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Old 15.01.2007, 21:54
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Canada vs. Switzerland

Hello!

After 6 years of waiting, we've finally got our Canadian immigrant visas, went to Victoria B.C. and Vancouver and got our PR permits.

Here, in Switzerland, I have an unlimited contract - work for an international (big) company. We (family) all have 1-year "B" permits, automatically renewed every year by my employeer.

There is a dilemma for us now - to go or not to go to Canada? Both countries are looks good to us, both have some pluses and minuses. Switzerland and Canada are always compared in terms of "quality of life" by different magazines, newspapers, UN ratings, etc... I would like to hear some "live "opinion" regarding this dilemma - please feel free to share your opinion.

So, why to go to Canada from Switzerland?

Thanks in advance - I will appreciate any input!

Regards,
CapitanBlack
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Old 15.01.2007, 22:07
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

Quote:
Hello!

So, why to go to Canada from Switzerland?
Only you can answer that question I guess.

How much time have you spent in Switzerland/Canada?
What do you like about Switzerland/Canada?
What would you miss if you weren't in Switzerland/Canada?
etc.

Maybe the people who have spent time in both countries will be better able to give you the pros and cons with regard to specifcs?

Me, I've never been to Canada so my recommendation would be Switzerland
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Old 15.01.2007, 22:31
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

Forget Canada. They keep you queuing outside bars when it's clearly not full inside, to make them look busier to passer's by. That's a showstopper as far as I'm concerned.

A shame - it's nice other than that. Unless you go to Toronto.
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Old 15.01.2007, 22:40
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

Quote:
Only you can answer that question I guess.
How much time have you spent in Switzerland/Canada?
What do you like about Switzerland/Canada?
What would you miss if you weren't in Switzerland/Canada?
etc.
1) 2.5 years

2) It's easier to say what I dislike in Switzerland.

I do not like very high, sometimes abnormally high, prices for everything, 20% mortgage compulsory downpayment and Swiss nationalism. We're Russians and I've feed up with Swiss "different" approach to some nations in banks, insurances and other stuff. Also I do not like to wait for 10 years more in order to apply for Swiss passport. I respect the Swiss law and always pay taxes - ten years is too long. Moreover, I've brought two our boys here, they are growing here and sure - they will became good Swiss citizens.

3) Swiss - mountains / Canada - ocean
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Old 15.01.2007, 22:53
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

Hi Capitan!

I can tell you that Canada is amazing and life is definitely cheaper than Switzerland! If you are going to BC you will have niiiiice big mountains and the ocean not far away and life in Canada is pretty safe.
I would go to Canada because people are more open minded and you have more possibilities (both on the professional and on the social side).

DanielL....regarding queuing outisde bars...everywhere it's the same old story so...

This is my advice as a young single girl, obviously when you have family everything is more complicated and you need to consider the best for your family. Keep in mind that if you do not move to Canada within 6 months (not sure, you better check this information) after receiving your PR, you will lose it!

Good luck!!
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Old 15.01.2007, 22:57
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

yeah, but if you're heading out west the mountains are there too!!!!

I'm from outside Toronto...DanielL, where were you that the bar did that? from my 29yrs living here and being in Toronto practically every weekend...that is not a normal practice! weird.

is that where you would move too? Victoria? b/c it's beautiful there.
I've only visited family, I myself have never actually LIVED outside Ontario.

tough choice. do a pros and cons list for both places. sometimes I find writing those out with these life changing decisions helps me look at things a bit different.

good luck !!
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Old 15.01.2007, 23:03
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

Nah i'm just kidding. Canada's great. When I was in Vancouver I almost decided to stop, rather than come back to Zurich

Although it's true about the bars, at least in central Vancouver!
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Old 15.01.2007, 23:05
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

ahhhh ok then...I thought you were talking about T.O., I was like wha??
hahah

but yah, Canada def. is cheaper, although this month long visit that I am FINALLY wrapping up right now (I MISS ZURICH, well my husband more!)
has made me see things a bit differently. some stuff isn't THAT cheap when you start adding taxes into it really.

