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Is Moving to Ontario Right for You? Complete Guide

Moving to Ontario is an exciting venture for many, as it is one of the most popular provinces in Canada for immigrants and expats. Known for its diverse population, booming job market, and exceptional quality of life, Ontario offers a unique experience for those looking to call it home. In this article, we will explore important aspects to consider when planning to move to Ontario, ensuring a smooth transition.

One of the first steps for new residents in Ontario is to set up essential services and apply for government programs like the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Ensuring that you are well-informed about the supports available to you can expedite your integration process. Additionally, understanding the cost of living, such as taxes and grocery prices, will help you prepare for daily life in the province.

Aside from practical considerations, it's important to appreciate the cultural richness that Ontario brings to its residents. The province is known for its diversity and openness, creating a welcoming environment for newcomers. By engaging in this dynamic community, you'll be able to fully immerse yourself in all that Ontario has to offer.

Living in Ontario

Quality of Life

Living in Ontario offers many opportunities for a high quality of life. With a variety of cities to choose from, residents can find the perfect balance of urban living and natural beauty. Ontario is home to big cities such as Toronto and Ottawa, as well as smaller, more serene cities like Hamilton. The province is known for its low crime rate, making it an ideal place to raise a family or enjoy a safe lifestyle. Additionally, the entertainment scene is vibrant in Ontario, as it hosts major sporting events, concerts, and cultural festivals.

Pros and Cons of Living in Ontario


  • Safety: Ontario boasts a low crime rate, providing a secure environment for both families and individuals.
  • Entertainment: The province is Canada's entertainment hub, with numerous arenas, stadiums, and venues hosting events and performances catering to diverse interests.
  • Healthcare: Upon arrival, newcomers can apply for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) to access healthcare services.
  • Employment Opportunities: As the economic powerhouse of Canada, Ontario offers a wide range of job opportunities in various industries.
  • Education: Residents can benefit from a strong education system with reputable schools, colleges, and universities.


  • Cost of Living: Cities like Toronto and Ottawa can be quite expensive, with average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment at $1,417 and $1,244, respectively, and the average cost of living in Toronto (excluding rent) at $1,242 per month.
  • Weather: Winters can be quite severe, with heavy snowfall and low temperatures.
  • Traffic: Big cities such as Toronto can have traffic congestion, potentially increasing commute times.

Living in Ontario presents a variety of benefits and drawbacks. Its diverse cities and opportunities, coupled with a low crime rate and vibrant entertainment scene, make the province an attractive place to call home. However, the higher cost of living and potential drawbacks of urban life, such as traffic congestion, should also be considered before relocating to Ontario.

Moving to Ontario: The Process


When preparing for your move to Ontario, packing is an essential step to ensure a smooth transition. Begin by decluttering your home and getting rid of any unnecessary items. This will help you save time and effort during packing, as well as reduce your moving costs. Organize your belongings into categories, such as essentials, fragile items, and seasonal items. Make sure to:

  • Use sturdy, high-quality boxes to protect your items
  • Label boxes with their contents and designated room
  • Wrap fragile items in bubble wrap or packing paper to prevent damage
  • Pack the heaviest items on the bottom and lighter items on top

Hiring a Moving Company

Choosing the right moving company is critical for a hassle-free move to Ontario. Research and compare different companies to find one that offers the best services at a reasonable price. Some factors to consider when selecting a moving company include:

  • Reputation and reviews from previous customers
  • Services offered (packing, loading, transportation, etc.)
  • Price and any additional fees (such as fuel surcharge or extra insurance)
  • Availability for your preferred moving date

Don't forget to ask for a written quote and review the contract thoroughly before signing. Moreover, ensure that the moving company is licensed and insured for your peace of mind.

Settling In

Once you have arrived in Ontario, it's vital to prioritize certain tasks to help you settle in quickly and efficiently. Some tasks to take care of as soon as possible include:

  • Registering for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) and obtaining a health card
  • Applying for a driver's license, if necessary
  • Opening a local bank account
  • Setting up utilities, such as electricity, gas, and internet

Familiarize yourself with your new surroundings, such as your neighborhood, nearby grocery stores, and public transportation. Remember to update your address with relevant parties, including your employer, schools, and government agencies.

Although moving to Ontario may seem daunting, proper planning and preparation will ensure a smooth and successful transition. By following best practices for packing, hiring a reliable moving company, and settling in efficiently, you'll be well on your way to enjoying your new life in Ontario.

