My top 3 reasons to move to Canada and how I feel about my decision after two years

Sorry for my delayed post guys as I am writing again after about 8 months. It has been quite busy and I couldn’t find enough free time, which in a way is quite good in Canada, right? 🙂

My family (including my dog, Buddy) and I are enjoying beautiful place and awesome weather in Calgary. We enjoyed the company of my friend Bhushan (hope you remember him, if not, read my old blogs) when he came from US and stayed with us in the month of July this year for 3-4 days. We also made a trip back to India in Aug month to meet our parents and friends back home. Then in Sep month our old neighbor (in Bangalore) visited us for a couple of days. In the meantime, we got the possession of our shop (read old blogs if not aware) that we bought in a mall here. We got the interiors of my shop completed and it is open for the business now. My job contract ended yesterday and I am waiting for another contract which should start soon. So things were in a pretty good shape so far I would say.

Somewhere in my blogs I mentioned about my top three reasons to move to Canada but I missed writing about those. Here they are:

  1. Daughter’s Education: Though my daughter is good in studies, I didn’t want her to slog for years to prepare for competitive examinations to get into a good college post her 12th grade. I have been through this pain and didn’t want my daughter to go through that same pain again
  2. Early Retirement: I always wanted to earn fast and save enough so that I can retire as early as possible. What that actually means is by the time my daughter finishes her graduation and starts earning, I want to have sufficient funds in my and my wife’s account so that we all are financially independent.
  3. Live in Sparsely Populated Place Close To Nature & Wild Life: In Bangalore, I lived in a house away from the city. I used to go for lunch in my office too early or too late to void rush. I think that for the same reason, I decided to have only one child because I didn’t want too many people in my home as well :).

So, I always keep evaluating my decisions based on these three parameters and take calculated risks. Now I would like to explain how I am doing so far against each parameter.

  1. My daughter is doing IB Diploma and is in grade 11 this year. The school and teachers are good. The course is tough and sometimes she isn’t able to cope up. All I do is sit with her and do combined study. We try to go through and discuss the concepts in physics and mathematics together. Wherever we get stuck or need more clarifications, we watch YouTube videos for help. She has opted for Computer Science subject over Chemistry / Bio and she gets assignments to do coding in Java, which I feel is a really good start. I am not familiar with Java much but we are learning together. I am happy and satisfied with the way things are going on so far.
  2. I have started a similar business to the one I had in India before moving here. It has got a decent start and I am very hopeful that it’s going to do well. I’ll write more about it in the coming months and let you all know how it’s doing. So on this parameter too, I am satisfied so far.
  3. I am living in a neighborhood which is on the edge of the city. This area has so many walking trails between dense trees that I don’t think I have explored everything yet. Wherever I go, I just fall in love with the nature. My dog Buddy loves running in those mini forests and we get to see Deer, Moose, Coyote and Elk quite often. Rabbits are in abundance. There is a Bow river which flows through the city and that is one of our favorite places. What I explained is even less than 1% of the total scenic beauty of Canada. We have a lot to explore and that I would be doing soon.

So overall, I am pretty happy with my decision so far. If you would have noticed, which I just did, mostly I end my sentence with ‘so far’ because things do change quite rapidly here because of the small IT job market compared to Bangalore or US. As I suggested in my other blogs, keep about $50 K aside always because you never know when things start going bad.

Cheers!!

My experience so far with medical / health care in Canada

One of the most important things while planning to move to Canada, other than free education for our kids till grade 12, we hear is FREE Health Care. So I am going to explain in this blog about my experience with Alberta Heath Care for past one year.

While in Ontario the new residents have three months waiting period to apply for the health insurance, Alberta has none. The new residents can apply for health insurance immediately after landing. So we did the same and in about a month we received the health cards.

After getting health card the first thing that needs to be done is visit a nearby clinic and register for a family doctor. Once the registration is complete which is immediate, you can book an appointment with the doctor and go for full body checkup for your entire family which is free of cost. As we had got that done a few months before registering with the clinic, we waited for about a year to get that done. Now your family doctor is your first single point of contact for all your medical consultations. If s/he feels that there are any lab tests / blood work required to be done, s/he would refer you to a diagnostic center. S/he may refer you to another specialist doctor, if required. All this is free of cost. You don’t have to pay even a single penny.

Now comes the hard part. Most probably, to see a specialist, you may have to wait anywhere between 1 month to 6 months as there is a long wait list to see any specialist in Canada. This period could be reduced in some cases based on the urgency but unless it is really urgent, which is very subjective, you’ll have to wait that long. But obviously, you won’t have to pay any consultation fee and in case of hospitalization also, most of the basic expenses are covered except medicines.

