This resource page offers referrals to trusted professionals who can support you with the purchase of real estate in Canada, help with a spousal sponsorships for Permanent Resident status, guide you in planning a complex financial and tax move, and help you prepare your legal picture for a move to Canada. I've written a short primer on choosing professionals who work well with expatriate Canadians ("Read first! ...", below) that I recommend you consider as you go about choosing and engaging professionals.
The professionals listed in this resource are all carefully screened, vetted, and confirmed by my clients and myself.
What I do: Most people moving back to Canada have a range of considerations, questions, and concerns that can make the planning and preparations for the move feel overwhelming. Many need help with big decisions in the months and sometimes years leading up to their move in the areas of taxes, timing their relocation, real estate, investments, health care in Canada, and logistics, such as moving belongings and bringing one or more vehicle to Canada with them.
I support clients by offering concrete answers relating to rules and regulations, addressing questions unique to their contexts, suggesting options when an important decision needs to be made, sharing different perspectives that my clients share with me, and offering practical and emotionally intelligent guidance for planning a smooth and confident move.
My own 3 moves back to Canada, 25 years as a International Business Professor, and 19 years supporting some 1500 clients has given me wide and deep expertise to draw on in my work supporting returning Canadians.
Sometimes my clients need a team of professionals to help them. I work closely with the professionals listed in this resource to ensure clients get expert, high integrity, prompt, and coordinated support.
- Paul Kurucz.
My Moving Back to Canda Support Services and Real Estate Advising Services.
Choosing professionals in Canada who you can trust is very important as an Expat! Whether you need help purchasing or managing real estate in Canada, advising you on your finances & taxes, or moving your household and life back to Canada it is more important for you to have the right professionals on your team than for Canadians who already live in Canada.
"Why is having the most trustworthy professionals more important to Expats!?"
The reason: You will rely more heavily on these professionals to understand your special expatriate context, give you guidance that is relevant to your non-resident status, educate you on how things work in Canada, and who can be patient and supportive as you work through your research and decision making. And the process of preparing to move back can be a longer time frame than for their typical Canadian client living in Canada.
Most professionals in Canada will not understand your context, are not used to dealing with expatriate clients, and quite frankly, do not want to spend the time and energy getting to know you.
The reason most professionals in Canada are not able to help you is because they have built their way of dealing with clients as a structured process. They did not build the foundation of their service on the basis of a relationship with a real human being. Canada is quite "process oriented" (see: Success Orientations) and if you, the expatriate who is living in the U.S. or abroad, is different from their regular clients then you don't fit nicely into their structured process!
And if you don't fit nicely into their process, they think you won't be easy clients they can simply push through their process. If they can't quickly push you through their process then they will have to do more work.
And if you are not easy clients and you require them to do more work (even if it is only a bit more work!), you are not desirable clients for this kind of professional.
Please note that I have learned this during my many years working hard to find the best professionals to support my clients - this is not a "rant". There are a few professionals in every city of Canada who are dedicated to you and to serving your needs and there are the many professionals who are focused on pushing you through a process so they can make fast and easy money off you.
Three suggested screening criteria:
Not just "foreign buyers", but with true expatriate Canadian citizens?
Ask them directly. If they do not have this experience, combined with a lack of an interest in building a relationship with you (see point #3 below), do not work with them. Thank them and move on to finding a professional who has experience with expatriate clients or who is very interested in learning about you and how to best serve your needs. There are some 1.5 million expatriate Canadians, a market well worth the time & effort getting to know. Many professionals are eager to serve you and serve you well. You just have to find one of them.
Getting back to you quickly is an indication that you are important to them. Are they sensitive to your time zone in their communications? And do they make an effort to explain the background and/or reasons for the questions they ask of you and the information they share with you? These are subtle but very powerful indicators that they may be good to work with. I regularly get communications from my clients who tell me that so-and-so person "never got back to me!" or "doesn't seem to understand my timeline and needs!" So I learn to never refer clients to those accountants, lawyers, and other specialists.
When you first communicate with the professional do they spend at least several minutes getting to know you, asking questions, listening carefully, and learning what your needs are?
Or do they jump quickly to describing their process and/or the goal they think you want? If they quickly shift to a focus on their process in the conversation I suggest that this is a serious "red flag". If they quickly direct the discussion to a goal of "you want to work with me because I will get you a house fast" (for example), they are actually thinking about themselves first (their anticipated commission in this example), not you, your context, and your needs first! Another big "red flag".
