Many would-be emigrants are drawn by the famed Canadian quality of life.
Canada is vast and rich. It has stunning mountain ranges and vast prairies. It has bustling international cities such as Toronto and Vancouver and it has some the remotest, coldest settlements on earth. In short, unless you want a tropical paradise, it pretty much offers anything you could want.
What perhaps marks it out most from other popular destinations for migrants is the degree to which migrants have not only shaped the nation but are recognised as vital to continue to allow the economy to grow.
The high-levels of employment, very good education and health care, high incomes and a generally positive attitude make it one of the most popular migrant destinations in the world. This Emigration Store Guide to the Quality of Life in Canada will help you understand the appeal of this popular country to see whether it really is for you.
OECD: Better Life Index
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) produce a ‘Better Life’ Index based on a wide range of factors, not just economic success.
• Average household net disposable income of over U$30k beats the OECD average of nearly U$24k
• 72% of working age people have a paid job vs. 65% average
• Life expectancy is 81yrs, very slightly better than the 80yr average
• 90% say they are happy with the quality of the water against an 84% average
• 94% say they know someone they could rely on in a time of need, vs. a 89% average
• Voter turnout in elections is 61% against a 72% average
• 90% say they are happy with their current housing situation vs. 87%
• 66% say they helped a stranger in the last month, vs. 49%
• Obesity rates amongst adults is 17.7%, broadly in-line with the 17.2% average
• When asked to score, out of 10, their general satisfaction with their life, Canadians scored 7.6, one of the highest scores, vs. an average of 6.6
• On average people work 1,710hrs a year, less than the average of 1,765hrs
• The female employment rate is 69%, above the 57% average
• 6% of men work very long hours vs, only 2% for women. The average of 4% is much lower than the OECD average of 9%
Overall, Canada performs very well in many measures of well-being with high-quality education, higher rates of income and less working hours contributing to a high overall satisfaction with life.
The Economist Intelligence Unit – Global Liveability Ranking and Report August 2014
This survey looks at 140 cities around the world and assesses their liveability based on over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors. These are split into five main categories:
1. Stability (25%) – relating to crime, terrorism, civil unrest and conflict
2. Healthcare (20%) – relating to quality and availability of private & public healthcare and general health indicators
3. Culture & Environment (25%) – relating to comfort of climate, corruption, religious tolerance, censorship, sporting/cultural availability, food & drink and consumer goods & services
4. Education (10%) – relating to availability & quality of private education and public education indicators
5. Infrastructure (20%) – relating to quality of roads, public transport, housing, water, telecommunications, energy and international links
Each factor is rated from acceptable to intolerable. The score scale ranges from 1 – 100 where 1 is intolerable and 100 is ideal.
With three cities in the top five, Canada obviously has an enviable quality of life provided by its cities. It would seem that a low population density across the country and economic prosperity lend themselves to creating cities that are desirable to live in.
As a point of interest, the bottom ten cities were
HSBC Expat Explorer Survey
This extensive survey is derived from the opinions of expats themselves (over 7,000 were polled) and covers a wide range of factors including economics, lifestyle, home and work life, social life, child care and education.
The results would probably be regarded as quite surprising. Overall, the country which comes top is China.
Delving deeper into the scores for each category throws up some interesting views about how expats view their life in Canada. It came 6th out of 37countries overall ranking above the US for both Economics and Experience.
Expats seem to really like Canada as a very high 90% stated they felt a strong connection to the country, helped by the perceived friendliness of the locals and a lower reliance on other expats for social interaction. This high level of integration means that expats in Canada typically stay longer as finding a home and raising children is also well-regarded.
The Conference Board of Canada
The Conference Board was set up to help leaders identify strengths and weaknesses in a variety of social and economic indicators, at both a national and provincial level. In trying to assess whether Canada is able to compete against a group of 15-16 peer countries, a variety of factors were looked at in five main categories:
In such a wide-ranging report, conclusions are necessarily quite hard to draw. Ostensibly well-placed economically, Canada’s good ranking may have more to do with the weakness of the economies in Europe, in particular, but also the US.
Two of the main areas of concern are weak labour productivity and the ability to attract inward global investment. Part of the problem has been a tax regime which inhibits research and development and other regulatory factors as well as a weak record of innovation.
In education Canada performs very well but produces too few graduates with the high-tech skills a modern economy needs. It also underperforms when it comes to workplace training.
By contrast, Australia’s proximity to the fast growing Asian markets has seen that country’s economic performance fare particularly well.
Mercer: Quality of Living Survey 2014
Mercer is a very large American consulting firm, specialising in the fields of Human Resources, Healthcare, Retirement Solutions and Investments.
They produce a report designed to help companies planning on sending staff abroad to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of over 220 city destinations around the world.
The cities are evaluated on a series of weighted factors, 39 in all within 10 categories including economic, political, health, safety, education, transport and environmental, which gives each city a score relative to New York (which as a score of 100), where Mercer’s have their headquarters.
Vancouver is one of the warmest cities in Canada, with the climate tempered by the Pacific. With a stunning setting, close proximity to the mountains and a thriving commercial hub, it’s easy to see why Vancouver is rated so highly.