and I know rent/cost of living in Vancouver does not come cheap.
beautiful city, but it's pretty pricey.
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Old 16.01.2007, 00:01
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

i've stayed in canada for a short period & got a chance to travel to different states..

loved it there because..
--- shopping & eating out is cheaper than here in CH
--- language is English
--- most of my family is there
--- people are friendly.. (not that they aren't here, but they're a bit mellow in Canada, in my opinion!!)

some things i'd consider, if i'd want to move there
--- taxes are HIGHER compared to CH
--- it could be really cold in winter (minus 30 or so..)
--- public transportation sucks
--- leisurely walks to the forest (nearby) is hardly possible..
--- there isn't really much to do on the weekends (after you've been there for about a few months) besides consuming (not really very productive, eh?) EXCEPT of course if you're prepared to drive for at least a few hours..
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Old 16.01.2007, 01:21
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

Okay - life is that happens to us, while we making plans...some facts about Switzerland.

We have dream to have own house - here it may take us 7-10 years to accumulate 20% own funds to get a mortgage. Is it true that in Canada downpayment for a first house could be even 0%? What are prerequisites for that?

My spouse has no right to work here - nobody will convert her "spouse's'" permit "B" to a "work" one - she is not a skilled specilalist. Maybe after 2.5 years we will aply for "C" permits and then she will get a job then... That's another Swiss "surprise" - in Canada she can look for a job right now. At least a simply one...
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Old 16.01.2007, 01:32
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

Quote:
--- leisurely walks to the forest (nearby) is hardly possible..
Why? I've heard that forest pumas are quite offten guests in some ares of Victoria B.C - pretty dangerous animal, btw..
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Old 16.01.2007, 01:32
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

Quote:
Okay - life is that happens to us, while we making plans...some facts about Switzerland.

We have dream to have own house - here it may take us 7-10 years to accumulate 20% own funds to get a mortgage. Is it true that in Canada downpayment for a first house could be even 0%? What are prerequisites for that?

My spouse has no right to work here - nobody will convert her "spouse's'" permit "B" to a "work" one - she is not a skilled specilalist. Maybe after 2.5 years we will aply for "C" permits and then she will get a job then... That's another Swiss "surprise" - in Canada she can look for a job right now. At least a simply one...
In your situation I would probably go to Canada... I am probably too North-American centric though. British Columbia (the parts that are actually populated) is typically warmer than most of Canada? I'd picture it being like Seattle.
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Old 16.01.2007, 03:24
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

Quote:
We have dream to have own house - here it may take us 7-10 years to accumulate 20% own funds to get a mortgage. Is it true that in Canada downpayment for a first house could be even 0%? What are prerequisites for that?
there are ways to have a 0 down mortgage, of course you will pay a higher interest rate on those...but the recognized amount for a dp in Canada is 5%...so much cheaper and easier to get in Canada....again, taxes are ridiculously high...ontarios is 15%...I'm not sure what BC taxes are.

sounds like Canada may be more what you are looking at wanting to achieve. (from what you posted re: owning property)



re: the forest comment...depends where you are. if you are moving to BC, you'll have ALOT more access to nature and greenery compared to Toronto of course.

Last edited by evilshell; 16.01.2007 at 07:16. Reason: fixed /quote
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Old 16.01.2007, 05:29
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

I grew up in vancouver and spent some time in switzerland (lived in Neuchatel for a year, spent 3 months in zurich). Here are my views on the two places.