Two mortgage broker example communications that were had with me, describing how they would work with expatriate clients:
"I normally use TD or Scotia, not too many lenders outside of this will offer this type of financing. I have attached TD's outline for you to review. If your client was interested in moving forward I would need them to complete the attached application."
My response to reading this: "EEEEEkkkkk!!!" There are so many things wrong with this response that I could write an essay on it. Why would you even wish to work with such a mortgage broker? You could go to TD or Scotia directly yourself! And there is an immediate redirection to their process "...I would need them to complete the attached application." Why would this person "need" you to do so *first* ? Because they only work within an impersonal structured process, which most expatriate Canadians do not fit in!
"I have access to a variety of different lenders and will work with you to customize your mortgage and get you the best rate and mortgage terms to fit your current circumstances...I totally get it - how expats want to be spoken too...and how foreign this process can be for people."
My response to reading this: "Ahhhhh....(happy sigh)" This professional will take the time to understand my client's circumstances and help them find a way forward to a great mortgage while being sensitive to the fact that the current Canadian mortgage approval process is usually new to most expats.
I suggest working only with professionals who make clear they are interested in you and your unique context!
People often look puzzled about why I think it important to choose the right real estate agent to work with. Well, the above "Read first!" section comes largely from my clients and my own experiences working with real estate agents and mortgage brokers who have no experience and are not prepared to serve Canadian expatriates and returning Canadian citizens.
Quite simply, most real estate agents target clients who live locally and so the agents are only well-versed in dealing with very common client contexts in the narrow geographic focus in which they work.
Interestingly, the real estate agents I note below have travelled widely, lived abroad, or have spent significant time interacting with people outside of their culture. Having this more "worldly" perspective seems to be valuable in how professionals interact with Canadian expats.
The following list of real estate agents are all carefully vetted and chosen as ones who will serve you well:
Serving the Greater Victoria Area, Catherine comes to real estate from a lifestyle perspective. Her career before real estate was as a French Chef which set the foundation for understanding that clients are seeking to create a lifestyle, not just buy a property. Catherine loves helping clients find the perfect area, neighbourhood, and specific house or condo. Being more worldly also helps her understand a wide range of client backgrounds and perspectives, making interactions with her delightful because she "gets" her clients.
Clients returning from the U.S. wrote this to Catherine:
We wanted to thank-you Catherine for all of your hard work on our behalf. These are challenging times indeed with a world pandemic and buying property from abroad. You really went above and beyond for us, traveling wherever you were needed to view the properties that we were interested in on zoom! We appreciate all that you have done for us to make this journey home as smooth as possible.Catherine Potin's web page
Serving Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Anton works out of central Vancouver Island and specializes in Campbell River, Comox / Courtenay, Qualicum Beach, Nanaimo, Ladysmith, and Duncan. He is a multi-talented professional who moved to Vancouver Island from Europe. He was a lawyer in Europe, has a Canadian MBA, speaks German and English, and focuses on helping clients find the exact right home for their desired lifestyle on Vancouver Island.
Anton and I have a professional relationship going back several years and before becoming an independent real estate agent he worked for a top North American real estate support firm.
A testimonial of Anton's integrity and dedication: Anton helped a mutual client moving back to Canada purchase an acreage property on Vancouver Island. The client trusted Anton with an offer of purchase sight unseen! When she arrived and saw her new home in-person for the first time, her trust in Anton was rewarded with a property that thrilled her. I offer this story as it is rare to find an agent who works as hard as Anton on behalf of his clients.
Another testimonial: "Absolutely fantastic realtor in both profession and personality! Friendly, polite, knowledgeable, patient, professional, and always quick to respond. He is a very caring guy who wants his clients to be happy with their purchase. We found our dream home because Anton made himself available very last minute! Prior to that, he was very accommodating with our schedule and our often short-notice requests. He was so helpful and supportive throughout the home searching and home buying process. He has lots of good resources like providing recommendations for home insurance, a home inspector, a lawyer, a mortgage broker, etc. which takes away the stress of looking for reputable businesses yourself. (We were very pleased with the service from the businesses he recommended.) We would recommend Anton to anyone! A++++"
Anton Nikil's web site
Serving the greater Edmonton area, Greg has always prided himself on providing personable and attentive service. The phrase "easy-going" comes up time and again in his testimonials. Greg realizes that buying a new home is stressful at the best of times but as someone who has relocated back to Alberta from Delaware himself he understands better than most how overwhelming and complex repatriation can be. Greg has worked with many remote buyers and knows how important it is for clients to have "boots on the ground" during their purchase and he is always willing to go that extra mile to put his clients mind at ease while they're abroad.
