Moving to Ontario: Is Ontario a Good Place to Live?

Moving to Ontario: Ottawa, Windsor, & Toronto

Moving to Ontario opens doors to a host of possibilities for individuals seeking their perfect home in Canada. From the bustling urban centers to the best small towns in Ontario, this province offers a blend of experiences that cater to various interests and aspirations.

As you explore the intricacies of settling in this dynamic province, you'll uncover hidden gems and essential insights that can guide newcomers toward a successful transition. The journey to Ontario is not just a physical relocation; it's the chance to discover your new home. 

10 Reasons Why Ontario Is a Great Place to Live

  • Booming Economy: Ontario boasts one of the most diverse economies in Canada, with strong sectors in technology, finance, sciences, and services, offering a wide range of job opportunities.
  • Capital of Canada: The province is home to Ottawa, Canada's capital city. 
  • Healthcare System: Residents have access to a comprehensive public healthcare system, ensuring that medical services are available to everyone without direct charges at the point of care.
  • Educational Opportunities: Ontario promises educational opportunities for all with robust school boards that service institutions for public, French immersion, and Catholic curricula. 
  • Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities: From the stunning Niagara Falls to the vast wilderness of Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario is filled with natural wonders and outdoor activities for every season.
  • Robust Infrastructure: The province has a well-developed infrastructure, including a robust public transportation system in urban areas, making commuting and travelling relatively convenient.
  • Arts and Culture: Ontario hosts a vibrant arts scene, including world-class museums, galleries, theatres, and music festivals, catering to a wide array of tastes and interests.
  • Economic Hub: Toronto, Ontario's capital, is considered the financial capital of Canada, housing the Toronto Stock Exchange and the headquarters of numerous national and international companies.
  • Robust Manufacturing and Auto Industry: Manufacturing and automotive careers flourish in Southern Ontario.
  • Great Lakes Region: Ontario borders four out of five Great Lakes. 

Cost of Living in Ontario

Is Ontario Canada Expensive to Live In?

The cost of living in Ontario is frequently cited as among the highest in Canada. While it's true that Ontario hosts some of the country's most expensive urban centers, it's crucial to recognize that the actual cost of living can vary significantly from one city to another. Housing costs, transportation expenses, and overall affordability play a crucial role in determining the most suitable location for one's lifestyle and budget.

For instance, Toronto, Ontario's largest city, is renowned for its steep living costs, particularly in the housing market. The average housing prices have soared, often exceeding the $1 million mark. Conversely, Ottawa, the nation's capital and Ontario's second-largest city, presents a somewhat more affordable housing market, albeit still pricey by national standards. Home prices in Ottawa can range from $600,000 to $1 million.

Affordable Cities in Ontario

When considering affordable cities in Ontario, areas like Windsor and Chatham-Kent come to mind, offering a cost-effective living option compared to larger metropolitan areas. These cities provide a balance between affordability and quality of life, making them attractive choices for homebuyers looking to settle in Ontario without breaking the bank.

The cost of living in Windsor is comparatively quite low, and it also has diverse real estate options catering to various preferences and budgets. The median cost of homes for sale in Windsor is about $350,000, with most properties ranging from $80,000 to the mid $700s.

Chatham-Kent is also one of the least expensive cities in Southern Ontario, with numerous housing choices and a range of amenities for residents seeking affordability without compromising quality. With housing costs significantly lower than in neighbouring areas like London and Hamilton, the median home price in Chatham-Kent is $353,000. Residents also enjoy reasonable utility costs, making it an attractive option for those looking to manage expenses efficiently.

Best Companies to Work for in Ontario

Working in Ontario

When considering the best companies to work for in Ontario, exploring popular industries offering diverse career opportunities is essential. Ontario boasts a thriving tech sector, with companies like Cisco Systems leading the way in IT and software services. Educational institutions like the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph are renowned for their commitment to employee well-being and professional growth.

The Windsor economy is a pivotal hub for Canada's manufacturing and automotive industries. It is home to numerous auto assembly plants, parts manufacturers, and tool and die makers. This region benefits from its strategic location next to the United States, facilitating cross-border trade and partnerships. The presence of these industries provides a wealth of employment opportunities and contributes significantly to the economic strength of Ontario, making it an attractive location for professionals in these sectors.

Popular Industries in Ontario

Ontario's thriving economy boasts diverse industries that offer excellent opportunities for employment with top companies in the province. Ontario's most prominent industries include technology, finance, healthcare, education, and manufacturing.

Ontario's robust economy and business-friendly environment attract a wide range of talent, making it an ideal destination for job seekers looking to work for reputable companies. With a strong focus on innovation and growth, Ontario continues to be a hub for various industries, offering a vibrant and dynamic job market for professionals seeking rewarding careers.

Things to Do in Ontario

Outdoor Activities

Point Pelee Near Windsor Ontario

Algonquin Provincial Park holds a diverse range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. This vast wilderness is home to black bears, wolves, moose, and deer, making it a popular spot for camping. The park boasts picturesque hiking trails that showcase breathtaking views of lush forests and crystal-clear lakes. Algonquin is renowned for its premier canoeing and kayaking experiences, with over 1,600 kilometres of interconnected rivers and lakes to explore.

Killarney Provincial Park, situated along Georgian Bay, features the stunning La Cloche Mountain Range and pink granite cliffs, offering diverse landscapes and wildlife sightings for hikers. Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park near Tobermory provide dramatic cliffs, clear waters with shipwrecks, and unique rock formations on Flowerpot Island, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and diving aficionados.

Point Pelee National Park, located near the town of Leamington, is a unique natural sanctuary renowned for its remarkable biodiversity and stunning landscapes. As the southernmost point of the Canadian mainland, this small park boasts a variety of habitats, including marshes, lush forests, and a distinctive one-kilometre-long sandy spit extending into Lake Erie. 

