Retirement in Canada for Expatriates

Retirement in Canada is becoming increasingly common with many expats migrating to this area of the world in order to enjoy a laid-back living environment and a low cost of living.

Living Expenses

While the cost of living in Canada will vary according to location, the general expenses are much lower than in many other developed countries. Canada has consistently featured within the top ten places in the world to live according to the Human Development Report that is commissioned by the United Nations Development Program. This is based upon the fact that as a nation it manages to achieve a good balance between the quality of life and the cost of living and this makes Canada a great choice for a retirement destination.


Healthcare facilities in Canada are of a high standard and readily available throughout the country. The health system is the responsibility of the provincial government, although the federal government does also contribute funds. The healthcare system is funded by resident taxes although newly landed migrants may not be permitted free healthcare for the first three months of their stay, during which private healthcare will be required.

Although public facilities are very good, there can be long waiting lists and many retirees choose to also take out private healthcare insurance. Such insurance is much more affordable than that on offer in the United States.


Housing in Canada is extremely affordable compared with other developed nations and the average house price currently stands at approximately 7 times the average annual wage. Many of the retirees who settle in Canada are able to move with the proceeds of the sale of their house in their home country and purchase a house with no mortgage. Many people also find that they have excess funds to live off.

Single-detached homes are the most common type of living accommodation available in Canada and they currently account for over half of the housing in this country. It should be noted that in big cities like Toronto and Vancouver, houses is extremely expensive.

Renting a property is relatively easy and the rental market is heavily regulated. This means that retirees can ensure that agents will usually act in their best interests.

The Social and Political Climate in Canada

Canada is a neutral country, one that is not currently engaged in any wars with other nationals. There are strict gun control laws in place and on the whole, the country is a very safe place in which retirees can live in comparison with other developed countries in the world. Canadians are considered polite and welcoming to foreigners living in Canada.


Canada is a vast country that covers a large area of land. For this reason, a good transportation system is a pre-requisite. The roads are very good and there is also an efficient bus network available that can transport passengers throughout the country.

Telephone services are reliable and affordable, as to is Internet access. Internet reliability and speeds in Canada are excellent. It should be noted that cell phone rates are quite expensive compared to other countries.

Canada as a Retirement Destination: Visa Requirements for Canada

At present there are no formal retirement visas available in Canada and people who are specifically looking to retire in this country will need to either gain sponsorship from a family member who is already living there or apply for an investment visa. Anyone who is considering retiring to Canada should contact the Canadian Embassy (, for help and advice as to the best method of gaining the appropriate permissions to live in the country as a retiree. Note that medical care in Canada is primarily a provincial responsibility and you may not qualify for universal healthcare in Canada for several months or even years. It makes sense to get a global health plan if you are planning to move to Canada.

For full details about the latest visa requirements for retiring in Canada please see our guide to living in Canada or our Expat Info Desk international relocation guide. These contain full and up to date details of the visa requirements and application process.

Have a comment?

Do you have a comment about this article, a further question or even a correction? If so please do let us know. We may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all comments will be published, please be nice!

Our Expat’s Manual is updated regularly so comments about the article may have already been addressed.

— One Comment —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *