Is Canada Really That Bad ?

Long term bf lives in canada and likely won't be moving out for a while (waiting for his citizenship etc), is canada really that bad? I'll be doing a masters in the US and will hopefully have the chance to stay there but I'm wondering if canada is really as bad as everyone on wso says it is? 

Edit: would be in Toronto 

Edit 2: thank you for all the comments! Does anybody have any positive perspectives (would really appreciate some) 

 

Yes, it is. I came to do masters here after studying in the US for my long term girl as well.

Worst place you could be: career wise, weather wise, taxes wise, standard of living wise. Nothing. There is nothing. Large-scale gatekeeping and blatant proud nepotism ruins your career. Government and oligopolies screw consumers over and over, nothing is affordable. 

Do not come here. If you are a US citizen you could come, learn by yourself, and still return.

But if you are an international student in the US, absolutely do not make a mistake of leaving the US for Canada.

I have verbally landed a couple banking/PE positions in the US but for the firm to not sponsor H1B cause of the lottery to start (not Canadian, no TN). Cannot work there and have been unemployed for a few months post graduation here. 

I repeat: DO NOT COME!

 
Funniest

At least they acknowledge the lands which constitute the present-day City of Mississauga as being part of the Treaty and Traditional Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, The Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Huron-Wendat and Wyandot Nations and recognize these peoples and their ancestors as peoples who inhabited these lands since time immemorial and that the City of Mississauga is home to many global Indigenous Peoples.

 

Canadian passport?

And what’s the top IB in Toronto?

 
Most Helpful

It's even worse than you can imagine. Growing up as an American, I've always thought that Canada was just like the US but colder. Maybe that was true in the past, but nothing could be further from the truth now. I've visited Toronto a few times in the past year and it's just fucked beyond recognition. It's New York cost-of-living with Mississippi tier salaries in a city that's far worse than New York (or Chicago, or LA, or even Dallas or Houston). Imagine paying New York prices to live in a Minneapolis tier city. Although I would much rather live in Minneapolis than Toronto, hell, I'd rather live in Tijuana or El Salvador than Toronto. Investment bankers can't even afford to live comfortably in Toronto anymore. The Canadian economy is stagnant, run by oligopolies, and real estate and cost of living is out of control.

 

And salaries go lower every year, and housing goes higher every year, because Canada has the most inane immigration policies in the developed world and they've let millions of people in (mostly from India) while the housing supply has remained the same. And despite all the immigrants they let in, there's no corresponding increase in economic growth or productivity. You think that's just being racist or anti-immigration (which I'm not, I think letting in a certain number of skilled immigrants is good for the economy) but its objectively true. And now you can't get a mortgage unless you make $300-400k+ a year in Toronto and Vancouver.

 

And the Canadian government under Trudeau is massively authoritarian and is cracking down on freedom of speech online, violated the Canadian constitution by freezing protestors bank accounts, and oh yeah, the 4th leading cause of death in Canada is MAID which is a euphemism for the Canadian government literally killing it's own citizens via assisted suicide. The cost of living in Canada is so high that Canadians are literally killing themselves to escape. That's how bad it is. 

 

Just imagine a bunch of frogs boiling to death in a bucket, with some of the frogs electing to kill themselves (and the government helping them do so). That's Canada. As an American it makes me so angry to see how fucked Canada has become. You think all of this post is hyperbole and insane but no, its 100% true and Canada gets more fucked every day. 

DO NOT COME TO CANADA, IT HAS BECOME A SHITHOLE, AND TORONTO IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST OF IT. 

 

I think one of my cousins is still in banking at a big bank in the Toronto office. Last I spoke to him pre-pandemic, he hates his income cap and feels severely underpaid. Got a sick loft downtown though.

 

I have lived in Toronto for over 35 years and am finally moving with my wife and kids down to the U.S. permanently. Toronto 20 years ago was not like it is today - people are really struggling.

I would rather live in Detroit (which is terrible) than live in Toronto.

 

No matter how many times you edit the post expecting positive experience, it won’t happen.

You are clinging on any hope, let me tell you. There is none. 
Maybe 5-10 years ago, it was alright.

It is neither affordable, nor does it have any good career path.

The teller dude above literally explained your future, moved for a partner and figured out how fucked up it is.

If you still want to suffer then that’s up to you. Regret a few years later.

I guess we all need some big regrets in life.

 

If you are not connected to the Toronto establishment, it is a bad time. I say this as someone who is and have seen the contrast between ease of finding roles for folks on both sides of the curtain.

