Guide to Canada for expats living in or moving to the country



Canada is located in North America and has 10 provinces and 3 territories and is the second largest country by total land area alone. Canada is mostly English and French speaking however you’ll find expats from all over the world living here. The country is one of the wealthiest in the world and ranks one of the highest in international measurements of education, civil rights and quality of life. If you are or are planning to be an expat living in Canada, please find below a list of expat clubs, schools, general links to useful advice for women living in Canada about the country information and more...

Canada Toronto

Canada Features

  • Why You Should Explore Canada's Eastern Coast

    Why You Should Explore Canada's Eastern Coast

    Did you just arrive in Canada for your next work stint? Or are you about to leave and you have some time left to explore this beautiful country? Maybe you just put it on the map because you’re in between postings and this is your holiday. Whatever the reason, Canada truly has something for every type of traveller.

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  • Breathtaking Places That You Didn’t Know Existed<br />

    Breathtaking Places That You Didn’t Know Existed

    The world is a beautiful place full of mysterious wonders. From natural sights from across the world, we bring to you some of the most striking natural landmarks that can be found in our stunning green and blue planet. Don’t let your imagination go wild because these places actually do exist on Earth!

    Read More

  • England vs. Canada: Words and Things<br />

    England vs. Canada: Words and Things

    At EW headquarters, we have lots of different nationalities... English and Canadian being just two! Despite speaking the same English language, we've come to realise over time that we actually have a lot of differences in the language we individually speak, as well as meanings, accents and phrases. Enjoy!

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  • Influential Women of Canada<br />

    Influential Women of Canada

    We're looking at some of the most influential women in Canada, whose contributions have helped redefine a gender-neutral society. While some have worked in the field of astoronmy, business and politics, others have worked as social leaders, effectively pursuiting a social change for minorities who suffer from poverty, illness, violence and more.

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  • 20 Countries Where You Can Cool Off<br />

    20 Countries Where You Can Cool Off

    If you've had enough of the suffocating heat and humidity that summer brings, then head to a country where the lower the temperature, the better! So if you're looking to escape the heat, check out the possibilities below for some immediate relief while the mercury climbs high. Beat the heat!

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Expat Clubs

American Women's Club of Oakville

Founded in 1977, the American Women's Club of Oakville (AWCO) is a non-profit organization which serves both the community and its members. Membership includes U.S. born and naturalized citizens. The club is open to residents of the Halton and Peel regions of Ontario, Canada. In addition to meeting on the second Thursday of every month, September to May, the Club sponsors special events and regularly scheduled activities.

Website | Facebook


American Women's Club of Toronto

The club is open to any woman who is American by birth or citizenship and currently living in Toronto. Newsletters, events, member’s directory and a host of member privileges come with the annual membership subscription.



Newcomers Clubs in Canada

Canada’s Newcomers Clubs are a great way to meet other women who are (or were at one stage) new to Canada.  This site lists various Newcomers and Moms Clubs in the following locations (some have web sites, others just have telephone numbers for you):  Calgary; High River; Lethbridge; Medicine Hat; Okotoks; Red Deer; Edmonton; Fort McMurray; Sherwood Park; and St. Albert.



Calgary Newcomers Club

A non-profit social club run by member volunteers.  The mandate of the club is to provide its members with social interaction with other women who are new to Calgary, through shared interests and activities.

Website | Facebook


Canadian Asian

A useful online group for the Asian Canadian Community.



India-Canada Association (ICA)

The Association shall strive to promote social, cultural and educational interests of its members, develop understanding between members of its community and such other residents of Canada as interested in the welfare of this community, and make the latter aware of issues of concern to the community. The Association shall help promote and retain Indian languages and cultural traditions as essential components of multiculturalism in Canada.

Website | Facebook

International Schools 

Academie Ste. Cecile International School (Ontario)

An International Baccalaureate school that offers the internationally recognized curriculum and examinations - specialized programmes such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB), Advanced Placement (AP) courses and, of course, the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

Curriculum: IB / Canadian

Address: 925 Cousineau Rd, Windsor ON, Canada N9G 1V8

Telephone: 519-969-1291

Email: [email protected]



American School of Yaounde

Serving the expat and local business community of Cameroon through example and service as a beacon of educational excellence. Offering an enriched American curriculum for children aged 3-18 years.

Curriculum: American

Telephone: +237 2223 0421

Email: [email protected]



Appleby College (Ontario)

An international school offering education for middle, upper and senior school. Appleby College has a special curriculum unique to the school.

Curriculum: American

Address: 540 Lakeshore Road West, Oakville, Ontario L6K 3P1

Telephone: 905-845-4681, ext. 0

Email: [email protected]



Bishop's College School (Sherbrooke, QC)

Nestled in the heart of Quebec's historic Eastern Townships, Bishop's College School is a culturally diverse, bilingual, independent boarding and day school for grades seven through pre-university (12).

Curriculum: American with ESL available

Address: 80 Chemin Moulton Hill, C.P. 5001, Succ. Lennoxville, Sherbrooke, QC, J1M 2K4

Telephone: 819-566-0238 x201 / 819-566-0238 x202



Calgary French & International School (Calgary, Alberta)

An independent school, where their doors are open to support the needs of the larger community. They are a Public Private Partnership (P3) model that aims to achieve goals for the mutual benefit of the community and school.