Medicines are very-very costly compared to what you have been paying in your home country. In many cases, your family doctor would ask you whether you have any medical insurance because buying a few medicines could cost you dearly. For example, a benzoyl peroxide acne cream was about $160 and related face wash was for about $100. Other basic medicines too are quite costly. For example, a regular over the counter pain relief medicine would cost you about $7 for 30-40 tablets. Other medicines are generally 10 to 20 times costly (using currency conversion) compared to what you are used to buying in your home country. Dental procedures too are very costly and it could cost somewhere between $1500 to $2000 for a tooth’s root canal.

Regarding medical insurance, I recently checked here for my family. It was costing around $160 per month for a family of 3 and it gives you about 70% discount on the medicines plus some other benefits. You can go through the above link and see the details.

So in summary, there are some advantages and disadvantages and the purpose of my this blog is to make everyone aware about the ground reality rather than believing on the blanket statement usually we hear that we have free health care in Canada, which is actually not entirely true and it makes people assume so many things.

Take care!!

How I could secure a business loan – the entire process explained

So I just completed my one year in Canada and exactly after one year, I have got my business loan approved. As you all know I was running a business in India just before moving to Canada and I was always curious to start something similar in Canada. There were a few challenges. Neither I had any retail space like the one I had back in my home country nor I am familiar with the the taste of Canadian customers. So, I started continue reading

How the winters really are in Canada – a first hand info

So this is my second winter in Canada – the last one was in Edmonton, AB and this year it is in Calgary, AB which is south of Edmonton. Before moving to Canada, like others, I was worried about the much hyped Canadian winters. I used to hear horror stories about temperatures going below -40 deg C continue reading…

I miss you Bruno!!

Let me start with a bad news at my end. My older dog Bruno (Labrador), who was less than 9 years old, is no more. I had to let him go on Jan 19th, 2018 because his ear infection was becoming septic and Vet suggested to euthanize him. It was devastating for me and my family and we are still not able to recover continue reading…

How I dealt with realtors & dealers while buying home and car in Canada

The process of buying a home and car is little different than other countries and this is what I am trying to highlight in the following blog.

It was in September 2017 when I made up my mind to buy a home. I was paying a rent of $1900 for a single family detached home at that time and thought that it would be a wise decision to buy a home. I’ll try to explain quickly continue reading…

How to search jobs and in parallel bring your life slowly on track in Canada

This page contains very useful information mostly for the people who have just moved or are planning to move to Canada within two months and have some Software / IT experience. If I omit some special cases (outliers), for example people having greatest or worst luck, the following info will definitely work for most of the people.

The first step (this can even start several days before landing in Canada) is to prepare continue reading…

An idea about general expenses in Canada

As you might have read in my previous blogs, I moved to Edmonton, AB with family in Jan 2017 and after a short stay of 3 months in Edmonton, AB, we moved to Calgary, AB in April, 2017. What I learned during this period is that your expenses may differ significantly based on the city you move within Canada or even within the province. For example, I could get continue reading…

How I chose the school for my daughter and a neighborhood to settle in

So before planning to move to Calgary in mid of April 2017, the first thing we had to decide was which part of the city we should move to. There were two options – either we move closer to my office or move closer to our kid’s school. But actually we didn’t have any choice because it is a requirement in Canada that in order to get your child admitted to a particular school, you have to continue reading…

My first few months in Canada and how I got my first job

So, I landed on Jan 27th night at Edmonton with my family. After having dinner at Amit’s home we came back to our house and I felt relaxed one hand that we all finally moved to Canada and on the other hand I was a bit tensed because I did not hear back anything about my interview with the MNC. Anyway, it was weekend and I thought that I’ll contact the HR on Mon.

Now the next thing was to buy some warm clothes for my family. We called a cab next morning and headed to continue reading…

My First Short-Landing Experience 

I received Canadian Immigrant Visa in May 2015 and the validity of this visa was one year from the date of our medical tests. It is a requirement that persons holding immigrant visa must land physically in Canada within this one year period to avoid losing the opportunity of becoming permanent resident of Canada. Therefore I had to plan my visit continue reading…

How I Filed Application and Became a Permanent Resident of Canada

It was Sep 2014 when I reached office one day (I used to work from home most of the time) when my friends and colleagues Bhushan and Rohan informed me that they were planning to apply for Canada immigration and that they went to meet a Canadian immigration lawyer who was in Bangalore a day before. They were quite excited and said continue reading…