In general though the cost of living is crazy, and high finance opportunities are few and far between. If you are a Director in IB you are moving into areas and houses today that were middle class as recently as the early 2000s. It is MATERIALLY worse than it was 10+ years ago. If it was not for personal reasons, I would have left for another job market.

 

Also what people need to realize is that... smart Canadians could see the cracks forming in 2015-2020. And if they did nothing, like 99% of them did, their lives are much worse than if they had left to the US or elsewhere. Now, it's obvious to even the most normie blue-pilled Canadian what the trajectory of the country is. Where will Canada be in 2030? 2040? My guess is a mixture between San Francisco's Tenderloin and the slums of Johannesburg and New Delhi, with crime rates and desperation and food insecurity and drug overdoses and suicides in Canada surpassing the US or the rest of the developed world.  

Canada is not a good place to have a career or raise your kids anymore, and it never will be again. If you have assets like real estate, sell them and use the capital to go elsewhere, like the US or even places like Europe or Southeast Asia. If you're broke and want to build a life, go elsewhere. Canada is not a place for that. 

If you're a Canadian there right now, wake the fuck up. Get out. 

 

Yes, it is bad.

Taxes are insanely high, cost of living is insanely high, government actively gatekeeps everything and funds oligopolies to screw consumers over, Toronto doesn’t even have a good subway system, the list goes on.

I grew up in Toronto but I don’t see myself staying here unless a lot of things change.

MY RECOMMENDATION TO YOU: MONTREAL

Don’t need to speak French, plenty of IB roles, cheap cost of living, good subway, aesthetically pretty city with pretty women (not applicable for you I know), and arguably one of the most fun cities I’ve had the pleasure of visiting—and I’ve been to most of the major cities in NA and EU. Only downside is I hate French Canadians, and they hate you too.

 

Nowhere else in Canada is really ever gonna get as bad as Vancouver and Toronto. If you view the entire country through the lens of those two cities alone, sure, it’s a hellhole. But idk, Montreal, Calgary, Saskatoon, etc. are still good cities, actually decently affordable housing, not terrible places to live. We definitely need to change things as a country to ensure that these remain good places to live. Would help if we didn’t let in a flood of immigrants that don’t actually contribute to the economy. Sure, let in doctors and engineers, but why are we taking on a million Indians to work at McDonald’s and Tim Horton’s? Not a recipe for success. Vancouver and Toronto are lost causes at this point, only hope is to salvage the rest of the country

 

Sask mention. nice. 

Ya, what any western province is spared on in absurd cost of living, immigrants etc that BC/ON/QC experience, is outdone by hillbilly conservatism and the fact that there is absolutely nothing going on here. Can't even get resources to save us. 

At least a man can make a dollar in the states, no matter the political sphere... 

 

Am in Montreal, don’t come to Montreal.

Montreal is only good for visiting, not for living.
For Montreal IB, you need a MD uncle if you won’t speak French. 

Yeah chicks are hot and shit, but you’ll be screwed. 
You’ll be discriminated like crazy. My friends who grew up here get told in interviews that their French isn’t fluent. (Chinese/Haitian friends living here since they were 4-6 YO).

You can’t access any government offices, if you need to be in court for any reason, judge won’t speak English, the lawyer will mistranslate your shit. Have heard experiences from people who got screwed.

I re-iterate. Do not come to Canada unless you want to visit Alberta or Montreal. 

 

LOL Canada sucks ass. I used to have coworkers that lived in Toronto who shared all of the above points from FEINFEINFEIN and more. Their weed also blows compared to the variety of stuff we have in the US so they don't even have that as a selling point yet it's something Canadians will constantly bring up when they're stateside as some sort of justification for how they're better (because that + "free" healthcare is literally all they have).

"The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly" - Robert A. Wilson | "If you don't have any enemies in life you have never stood up for anything" - Winston Churchill | "It's a testament to the sheer belligerence of the profession that people would rather argue about the 'risk-adjusted returns' of using inferior tooth cleaning methods." - kellycriterion
 

Toronto is a small city, maybe a tier 2 or 2.5 if you look North America wide but pretty diverse and international. TLDR: don't come here for career opportunities or or NY like comp, come here for a decent mix of hustle and chill. 

My life is pretty chill man, though I probably wouldn't have liked it as much if I started my career here, the trajectories and comp are nowhere near what a New York, London, Hong Kong etc. can offer (see my comment above about being tier 2 or 2.5). I would know having worked in two of those cities. I'd say the most talented finance Canadians head to the US, and most of the bitterness you'll see here comes from those who just don't have the talent/ability to make the jump from a tier 2/2.5 to a global. 

