Are the mountains calling to you? British Columbia has long been a popular destination for Canadians to settle due to its natural beauty, relaxed outdoor lifestyle, and exciting cities. If you are thinking about moving to British Columbia, here’s what you need to know! There are are plenty of things that you should know before you hit the road for your cross country voyage!
If you are heading out west to go to college or start a new job, you will immediately notice that life on the west coast is very different. Things move at a different pace over the mountains, and you will need to know about the basics like the cost of living, how to get around, and how to get yourself connected.
If you are buying a home in British Columbia, you will need to find some good real estate lawyers. To get ready for this kind of a monumental move, you will be able to use some of these tips to get yourself set in your new life out west.
Moving To British Columbia? Here’s What You Need To Know
1. Cost of Living
British Columbia is the most expensive of all the Canadian provinces to live in. The differences between rental rates, real estate, and even the cost of groceries can be tough for some people to get used to. The average rental costs for a one-bedroom apartment can run you over $2,000/month. For many, it is definitely easier to share the rent with a roommate.
The provincial taxes sit at 11%, and that’s on top of the national sales tax of 5%. B.C. also has a P.S.T tax of 5%. Most newcomers really notice the difference in their everyday purchases, gas costs, and entertainment.
If you are relocating to British Columbia permanently, you will need to get some paperwork in order. You can formally change your mailing address by going online at Canada Post or heading down to your local post office.
To update your medical services, you will need to apply for your B.C. Medical Services Plan, which is the equivalent of your OHIP coverage. You can apply online at the B.C. provincial government webpage.
If you are becoming a permanent resident, you should also change your driver’s licence. You can wait until it expires, but for insurance purposes, it’s a good idea to get it updated right away with your new address.
3. Public Transit
Once you arrive in magical British Columbia, you will need to know how to get around. If you are a student, it is unlikely that you will have your own car and will need to take advantage of the public transportation service. If you arrive without a job, you can take advantage of this public service to take you out job hunting.
There is no Uber service in the province yet, but you have a few options available to you. Use the Vancouver SkyTrain, the bus, the trolley, or the shuttle to get around town. Monthly or annual passes can be purchased at any depot or online at the B.C. Public Transit site.
Once you get settled, you will need to get all your utilities hooked up. Electricity is provided by BC Hydro across the province. Natural gas service has been deregulated in the province so you can choose your own providers like Direct Energy or Planet Energy.
Moving across the country can be a great adventure and there are few destinations that have so much to offer like British Columbia. Get started on the right foot by knowing what to expect once you arrive. With this information, you will be able to plan and budget for your new life on the west coast!
It’s definitely important to know these things wherever you move to. When I moved to Denmark to work, the wage seemed absolutely fantastic – I didn’t know that taxes took 45% . I still had enough to live on but it did come as a bit of a shock. Though more shocking was when I learnt that I was to pay 99% in taxes. Luckily a friend’s husband was a tax accountant so he got it fixed for me – they had merely put the decimal point in the wrong position when doing the calculations. He then had my 99% tax form framed and hung in his office, lol
Ouch! Glad they got that fixed!
There is no denying the beauty in British Columbia, I would love to move to Victoria. But my son is having his first child, so now moving is not in my near future.
Vancouver would be a nice place to live so beautiful
I had no idea that there were so many differences in each province because I thought everything was the same across Canada
Awesome to know. I am from BC, lots of nature here.
Definitely a beautiful province.
wow BC looks stunning
If the mountains weren’t calling my name before, they are now! BC is seriously so gorgeous. I liked your tips on moving, I think moving international and to placed outside of the US, that it can get stressful because not only is moving stressful, but knowing the rules and regulations of the logistics gets overwhelming. Any and all tips are helpful!
Glad you liked them and thank you for commenting!