Housing and Real Estate

Housing Options

When moving to Ontario, there are various housing options available for newcomers. The province offers a diverse range of accommodations, depending on your preferences and budget. Some common housing options include:

  • Apartments: These are typically smaller and more affordable than houses. They can range from modest studios to luxurious multi-bedroom units.
  • Condominiums: Condos are similar to apartments but are owned, not rented. Condo owners often pay a monthly fee for shared building amenities and maintenance.
  • Townhouses: These are attached homes that share walls with neighboring units. They can be rented or owned and usually offer more space and privacy than apartments.
  • Detached houses: These single-family homes provide the most privacy and space but can be more expensive than other housing types.

Housing Costs

The cost of living in Ontario varies greatly by location. For example, the average rental rate for a one-bedroom apartment in Hamilton is $907, whereas the average rental rate for a one-bedroom in Toronto is $2,230. When considering housing costs, it's crucial to factor in expenses like utilities and property taxes. Here's a quick comparison of the average housing costs in two major cities:

CityAverage 1-Bedroom RentAverage House Price

Housing Market

The housing market in Ontario has experienced significant fluctuations in recent years. In some areas like London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Barrie, and the Georgian Bay area, the 2023 real estate outlook predicts average price declines of up to 15%. However, modest price increases are forecasted for other regions.

It's essential to conduct thorough research on the housing market trends in the specific area where you plan to move to ensure you make an informed decision on where to reside. Keep in mind that the housing market is continually changing, so staying up-to-date on recent developments is crucial.

Cost of Living in Ontario

Living Costs Breakdown

In Ontario, the cost of living can vary depending on the specific location and lifestyle choices. On average, a home in Ontario costs around $880,000, making it one of the more expensive regions of Canada. However, mortgage payments are usually lower than the average rent in the province, depending on interest rates. Renting an apartment can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $2,500 or more per month, depending on the size, location, and amenities.

Groceries and Utilities

Groceries in Ontario can be relatively expensive as well. A typical family generally spends between $700 and $1000 per month on groceries, depending on dietary choices and shopping preferences. The cost of utilities also varies based on usage and the specific area in which you live. On average, the monthly utility bill for a standard two-bedroom apartment, including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage, can range between $150 to $300.


Transportation costs in Ontario also contribute to the overall cost of living. Public transit fares in major cities like Toronto and Ottawa range from $3 to $5 per trip, with discounted monthly passes available. If you own a car, you'll need to factor in the expense of gas, which fluctuates depending on global market conditions but usually costs between $1.20 and $1.50 per liter. Additionally, vehicle registration fees, insurance premiums, and parking fees should also be considered when calculating transportation costs.

Economy and Employment

Job Opportunities

Ontario boasts a strong and diverse economy, offering a wide range of employment opportunities across various sectors. Major industries in the province include manufacturing, finance, business services, healthcare, and technology. The future of work in Ontario is characterized by its changing workforce and innovative job markets, catering to individuals with different skills and backgrounds.


In addition to ample job opportunities, Ontario is a fertile ground for entrepreneurs, with a thriving startup ecosystem and numerous resources to support business growth. The province actively encourages innovation and offers various programs, grants, and mentorship opportunities to help aspiring entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life.

Minimum Wage

Employees in Ontario are protected by a minimum wage regulation, which ensures fair compensation for their work. The current minimum wage in Ontario is $14.35 per hour for most workers, with notable exemptions for students and liquor servers. This minimum wage helps maintain a decent standard of living and contributes to the overall economic stability in the province.

Healthcare System

Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)

Ontario's healthcare system is one of the best in the world and offers a variety of services to residents. A key component of Ontario's healthcare system is the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). OHIP is a government-funded program that provides eligible residents with access to healthcare services. Coverage under OHIP includes, but is not limited to:

  • Visits to doctors and specialists
  • Hospital stays and services
  • Surgeries
  • Emergency room visits
  • Diagnostic tests


There are numerous hospitals throughout Ontario that provide healthcare services to residents. These facilities are staffed with skilled healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and specialists, who are dedicated to providing high-quality care. Hospitals in Ontario are grouped into two categories:

  • Public Hospitals: Funded by the government and provide a wide range of services, including emergency care, surgery, inpatient care, and diagnostic services.
  • Private Hospitals: Operate independently and offer specialized services, often with a focus on a specific area of medicine.

Health Card

All Ontarians who qualify for OHIP need a Health Card to access healthcare services. The Health Card contains personal information required for healthcare providers to verify a patient’s eligibility under OHIP. To apply for a Health Card, residents must fill out an application form and provide the necessary supporting documents. Note that when moving to Ontario from another province, there is a waiting period of approximately three months before obtaining healthcare coverage through OHIP.