I enjoy what a fairly young and diverse city it is. I live on the lake, bike to work in the summers, play rec soccer and beach vball over the week, depending on the time of year catch a hockey/basketball/baseball game. There's a lot of green space, and summer is really chilling by the lake with friends grabbing drinks or whatever. Lots of biking options if you like that, and I love going to the islands in the summer to bike and chill on the beach.

Nightlife is decent, very bougie in the King/Queen West strip and a bit more varied in other parts with a pretty thriving indie/local music scene (hip hop, jazz, blues, rock blah blah). The food scene downtown is more Instagram than palate friendly but we have tons of really good ethnic food. Not as much variety as say New York, but a surprising number of options.

My Cons: real estate is very overpriced, taxes are high, the job market right now is super soft, travel distance (everywhere is far - Europe, Caribbean etc.) but probably not much more so than New York, the politics are becoming very US like (the loudest voices, grifting etc.) which I really dislike.

 

Cumulatively, your cons should be considered a dealbreaker for most people.  

Trading in nice scenery for insane cost of living, high taxes, and a soft job market is exactly what people are doing here in the Bay Area, and I'm watching the place go to shyt in real-time.   

The winners all love it, sure - but there are hardly enough of them to fight off the decay.  It's palpable. Hopefully I can join the exodus to Texas.  But to be fair, we also have a serious petty crime and drug and homelessness problem to deal with in addition to the economic climate and the $70B budget deficit about to hit the state. 

 

Very interesting comparison, appreciate the comment. and 100% on the winners part. 
 

Feels like the diff between SF and here is that the situation there is due to heavy handed government and here city/province govts are dysfunctional af. Not to get political, In both cases, voters are short sighted and we have brought this on ourselves. 
 

I had to come back and add this because your winners comment really struck. The “haves” in Toronto really gatekeep the have nots and a lot of our current situation is in part due to this gatekeeping. 

 

Yes Canada sucks. Crazy cost of living with pathetic salaries, cold weather, terrible public transit and traffic (in Toronto). You get paid like you are in Europe without having all the great food, cheap travel to so many different countries, history and culture etc.

Most people with any sort of real aspirations end up leaving- the ones that don’t are either not capable of leaving Canada, or are unwilling to do so just for family reasons. Nonetheless, from a pure career standpoint it’s a no brainer to move.

 
Controversial

Honestly, I think people are blowing things way out of proportion here / bitter with their lives. Toronto is the 4th biggest city in North America (bigger than Chicago) and honestly offers world class city amenities.

Food / Nightlife: Lots of extremely diverse food (you can find amazing cuisine from every pocket of the world), great nightlife on King and Queen St W / Ossington, and tons of access to music, art, museums.

Transit: Toronto has a rapidly improving transit system - its ridership is the 3rd most in North America, only behind NY and Mexico City. Subway, streetcar and bus system can get you everywhere; and if not, it’s a quick Uber ride away. On top of this, there is a very robust regional rail system called the GO, which could get you anywhere around the Greater area. New subway lines and extensions are advancing everyday.

Pay / Compensation: Yes, this is ultimately where there is a disparity in Toronto. I would say high finance jobs probably see a 20-30% discount vs. NY and SF. But then again, it’s the nature of the job market.

Taxes: While we do pay a shit ton of taxes (30-40%), I just did a quick comparison vs. NY and the delta on a $250k comp is $20k less in NY. The one thing people don’t account for is healthcare, in the States, I’ve heard of people contributing an extra $500 per paycheque for private insurance (employee portion) when that isn’t an expense in Toronto.

Cost of Living: While owning real estate in Toronto is extremely expensive (2 bedroom condos cost ~850-950k), renting is much more affordable than people think. You can get a 2 bedroom for around $3200 / month, when a comparable apartment in New York will be well over $6000-7000. Food is similar to other top tier cities, but nothing substantially above LA / NY / SF (think $15-20 for a lunch bowl)

Weather: Honestly it’s manageable, summers are amazing (not too hot), there’s lots of parks and green space in the city, and the winters have gotten milder over the past few years. Other than 1-3 weeks of very cold weather, it is quite similar to New York. And winter is really only 3 months. Autumn, spring and summer are very manageable and moderate.

Homelessness / Safety: people are blowing this way out of proportion… compare homicide rates / 100k people, Toronto is lower than SF, LA, NY, Chi. Homelessness isn’t even close to levels in SF, or LA, I would say it’s similar to NY.

