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Provinces and territories of Canada

Canada has been welcoming newcomers like never before. Not only is it a great country for highly skilled migrants or students to move to, but it is also one of the most developed countries in the world with a very stable economy.
Canada_MapAs the number of people deciding to move to Canada increases, making an informed decision is the best way to plan your move. While getting permanent residence is the first step towards Canadian immigration, it is also important to decide which province you want to live in. With that in mind, here’s a quick overview of the provinces of Canada:


Capital City: Edmonton, Alberta
Situated on the western edge of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Alberta is famous for its beautiful landscapes. Calgary, Alberta, is one of the largest cities in Canada, and a popular destination for newcomers. However, the high cost of living in Calgary could make other cities, such as the province’s capital, Edmonton, a more attractive option.
Alberta is one of Canada’s economic powerhouses, and the center of the Canadian energy industry due to the massive Alberta tar sands. Engineers, oil rig workers, or managers working in Alberta’s oil industry can expect large salaries.

British Columbia

Capital City: Victoria, British Columbia
British Columbia is nestled on Canada’s Pacific coast. With beaches to the west and the Rockies to the east, British Columbia is well known for its vibrant outdoor lifestyle. Vancouver, British Columbia is one of the most popular destinations for newcomers in Canada, in part because of its mild climate. Winters in British Columbia tend to be warmer (and wetter) than most other provinces in Canada. Vancouver also has a vibrant tech industry, excellent arts and cultural scene, and great social programs. However, it’s also one of the most expensive cities in Canada to live in.


Capital City: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Manitoba is a prairie province located between Saskatchewan and Ontario. Manitoba has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada. The Manitoba economy revolves largely around natural resource exporting. Forestry, mining, and oil are all major economic sectors. The cost of living in Manitoba is also lower than many other provinces in Canada. The winters are also harsher than most other provinces in Canada.


Capital City: Toronto, Ontario
Ontario is the number one destination for newcomers in Canada. Toronto, Ontario is the largest city in Canada. It’s also one of the most expensive places to live in the country. As the largest economy in Canada, Ontario has many different industries, including finance, tourism, manufacturing, and arts and sciences. Ontario is also home to the capital of Canada, Ottawa.


Capital City: Quebec City, Quebec
Quebec is the only officially French province in Canada. However, while speaking French is definitely an asset, it’s not required to live and work in some parts of Quebec. Larger cities, like Montreal and Quebec city, offer opportunities for non-French speakers. Montreal is also a very popular destination for newcomers to Canada. While offering many of the economic advantages of other large cities in Canada, the cost of living in Montreal is still relatively low, making it a more affordable option for many newcomers.


Capital City: Regina, Saskatchewan
Located in the middle of Canada, Saskatchewan was once known as the “breadbasket of the world”. It is the country’s largest producer of grains and oilseeds. Agriculture is the largest sector of Saskatchewan’s economy, but Saskatoon, the largest city in the province, is also the headquarters of the Canadian mining industry, and an important research and technology centre.

Atlantic Provinces

Capital Cities: St. John’s, Newfoundland And Labrador; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Halifax, Nova Scotia; And Fredericton, New Brunswick
The provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, together, make up Atlantic Canada. Smaller provinces, located on Canada’s Atlantic coast, Atlantic Canada is well known for its fishing, farming, forestry, and mining. The Atlantic Provinces offer some of the lowest costs of living in Canada.


Capital Cities: Iqaluit, Nunavut; Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; And Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
Canada’s northern territories are Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories. Large, but also largely unpopulated, the northern territories’ economies revolve around natural resources. Because they are further north than the other provinces, the territories have some of the harshest winters in Canada.
When you’re researching which province to move to, here are some things to keep in mind:

Provincial Nominee Programs

Every province in Canada operates its own Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). If you’re eligible for one of these PNPs, you can apply for a provincial nomination. If successful, you can then usually apply directly for permanent residence from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Many provinces operate PNP’s that require work experience in an occupation or industry that has been identified as ‘in-demand’ in the province. That usually means that there are a lot of employment opportunities in those fields in the province.
Keep in mind, though, that the end result of any Canadian immigration program, including PNPs, is Canadian permanent residence. As a permanent resident, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects your right to live and work anywhere in Canada.


In an ideal situation, everyone would secure a job before coming to Canada but unfortunately this is not always possible. Searching for work is always more difficult if you are not physically present in the country. Employers may want to meet you in person first and travelling to the country purely for an interview may not be something that is financially feasible for everyone.
You do not need a job offer to qualify for most Canadian immigration programs, but finding a job once you land in the country is usually a top priority for newcomers.
According to Statistics Canada, as of July 2017, the overall unemployment rate in Canada was one of the lowest in recent years, at 6.3%. However, this figure varies across provinces. One province which stands out is Ontario. Employment here rose by 26,000 in July 2017 and by 2019, the province will be raising its minimum wage to CAD $15.
A recent report used data from the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (JVWS) to see which province scores the highest on minimum wage. Alberta scored the highest with 6 out of the province’s 7 regions appearing in the top 10 locations with the highest minimum wage. Apart from Alberta, Ontario also scored highly on the list.
Always keep in mind, however, that the industry you want to work in plays a big role. Some provinces have strong markets for particular industries, so it’s important that you do thorough research.


Canada is infamous for its weather, so the climate is definitely something to consider before choosing what part of Canada to move to. Canada may be known for its cold winter weather, but Canada is actually one of few countries that experiences four distinct seasons. While it’s true that the winter months can be cold, the summer months are equally warm!
Certain parts of Canada are colder than others, too. Canada is the second largest country in the world, behind Russia. So the weather experienced in one part of the country can be very different from another part. Most major Canadian cities are clustered along Canada’s southern border, where temperatures stay more mild.
Each province has its own distinct climate – don’t make the mistake of thinking that winter in Montreal is the same as winter in Vancouver, Winnipeg, or Halifax!

Health Insurance

In Canada, health insurance is handled by the province where you choose to live. Once you reach a new province, you must apply for health coverage. Once you receive a health card, you will be able to receive health coverage, usually after a maximum waiting period of three months.
Since healthcare is operated by individual provinces, there are some differences in service depending on where you choose to live. For example, British Columbia, Albert,a and Ontario require you to pay health care premiums for services provided. However, if for some reason you are unable to pay your premium, health care services cannot be denied.
For more information on how you can move to Canada, complete our free online assessment today:

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