Income Taxes

In Ontario, residents are required to pay both federal and provincial income taxes. The federal tax rate is 15% for the entire country, while the provincial tax rate in Ontario is 11.5%. These rates apply to personal income and vary depending on factors like an individual's income level and filing status.

Completing your tax return involves entering the province or territory where you lived or were considered to be a factual resident on December 31 of the tax year. In this case, you would input Ontario as your place of residence.

The tax credit for the first CAN $200 of donations is calculated using the lowest personal tax rate. The tax credit for amounts exceeding CAN $200 is calculated using the highest tax rate in the province or territory. In Ontario, this is at the aforementioned 11.5% rate.

Provincial Sales Tax (PST)

Ontario does not have a separate Provincial Sales Tax (PST). Instead, it uses the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), which combines the federal goods and services tax (GST) with the provincial sales tax.

Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)

The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is a value-added tax levied on most goods and services purchases within the province. The HST in Ontario is 13%, which consists of a 5% federal portion (GST) and an 8% provincial portion.

HST applies to various transactions, including:

  • Sale and rental of goods
  • Supply of services
  • Importation of goods

Some items are exempt from HST or eligible for rebates, such as basic groceries, prescription drugs, and certain medical devices. It's essential to be aware of the HST rates and exemptions to properly manage personal and business finances in Ontario.

By understanding the tax structure in Ontario, you can better prepare for the financial aspect of living in this Canadian province.


Public Transportation

Ontario offers various public transportation options for residents and newcomers. In Ottawa, the primary public transport provider is OC Transpo, which operates buses and a light rail system known as the O-Train. This service connects various parts of the city and offers convenient commuting options for residents. It's important to note that public transportation can be a bit confusing initially, as it is separated into conventional services (serving the general public) and specialized services (providing transportation for people with disabilities).

In addition to public transit, alternative options such as Uber and other ride-sharing services are available in Ontario, offering additional flexibility for commuting and traveling within the province.

Driving in Ontario

When moving to Ontario, individuals with a valid driver's license from another province, state, or country can continue to use their existing license for up to 60 days. After this period, it's necessary to obtain an Ontario driver's license. The process of exchanging an out-of-province driver's license depends on factors such as the applicant's driving experience and the location where they were previously licensed.

Ontario residents can visit a DriveTest Centre to start the process of obtaining a local driver's license. These centers administer road tests and other examinations necessary to evaluate applicants' driving proficiency. It's essential to familiarize oneself with Ontario's driving regulations and rules to ensure a smooth transition and a successful road test.

Newcomers to Ontario have various transportation options to choose from, including public transit systems like OC Transpo, ride-sharing services like Uber, and driving their own vehicle. By understanding the local transportation landscape and considering individual needs and preferences, new residents can easily navigate Ontario's cities and make their transition as smooth as possible.


Studying in Ontario

Ontario offers a comprehensive and well-funded public education system that focuses on providing quality education to students. The province is home to some of Canada's top universities and offers a wide range of educational opportunities for both domestic and international students. In Ontario, the education system varies slightly from other Canadian provinces, as it is managed at the provincial level.

Ontario provides a variety of programs and support services for students of all ages, including excellent schools and colleges. The province ensures that every student receives a high-quality education and is equipped with the skills they need to become successful members of the Canadian workforce.

Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)

For newcomers planning to work or study in Ontario, it is essential to have their foreign educational credentials recognized. Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is a process that helps determine the Canadian equivalent of the degrees, diplomas, or certificates obtained from institutions outside of Canada.

An ECA report is necessary to ensure that foreign qualifications are recognized and accepted by employers and educational institutions in Ontario. This process helps international professionals secure jobs in their respective fields and lets them pursue further education without any barriers.

Moving to Ontario offers a wealth of educational opportunities for individuals and families alike. By understanding the process of obtaining an ECA and navigating the province's education system, newcomers can confidently integrate into Ontario's academic and professional landscape.

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is a partnership between the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada, focused on nominating foreign workers, entrepreneurs, and international students for permanent residence in the province. It is an important part of Ontario's economic immigration strategy, as it helps to bring in skilled professionals with the experience needed to support and grow the local economy.

OINP consists of several streams and categories designed to attract a diverse pool of skilled workers, graduates, and business immigrants. The program works in conjunction with the Canadian federal immigration pathways and the Express Entry system. Candidates invited to apply through OINP can benefit from an expedited immigration process, ultimately increasing their chances of successfully obtaining permanent residence in Ontario.

Ontario is known for being Canada's main economic hub and its wealthiest province, holding over 40 percent of the Canadian population. In recent years, more than 234,977 immigrants have moved to the province, attracted by its high standard of living, quality education, and career opportunities.

