Canada is a country which has a long history of attracting skilled immigrants looking for a better life. For more than 300 years people from all over the world have made their home in the country, with expat medics being amongst the most commonly attracted to Canada.
Many things attract doctors, surgeons, dentists and consultants to the country. So if it’s not somewhere that you had considered moving to, or if it is and you just weren’t fully convinced then here’s Odyssey’s guide to four reasons why a move to Canada could be perfect for a Western trained medic.
1 - The Healthcare System’s Funding Model
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 that National Insurance works in the UK.
Unlike in Britain 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.
Whilst this is a noticeable difference between healthcare in Canada and the UK, it’s not the only major difference. In Canada all the healthcare providers are private, this means that pay for medics is not determined nationwide. Doctors are therefore able to claim directly to the insurer when people use the country's healthcare system (known as Medicare) to cover the costs.
As well as this there is far less of the paperwork and bureaucracy which is preventing medics being able to treat patients as they do in the UK.
These factors combine to ensure that the Canadian healthcare system is one of the best funded and run in the world. Although this is partly down to intelligent use and allocation of funding. There is very little advertising of the system, whilst patients are charged for prescriptions and long term care, with all the money received and saved being reinvested in the nation’s health.
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 78.74 in the United States. These facts are testament to the success of the Canadian Healthcare system.
2 - The Culture
Canada has two official languages - English and French - with almost everyone being relatively competent in both their native tongue, and secondary language. This makes communication in Canada easy for anyone with an understanding of either language. On top of this the country is extremely similar to other Western locations. There is little religious impact on everyday life, and in general the lifestyle is extremely relaxed.
The Canadian people are a major attraction as well. As a nation built of immigration they are extremely welcoming towards new people, and are renowned as some of the friendliest worldwide. Community spirit is alive and well in Canada and it can be the perfect location for people looking for a change from life in Britain, but without the major differences that are prevalent in the Middle East and Asia.
3 - The Salary Packages
Many medics in Canada opt to work on a fee-for-service basis which can enhance their earnings when compared with a salary. Even without this however family physicians can expect to earn a base rate of around C$130,000 (£70,000), which can be enhanced by expenses and allowances covering the cost of relocating, education, accommodation and even gas and electricity bills. Consultant’s salaries vary between C$180,000 up to C$450,000 (£97,000 to around £240,000).
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 purchasing and running a car is also cheaper than it is in Britain. The cost of groceries is around 20% lower 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 one of the ideal locations to move to.
4 - The Family Benefits
Canada has a range of factors that can make it perfect for almost anyone. The country is so diverse and large that it can offer people everything from a bustling city lifestyle to a relaxed, remote countryside existence.
A range of things are consistent across the country however. A low population density ensures that there are plenty of wide open spaces, large houses and fresh, clean air whilst the state education system in Canada is of an extremely high standard; 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, so the sector 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.
Not only does Canada have a great education system, it also has some of the lowest crime rates in the Western world, lower than the UK, USA and Australia. As well as this those living in the country are considered far safer than in most other Western locations.
Canada has plenty to offer the expat medic. The working conditions are far better than they are in the increasingly strained NHS, whilst the salaries can be more generous and medics will have more freedom to enhance their earnings if they choose to work on a fee-for-service contract.
If you would like to take your skills to Canada then register on our website and start your journey today. Odyssey have an unrivaled network of contacts in some of the country’s best facillities, and so a move could be closer than you might think.