Update: Sen. Ted Cruz dropped out of the presidential race on Tuesday night, clearing the path for front-runner Donald Trump to win the GOP nomination. Ahead, some tips for anyone considering a move to Canada should the businessman win the White House this November.
This story was originally published on March 14, 2016.
Full Disclosure: Author is a proud Canadian.
It seems the real victor in the 2016 primaries thus far is neither Donald nor Hillary, Ted nor Bernie—it’s Canada. Google reported that on Super Tuesday, searches for "how can I move to Canada" spiked by over 350%, increasing dramatically later that night and marking the biggest surge in interest since George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004. Visitors to Canada’s immigration website were even greeted with a banner warning about site delays, prompting officials to assure one New York Times reporter that the delays were not due to Super Tuesday traffic.
Still, if you’ve considered moving to Canada after Election Day, you’re far from alone. Miley Cyrus, Jon Stewart, and Whoopi Goldberg have all threatened to leave America if Donald Trump wins. And some have taken it a step further. "I literally bought my ticket, I swear," Raven-Symoné said on The View, adding that, in terms of getting Canadian citizenship, she would "figure it out."
Some Americans have already taken the leap, and at least one Canadian community is actively offering U.S. expats the opportunity to resettle if President Trump becomes a reality. But what do Americans need to know before moving on up to the Great White North? Plenty.
First of all, it’s often said that if the U.S. is a cultural melting pot, Canada is a mosaic. Whereas immigrants to the U.S. can sometimes experience pressure to assimilate, Canada tries to embrace cultural differences. So as long as you don’t bring a gun, it should be a relatively smooth transition.
That said, if you’re planning to relocate to Canada, try not to be these people. Ahead, check out a few things you should know about your soon-to-be adoptive country.
Our New Prime Minister is A Proud Feminist
Canada recently elected a new prime minister named Justin Trudeau. Social media swooned over the tattooed former boxer, but he’s also a man of his word. A self-proclaimed feminist, one of Trudeau’s campaign promises was that his cabinet would be made up of equal numbers of men and women; upon taking office, he fulfilled that promise. When asked why this gender balance was a priority, Trudeau shrugged and quipped, "because it’s 2015."
Trudeau also pledged that Canada would resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015. By the end of February 2016, Trudeau had also fulfilled that goal. Sure, Canada missed its ambitious deadline by a few months, but considering the U.S. accepted only 841 refugees within the same time frame, the fact that Trudeau accomplished this goal at all is remarkable. Up next for Trudeau and his team: the legalization of marijuana and getting women on the country's currency by 2018.
And side note: the PM also looks pretty good cuddling baby pandas.
We Have Our Own Canadianisms
The majority of Canadians speak English, but you may still find yourself experiencing a bit of linguistic culture shock. Canadian English differs from American English in many ways, from spelling to slang. If you’re hoping to find safe harbour with your Northern neighbour, endeavour to adjust your behaviour so as not to cause offence.
Start practicing by using adorable Canadian words like ‘garburator’ instead of ‘garbage disposal’ and ‘chesterfield’ instead of ‘couch.’ Keep in mind that the Canadian alphabet ends with ‘zed,’ not ‘zee’, and if you find yourself offended by the milk options in Canadian grocery stores, remember that ‘homo milk’ is an abbreviation for ‘homogenized milk.’
Be sure to perfect your Canadian pronunciation of 'sorry’ since you’ll be using it a lot. Canadians say ‘sorry’ so much that one of us made a song about it.
Finally, as a new Canadian, you’ll also have to give up Fahrenheit and feet in favor of the metric system. This is probably a good thing in the end, because the only countries that still resist the undeniable logic of the metric system are the United States, Liberia, and Myanmar. Just remember that an inch is about 2.5 centimeters and water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius. Here’s a handy cheat sheet.
You Can Take Your Pick Of World’s Most Livable Cities
Canada has three of the world’s most livable cities, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2015 rankings. Vancouver is legendary for its natural beauty and laid back, outdoorsy lifestyle; Lululemon and Herschel Supply Company were both founded there. As Canada’s gateway to Asia, Vancouver enjoys some of the best Asian food in North America, from sushi to Peking duck. Nicknamed "Hollywood North" because of all the movies filmed there, Vancouver is one of the best places to spot celebrities outside of L.A.
If you’re in the market for a more bustling urban center, Toronto is one of North America’s safest, cleanest, most multicultural cities (although it also used to boast a pretty notorious mayor).
We Enjoy Universal Health Care
Health care is a universal right in Canada, so you can say goodbye to your HMO. That means you won’t be charged for getting X-rays, taking a ride in an ambulance (in certain provinces), or even seeking out a second medical opinion. You won’t have to live in fear of bankruptcy if you experience a medical emergency or are diagnosed with a chronic illness.
To be clear, Canadian health care isn’t free. Canadians pay much higher taxes than Americans to fund health care for all. The system is far from perfect, with wait times for essential services averaging 18.3 weeks in 2015, according to a report by the nonpartisan Fraser Institute.
While it's hard to compare the relative cost of health care to individual Canadians and Americans, at the end of the day, Canada spends less of its GDP on health care (10.4%, versus 16% in the U.S.) and has a higher life expectancy and lower infant mortality rates. Both are considered the benchmarks of successful public health policies.
In short, there are plenty of reasons to think about moving to Canada pending a Trump presidency. If a handsome prime minister, universal health care, excellent public education, a full year of paid maternity leave, and a great exchange rate don’t sway you, maybe the fact that abortion and same-sex marriage are legal everywhere will help you decide.
So...Are You Coming?
While Canada does not currently accept disillusioned American liberals as refugees, you may be able to qualify for a professional visa if you’re a dairy scientist, accountant, or zoologist under the North American Free-Trade Agreement.
Of course, some think a nobler alternative to all of this is to stay home and fight the good fight as these patriotic Twitter users implore their countrymen to do:
Of course, the choice is yours, but if you do move to Canada, you won’t be sorry. (You’ll just say it more often.)
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Canadians do not pay for ambulance services. Some Canadians do pay for ambulances, and fees vary widely based on type of service and province: from $0 (in the Yukon), $50 (in British Columbia), to $270 (in Manitoba), according to the CBC.
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