Before becoming a Realtor in 2015 Greg was a research scientist with DuPont and he brings that same work ethic and attention to detail to his real estate career. He is Albertan born and bred and thrilled to be back in Edmonton with his wonderful wife and spirited young daughter.
Testimonial: "Greg was so easy-going easy to talk to and during a conversation with him I think he sensed that I wasn't comprehending what he was explaining and called me back offering to come over cause he wanted to make sure I understood. That's going above and beyond. Things like that put that personal touch on a complex situation and made me feel comfortable again. I would highly recommend Greg Rairdan and instead of five stars I would give him '10.' "
Eugénie serves all of Southwestern Ontario from Toronto west to Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton and beyond with a knowledge and expertise that comes from having lived and worked in the area since 2008. Her favourite part of being in real estate is cultivating relationships with the families she helps. Many of these relationships continue long after closing day.
With her years of experience Eugénie learned long ago that every client has a different story and unique situation, and so for her, real estate cannot be a cookie-cutter approach. Instead, she supports her clients attentively and in a personalized manner based on their specific needs and goals.
Eugénie's genuine nature, enthusiastic attitude, and willingness to go above and beyond became clear in a meeting I had with her and from the work she does to help clients and their families.
"Eugénie helped my parents purchase their retirement home in Grimsby, Ontario which perfectly suited their requests. She searched diligently to find a home in the right area with the right specifications...She patiently answered all questions, and gave helpful suggestions along the way. She made the stressful process of placing an offer much smoother with her professional advice and calm demeanor. She also always followed up with any requests or questions. She has been a true pleasure to work with for this whole process and I would recommend her to anyone looking to buy or sell a house!"
Eugénie Eckler's web site
Serving east of Toronto: Scarborough, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa, Bowmanville, Newcastle, and beyond. Sandy is a wonderful professional who takes the time to get to know clients and really spend the time needed to help them find the right home...on their timeline.
Sandy has helped a very happy client of mine and I can personally attest to her being a professional of choice as she has demonstrated it to my family in helping us sell a property in the GTA. She also referred me to other great professionals who I needed help from to renovate our property before the sale.
Sandy created an excellent primer for returning Canadians: "Coming Home to Toronto" (5 pages - 7 minute read). It is useful not only for those who have lived in the GTA previously, but also for those moving there for the first time. The primer includes snapshots of neighbourhoods, which can help you get a sense of where to choose to live in Toronto.
Sandy Gardner's web site
Serving the city of Ottawa and surrounding areas. Elizabeth was born in the Ottawa area and has a deep and rich understanding of what makes the city a great place to settle.
Elizabeth brings both professional expertise and a great interpersonal communication style to the process of helping clients buy real estate in preparation for a move back or as an investment. I can personally attest to Elizabeth's great communication style. Canadian expatriate clients of mine have engaged her help for their investment in a property in Ottawa and working with her at the time of the writing of this.
Elizabeth Stewart's web site
Serving all of British Columbia and Alberta. Fran does a wonderful job helping my clients moving back to BC from the U.S., UK, and further abroad get a mortgage that fits their specific needs. Fran has also helped family members with financial matters and mortgages, so I can personally attest to her professionalism and ability to help clients anywhere in the province.
Her background working for many years as a mortgage manager in a Canadian bank is the foundation of her expertise now as an independent mortgage broker. She has access to a variety of lenders (30 different ones!) so a conversation with Fran can open up new options that you might not know exist.
Fran Daviss' web site
Testimonials of Fran from returning expatriate Canadian clients:
Fran Daviss has been invaluable. So thankful for her and your referral. She really is a rock star!!! - T.M.