Overall, Canada is more of a left leaning country, likely between Europe and the US. And there are issues (influx of low wage immigration, expensive real estate prices, higher taxes), and the job market isn’t as robust as NY / SF. But honestly, which place is perfect and isn’t experiencing any of the same issues listed above? There are still tons of finance / consulting / tech / law jobs that will pay lots of money, and overall you’ll definitely have more opportunity than the people who say they would move to tier 2/3 cities in the US.

 

This post is pure cope… You can get a 2 bedroom for $3200 in UWS between w 96 and w 110 / morningside heights or top of UES or in Harlem and be 20 minutes away from a job in midtown. And I’m pretty sure I only pay like ~$3k a year for healthcare, which I don’t need or use because I’m in perfect health. 

 

Let's compare $$$ in Toronto with a city that is similar in size and weight it punches on a financial scale: Chicago.

For example, a 3rd year associate at a Big 5 bank in Toronto can expect to make at the higher end 375k CAD all in. This is due to the fact that Big 5 banks keep associate base stagnant throughout all 3 years, only increasing bonus %. I'm pretty sure it was 135k a year or so ago but i'll be generous and say its 150k now (150k + 150% bonus = 375k).

In Chi, 225k is street base. Let's assume a less than 100% bonus (80%) for a total comp of 405k USD. Here is where comp deviates considerably:

1.35 is roughly current USD/CAD FX rate. 405k USD = roughly 545k CAD. 

After tax (no deductions) Toronto comp = roughly 210k CAD.

After tax (no deductions) Chicago comp = roughly 350k CAD. 67% difference in post tax income (140k).

Now let's discuss COL. Let's say we're looking at 2bd 2bth properties in each city, within walking distance to the downtown core/financial district (and not shitty areas like Dundas/Jarvis in TO where crackheads run the streets like warlords)

Rent:

Toronto - All new construction + nice amenities, much smaller (v. unlikely to find 1k sft+) - 3200 CAD/m

Chicago - Less new construction (older buildings), more spacious (all 1k sft+) - around 3400 USD/m = 4600 CAD/m

Over 12 months, = 17k premium in Chicago. So on a yearly cost basis, the 140k you save in comp/taxes = (rounded) 120k CAD ish on an associate salary.

The BIG BIG difference is home ownership. In the same areas, it flips drastically.

Let's say you're in Toronto and looking to buy a 1.35M CAD property (1M USD). 

Toronto - Similar to the units renting for 3-3.5k CAD/m, 2b 2bth maybe 2+den, v. unlikely over 1.2k sft, no chance for v. high end buildings except for 1b/1+den

Chicago - easily 2-3k+ sft even in v. high end. buildings, 3-4b 3bth, v. high end buildings at 2-3bd 2-3bth & 2k sft+ at this range on the water/80th floor, etc.

The difference in how far your dollar goes respective to home ownership is MILES apart. This is not even considering the impossibility of buying anything at the 250k USD/340K CAD level where you can buyer a 1b 1bth (not studio) in the same area in Chicago in an older building vs. not even the cheapest 350sft studio in downtown Toronto on its best day. The difference in value on the other end 1.5-2M CAD+ is even more enormous when comparing these cities.

So idk. You make 60-65% more and can afford twice as nice (at least) of a property for the same cost... plus you can buy housing earlier in your career and the value you get at the higher end is additionally more significant. 

Oh and Toronto's public transit infrastructure has deteriorated so poorly in the last 5 years that it is in no way more efficient or safer than Chicago's. The TTC (streetcar & subway) is dangerous af vs. what it used to be and there is much more limited than the loop's system. While violent crimes are definitively higher in Chi, it's much more concentrated in a few areas that are very easy to avoid vs. the shit show in Toronto. The homelessness and violent random druggies is not limited to ANY place in Toronto, I have friends and family members who work in IB/PE etc who have been attacked with needles and/or sucker punched by drug addicts on Bay St. while the police do nothing. So let's call it a wash at best when comparing quality of living as someone making a few hundred K. 

Truth is: Toronto is a BAD DEAL. Everything I just said was not the case 10+ years ago. COL was WAYY lower in Toronto especially in respect to RE ownership. Crime was low and things were generally great. Now its a devolved into no better than the worst of any major US city. Again, it's a BAD DEAL cuz you're losing half or more of your income for no benefits whatsoever vs a comparable city. Not gonna touch on politics cuz its subjective but lol if you know you know.

Canada (Toronto specifically) has lost its edge.