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Where to Resettle in Canada

Expert: CanadaOne

Shehla asked:

I am Canadian and have been living outside Canada for the last 14 years. In this time my husband and I have set up four retail shops here and we sell handmade items, ethnic crafts and furniture from all over the world.

The business is doing well and we would like to start a similar type of business in Canada (I want to come home). The provinces where we would like to set up our business are in order of preference: Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Ontario.

Where do we start? Where do we get advice? As I haven't lived in Canada for a long time, I would especially need somebody to advise me on location.

CanadaOne answered:

There are many pros and cons to locating in any of the three provinces you have mentioned. While we cannot recommend one place over another, hopefully we can provide some information that will help you with your decision.

Cost of living
Here are some Web sites for you that can help you calculate the cost of living in different Canadian provinces

  1. The Salary Calculator at the web site lets you input a salary and two cities. It will then tell you how much you need to make in the second city to equal the income level of the first:

  2. Statistics Canada's family expenditure data provides average household expenditure on a variety of items by metropolitan area:

You may also be interested in the following report:

A Regional Perspective on the Canada-U.S. Standard of Living Comparison
(Compares provinces/states to a national standard of living index)
NB: This document does NOT include actual $ values. It is a relative comparison.

If you are looking for the cost of living increase please see the FAQ under Inflation Rate. (stats about the costs of locating in the different place, survey of cheapest places to live)

Community connections
As you narrow down your search for a new location for your business, you also might like to consider asking some key community business associations for information. Members of these community organizations can valuable insights into the community and can help you understand the marketplace and your competition in that area, while enabling you to develop a network of contacts before you arrive.

Here are some suggested Web sites for you:

British Columbia:
Nova Scotia:

Tax considerations
Sales taxes and government regulations that govern business practises also should be considered before choosing a location for your business. Competitiveness considerations

In British Columbia the provincial sales tax is 7 per cent. There also is a provincial room tax of 8 percent or 10 per cent on lodging. A federal 7 per cent Goods and Services Tax also is levied.

In Ontario there is an 8% retail sales tax on most goods and services, in addition to the 7 per cent federal goods and services taxes. More information can be found at

As of April 1, 1997 the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) was implemented for the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. All GST registrants automatically became HST registrants. The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is a combination of the Goods and Services Tax and the Provincial Sales Tax. The HST Rate is 15%, a combination of the CVAT 7% (Canadian Value Added Tax - GST) and the PVAT 8% (Provincial Value Added Tax - PST).

Economic predictions
Articles that discuss economic growth predictions in Canada

Growth predictions in the individual provinces can be determined by doing a quick perusal of the provincial budgets in each province.

The May, 2001 Ontario Budget painted quite a rosy picture in terms of growth potential in Ontario.To read the complete version of the Ontario 2001 budget, visit

The forecasts in British Columbia, in contrast, aren't as good. More detailed information about government expenditures versus tax cuts can be found by clicking on

The Nova Scotia business community was quite disappointed with the 2001 provincial budget. Business groups say last year's hot economy should have given the Province all it needed to wipe out the deficit. Intead, the province is estimated to run up a loss of $91 million next year and it could be more if economic growth slows beyond the 2.3% it forecasts. For more information, visit

The province expects to balance the budget by 2001/2002 and has promised personal tax cuts of 10% for 2003/2004. For more information, visit

About the author

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