Fran is an amazing mortgage broker... We bought a Canadian property from the UK so it was complicated but Fran made it as stress free as possible and was clear from the start what was needed to sort out the mortgage. Fran is an great communicator and always gets back very quickly. No question is any trouble to Fran and she gave us excellent advice from the start. Fran knows the mortgage industry inside out and has excellent contacts so was able to make the impossible possible. We were extremely happy with the service Fran provided and can't recommend her enough. - Susan and Stephen
All of Fran's testimonials (there at lots!):
Fran was recommended to us by Paul Kurucz, and her expertise was invaluable. Our situation is complex, one of us a Canada/BC resident and the other waiting for residency. Buying a house was incredibly stressful with a very competitive housing market. Fran was able to move very quickly when we finally had an accepted offer and was able to find us an A lender in a very short time. Fran was an excellent guide through the whole process, and a true pleasure to work with. We will always be grateful to Fran and highly recommend her. - Arianna and Woody.
Fran Daviss is a superstar in the mortgage wrangling business. Due to our circumstances it was hard to imagine that anyone in Canada would give us a mortgage. We have had very little income in the last couple of years as we are taking care of our son who has special needs. We have great credit in the USA but not here in Canada. Kudos to Fran for making it happen. She was extremely persistent on our behalf and a delight to work with. - Drew and Carol
Our situation was far from normal and the road to securing a house with anything but simple, though Fran was amazing through the whole process. I honestly couldn't imagine anyone being as tenacious or attentive during this process. There were many times that we could have (and probably should have!) thrown in the towel, but Fran persevered, and though every obstacle cleared seemed to throw up two more, we are now, officially, homeowners! As new residents in Canada with our savings, work history, and credit history all based in the UK, the process of securing any mortgage was going to be difficult. Coupled with my working situation (for a remote company based outside of Canada), most advisors would have just laughed us out of the room. And sure, some lenders did pass, as did some insurance companies, but through nothing but hard work, connections to the industry, skill and knowledge of the process, and determination, Fran was able to get us a mortgage that allowed us to carve out a piece of BC all of our own. And for that, we'll be forever grateful. The next time we buy, we know exactly who we're calling first!" - Daniel & Sophie (29 & 30)
Fran was incredible in helping us purchase a home when relocating back to Canada from the United States after 10 years away. After engaging with several other highly recommended mortgage brokers, it was clear from our first interaction that Fran was on a completely different level in terms of her expertise and ability to work closely with our family. Fran is a consummate professional with decades of experience helping people purchase homes across the border. She holds this vast expertise lightly in her ability to truly engage with her clients around what their needs are and potential options. Fran also has an excellent network of other professionals she works with, who are also impressive. We are so very grateful to have had the opportunity to engage with Fran and her team. She has our deepest thanks and highest recommendation! - Michael and Kristin
Fran assisted my wife and I through the challenging situation of moving back to Canada after working in the states for 6 years. She worked with us right from the start, answering countless questions along the way and helping us navigate all of the tricky lender requirements for people trying to buy a house in our position. Ultimately she was able to lock in a great loan for us so that we could close on a gorgeous home in BC, and we got through it all on the first offer! Fantastic to work with, always on top of things and extremely knowledgeable! I would recommend Fran to anyone looking for a mortgage broker, but especially if you're going to repatriate to Canada--her skills are invaluable.
Thank you Fran for helping us with the purchase of our dream home on Vancouver Island. Your hard work on our behalf certainly paid off with a wonderfully low interest rate! You were always available with all of our many questions and concerns and you patiently and professionally explained the process and guided us step-by-step through the complexities of buying from abroad. We can’t thank-you enough Fran and would recommend anyone who needs an excellent broker to give you a call! Always grateful, L&L.
I cannot say enough positive things about Fran. Working with Fran was an amazing experience. I was working overseas and tried to purchase and finance a home in Vancouver; Fran would stay up and answer all my questions and she was a pleasure to deal with. Fran is very professional, knowledgeable, honest and reliable. She has gone above and beyond with ensuring me the best product and rate possible. Very happy with my new mortgage. I highly recommend Fran. - Duncan M.
Fran was an incredible resource to our family. Fran led us with her financial knowledge and helped us to understand not only what we were up against migrating at a testing time but HOW to navigate this. Knowing the market in BC alongside navigating the financial arena is not an area I would want to do on my own.
Fran was a storyteller to those institutions or private lenders to highlight our strengths. If you are looking for someone with a wealth of financial understanding and the ability to use simple language to relay the process, look no further. Thank you Fran. - Tammy R.
I first met Fran Daviss remotely, through another referral and I am SO BEYOND GRATEFUL! I had recently moved back home to BC, Canada after 15yrs in the USA. I had previously contacted two other brokers for help and neither of them could give me a pre-approval due to my time spent out of the country.
