Moving to Canada
Your guide to Great White North

Planning on moving to Canada from South Africa? If you are, then this guide was made for you! Whether you’re ready to book your plane tickets or still need convincing, this page will give you all the information you may need including moving costs, an essential checklist and free moving quotes. Don’t delay, get your move underway today!

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How much does moving to Canada cost?

A primary concern for most people is the cost of moving to Canada from South Africa and for good reason, you don’t want to leave your beloved items in South Africa! But how much does it cost to move to Canada from South Africa? Well, you can expect moving a 3-bedroom house to Canada to cost between R125,000-R165,500.

However, many things can influence the cost of moving to Canada, so the numbers aren’t fixed! If you’re curious to learn more about the factors and potentially save money, check out our international moving costs page.

To give you a further breakdown of the cost and also highlight one of the major factors that will affect the cost of moving (this is the volume for which you can use our volume calculator to calculate yours!). Thus, below you can find the cost of moving from Cape Town to Toronto by sea:

Size of householdTime to moveCost of move
1-bed flat6-11 weeksR55,000R-R90,000
2-bed house4-7 weeksR87,100-R127,250
3-bed house4-7 weeksR125,000-R165,500
4-bed house4-7 weeksR160,600-R208,000
5-bed house4-7 weeksR205,500-R265,850

If you need more information on sea containers, for example, sizes and costs, read our container shipping prices page.

Easily find a mover with free moving quotes!

When planning your move to Canada from South Africa, you’ll find that the process will be much simpler with a moving company to do the hard work. However, with so many companies and not all offering the route you need, you could spend hours finding just one company to help!

That’s where Sirelo comes in! Instead of spending days on the phone, just click below and be matched with up to 5 moving companies within the same day. It’ll save you time and money.

Planning a move to Canada?
Request up to five free moving quotes to do so!

Visas for Canada

A preliminary concern for moving to Canada will be obtaining permission to enter and remain in the country. Thus, one of the most important things that you need to get sorted is your visa for Canada.

As you may know, Canada is a popular destination for South African expats. So, if you want to be one of them, then you’ll need to know what your visa requirements are. It can be quite complicated as there are several different permanent immigration visas that you can apply for. These include:

  • Federal skilled workers
  • Provincial Nomination Program (PNP)
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • Family Sponsorship
  • Business Class

The best way to find out which one you should apply for is to fill out the form on the Canadian Government website. There you will be told exactly what you will be entitled to and what visa is best for you, this way the process of applying for your visa is made a lot less stressful!

After you’ve secured your visa, it’s time to start planning your move to Canada and Sirelo is here to help!

Moving to Canada checklist

With such a monumental change of scenery, it’ll be a life saver to have a moving to Canada checklist to keep you on track and ensure that nothing goes awry. Below we have covered the most important steps for moving to Canada other than your visa, which was covered above.

✔️ Important documents

When it comes to moving to another country, you’ll want to make sure all your most important documents are valid, safe, and accessible. In some cases, you should even consider making duplicates of the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Medical Documentation (including dental and immunizations)
  • University Degree(s) and qualification(s)
  • Work Permits

✔️ Choosing a mover

Naturally, you’ll want to leave moving your household goods to Canada in good hands. Thus, we recommend finding one of the top movers in South Africa to ensure that you have a smooth move!

✔️ Packing

While packing seems like an easy task, it is often more complicated than it appears! So, when it comes to packing for your move to Canada from South Africa, we recommend reading our expert guide on packing for some great tips and tricks.

✔️ Healthcare

One thing you will need to consider when moving to Canada from South Africa are your healthcare options. Canada offers their citizens and permanent residents universal public health insurance under Medicare, which covers low-cost access to doctors and health practitioners. However, if you have a temporary residency, you are unfortunately not eligible for the same benefits.

✔️ Tax

Since you’ll be moving to Canada and no longer living in South Africa, you’ll want to inform SARS for tax purposes. There’s nothing worse than the possibility of paying tax in two countries!

✔️ Banking

After arriving, it would be most sensible to open a local bank account in Canada, the exchange rate would otherwise leave you broke! However, as a newcomer, you may not be familiar with the banks in Canada. Below are the big five that will make a great starting option:

Fun Fact: Canada has been using polymer banknotes since 2012.

✔️ Moving to Canada with Pets

If you can’t leave your beloved four-legged friend behind, then why not move to Canada with your pet? All you have to do is ensure your pet meets the specific guidelines for importing a pet to Canada:

  • Original International Health Certificate issued by an Accredited Vet or Original Rabies Vaccination Record (not needed for dogs under three months)
  • Printed History of Pets Vet Records
  • A print of Customs Clearance Form
  • Copy of Owner’s Original Passport
  • Visa or Work Permit copy

Importing a domestic dog, cat or ferret will cost you R370 ($30) but importing a bird will cost you a lot more money as they will have to be quarantined. Pet transport companies can assist you with the process of moving your pets to Canada.

If you’ve made it to the end of this moving to Canada checklist and are still itching for more items to cross off a checklist, you can check out our moving abroad checklist for even more items to run through!

Moving to Canada

Life in Canada

At the end of the day, moving to Canada is only a small part of your life, you’ll have to live in the Great White North. That name alone should prepare you for the cold that you’ll be experiencing! 🥶 However, there are plenty of other things to look forward to in Canada such as a booming economy, the pleasant plains of the prairie, and much, much more.

Living Costs in Canada

Going into the common cost of living factors, it’s important to note that while Canada is by far more expensive than South Africa, this rise in the cost of living is reflected in the average salary. Just to compare the monthly salary, the average after-tax is around R21,800 in South Africa while it’s R54,100 in Canada.

ItemAverage Price in South AfricaAverage Price in Canada
Rent, 1-bedroom in centreR7,800R19,200
Basic utilitiesR1,700R2,115
Milk (1L)R16.50R31.90
Wine (mid-range)R80.00R184.15
Domestic Beer (0.5 L bottle)R30.00R77.05

Working in Canada

Unsurprisingly, Canada is a popular destination for expats due to being able to find high-quality employment for those with third-level education. Furthermore, if you can speak both French and English, you will find it considerably easier to get a job, especially in areas like Quebec.

If your heart is set on living in Canada, then finding work before moving to Canada will help you apply for your visa and help you settle easier. It can be hard to find jobs somewhere that is so far away from South Africa. So, here is a list of some of the best job search websites:

Moving to Canada for the nature

Education in Canada

If you’re moving to Canada with your family, you might want to know how the education system in Canada works. Every province is responsible for creating a curriculum and educational system. There are private schools on offer, however, most families choose public schools.

As French is the mother tongue of around 7.2 million Canadians, this has resulted in both English and French schools being established. In most parts of Canada, students are able to earn their high school diploma at the end of grade 12, but only if they have accumulated enough credits.

The province of Quebec has a different school curriculum than the others. Students graduate high school at the age of 16, and instead then move on to two or three years of CEGEP. For more information on education in Canada, read this Canadian guide by Just Landed.

Ready to move to Canada from South Africa?

Well, now that you’ve made it to the end of the article, you’re ready for your move to Canada from South Africa. With all the information that we’ve imparted, you should have a wonderful and smooth move to Canada.

Just before you start preparing for your move, click on one of the links below for more great information about moving. Otherwise, come back to Sirelo for answers to any further moving questions you may have!