Pros Vancouver:
3 mountains right next to the city
Parks all of the city w/ very active citizens
Friendly people
Diverse population
Great restaurants (in my opinion they far outweigh CH restaurants, great sushi)
Growing - opportunity for business
Realestate ownership opportunity (yes, you can have low downpayment on a house but it is very common to put a higher down payment on a house than US)
Ocean
Fabulous Summers
no smoking in bars/ restaurants (this could be a pro or a con for you)

Cons Vancouver:
Rain rain rain (more rain than Zurich)
Housing can get expensive depending on location
Traffic
Some schools are good, some bad
high taxes

Pros CH:
European culture (art, music, cafes etc.)
Multilingual - this could be a great opportunity for your kids (French is not widely spoken in Van)
good public transport
once you make a friend, you have a friend for life
you already live there and wouldn't have to move
good social security

Cons CH:
smoking in restaurants/bars (again could be a pro for you)
People can be closed minded to foreigners
high cost of living
not familiar with the public school system in CH but as is my understanding, children are limited to certain professions from a young age
not a lot of business opportunity in certain areas (mature markets)
expensive to own a home
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Old 16.01.2007, 09:46
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

Quote:
....again, taxes are ridiculously high...ontarios is 15%...I'm not sure what BC taxes are.
Here taxes takes up to 25% of my annual salary. Insurances and rent takes the rest

I know that in Canada B.C. 80 000 CAD is a good salary level (some IT have even 100K but rare). I guess I will pay 30% in Canada - keeping in mind that life is cheaper in Canada - we will have more-or-less the same life level as here. The problem is to find such a salary at the beginning
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Old 16.01.2007, 10:10
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

Zdrastvuy, CaptainBlack!

Well, I will try to give you an immigrant point of view, since I am originally from Bulgaria and I have lived four years in Ottawa and besides I have travelled to all Canadian provinces, except Newfoundland.

You have decided to go to Canada, I can sense that, and now you just expect some support for your decision, but anyway, I'll stop pretending that I am a shrink.

Pros of Victoria

Beautiful city, facing the Pacific Ocean

The Rockies, Vancouver and Seattle are very close, there are regular ferries going to the mainland

low crime rate in Victoria

mild climate- the temperature rarely falls below 0C. December 2005 was -12C in Ottawa and when I got off the plane in Victoria, it was +11C and I saw blooming roses! Unbelievable, as if this is not Canada.

friendly people


Cons of Victoria

small city, populated primarily by retired people, students and provincial bureaucrats, since Victoria is the capital of BC

not much to do, if you like good night life, concerts, operas

expensive museums that are not worth the money

high taxes

Cheaper houses than in Switzerland but high prices for renting and buying, compared to other cities. Many houses are absolute shacks and yet the owners want to sell them for 500 000 CA$!

Job market- virtually nonexistent! I don't want to scare you, but Victoria is not the best place in Canada to look for a job. The jobs are in Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, Vancouver, but not in Victoria! Just go to Jobbank at: http://www.jobbank.gc.ca/Intro_en.aspx and search jobs in Victoria and you'll see my point. If you want to find quickly a job, Alberta is the place in Canada! It is literally booming now. The climate is much colder there.

public transit- not very good but expensive

Pros of Canada in General

Well, Canada is a huge country, so it is hard to talk in general about it but I'll try anyway.

enormous and beautiful country- you can find everything- mountains, lakes, plains, prairies, mild climate, terribly cold climate

you become a citizen after three years permanent residence

the government tries to integrate all immigrants, publicly expressed racism is unthinkable

free healthcare but you wait in line for hours to get a doctor, though

a lot to do if you love hiking, canoeing, fishing and nature in general

wonderful and polite people

great customer service- everybody tells you please, thank you, you are welcome and smiles at you. I miss this courtesy when I go to Europe.

Cons of Canada

When you look for a job, most employers expect you to have Canadian experience, even if you just arrived from abroad.

The federal government spends a lot of money on pacifying the Quebec separatists, who never stop whining and threatening that they will separate if they don't get this or that. This creates certain political instability.

The banking system is inferior to the Swiss one, as far as I know

People are trained in a very narrowminded manner. One night auditor in a hotel does the auditing for the rooms, another one for the hotel restuarant but if one of them is late, the other one cannot replace him, because she would not know how to do his work. The same goes for university administrators, immigration agents, etc. That is why, when you ask something that is slightly different from the FAQ, you get a reply "hold on, please, I have to talk to a supervisor about that."