Fran is very resourceful and was a huge help with every step of the way. I felt that she had my best interests as a priority, and I felt very safe working with her. After feeling some pressure from one of my realtors, Fran reminded me that me, as the client, I was calling the shots. I really appreciated her reassurance, as the pressure in this market, was difficult.
This was my first home purchase in Canada, and I was very confused and overwhelmed in the beginning. I really appreciated her sending me a list of various scenarios for various types of dwellings and prices. It was a great tool that helped me narrow down my search. Fran also helped point me in the right direction when it came to questions I had after my financial appointment with the lender, as well as help with other off-the-wall questions I had.
My parents were emotionally helping me with this process for my timeline to buy the perfect home as soon as possible, so I invited them on each call that I had with Fran. Both have nothing but positivity and praise for the amount of work Fran did for me. She educated each of us with the process and procedures and answered every question with knowledge and confidence.
I would not hesitate to recommend Fran with Invis Mortgages, and I have already sent her contact info to friends and family that are also hoping to get into this difficult market. She’s just awesome.
I’ll be going back to Fran Daviss for my future financing needs and I'll be happy to recommend Fran to my friends and family.
Working with Fran was a great experience. I’ve worked with a few other lenders/brokers in the past in both Canada and US and Fran was easily the best person to work with because of her knowledge and work ethic. I never once felt stressed about the financing aspect of the house purchase with Fran on my side; everything happened timely and as Fran said it would be- she was on top of things the whole time.
Additionally, I recommend that non-resident buyers should go with someone (Fran) who has experience working with non-resident buyers and the various surprises that could entail. Fran helped me purchase a house in Burnaby, BC as a non-resident buyer without my physical presence in Canada throughout the process. I was referred to Fran Daviss by Paul Kurucz and I’m really glad I reached out to her.
We are retired and were moving from the USA with no previous credit history in Canada and all pension income from USA or UK. Fran guided us through the whole process and worked tirelessly to get all our relevant financial information. She then got an exception approved to include an average of variable deferred income to give us the best terms possible. She secured a long rate lock just before the rate was about to increase and then ensured the lender honoured the rate when the initial paperwork showed differently. We thoroughly recommend her to work complex situations and secure the best mortgage terms available.
Fran was the first person we reached to in our real estate purchase, and Fran helped connect all the pieces and held our hand through the process. Fran was well versed in complicated situations like ours where we were Canadian citizens living abroad. We could have put the pieces together so quickly without Fran working tirelessly on nights and weekends under an extremely tight time frame to ensure that we got the house of our dreams!
Hannah serves clients in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and all of Ontario. She is very professional, prompt and caring in communications with clients. Having moved to Canada herself, Hannah has an understanding and empathy for how it feels for returning and new Canadian residents to have to figure out mortgages and real estate.
Expatriate and returning Canadians get mixed messages from lenders as to whether they can get mortgages, required downpayment levels, etc. Hannah can help by clarifying fact from fiction and presenting your mortgage needs to receptive lenders who understand your expatriate context.
Hannah works with clients living anywhere in the world and those closer to home in the U.S., for example, who are planning their move back Canada. In the last year Hannah and her team have helped dozens of Canadian expatriate clients get mortgages in Ontario. So you can likely surmise that she is super at what she does and is a great professional to work with!
An interview I did with Hannah in late 2020 that can help you understand your mortgage options in Canada.
Testimonials of Hannah from returning expatriate Canadians:
"Hannah and her team are professional and quick. We had a great experience working with them to get our mortgage approved in time. She also pushed hard to get us a good mortgage rate. We appreciate her and her team's effort." Yuan Z.
"Hannah Stojanovski is absolutely wonderful. We bought a home for the first time in Canada. We were in the process of moving from abroad and didn't have a Canadian credit rating so it felt like it would be an impossible feat to get a mortgage. Hannah calmly maneuvered us through the entire scary process - always reassuring always very friendly and patient. We wholeheartedly recommend Mortgages with Hannah." - Linda
Hannah Stojanovski's web site
Immigration consultants - officially called "Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants", or "RCIC's" for short, are professionals who are legally allowed to help clients with immigration questions and processes. In particular, spousal sponsorships are a common need Canadians have when moving back. Don't hire an immigration lawyer to help with common immigration questions or processes! They are far too expensive. If you just need help with general questions regarding a spousal sponsorship, please see my Immigration: Spouse and Children page on this site.