Curriculum: French & IS

Address: 700 - 77th Street SW, Calgary, AB, Canada, T3H 5R1

Telephone: 403 240 1500

Email: [email protected]



College International Marie de France (Montreal)

College International Marie de France is distinguished by a broad international perspective, a secular and open to the local culture and international. These features are unique to Quebec in general and Montreal in particular

Address: 4635 Queen Mary Road, Montreal Qc, H3W 1W3

Telephone: (514) 737-1177

Email: [email protected]



Columbia International College of Canada (Ontario)

Columbia International College is a private boarding preparatory school in the Westdale neighbourhood of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The school has a large population of students of different nationalities.

Address: 1003 Main St W, Hamilton, ON L8S 4P3, Canada

Telephone: +1 905-572-7883



La Citadelle International Academy of Arts & Science (Ontario)

La Citadelle International Academy of Arts & Science is a truly bilingual private educational institution whose goal is to offer unique educational and instructional settings through which students learn and excel, in both English and French in a modern and technologically advanced multidisciplinary context.

Curriculum: American

Address: 15 Mallow Road, North York, Ontario, M3B 1G2

Telephone: 416-385-9685

Email: [email protected]



Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific (Victoria)

Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific is a unique two year pre-university school for two hundred students selected from around the world based solely on their personal merit, potential and demonstrated commitment to engage actively in creating a better world.

Address: 650 Pearson College Drive, Victoria, BC, Canada, V9C 4H7

Telephone: 250 391 2411



Lycée Français de Toronto (Toronto)

Founded in 1995, LFT is the only Toronto school, from PK to Grade 12, to combine the intellectually stimulating education of the French curriculum from France, with the inclusive Canadian perspective and values. Our students are fully immersed in the best aspects of our two complimentary cultures.

Curriculum: French

Address: 2327 Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario, M6E 3S5

Telephone: +1(416) 924-1789

Email: [email protected]



Nancy Campbell Collegiate Institute (Stratford)

NCCI is an accredited Canadian international private school, dedicated to inspiring academic excellence within a clear moral framework and offering classes from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12/AP.

Address: 45 Waterloo Street S, Stratford, Ontario, N5A 4A8

Telephone: +1 519-641-6224

Email: [email protected]



Stanstead College (Quebec)

Stanstead College is an independent boarding and day school for boys and girls in Grades 7 through 12.

Address: 450 Dufferin Street, Stanstead, Quebec, Canada J0B 3E0

Telephone: 819 876-2702 / 819 876-2223

Email: [email protected]



The York School (Ontario)

International Baccalaureate World School offering PYP, MYP, and Diploma Programmes. The school mission is to develop enquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who are engaged citizens of the world.

Curriculum: IB

Address: 1320 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4T 1X2

Telephone: 416.926.1325

Email: [email protected]



Toronto French School

A bilingual education. An international perspective. A co-educational environment. And the highly respected International Baccalaureate Diploma.

Curriculum: IB

Address: Toronto Campus, 306 Lawrence Avenue East, Toronto, ON. M4N 1T7

Telephone: (416) 484-6533

Email: [email protected]


Local News in English

Online presentation of many local and national Canadian newspapers, including:

Country Information 

Location: North America

Capital City: Ottawa

Other Important Cities: Halifax, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver

Currency: Canadian Dollar (C$)

Language: French, English

Dialing Code: +1

Internet TLD: .ca

Electricity: 110-120V 60Hz

Emergency Numbers: 9-1-1 (911)

Living in Toronto

Street signs in Toronto are very easy to read which you will get used to quite quickly, each road sign lets you know what street you are on as well as which neighborhood you are in – as there are quite a lot! In this ‘City of Neighborhoods’ you’ll find many ethnic and social groups have staked a claim on a neighborhood for themselves – this could make it an easy decision or very hard depending on your preferences such as atmosphere, neighbourhood comforts, community feel and the like.

Canada is awash with hotels and hostels which you can choose from if you plan to look around to find a perfect rental when you arrive. If you’re set on finding something before you arrive remember to utilize Expat forums such as, Google street maps make it easy for you to walk the streets as such and you can feel like you are actually there real time!

Renting in Canada can be quite straightforward but remember to read up on your rights as a tenant beforehand so you know where you stand. Almost all rentals start at the beginning of the month so it’s best to arrive a week or two before the end of the month and it might help you to know that most apartments come un furnished so if you want a furnished pad then you might need to arrive a lot earlier in order to expand your search and wait for the right place to come onto the market. Many apartments in the city do not advertise commercially and will simply post a vacancy on the outside of the building so we recommend you schedule some time to walk your preferred neighbourhoods, get your bearings and familiarise yourself with the people, buildings and surroundings.

Purchasing a home abroad is a major decision which should not be taken lightly. The Canadian international homes market for residential property can be cheaper than in the UK and other European countries especially in eastern Canada, Montreal and the countryside. We recommend you seek professional advice before you think about purchasing a property, there are lots of online guides you can refer to however one thing you will most likely need is a Canadian sponsor although the rules and regulations vary throughout Canada therefore you should read up on those in the area you are considering.