The country is huge, and yet interurban bus transportation is monopolized by one company Greyhound, which is very inefficient and expensive. There are places in Canada, which you can't rich by bus, or train. Air travel is also very expensive within Canada. It's cheaper to fly from Montreal to Paris than from Montreal to Vancouver. So you are isolated and yet it is expensive to travel. It is not like Switzerland from where you can go to Italy, France, Germany, Austria after an hour drive or to any European country after 1-2 hours by plane.

Education- university education is excellent and Canadian diplomas are generally respected abroad, but secondary education SUCKS!

Foreign language learning is very bad, except few French and English immersion schools. If you want your kid to get good education in European style, you have to pay 7-10 K a year for a private school, no kidding.

In high school, the kids study 4-5 subjects! You can choose to study ridiculous subjects like Science! Can you imagine Science in grade 10 or 11?! A course in which you study a mixture of physics, chemistry, biology. I don't want to offend my Canadian friends, but this is pathetic! In Bulgaria, since grade 7, it is mandatory to take physics, chemistry, biology, and in 11 grade- astronomy. Science as a generic course is taken up to 6th grade, that's it! Education in history, geography, math, I don't even want to comment.

If you ask me for one big reason that I want to leave Canada for, that is education. I don't want my future kids to study here.

job security is not big, vacations are short, two weeks a year, like in the US, and yet you are paid generally 20% less compared to the US. Hence, you work like an American, but you'll get paid as an European (i.e. low salary, high taxes).

In short, the European culture, the proximity to great cultural events and places, the effective transportation, the European way of life, the European educational system, food, social life, people walking on the street, not just driving, shops and restaurants made me decide to move back to Europe, preferably in Switzerland as soon as possible.

Good luck to you and your family and let your decision be the best for you! Everything depends on what lifestyle you prefer.

P.S. This is my personal opinion and I did not want to offend any Canadian.
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Old 16.01.2007, 10:13
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

I have lived in Canada for 5 years and have now lived in Switzerland for 1.5 years (I'm originally British). Although I'm enjoying my time in Switzerland, I cannot see myself living here permanently, whereas I certainly can see that in Canada. In fact, I expect to end up back there after a year or two more here.

For me, the major things that Switzerland has better than Canada are the public transport and the proximity of wildly different cultures within the country and the rest of Europe.

However, Canada has big advantages, too. In particular, the people are much more relaxed and easy-going, the cost of living is much cheaper (although this is not as true in Vancouver as in the rest of Canada), the bars are smoke-free (although I hope that Switzerland will catch up some time soon in that aspect), getting citizenship is certainly FAR easier in Canada, and becoming part of the community and being accepted requires a lot less effort in Canada than it does here. You can really get away from things in Canada, taking a hiking or canoe trip into the mounatins can get you to a beautiful campsite miles and miles away from any other form of civilization.

The two countries certainly have several positive things in common: they are both generally safe and both have great scenery and mountains to play in. However, Switzerland's mountain are far more accessible - if I want to go hiking I can take public transport to almost any trailhead, or I can go road-biking almost anywhere in the mountains, neither of which are possible in Canada (the mountain biking is certainly better in Canada, though - they have more room for it).

One thing that I don't like about Canada is that Canadians are so obsessed with comparing themselves to the US. I wish they would just get on with it and not worry so much about criticizing the US in order to make themselves feel superior. However, that is a problem that is not too hard to ignore.

The info that you've heard about owning a house is certainly true - this is very easy to do in Canada, and I believe that 5% or 10% is the normal downpayment.

Anyway, I hope that you're happy regardless of where you decide to be.

BTW, Brownie - Canada has Provinces, not States.
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Old 16.01.2007, 10:32
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

Just a couple of things in response to Herodotus' comments, which were not posted before I made my post:

I agree that pre-university education is not as good as in Europe. I never really understood why, I think that the teachers are just as good and the kids spend as much time studying. I think it may just be that expectations are set far lower and so the kids are simply not taught as much. However, after both a European and Canadian university degree I think that things even out a lot.

