In March of 2016 Monty & I packed up our car and our cat and made the move from Madison, WI to Ottawa, ON. Many of our friends in the States still question why we made the move and often our new fellow Canadians ask us the same question. It tends to happen at least a few times each week.
At first the answer was a rebellious “Trump!”, which morphed into “it was time to leave”, but we’ve finally arrived at “it was time to come home”.
Our move may have seemed impulsive to some, but our decision to move was more about what Canada offers rather than what the US cannot. We wanted a place where we could live, age and die happily, and we decided that Canada was a better place for us to do that.
The reasons for choosing Canada are many and varied. Canada is a country with little gun violence and a diverse culture due to its many immigrants. Canada is a society of inclusivity, and recognizes the power of women. There is an emphasis on family and access to healthcare for all of its residents Taking care of one another is what it means to be Canadian.
I recently watched an episode of United Shades of America with W Kamau Bell called ‘The Canadian Way‘. He was interviewing Dr. Danielle Martin, of the Toronto Women’s Hospital, an advocate for Universal Health Care, and she said “…good health leads to other good outcomes, like good economies and communities.” This is something that both Monty and I have believed for a long time. Without access to health care how is an entrepreneur with a family supposed to venture out to start their own company?
We pay 13% HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) on most goods and services, but those taxes help pay for things like our health care. When you go to the doctor or hospital you show them your Health Card and that’s it. No co-pay, no premiums, no deductibles, no statements. We do pay for our own dental and prescription meds, but even that is something our government is working on including into the single payer system.
You may have heard about long waits for doctors. I can tell you as a heavy user of both medical systems that the waits aren’t any longer here than in the US. If you are very healthy or very sick then this system is excellent. If you are somewhere in the middle with a non-life threatening chronic issue then the waits can be longer. Anecdotally we can agree as I haven’t had to wait for doctors or MRI’s, but Monty has been waiting for a few months for an MRI for his injured knee. Overall we prefer the healthcare system here. The facilities may not be quite as shiny but we are cared for well.
Canada is not perfect. There is racism here too, but not as unrestrained as in the US.
We have a dark past here with how we treated our Indigenous People, and it’s something we Canadians should all be making efforts to reconcile.
We have less choice of products and a slower pace of consumerism but is this really a negative? We’ve simply had to adjust to not receiving everything in two days or less.
There is a sense of calm in this country. It’s nice to not be living in a constant state of anger where people are constantly at war with each other.
We loved living in the US. We tried to be good citizens, provide jobs and build communities. But we decided it was time for a change. Canada is now our home and we are proud hockey watching, poutine eating, cost conscious, health aware, people loving Canadians. Pamela
PS: Canadians love a Chip Truck in the summertime! Yes Poutine is available at most chipwagons 🙂