For full support for a spousal sponsorship, I suggest engaging the help of an RCIC:
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). Shkendie is very professional and clients really feel supported in working with her. Shkendie can help with reviewing self-completed applications Spousal Sponsorships for Permanent Resident status, providing full service application completion, and consultation services to get your questions answered. From clients I referred to Shkendie:
"Shkendie Kaba Booth was an enormous help, both in advising us and reviewing our application before submitting it. We recommend her highly and thank you for referring us to her. She was very responsive and great to work with."
"Following your recommendation we contacted Shkendie Kaba Booth for advice. She is wonderful."
"Shkendie was exceptional – thank you for recommending her. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone trying to come to Canada to work with her. She is knowledgeable, helpful, kind and understanding. Although I had done all the application myself before you suggested contacting her, she was still of tremendous help – reviewed the application and suggested additions to make it a stronger case, then was able to communicate with me to offer advice and perspective as we have been in this long waiting period." Skendie is located in BC and can help anyone in the U.S. or around the world moving to any province in Canada.
Skendie's clear and transparent fees for two of her popular services:
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). I met with Marianne in-person and have communicated regularly over the phone and by email with her as I refer many happy clients to her. I can attest that she is very high integrity and professional in all respects. Marianne is the rare combination of professional and personable, giving every client her focused best, including doing all their paperwork herself to ensure the highest quality and no mistakes.
With over 20 years experience in the Canadian immigration field, Marianne can help with questions on a one-time-fee consultation basis about spousal sponsorship, Permanent Resident status in Canada, etc. and can provide full support, if you wish, with any area of Canadian immigration.
Marianne is located in BC, but helps clients coming from any country moving to any province in Canada.
Marianne van der Meij's web site
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant. Paul and I have communicated at length and have the same philosophy of integrity, transparency, and taking great care of our clients.
Paul has long experience supporting clients with a variety of immigration questions and challenges. He has lived and worked in the United Arab Emirates, so understands the Canadian expatriate experience. Paul is physically in Nova Scotia and can work with clients anywhere in the world moving back to any part of Canada.
Notes: Paul offers a free introductory conversation for those seeking his full support for completing family class (Spousal Sponsorship for Permanent Residence) applications.
Paul does not offer a service to review your already completed Permanent Resident applications (if you are doing it yourself).
Paul Abraham's web site
This section applies to Canadians returning from all parts of the world, but may seem most applicable to those returning from the U.S. simply because of the common interlinkages that occur for this latter group. Some people returning from the UK, for example, do have business interests, investments, and real estate assets that do require an international accounting firm and one is noted below which has expertise in this area.
For those returning from the U.S.: Most of you have lived in the U.S. for a long time and are required to dual-file your tax returns in both countries, usually in perpetuity. While this is certainly nothing to worry about, if you have a rich financial picture in the U.S. when you return then having a consultation with a Canadian cross-border tax accountant make sense, as well as having one do your first year tax returns in both the U.S. and Canada.
Note: If you have a complex legal tax picture that includes business interests in the U.S. that need to be legally set up when you move, cross-border estate questions, significant exit tax possibilities, etc. you may consider initially working with a tax lawyer instead of, or in addition to, a tax accountant. The following accountants come recommended by expatriate and returning Canadians who have used their services:
Located in Victoria, BC, Shawn is a top tax accounting professional specializing in U.S. and Canadian tax. Shawn is dual-licensed to advise and do tax work in the U.S. and Canada. Consider Shawn if you are moving back from the U.S. and want to set yourself up with a clear tax plan and dual-filing and reporting support. Shawn is also a top choice for when you wish have a presence in both countries in terms of investments, real estate, and/or businesses. He and his team have the depth of experience needed to handle complex situations including moving investments (stocks) to Canada, managing investment property taxation in either country, setting up and collapsing trusts, etc.
Shawn has a genuine interest in getting to know clients and their needs and is simply a very nice person to work with, as are all members of his team. He works with many of my clients who are very pleased with his guidance, expertise, and interaction style.
Shawn Strandberg - Baker Tilly web site
Located in Victoria, BC, Terry is a seasoned tax professional who has a depth of expertise in U.S./Canada cross-border tax planning and compliance. Terry works with clients before they move back to ensure their financial situation is set up to keep both the IRS and CRA happy. He also handles annual U.S. tax filings, especially the all-important first filing after you return.