Vacation time is certainly a major factor against Canada. Two weeks per year is the norm, and by law companies are able to say that you must work for them for 12 months before you can start taking 2 weeks per year! However, better jobs often come with more than this, with 3 weeks per year being quite common, and possibly more once you've been with the company for a while. There also doesn't seem to be as many public holidays in Canada as there are in Europe. However, the number of working hours per week are slightly less in Canada - the average being 36 to 40 hours per week in Canada and 42 hours per week in Switzerland, so over the year the total amount worked is pretty equal. If I did move back to Canada then I would want to only take a job that allows me some freedom in terms of when I work.
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Old 16.01.2007, 14:33
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

I'm Canadian I have lived in - Toronto, Vancouver, Peterborough, Montreal and Ottawa. General comments:

Don't move to Victoria - it is where my grandmother used to 'winter' from calgary - and it is very much a retired city with the exception of a small community from the university.

Vancouver - Really nice, mountains and Ocean, great city if you are an active-sporty family

Everything between Vancouver and Toronto - probably not worth going unless you have a job setup there, they are relatively small towns. The exception is Edmonton which I believe has a large Russian and Ukranian comunity, so if that is of interest maybe check it out.

Toronto - big city that goes on forever and seems to be more and more American each time I go back to see my parents. It opposes Vancouver in the sense that it is a less active, drive everywhere type of place. I have to assume JenniferD is a wikkid hottie, because stooges like me are waiting outside bars and clubs downtown pretty much every night! And often they are empty...

Montreal - A fantastic city for young singles, with a great nightlife without the line problem. For families with Children its ok, but it adds another language to your kids, so probably not the best idea...

Go to Vancouver.

Andrew

PS - taxes aren't so high since health insurance is included (Zurisaks too!) - which I assume is a big cost for a family...
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Old 17.01.2007, 10:31
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Re: Canada vs. Switzerland

Just my two cents. I'm a Canuck who is planning on returning to the Great White North following my sojourn in Switzerland as well. Some of my reasons are purely sentimental (e.g. I don't want my parents to be people I visit just once a year, and I enjoy living in a place where I feel that I belong and understand the language and culture) but I also think it is a diverse and tolerant nation, and a great place to raise a family. The beer is pretty good too.

I'd also like to make a correction to Heterodotus' assertion that Canadian high school students only study 4-5 subjects.

Quote:
In high school, the kids study 4-5 subjects! You can choose to study ridiculous subjects like Science! Can you imagine Science in grade 10 or 11?! A course in which you study a mixture of physics, chemistry, biology. I don't want to offend my Canadian friends, but this is pathetic! In Bulgaria, since grade 7, it is mandatory to take physics, chemistry, biology, and in 11 grade- astronomy. Science as a generic course is taken up to 6th grade, that's it! Education in history, geography, math, I don't even want to comment.
Most high schools run on a semester system, which means students take four subjects per semester, for a total of eight subjects over an academic year. Ontario's four-year high school diploma requires thirty course credits, which clearly wouldn't be possible if students took courses in four or five subjects each year. High school diplomas from all other provinces have similar requirements, and are considered equivalent for university admission purposes.

It's true that there are only 4 or 5 mandatory subjects, which take up about half of the credit total, but I assure you that anyone with an interest in science will be able to take specific courses in biology, chemistry, physics and calculus in their final years of high school level to fulfill credit requirements. Students with a more artistic inclination might also have access to courses in drama, music, literature, and a host of other things. So the plus side of there being relatively fewer absolute requirements for graduation is that there is a lot of flexibility. Even in my very small school (thirty-four students in my graduating class) in rural Canada I was able to take English, History, French, Pre-calculus Math, Physics, Chemistry and Biology in Grade 12. And even in this small school there were three streams of math available.

Everyone accepted into my faculty and university had to fulfill very stringent course requirements that were heavy on science and maths. How would this be possible if, as Heterodotus seems to think, high schools don't teach these subjects? I assure you they do, and any reasonably clever student will do just fine in the Canadian system.
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