Get Settled in Ontario: pro's guide

Ontario is the most populous of Canada’s ten provinces. It is a popular relocation destination for both Canadians moving from other provinces and foreigners moving to Canada for the first time. Its universities (such as the University of Toronto, University of Ottawa and York University) are among the best in North America and the world regularly placing in the top 500 universities in world rankings and making Ontario an appealing location for students. Nature lovers will be interested in the dozens of provincial and national parks and city lovers have a variety of beautiful cities to choose from too. So if you want to get settled in Ontario, you have chosen a beautiful place. But how should you go about it?

Prepare for your move

If you are moving from a different country, you should first do your research. Every country is unique. So even if you are moving from as close-by as the US, you are about to find yourself somewhere different. It’s important to be prepared. And even if you are only relocating from a different province – Ontario is specific in many ways. Some research beforehand can’t hurt!

The relocation process

As you research for your move, you will find that there are different moving services to choose from. What you eventually decide on will depend on your specific situation. Factors to consider include among other things the distance of the move, the amount of time you have for it and of course your budget.

The budget for your move

If you’ve already chosen, purchased or rented housing in Ontario, you probably have a pretty good idea of the current market prices. It bears noting however that housing costs vary between provinces, between cities within a province and even neighborhoods in a city. But housing is only a part of your expenses. You will also need to budget for transportation. So while a place in the suburbs may be cheaper at face-value, the commute will increase your living expenses.

checkbook with pen when you get settled in Ontario
You need to think about your budget and plan it very well!

But your spending starts before you ever get settled in Ontario. One of the first things you need to consider is the cost of relocation itself. If you are struggling with the calculations, websites like can help by giving you a free estimate. Make sure you check it before you make decision.

Culture shock: your first days

You will inevitably feel like a fish out of water in the first days after you move. But the two things you may not expect in Ontario specifically are its love of sports and multilingualismOntario residents are wild about hockey. The local team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, hasn’t won the Stanley Cup in more than 50 years. But you wouldn’t guess it from the love it gets in its home province. Ottawa Senators, another team from the province, also have a huge following. So

Hockey on ice
Hockey is in Ontario’s blood.

if you don’t already love hockey, get ready to become a fan. Just hurry when buying tickets as the games sell out fast.
And don’t be surprised if you overhear pieces of conversation you can’t understand, especially in Toronto. Ontario’s capital may just be Canada’s most diverse city when it comes to languages. The combination of French and English which is wide-spread in Canada is common here as well. But estimates say that as many as 44% of Toronto residents speak a native language that is neither English nor French.

Get settled in Ontario: your priorities

Once you’ve moved in and unpacked all your boxes, it’s time to start your new life. Your first steps now depend on your reasons for moving. You will, of course, want to get to know your neighborhood, the city and the country at large. And you may also be curious about the famous Ontario Health Insurance Plan which covers the basic medical needs of all residents. But above all, you should first secure an income.

Finding a job in Ontario

If you are moving for your work – congratulations! You are already a few steps ahead on the road to get settled in Ontario. Finding a new job is one of the hardest parts of relocation for many newcomers. You should prepare yourself for several weeks, if not months, of applications before you land the job you truly want. It is best to have some savings that you can rely on during this time.
Moving from a different country? Before you even start looking, make sure you have all the necessary documentation. You will need to have your foreign credentials assessed for Canadian equivalency. How complex this process is will depend on your field of work and job experience.

girl on a lap top
Make sure you do all the research about documents you might need

But don’t worry! There are many organizations in Ontario to help you find work, including the Ontario government. While you are looking for your dream job, you should consider taking on work that is not strictly within your field of expertise. This will help you gain local experience and can beef up your resume.
Finally, speaking the local language is always going to benefit you. And while you can certainly get by in Ontario without French, knowing it will open many doors. French as a Second Language (FSL) courses are available throughout the province – find one near you!

Moving with children?

If you’re moving with children, you will need to enroll them in school. In Canada, all children between the ages of 6 and 18 must attend school. Public schools, private schools, and homeschooling are all acceptable options. But most parents opt for a public school as most children can attend a public school for free regardless of their immigration status. If your family is new to Canada, this can be a great way for your children to meet their peers and integrate into society.

Embrace the change

If you truly want to get settled in Ontario, you should embrace everything that makes it Ontario. Take a hike through the beautiful nature that surrounds the cities, eat a Tim Horton’s donut and check out a hockey game. Don’t worry – Ontario is a welcoming province. People from all walks of life, backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions can feel at home here.  It won’t take long before it feels like home to you too.