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Work in Canada

8th Jun 2016

For more than 300 years people from across the atlantic have been moving to Canada with dreams of a better life for them and their family. As the NHS is hit by more cuts this trend is being replicated by an ever increasing number of medical professionals.


The Canadian Healthcare system is similar to Britain’s National Health Service. A portion of the budget is provided by the government, with a further payment being made by an employer or employee - in a similar way to that, that National Insurance works in the UK.


Unlike the UK however further funding is provided by the federal government to top up that already gathered. The combined government funding ensures that the contributions from citizens can be lower than it is in the United Kingdom, despite the funding the system receives actually being higher than it is in Britain.


Whilst this is a noticeable difference between healthcare in Canada and the UK, it’s not the only major change. In Canada all the healthcare providers are private, this means that (unlike the UK) pay for medics is not determined countrywide. Doctors also claim directly to the insurer when people use the country's healthcare system (known as Medicare) to cover the costs.


These factors ensure that the Canadian healthcare system is one of the best funded in the world. Although this is also down to intelligent usage and allocation of funding. Advertising of the system is sparse, whilst patients are charged for prescriptions and long term care, with all the money received and saved being diverted back into the system.


This results in a healthcare system which is far more successful than many other similar countries, especially the system in America which also demands a far greater amount of funding.


Currently the USA spends around 17.4% of its total GDP on healthcare, whereas in Canada this statistic is 11.2%. Despite this Canada can boast a lower infant mortality rate (5/1000 compared with 6.1/1000) and a higher life expectancy of 81.24 years compared with the 78.74 in the United States. These facts are testament to the success of the Canadian Healthcare system.


If working within this well funded and successful healthcare sector is appealing to you then it may be time to find out more about the country to decide if your future lies there.


A population of just 36 million people (less than Poland and almost half that of Britain) are spread out over almost 10 million km of land, making Canada the second largest country (by area) in the world and one of the least densely populated. It’s therefore home to some incredible natural wonders.


The Aurora Borealis can be seen from the unpolluted skies of the northwest territories of the country, whilst the south is home to the spectacular 165 foot Niagara Falls waterfall.


Often however people are discouraged from moving to Canada by the idea that it is a rural, desolate wilderness lacking the facilities of other countries. This idea is far from the reality of life in Canada, with it’s vibrant cities complementing its natural beauty.


The capital city of Ottawa, located in the South East of the country near the borders with New York and Vermont, is one of the most sought after places in the world to live. According to Numbeo it is home to the second highest quality of life in the world, as well as the highest standard of living in the country and impressively low levels of unemployment.


Ottawa is home to plenty of historical attractions - 24 sites of Canadian National Historical Importance are located in the city - but the most famous is the Rideau Canal - a UNESCO world heritage site.


The Rideau is the oldest continually operated canal in the world, and is best viewed from on the water on one of the regular cruises that operate on it.


As well as being historically remarkable Ottawa is also home to plenty of cultural attractions. Plenty of art galleries and theaters are spread throughout the city, catering for all interests and tastes.


Furthermore the city is home to ice-hockey NHL team the Ottawa Senators who play in front of crowds that can reach 20,000. Ice-hockey is the main sport in Canada, but there are plenty of others which are popular. Canadian Football - which is similar to American football - and soccer are both played professionally in most major cities, whilst baseball is growing in popularity throughout the country.


Canada’s second city is Toronto - around 450km from Ottawa - which is dominated by the iconic CN Tower. It’s also one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country, with recent estimates suggesting that almost 50% of the residents are foreign born.


In the far west of the country - bordering Washington to the south - is Vancouver, the most densely populated and action packed city in the country. Flanked by expansive countryside to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the West it is the perfect base for leading a healthy and active lifestyle.


Currently a great deal of the vacancies within the country’s health sector lie in Newfoundland. This is Canada’s easternmost province and is home to just over 520,000 people. It’s incredible capital, St John’s, is home to a unique cultural experience making life there unlike anywhere else on earth.


If you believe that the future for your professional career may lie in Canada, then it is time to examine whether or not the move is realistically achievable.


All employers will seek Western specialist qualifications, with suitable western board accreditation, along with a minimum of 3 years experience following your qualification.


Fluency in English is essential, whilst speaking French will also be looked upon extremely favourably, and could give you the edge in getting the job you are aiming for.


Salary packages can vary. Many employers will offer the medics the option of either a fee for service or salaried package, with most new arrivals transferring to fee-for-service after they have settled into the country to maximise their earnings.


There are many additional factors that you should consider before committing to a move abroad - and your salary is only one of them!. Educational facilities, how you will adapt and fit in with the culture, different laws, customs and judicial systems, the cost of living and even the weather should be considered before you take your career overseas.


Canada has a strong educational system, with over 80% of attendees gaining a secondary school diploma and 53% attaining a further educational diploma (or equivalent).


Young people will be in school from the ages of 6 or 7 until at least 16 in most states - the legal age to leave is 16 in all states except Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick where it is 18.


For primary and secondary education there is a small, but highly prestigious, private education sector. Most privately owned facilities are tied to religious groups and funded by them however, so it only accounts for around 5% of those in full-time education.


Further education is provided within colleges and universities where tuition fees are much lower than they are in the US. Tuition fees at the prestigious McMaster University (one of Canada’s most well thought of) are less than half that of The University of Chicago.