Terry Dyer - Senior Manager - CIS Tax
Based in Vancouver, BC, Mo Ahmad is a top cross-border accountant and founder of Westmark Tax, a professional accounting firm that specializes in both U.S. and international tax accounting and planning.
Of special note is his team's ability to support clients returning from the U.K. Westmark Tax has offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Seattle. I have communicated at length with Mo and we share a common interest in supporting clients professionally and with care.
Mo Ahmad and the Westmark Tax web site
Nathan is a CPA, CA, registered with the CPA Institute of Alberta, Canada as a tax specialist. He is also registered as a CPA in the state of Arizona in the United States.
With his American CPA certification, he has experience helping small and mid-sized businesses work across Canada’s borders, consulting on both inbound and outbound taxation. He has also worked on American personal and estate taxation for Canadians with American property and American citizens residing in Canada.
Nathan first came to my attention through very positive recommendations offered by Canadians in the U.S. who needed help with more complicated personal and business cross-border accounting and tax work. My own conversation with Nathan clearly demonstrated that he is highly experienced, professional, and very personable to work with.
I'd recommend Nathan and his firm...Nathan caught a lot of errors from the prior accountants and got me a lot of money back. He helps me plan business and cross-border taxes and even gives me tips on government grants for my business. He's never charged me for "research" because he can rattle off statutes by heart. It's really amazing to watch.
Based in Toronto, this is a very professional high end firm who can help with tax planning, cross-border filings, and more complex questions such as trusts and legal matters relating to tax. If you have a large U.S. tax context or are a "covered expatriate" and want to be sure you have all your bases covered then an investment in the services of Clark and Horner is recommended.
Based in Mississauga, serving the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Allan supports Canadians who have U.S. tax filing needs and general U.S./Canada tax questions. He is professional in his work and also very personable to interact with. This is a rarity, as many of my clients will attest. His web site has video resources and blog postings of value to returning Canadians.
I went though a lot of bad, expensive, and incompetent accountants before finding Allan's firm. I hope others can benefit from my quest. His firm has been proactive and reasonably priced for years. - T. Gorender, 2018.
Mel Dam's team is based in Oshawa, ON. Several of my clients have used Mel's team for their U.S. tax filings and guidance upon moving back. A testimonial from one client:
I highly recommend Mel Dam from Dam Income Tax in Oshawa, Ontario. (Yes, that's really the business' name). I've been using him for years including before/during/after my two periods of living abroad." - Barbara Eshpeter-Jenkins
One regular concern returning Canadians have is how to plan their finances and investments when they have repatriated their money and investments and when they have a mix of assets: Some in Canada and some in the U.S. or further abroad. It might be a more straightforward concern like setting up a plan for retirement to ensure 30+ years of stable and abundant income. Or it might a more complex context such as a mix of assets in Canada and the U.S., for example, with real estate, retirement pensions, investments, Canadian/U.S./foreign work income, and perhaps even a business to include in the planning. Not only is there a goal of income maximization but also investment growth and minimization of taxes to consider as well.
This is where a "financial planner" can help. However, not just any financial planner! The financial planning industry is generally run by people who will be pleased to help you. They will take an upfront planning fee from you and then receive backdoor commissions by using their position as a "planner" to sell you "financial products" that benefit them. Don't fall for this kind of financial planning service! When one of my former MBA students was doing financial planning at a Canadian bank he called me up on the phone in distress. He was very uncomfortable as an employee being pressured and rewarded by the bank to help an elderly lady with her retirement financial planning. He was to "sell" her into investing in that bank's funds and other products that both paid her little and took very large fees every year. Yuck!
A "pure" fee-for-service financial planner is the answer! A pure fee-for-service planner only gets income from you, the client. They won't sell you anything and receive no commissions from anyone. Just your fees. They produce a plan for you that you take and implement yourself. This way you are sure you are getting planning that is only in your interest!
Ken and the team at Objective Financial Planners are high integrity "fee-for-service" only financial planners
Ken has been providing financial and estate planning solutions for 25 years. He has worked with high net worth and ultra high net worth clients, including prominent families, NHL hockey players, executives, business owners, professionals, and farmers. He has experience with Canadians that live and own property in the US as well as Canadian expats and Americans residing in Canada.
His industry education includes the Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), and Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) designations, along with having completed the Canadian Securities Course (CSC) and the Canadian Investment Funds Course (CIFC). He holds three degrees from the University of Alberta in business, economics, and political science, and has completed the Institute of Corporate Directors designation (ICD.D). Ken has also served as an expert witness on life insurance matters, and conducted presentations on investments, insurance, estate planning and philanthropy.
