US Citizens Retiring to Canada?

May 8th, 2003, 09:34 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 180
US Citizens Retiring to Canada?

Has anyone done this? Or know anyone? How does it work?

We live in Pittsburgh so you don't have to tell me about the winters! AND if they get that bad we have family and friends down south from NC to FL. Plus there is a good chance I will inherit a beach house by then a St Simon's.

We enjoy the Niagara On the Falls and up to Toronto area but haven't been past Toronto.

As long as we are close enough to the modern conveniences and entertainment/shopping-that would be easy access back down to the Buffalo area as needed.

Drove up to Burlington on Saturday on the QEW and noticed LOTS of nice homes being built along the lake side of the highway. PRICES that were advertised were very good!

Are there special rules for non Canadian's purchasing property?
Access to health care a problem?
Who do you pay taxes too???

alise is offline  
May 8th, 2003, 01:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 79
There are no restrictions to you buying property in Canada.
Once you are a landed immigrant you qualify for our government funded health care system which will save you a lot compared to the US.
You pay tax to all 3 levels of gov't .Municipal,Provincial and Federal just like in Penn.
For complete details contact the Canadian consulate in Pittsburgh.
duke6979 is offline  
May 8th, 2003, 05:11 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 223
Ontario (and perhaps all of Canada) abolished a hefty non-residence real estate tax a few years ago, which makes buying a home in Canada very attractive, especialy with the exchange rate. There a few restrictions. I think you are required to depart for at least one week each six months to comply with Canadian immigration rules. The US has a similar requirement for Canadian citizens who own property in the States.
The suggestion about checking with the Consulate is very good.; they probably have an information packet on this very topic. Also, the internet has loads of info on this subject. Perhaps contacting a Canadian realtor for up-to-date info may also be worthwhile.
My wife and I would also like to retire to Canada (as long as the exchange rate is decent), but we're a few years away. A couple of years before I retire, I plan on traveling extensively throughout Ontario to see where we might like to buy. There are many lovely small towns throughout the province within a couple of hours of Toronto where the home prices are quite reaasonable. Heck, driving 90 minutes east of Toronto puts you just about halfway to Ottawa, so you'd have both cities nearby.

Unless you plan on trying to become a landed immigrant, you won't have access to Canadian health insurance. Besides, I've heard that there are many problems with it anyway, including very long waits for medical appointments, and even difficulties trying to get elective surgeries. Check with your health plan to see if it covers you on extended stays in Canada. Good luck.
waltd is offline  
May 9th, 2003, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 62
Well I can tell you first off all, you can buy a really nice property in Canada for a huge discount because of the US exchange rate (although it is changing dramatically now!). Toronto is very expensive however. I would recommed somewhere near Montreal or the Laurentians (i'm a bit biased I guess as being from Quebec). Waltd is right about our medicare system but don't forget, if you live close to the border, if it is not urgent, you can drive to the states easily. On the other hand, the new government in Quebec (Long live Jean Charest, the savior of Canada), has pledged to reform and improve the healthcare system. You will find that we have a great quality of life in Quebec, a sort of mix between European culture and North American industrialization and modernity. I'm not sure who you will pay property taxes to, but the new government has also pledged to lower taxes and property taxes are a provincial jurisdiction. Good luck.
JackLanghorne is offline  
May 9th, 2003, 08:04 AM
Posts: n/a
What is entailed in becoming a landed immigrant?

Do you have to have some "justification" (e.g., a job) for being in Canada? Are there quotas for immigration as there are in the US? How long does it take after you first apply?
May 9th, 2003, 09:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,675
Apart from family class, refugees and international adoption, there are essentially two classes of immigrants y skilled worker and business (investor or entrepreneur), that would make one eligible for permanent resident (this term is replacing landed immigrant) status. I do not believe there is any way for a retired person to become a permanent resident outside these categories, in which case one would have to come as visitor, with no access to social services. You can learn more at

It should be noted that there are unscrupulous immigration consultants around that are good at taking peopleys money without delivering any status.

Specifically answering Cassandra, there are no quotas, but there are annual targets for the various classes. To the extent that immigration processing capacity is linked to the targets, they may effectively become quotas. The requirements to get skilled worker status are pretty high; they are on the website.
ron is offline  
May 10th, 2003, 05:34 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 25
As I have recently looked into this, the whole process takes about a year. I would agree with Ron that it is difficult. I would consult with someone, either at a consulate or an immigration lawyer before you apply to see what they think about your chances of getting status.
nep is offline  
May 10th, 2003, 07:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 187
My husband and I have explored retiring to Canada about 3 yrs. ago. We would like to retire in British Columbia. It becomes very complicated as you have to become a landed immigrint plus have someone sponser you. Canada is not too keen on retirees coming into their country unless you invest LOTS of money in return or own your own business. On the other side of the coin, living in Canada for 6 months only is a different story. Another option for us. Also, we were told by the Los Angeles consulate that it is up to the discretion of the border person whether or not you can come into the country each time you pass through.
Here is a good website that I check bck with every now and then, but at present the site is under construction. You can keep checking back. Check out their forum too as you can get many tips from others.
Good luck and please report back to us. I would be interested in your thoughts.
Francie is offline  
May 12th, 2003, 05:42 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 223
Francie is confusing emigrating to Canada and owning property there as a non-resident. She is simply incorrect about having to emigrate to Canada to "retire" there. You do not have to be a landed immigrant to buy property in Canada. There never has been such a requirement. Why a U.S. citizen would want to emigrate rather than just own property and live there most of the year escapes me. Certainly one must comply with Canadian immigration rules by leaving once every six months or so for a few days and then returning, but other than that there are no restrictions which are of much concern.
As for being inspected at the border, the inspectors can always deny entry to any US citizen at any time. The likelihood of that happening is highly remote. Unless a Canadian inspector is suspicious of someone and refuses entry, going to and from Canada is very simple. And if one encounters a problem at the port of entry, the US citizen may politely request further inspection by a supervisory inspector. Believe me, many more Canadians are turned back from entering the US than US citizens are denied entry to Canada. Just be sure to have an updated passport or certified birth certificate. Again, just check with any of the large Canadian real estate companies just north of the border and they will give you all the info you need. The internet is also a valuable resource.
waltd is offline  
May 14th, 2003, 01:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 180
Thanks for all of the responses!

I think we are more interested in just purchasing a nice home and being able to stay in Canada most of the year. Hopefully our dollar will stretch farther there and we can enjoy a nicer retirement.

I am not as concerned with becoming a landed immigrant. Since we have no relatives, plan to not work....doubt we would qualify anyway.

At this point I am really interested in purchasing property that we can use for a vacation 1-2x a year and then rent out since we have a ways to go til retirement---but I would imagine that prices will keep increasing and would love to get something sooner than later.

A condo/townhouse--so we don't have to worry with maintenance on the outside etc.... A place we can bring our dogs--since most rentals and hotels don't allow them...

I am not opposed to the Quebec side of things either! ;-) Just haven't had the chance to explore there yet.

Do we need to be concerned with the FRENCH?? We don't speak the language.
alise is offline  
May 14th, 2003, 02:19 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 735
I thought about this last summer when I visited Niagara on the Lake. There are many people who retire to that area as it is centrally located for Toronto and the Shaw Drama Festival in the summer. Of course, I presume most of those retired there are Canadians.

Many Canadians with summer retirement places in NOTL "winter" in condos in Florida.

As to Quebec, yes, you would be more comfortable if you spoke French, but I do not think what you are proposing is absolutely impossible without the language.
LaurenSKahn is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:03 PM.