Tourist Attractions

For those interested in cultural and historical experiences, attractions such as the renowned Stratford Festival, Parliament Hill, and the Great Spirit Circle Trail offer insights into Ontario's rich heritage.

Thrill-seekers can enjoy activities like CN Tower's EdgeWalk, Ottawa River Rafting, and the Agawa Canyon Tour Train for an adrenaline rush. Iconic Toronto museums like the Royal Ontario Museum and Art Gallery of Ontario provide a glimpse into Ontario's rich history and vibrant arts scene.

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, showcase a mesmerizing spectacle of nature's beauty, best observed from locations far from the light pollution of urban centers. One of the prime spots for Aurora viewing is the area around Lake Superior, particularly near Thunder Bay and along the northern shorelines, where the dark skies provide a perfect backdrop for the lights. The remote wilderness of provincial parks like Pukaskwa National Park and Quetico Provincial Park also serve as excellent vantage points.

Ontario Climate

People Ice Skating on Rideau Canal in Ottawa in Winter

With its diverse climate patterns and seasonal variations, Ontario has a range of weather conditions throughout the year. Ontario experiences four distinct seasons, each offering unique characteristics. January stands out as the coldest month, with temperatures dropping significantly, while July brings warmth and is known as the warmest month.

Northern Ontario tends to have longer and colder winters compared to the southern regions of the province. Spring in Ontario is typically marked by increased rainfall and average daytime temperatures around 8°C. Summers in Ontario can get quite hot and humid, with temperatures often exceeding 30°C, making it a popular season for outdoor activities and enjoying the numerous lakes and parks in the region.

Residents can stay informed about weather updates through various sources such as radio, TV, newspapers, and online platforms, including resources like the Canadian Weather Network and the Government of Canada's specific forecasts for Ontario. Additionally, residents should be aware of Winter Road Conditions Reports, which provide essential information on road conditions during the colder months.

More information about the climate in Ontario:

What to Do When You Arrive in Ontario

Upon arriving in Ontario, Canada, there are essential tasks to complete to ensure a smooth transition. Enrolling in schools for children, applying for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), and updating your driver's license are key priorities. These steps will help you settle in and start your new life in Ontario efficiently.

Enroll in Schools

Upon arriving in Ontario, newcomers must navigate the enrollment process for schools in the province, which involves submitting necessary documents and potentially undergoing assessments to ensure a smooth transition for students. Required documents may include recent report cards, samples of exams, classwork, textbooks, and information sent to teachers for understanding.

Newcomer students may undergo assessments, particularly for Mathematics and English skills, with provisions for special considerations and Individual Education Plan (IEP) evaluations if needed. It is crucial to inform the school of any unique circumstances to provide appropriate support for children's success.

Apply for OHIP

Newcomers should promptly apply for OHIP, the province's health care plan, to ensure access to essential medical services. To apply, individuals must visit a ServiceOntario center in person, bringing completed forms and three documents proving citizenship, residency, and identity. Qualifications for OHIP include being in Ontario for 153 days and making Ontario your primary residence. 

OHIP in Ontario usually covers:

  • Primary care visits
  • Walk-in clinics
  • Emergency room visits
  • Tests
  • Surgeries

Update Your Driver's Licence

Updating your driver's licence upon arrival in Ontario is essential to ensure compliance with provincial regulations. New residents can use their out-of-province licence for 60 days before obtaining an Ontario driver's licence. Permanent residents must switch to an Ontario license.

The province offers 12 licence classes for different vehicle types, requiring a match between class and vehicle. Ontario operates a graduated licensing system, including Level One (Class G1) and Level Two (Class G2), with specific requirements and restrictions.

The licensing process involves road tests, health inquiries, and proof of legal name and date of birth. Understanding the process, requirements, and classifications is crucial for a smooth transition to driving in Ontario.

Taxes to Know About in Ontario

Taxes in Ontario Canada

When relocating to Ontario, Canada, understanding the tax landscape is crucial. Key taxes to be aware of in Ontario include income and sales taxes. Knowing how these taxes work can help newcomers navigate their finances and plan accordingly in their new province.

Understanding income tax in Ontario involves grasping the progressive tax rates and brackets, deductions, and credits available. 

Income Tax in Ontario

Understanding income tax regulations in Ontario is essential for residents to navigate their financial obligations effectively in the province. In Ontario, income tax rates are applied to taxable income after deductions, credits, and exemptions are factored in. Various tax credits and deductions are available to help reduce the total tax payable. 

Income Range (CAD)Tax Rate
Up to $49,231 5.05%
$49,231 - $98,463 9.15%
$98,463 - $150,000 11.16%
$150,000 - $220,000 12.16%
More than $220,000 13.16%

Sales Taxes in Ontario

The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) replaced the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Retail Sales Tax (RST) in Ontario on July 1, 2010. Currently, the HST rate in Ontario stands at 13% and applies to most goods and services. Additionally, Ontario offers an 8% provincial rebate on specific items, and a point-of-sale rebate system is in place.

Are You Ready to Move to Ontario?

Relocating to Ontario offers a unique opportunity to experience a diverse and dynamic province with a robust economy, rich cultural offerings, and stunning natural landscapes. The lifestyle here is all about embracing career growth, an exciting culture, thriving cities, and beautiful outdoor scenery. Whether you're moving to Chatham-Kent or Downtown Toronto, an exciting new world awaits in Toronto.

If you're ready to move to Ontario, contact Team Goran of RE/MAX CARE Realty at (519) 979-9949 to reach a local real estate agent who can help find your dream Ontario home.

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