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Thread: Question for the Canadian Planners Out There

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Grassroots's avatar
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    Question for the Canadian Planners Out There

    Hey Canadians:

    I am starting to consider applying for jobs in Canada and want to ask you some things relating to work style there. Specifically:

    1) How open do you think Canadian employers are to hiring American planners?
    2) What do you think of your pay (I know it may not be a lot, but is it good enough to live there?)
    3) How difficult is the work visa program (to the best of your knowledge)? Apparently, from what I have read, it is pretty easy to go over there and work due to NAFTA agreements.
    4) Any idea how paying taxes would work in this type of situation?

    I have other questions and would like anyone to PM me and talk further. I think it would be neat to try planning in Canada for a while. Any suggestions on getting started?
    Jesse Ventura in 2012!

    "Inside every small problem is a big one trying to get government funding"

  2. #2
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by Grassroots
    Hey Canadians:

    I am starting to consider applying for jobs in Canada and want to ask you some things relating to work style there. Specifically:

    1) How open do you think Canadian employers are to hiring American planners?
    Not sure. Nerudite obviously made it. We have a guy from Wisconsin working here. I know in the last round of hiring here, they considered applicants from all over the globe.
    2) What do you think of your pay (I know it may not be a lot, but is it good enough to live there?)
    I'm very happy with my pay, though if you converted it to U.S. dollars it might not look so good.
    3) How difficult is the work visa program (to the best of your knowledge)? Apparently, from what I have read, it is pretty easy to go over there and work due to NAFTA agreements.
    Again, nerudite would have the best advice. From planners I've seen go the other way, it doesn't look that difficult.
    4) Any idea how paying taxes would work in this type of situation?
    I think it depends how long you are out of the country. I know for Canadians you need to be working for something like 2 years out of the country in order to be hit with "double" taxes (taxed in both countries).
    I have other questions and would like anyone to PM me and talk further. I think it would be neat to try planning in Canada for a while. Any suggestions on getting started?
    Define "a while". I don't think you'll make much headway if you're only interested in a six month gig (unless it's a contract position). I'm sure most employers would prefer to hire someone interested in staying in the position.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Well, I guess I'm the resident expert on Americans working in Canada, since I don't know any other Americans up here.

    1) How open do you think Canadian employers are to hiring American planners?
    That totally depends on the employer and the job market at the time. I think that there is more flexibility in the prairie provinces for hiring outside the country, as they have difficulty attracting people away from the urban centres. Supposedly there are a lot of South Africans working in Saskatchewan. Just like all employers, regardless of location, if you take the time to learn the planning legislation and familiarize yourself with the area, you stand a better chance at landing a job. Before I interviewed up here in Alberta, I studied the planning enabling legislation for the Province, the city's municipal development plan and land use bylaw, and read the local newspaper online for several weeks to familiarize myself with the community's issues.

    2) What do you think of your pay (I know it may not be a lot, but is it good enough to live there?)

    Pay is relative, as you pay for things in Canadian dollars and you earn Canadian dollars. I don't find the Canadian to US currency exchange as much of a factor in my day to day living as much as the horrendous tax system up here. You'll be gouged comparitively to what you are likely used to.

    3) How difficult is the work visa program (to the best of your knowledge)? Apparently, from what I have read, it is pretty easy to go over there and work due to NAFTA agreements.

    I've answered this before in this thread.

    4) Any idea how paying taxes would work in this type of situation?

    Taxes are more of a hassle if you choose to live abroad. You pay taxes to the Canadian government. Then after you file with the Canadian government, you have to file with the US. You can have up to $60,000 USD I think before you are taxed by the US, but you still have to file a bunch of paperwork anyway. So you have to do your taxes twice, but you only pay the Canadian government. It's a brutal hassle.

    Although I'd be happy to PM you, this discussion could possibly be of general interest to other cyburbians so we may want to keep the conversation running in this thread.

  4. #4
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by nerudite
    You'll be gouged comparitively to what you are likely used to.
    I'm glad you changed what you originally wrote - I was going to ask how you were enjoying the universal health care and other benefits that our higher tax burden pays for

  5. #5
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner
    I'm glad you changed what you originally wrote - I was going to ask how you were enjoying the universal health care and other benefits that our higher tax burden pays for
    Well, I thought better of it and decided to temper myself. Heh. The universal health care I've seen in Alberta isn't THAT great... and in the States most municipal agencies pay the majority of HMO, so I'm actually paying more out of my pocket here for Alberta Health Care than I did in the States. As a temporary resident (meaning with a work permit), if you lose your job you lose your coverage. I was sick in December and couldn't go to the doctor because the federal goverment took longer than anticipated to process my work permit renewal and my work permit expired. Universal health care is only a benefit if you are a landed immigrant (which I'm not).

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner
    I was going to ask how you were enjoying the universal health care and other benefits that our higher tax burden pays for

    My employer pays 100% of my health insurance costs. Working-class slobs may not get health care, but at least I don't have to pay taxes for it.

    I'd agree with the statement about jobs on the plains. I have even had headhunters call to try to recruit me to Manituba.

    Canadian money may not be worth anything, but it is prettier than ours. I suspect the most difficult thing to factor in is the cost if you move back to the US of A in the future. How much of an exchange rate will you pay on your savings? What about retirement benefits. Then again, if Canada does take over all of North America, you might be better off than all the rest of us.
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