Canada is widely renowned as one of the most progressive, diverse and multicultural countries in the world and, as a result, it enjoys a culture which will have something for everyone.


Life in Canada is similar to that in the UK, but with subtle changes that make it a more pleasant place for many to live.


As a nation which was founded by immigrants Canadian’s attitude to incomers is different to that of many in the UK. They are open and embrace immigration, and there is little of the ill feeling towards both immigrants and ethnic minorities that is becoming more widespread throughout Europe.


The fact that Canada attracts so many immigrants is something which makes the Canadian people very proud, as a result they will openly show off their pride of the country. The Canadian flag is displayed on many garden flagpoles and the feeling of civic pride is vastly superior to that felt within many other countries.


As the world’s second largest country Canadian’s attitude to distances also varies greatly from most other people’s. A 50km journey may be referred to as “just down the road”, as the average Canadian drives almost 20,000km a year (far more than the 7000km average in the UK). If you’re moving to Canada then travelling is something that you will have to adapt to.


As such a diverse country Canada doesn’t have a set culture, but instead is made up of many varied subcultures. This means that no matter your nationality, race, religion or interests you are likely to feel at home.


The Canadian legal system is also very similar to that in the United Kingdom, which is what it is based on. There are similar laws protecting worker’s rights, preventing discrimination and preventing crime whilst punishments are also similar. Canada has a lower level of crime than the UK, USA and Australia and is ranked higher in how safe its citizens are.


Now is the part that will play the biggest role in influencing many people’s decision to move abroad - finances. Family physicians can expect to earn a base rate of around C$130,000 (£70,000), but this is enhanced by expenses and allowances covering the cost of relocating, education, accommodation and even gas and electricity bills. Consultants wages also vary between C$180,000 up to C$450,000 (£97,000 to around £240,000).


Many medics opt to work on a fee-for-service basis which can enhance their earning further than a salary. Income tax rates are currently 20.5% up to C$90,563, 26% up to C$140,388, 29% up to C$200,000 and then 33% for all amounts over that. A lower level than would be paid in the UK.


The cost of living in Canada is also lower than in the UK. House prices are more affordable, whilst both purchase of a car and running it are also cheaper. Groceries are roughly 20% less as well meaning that Canada is one of the most affordable developed countries to live in worldwide . If you are concerned about finances, and want to be better off then Canada is the ideal location to move your career to.


As for the climate? That varies hugely depending on where you elect to live within the country. In the north the winters will bring plenty of snowfall and cold weather and last for a few months, before giving way to warmer summers. In the south most cities are relatively near the border with the USA and so enjoy a more mild climate, with warm summers and colder winters that are similar to those experienced in northern Europe.


Canada is a truly unique country which has something for almost everyone. It is vast and varied and this is reflected in its culture which caters for everyone. The healthcare system is unique too both in the way it acts and the way it is funded and it enjoys plenty of success as a result of both.


Perhaps the best thing about a potential move to Canada however is getting to work and live with the Canadian people. They are widely renowned as some of the most polite, inclusive and pleasant on the planet and almost everyone who we have placed over there has loved working with them.


If moving to Canada sounds appealing to you then register on our website for job alerts and all the latest news from the area’s healthcare sector.

Canada Quick Facts





Largest City



Official: French & English : State languages: Chipewyan, Cree, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey, Tłı̨chǫ

National Anthem

O Canada

Total Area

9,984,670 km2




$1.628 trillion

GDP Per Capita



Elizabeth II

Governor General

David Johnston

Prime Minister

Justin Trudeau


Canadian Dollar

Population Density

3.41 per km2

Calling Code




Unemployment Rate


Net Migration


National Animal


National Plant

Maple Tree

National Colours

Red & White











Canada is split into 10 provinces, each with their own style, culture, attractions and capitals.




Post Code


Largest City









Quebec City



Nova Scotia





New Brunswick



Saint John







British Columbia





Prince Edward Island















Newfoundland & Labrador


St John’s

St John’s




As well as this Canada also has three ‘territories’. Unlike the provinces these have no sovereignty of their own, and rely on powers being delegated to them by federal government.




Post Code


Largest City


Northwest Territories
























Most common health problems in Canada


Diabetes - 9 Million people in Canada suffer from the condition, and rates have doubled between 1998 and 2008. Whilst some are genetic many are caused by a poor diet and lack of physical activity.


Heart Disease & Strokes - There are many contributing factors to cardiovascular illnesses; diet, weight, age, race and family history can all play a part, but the risk for Canadians is rising. Lifestyle choices like smoking have played a major role in this and, although the smoking rate has now dropped to 17%, it still plays as big a role as any other factor.


Multiple Sclerosis - Canada has the highest rate of the illness in the world, and it is still not known what causes it. Remarkably Canada’s rates of the illness are 28% higher than the second highest placed country - Denmark.


Cancer - Still kills the most people in the country (more than 75,000 every year) with 40% of those deaths being as a result of lung or colorectal cancers. Skin is the most common cancer in the country however, and improvements to the way it’s treated are being invested heavily in.


Alcohol Addiction - On average Canadians drink 50% more alcohol than the world’s average. This addiction is common and does not require solely psychiatric help. Alcohol abuse leads to liver conditions and increases a person’s risk of at least 7 types of cancer along with various other physical illnesses which require treatment.


Alcohol is the main cause of roughly 8% of the Canadian population’s deaths.


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