Embassy Information

Residents Visa and Work Permit information

Canada has different levels of Visa requirements therefore anyone planning to work temporarily in Canada will need to apply for a temporary worker permit and those who want to immigrate to Canada (permanent workers) will need to apply for a full work permit – learn more about work permits.

Applying for a Visitor Visa

Before you plan your visit, you should find out if you need a visa to enter Canada. If you do not need a visa to enter Canada, you will still need to meet some specific requirements (see below). If you do need a visa, here is some useful information from More info on the Criminal Rehabilitation Application & Process, or more info about applying for a Temporary Resident Permit Application

To visit Canada, you must:
  • Have a valid travel document, such as a passport.
  • Be in good health.
  • Be able to convince an immigration officer that you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take you back to your home country,
  • Be able to convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit, and have enough money for your stay. (The amount of money you will need can vary. it depends on things like how long you will stay, and whether you will stay in a hotel or with friends or relatives.)
  • You may also need, a temporary resident (visitor) visa, depending on your citizenship {insert link}, a medical exam and a letter of invitation from someone who lives in Canada. 

Medical exams

  • If you have applied to immigrate to Canada you will need to have a medical exam BEFORE you arrive.
  • If you plan to travel to Canada as a visitor, student or worker, you may need a medical exam.
  • If you are visiting for six months or less you would not generally require a medical exam (unless you plan to work in certain occupations such as those working in agriculture, health sciences, clinical labs, nurses and patient attendants, medical students, medical electives and physicians, teachers, domestics,  day nursery employees and various other similar jobs.
  • If you plan to visit for more than six months or more it’s highly possible you will need a medical exam… For more info on medical exams for visa entry see here.

Driving License

The most important thing to remember about taking to the road in Canada is that they drive on the right! As Canada is so vast there are some road rules which may differ from province to province however generally most have similarities and once you’re comfortable with the general rules of the road you’ll be fine to navigate your way around without too much trouble. Canadian roads generally have very high safety standards meaning the road conditions are generally excellent, especially near the large cities and suburbs. Canadians and locals are likely to drive defensively therefore if you’re not used to driving on such vast roads with sometimes high volume traffic we recommend taking a driving course in defensive driving.

The speed limit on motorways is generally 100 km/h and 50 km/h in built up areas, remember to watch the road signs for the varying speed limits (which are in km/h and not miles per hour) to ensure you don’t clock up speeding points!

Once you have mastered driving around town you’ll want to venture out and about and there is no shortage of places to visit and things to do. As the country is so big you can go on an epic journey and even cross different time zones along the vast coastline. It’s important you pack appropriate for taking an extra-long journey and remember if you’re heading in land to watch out for wild animals or if driving during the winter months remember the terrain can become quite treacherous, you might encounter icy roads, rock avalanches, snow and other extreme conditions.

Find out more about driving in Canada.

We recommend you obtain an IDP (International Driving Permit) from your home country before you travel as this license is widely accepted by car hire companies in Canada.


Canada has a healthcare system similar to that of the UK whereby it is state funded. Canadian citizens and permanent residents can apply for their health card which entitles them access to medical treatments using the health insurance system, Medicare. This includes access to primary care doctors, preventive care as well as hospital care, dental surgery and various other medical services. Apart from a few exceptions and those on a temporary residency visa, all citizens qualify for medical care. If it’s your preference to take personal medical insurance or if you are not covered by Medicare you rest assured you will have access to an abundance of private and public healthcare facilities with well-trained medical professionals.

Canadian Traditions

It is a couple of days before All Hallows’ Eve and under the guise of dusk, we are quietly making our way through the neighbourhood. Over the last couple of days we have kept an eye out for houses without a spook and we have located three. Now it is our turn. Goodie bags filled with some treats and a couple of glow sticks, in hand we make it to the first of our intended addresses; our next-door-neighbour. They are new to the area and have moved in just a week ago. What better way to welcome them?


It is hard not to giggle while sneaking up to their front door. We put one of the cellophane bags on the door step on top of our spook. Then quickly make our retreat and hide behind the car in the drive way. Only my nine year old son is left on the front steps. Once we are out of sight, he loudly knocks on the door and then runs to join us. We duck and nervously wait, giggling, until we hear the door open and a squeal of surprise. They have been spooked! ‘Spooking’ is a cute Canadian neighbourhood ritual we have grown very fond of over the past couple of years. It starts half way through October when a family puts together three goodie bags, and copies or draws a ghost on a piece of paper.With these in hand they go out and surprise three families. Those spooked put the picture of the ghost up clear for everyone to see and in turn ‘spook’ another three houses. Soon the pictures spread and by Halloween they can be seen throughout the neighbourhood.

spooking in Canada

The anticipation of waiting for someone to surprise you is almost as much fun as finding your own targets and passing on the favour without being seen.After the 31st of October all pictures disappear along with all the decorations and pumpkins until spooks start showing up again the following year.

spooking your neigbours