Some popular OINP streams include the Human Capital Priorities, which targets Express Entry candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) or Canadian Experience Class (CEC) who are specifically selected by Ontario. Another notable stream is the French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream, designed for bilingual candidates with strong language skills in both English and French.

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) plays a crucial role in attracting skilled and experienced professionals to Ontario, fostering economic growth and development within the region. While candidates must meet specific eligibility criteria for each stream, successful nominees benefit from a streamlined and expedited immigration process, paving the way for a prosperous future in one of Canada's most attractive provinces.

Lifestyle and Entertainment

Outdoor Activities

Ontario offers a wide array of outdoor activities for all seasons, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts. During the warmer months, Lake Ontario and its surrounding beaches provide great opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and watersports. The province is also home to the stunning Niagara Falls, which can be admired from several viewpoints and offers thrilling boat tours.

In the winter, skiing and snowboarding are popular in the many ski resorts available. Additionally, Ontario's numerous hiking and cycling trails are perfect for exploring the region's diverse landscapes during Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Restaurants and Nightlife

Ontario boasts an impressive culinary scene, with a diverse range of restaurants for all tastes and budgets. In cities like Toronto and Ottawa, you can find everything from high-end dining establishments to cozy family-run eateries. The province is also known for its thriving wine industry, particularly in the Niagara Falls region, where a variety of vineyards offer tastings and tours.

Nightlife in Ontario is also vibrant, with a multitude of bars, clubs, and live music venues to suit all preferences. Major cities offer popular entertainment districts, while smaller towns and communities also have their unique, local venues for socializing and enjoying a night out.

Arts and Culture

Arts and culture are an integral part of life in Ontario, which is home to the National Gallery in Ottawa, showcasing works by Canadian and indigenous artists. The province's diverse population also contributes to its rich cultural landscape, with numerous festivals and events celebrating the various cultural communities throughout the year.

In addition to art galleries and museums, Ontario hosts many theaters and performing arts centers, offering a variety of performances ranging from classical theater to contemporary dance. The province's thriving music scene also provides ample opportunities for concert-goers, with internationally renowned artists frequently performing in its cities.

With its beautiful, natural landscapes, thriving arts scene, and diverse culinary offerings, Ontario has plenty to satisfy both residents and visitors alike. This section has given just a glimpse into the many lifestyle and entertainment options available in the lovely Canadian province.

Cities and Neighborhoods


Toronto is the largest city in Ontario and offers a diverse range of neighborhoods to suit various lifestyles. Downtown Toronto is perfect for those seeking a bustling urban environment with a vast array of job opportunities, shops, restaurants, and nightlife. The Annex and Roncesvalles are family-friendly neighborhoods with a mix of residential and commercial spaces. For a more suburban feel, consider Etobicoke or Scarborough, which offer excellent schools and green spaces.


Ottawa, Canada's capital city, is home to many government institutions and has a vibrant arts and culture scene. Trendy neighborhoods like The Glebe and Westboro offer a mix of residential, commercial, and recreational spaces, making them great options for families and young professionals alike. For those seeking a quieter suburban lifestyle, Kanata and Orleans provide more space and affordability.


Hamilton is a mid-sized city located near the shores of Lake Ontario. It boasts a strong economy, affordable housing options, and access to nature. Popular neighborhoods in Hamilton include Westdale, known for its proximity to McMaster University and charming houses, and Locke Street, which attracts young professionals and families due to its vibrant atmosphere and walkability. The Dundas area, with its blend of historic charm and modern amenities, is another excellent option for those considering a move to Hamilton.


Oakville is a picturesque town situated on the shores of Lake Ontario. Known for its high-quality schools, parks, and waterfront trails, it is an ideal location for families. Some of the top neighborhoods in Oakville include Bronte Village, which features waterfront parks, shops, and restaurants, and Falgarwood – a suburban area offering a mix of detached homes, townhouses, and condominiums.


Kingston, located at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, is a historic city with an abundance of cultural, educational, and recreational opportunities. The downtown area, Sydenham Ward, is a popular choice for its unique heritage buildings, proximity to Queen's University, and access to waterfront parks. The Westbrook neighborhood is known for its suburban feel, offering a mix of single-family homes and townhouses near parks and shopping centers.

Choose Allied Van Lines for Your Ontario Move

When moving to Ontario, choose Allied Van Lines. We are a reliable and professional option that can cater to various moving needs. With our experienced agents, variety of services, and commitment to customer satisfaction, we can handle any relocation.