Ken works closely with clients and their professional advisors to identify unique financial and estate planning solutions that help them build and protect their wealth while minimizing tax. He is an advocate of holistic financial and estate planning that not only encompasses a client’s financial situation, but also considers the importance of family dynamics and sensitive issues around wealth transfer.
Ken resides in Calgary and enjoys spending time in the foothills and mountains of Alberta.
Moving your financial life can be as easy as sending cash to a Canadian bank account. However, if you have more complex financial picture that includes investments, trusts, and business assets, engaging the support of a financial advisor who understands the international expatriate context makes sense.
This is a time of change in Canada in the financial realm. The investment industry is evolving rapidly in the face of increasing transparency, regulatory change, and technological disruption. Be sure to work with a financial advisor who is current and understands how to help you not only with your investments themselves, but also can educate you on the evolving nature of the Canadian investment realm so that you are well-positioned for the future.
Harp serves many clients who are moving back and who are now in Canada. His primary focus is investments in the U.S. and Canada. Harp is U.S./Canada cross-border licensed for the management of investments. He and his team ensure smooth and careful moves of investment portfolios and funds from the U.S. to Canada and can serve clients moving to any province. Harp is thoughtful, careful, and very up-to-date on the evolving investment realm. He is also very well versed on tax issues relating to investments in Canada and the U.S.
It is rare that I get to interact with a financial professional who is as client-centred and as high-integrity as Harp. We first got to know each other through a client we both worked with many years ago. As time went by we found we worked not only with many of the same clients but also shared a professional principle that our clients come first at all times.
A no-obligation introductory conversation with Harp to explore your needs will serve you well if you have investments in the U.S. and Canada and wish to have them professionally managed from Canada.
Harp Sandhu's web site
Expatriate Canadians and those moving back to Canada sometimes need the help of a lawyer (called a "solictor" in some places in the world) for high complex tax questions, complicated immigration situations for family members, to handle real estate transactions, and to set up trusts, wills, and other legal situations in Canada.
Like with any other professional it is important to work with a lawyer who not only has experience in the area you need support with but is also of high integrity and great to work with personally. Check with friends, family, and other professionals in the geographic area you are moving to if you need a lawyer specific to that legal jurisdiction and for a specific legal action and would like a referral. I am always building my list of trusted lawyers so if have one you recommend in Canada with the highest regard please let me know!
Below are lawyers operating in Canada only or who are dual-licensed to represent clients in both Canada and the U.S. They are fully veted by my clients and myself for professionalism, experience, integrity, and for being great to work with interpersonally.
Managing Director, Infinity Law
Nav Parhar and his team at Infinity Law support clients on Vancouver Island and can help with real estate purchases, Wills and Estates, and other legal questions. Nav is fantastic to work with and his team are real professionals, ensuring that everything is done perfectly.
Many clients buying real estate on Vancouver Island have been very pleased with how smooth the legal aspects of their transaction went with Infinity Law's help. A client of mine who had recently moved back from the U.S. to Victoria had a major contract issue with a company who did work on his newly purchased property. Nav's team went into action and it was resolved in favour of my client immediately, who was very relieved and delighted to have such professional and high integrity support. And we have personally used Infinity Law for a real estate sale. It was handled perfectly and with Nav and his team's typical warmth and professionalism - a rare combination in the field of law!
Among the "best of the best" in Canada for tax law, specifically. If you have a complex tax situation upon returning to Canada and need to hire the best, Blair is the person to work with. I met with Blair to discuss various tax contexts affecting expatriates and returning Canadians. I can attest to his expertise and professionalism.
Blair Dwyer's web site
"All roads lead to Michael Cirone". When I was asking my network who they recommend to help expatriate and returning Canadians moving back to Canada, Michael's name came up again and again. Since then Michael and I have been working with several common clients, all of whom have been very appreciative of his professionalism, expertise, and interpersonal manner. I can recommend his services unconditionally for those returning to Canada from the U.S. who have a rich and complex tax and legal picture which may include trust, estate, and will questions, cross-border business interests, real estate investments, stock option or other financial interests, and exit tax concerns.
Michael is a dual-licensed lawyer so he can advise on and represent you in Canada and in the U.S.
Michael Cirone's web site
Latest update to this resource: July 2022.