: UK expats, emigrants to Canada, and Canadian returnees from the UK have in recent years created stronger ties to each other in Canada. There is a "British Canadian Newspaper", for example, published here. And UK style pubs are in every major city in Canada. So, despite my challenging questions above, there are ways to move back to Canada and stay connected to British culture and interests.


Resources for returning to Canada from the UK

Moving your belongings

Sea container for moving your belongings to Canada

Unless you plan to bring a few suitcases and boxes with you by air, a 20' or 40' container works well. The sea route between the UK and North America is direct and well-serviced by shipping companies, making a move to eastern and central Canada (Toronto, Ottawa, etc.) a pretty standard and modestly priced move.

What to bring:

Due to shipping costs, low-value items and those that won't be of use in Canada (appliances that run on 220v, for example) are not worth shipping.

Some general items that are worth shipping to Canada with you:

What not to bring:


Taxes


As mentioned above, Canada and the UK have a tax treaty and so you won't have major problems sorting out your taxes when you move back to Canada. Your return will entail advising investment, pension, and tax authorities in the UK, with attendant paperwork to fill out, but again, there should not be a signficant tax implication to you as a result of your return.

If your situation is complicated I do recommend getting professional advice from a tax accountant in Canada who specializes in international taxes.

Foreign Exchange


This may be a bit tricky. The UK economy is very different than Canada's and the currencies will not move in a predictable pattern between each other. Here is a 4 year graph of the GBP-CAD exchange rates, created using data courtesy of CanadianForex.ca:

GBP timing considerations when converting to Canadian dollars

As of the latest upate of this chart, the GBP has generally returned to 2013 levels vis a vis the CAD due to BREXIT impacts, indicating that this is not a particularly good time to convert your funds to CAD if you are planning on moving back soon and plan on moving your money to Canada permanently. It is anticipated that ongoing fluctuations will be the norm for some time as BREXIT negotiations impact real and perceived implications for people and organizations.

Some foreign exchange considerations:


Retiring in Canada


There is now a dedicated "Retiring in Canada" resource page on this site! Here you will find resources and tips covering the whole process of preparing for and making the move back to Canada to retire. I created it in response to the growing number of returning Canadians who are returning to Canada from the UK, U.S., Australia, and further abroad to retire here.


Your ideas, considerations, and experiences?

Please share your ideas, thoughts, and experiences relating to returning to Canada from the UK. Your input will really help others who are considering the move as well. A big thank you on behalf of the many people you will be helping!

Thank you!

Paul Kurucz
Canada


This page up to date as of November 2017



Moving Back to Canada Planner!


Planner / checklist when preparing to move from the UK to CanadaA ready-made, customizable list of things you have to prepare for your move back to Canada, organized on a timeline approach. Save hours of work and the stress that you might not think of it all.

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Have questions?


I offer professional support to help you prepare for a smooth and easy return to Canada so you can feel confident and organized!


Paul Kurucz

Paul Kurucz - Canada


A happy client:

Hi Paul,

Just to update you - we landed and sailed through customs! So thank you so much for all of your advice...It was a thoroughly pleasant experience...

... this is to say thank you for everything. Your advisory has been so incredibly helpful and saved us considerable time and removed room for error.

With best wishes,

Caroline


Feedback from a UK visitor to this web site:


Thank you for your informative site. I should have signed up for your support. I am ready to throw our belongings in the Atlantic I am so fed up with trying to figure everything out.

Paul's professional support




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