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Living in US but working in Canada

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mia1181

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I don''t even know what this is called, but DH and I are considering a really wacky living arrangement. We might move back home to a border city in America and DH would commute to Canada for work, while I would work in the US. DH would also keep a small apartment in Canada in case he doesn''t feel like making the 1.5-2 hr commute home occasionally or if the weather is bad. Is this crazy?


Okay I know it sorta is, but I feel like we could maybe make it work for a while. He is pretty confident he could get a good job in a major Canadian city, but the job prospects don''t look so good for me. Our hometown is right on the border though, and I could probably get a job there. I would work towards getting a job in Canada too but I might need to make a career change in order for that to happen, so it might take some time.

Anyway what do we need to take into consideration before making this big decision? The biggest worry for me right now is the whole exchange rate situation. I won''t be making enough to cover our living expenses in American, so DH''s canadian salary will have to be used in here. Would that be a stupid position to put ourselves in given the current economy?

Any comments/opinions are welcome, even if you just want to tell me we are stupid to even consider this idea.
 

neatfreak

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Mia, why couldn''t you get a job in CA? Aren''t you a nanny? I would think that people in Canada need nannies too! Or is it just an issue of work permits?
 

October2008bride

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Where in Canada would your DH work? Not in a border city right? Because typically the border cities are hit pretty hard in bad economies (that is a generalization - but I used to live in Windsor, Ontario across teh river from Detroit).

Could you get a job in Canada too and just both come over?

1.5-2hr commute is LONG. Chances of him doing that more than 1 or 2 times a week?

Also, depending on what border crossing you use the line ups can be NUTS. So add some more time to that commute.

I have no clue if it is a good/bad/crazy idea - I''m just thinking of things to think about.

I''d say just both move to Canada :) It''s great here! (I''m Canadian - can you tell? haha)
 

mia1181

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Neat- Yep I am a nanny, but I also am a Teacher (Bachelor''s in Education). I am really thinking I need to get back into teaching for my self-esteem. I love nannying but it can be very isolating, I am also starting to resent when people treat me like I am uneducated because I am a nanny. I''d be happy to nanny for a while though but in Toronto, it doesn''t seem like nannies are treated the same way they are here. All of the ads I have found seem to be very low pay and for live-in jobs. I am guessing the market is more for au-pair type nannies, rather than the more professional/career nanny positions I look for. As for teaching, it seems I could get my Canadian credential somewhat easily, but I don''t think there is a demand. My subject is highschool History, but I don''t know if anyone would hire me given my American-centric education.


Date: 2/5/2009 1:21:58 PM
Author: october2008bride
Where in Canada would your DH work? Not in a border city right? Because typically the border cities are hit pretty hard in bad economies (that is a generalization - but I used to live in Windsor, Ontario across teh river from Detroit).

Could you get a job in Canada too and just both come over?

1.5-2hr commute is LONG. Chances of him doing that more than 1 or 2 times a week?

Also, depending on what border crossing you use the line ups can be NUTS. So add some more time to that commute.

I have no clue if it is a good/bad/crazy idea - I''m just thinking of things to think about.

I''d say just both move to Canada :) It''s great here! (I''m Canadian - can you tell? haha)
October thanks for you thoughtful questions ,they really give me some things to think about. I tried to not give specifics as to where we are talking about because it feels weird posting all kinds of info about myself. But specifically I am talking about living in Buffalo, NY with DH in Toronto. We''ve always loved TO. Honestly we are really thinking about him mostly coming home on the weekends. I know it sounds crazy to do the long distance thing, but we hardly see each other much during the week as it is. But yeah eventually I''d love to live in Canada too.
 

dreamer_dachsie

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I have been doing the opposite for a few years: Living in Canada and working in the US! You would need a visa for your DH that allows him to cross the border regularly, but he would need that anyway to work in Canada so it is totally doable.

The bigger issue though is the commute. Major Canadian cities are not on the border, typically, and so you would be looking at long drives. Better if you can get a job here.

I recall on another thread you mentioned that your job qualifications are Nanny or highschool teacher. I think that getting a work visa to be a nanny would be difficult, since it is not perceived to be a highly skilled job and I think that skill level and the availability of Canadians able to do the job both factor into getting a visa. As for being a teacher, you would have very hard time getting such a position in a major Canadian city. Most people I know who finish teachers college end up being a substitute for years before they find a permanent appointment. Also, I am not sure, but you may need to update your qualifications to teach in Canada. However, if you qualify, I can say that if you are willing to work in a smaller community you would actually have no trouble getting a job! Depending on which provice you would like to live in, there is also more or less demand for teachers.

Here is a website for the Canadian gov't re: visas. http://www.cic.gc.ca/English/information/applications/work.asp I will say it is MUCH easier to come to Canada and get a work permit than it is to go to the US, so I think before you decide it isn't possible for you both to come here you should seriously look into whether or not you can work here. You may be surprised.
 

chrono

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Taxes are a pain. When I worked briefly in Canada (sent by my company), I had to pay both Canadian and US taxes. Thank goodness they provided me with a tax preparer and paid my Canadian taxes.
 

lyra

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This is pretty mixed up for sure. I live in Canada. I don't know what will happen with your income taxes, health care, real estate and so on. Those are biggies. It's true that crossing the border can take much longer sometimes too, so that commute could be longer. We knew someone who did this same thing, and I recall at the time he couldn't be covered by our healthcare or something, so he had to pay large monthly premiums. I think the taxes are going to be a big thing too. I dunno. I think I'd pick a location and have both of you working and living there. Might even make more sense financially. You can retain your US citizenships of course, and I think you need to spend a certain specified amount of time in the US every year if you have landed immigrant status here. It's confusing to me, so you should check all this stuff out. We had neighbours who were from the US, the wife didn't work, and they did spend vacations in the US for a reason. Good luck!

ETA: okay now I know your career too. If you're looking at working in Toronto for your husband, the commute time to any US city is going to be much longer than you are anticipating. There is traffic to consider! You might be able to find a teaching position in a private school easier than in a public school. Nannies are often live-in here. It is typical to have a nanny from the Philipines, as they need to work here for a certain time before they can apply for more permanent status, and thus, sometimes the pay rates are lower, as you say. Most working couples would use daycare instead, except for the wealthier ones, who would choose live-ins generally speaking. Living very close to Toronto is very expensive. We live to the west where it is more affordable, although average home prices are quite high everywhere in the GTA. Condos and townhomes are more affordable and are widely available. The cost of living is pretty high, our groceries are much higher. Gas is higher. Wages are typically higher though, hope this helps a little.
 

mia1181

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Thank you all so much for giving me a bunch of things to think about.

DD- I had no idea you worked in the US!

Ideally, I would eventually move to Canada also, but it really doesn''t look good for me given my career options. But I am also considering going to back school. I''m going to try and research whether I could go to school there, and how I would pay for it.

Chrono- Good point about taxes. I think DH would be a permanent resident in Canada, but still a US Citizen so I need to look at tax implications.

Lyra- Thanks for confirming my guess on the nannying market. I am in an area of the US where nannies are really treated well. We are seen as a profession here, and families will pay high salaries for a well-qualified nanny. I was hoping Toronto was similar but I guess not. DH and I would be happy in a condo. Here in California, we couldn''t get a decent 2 bedroom condo for less than say $600,000. We are pretty used to dealing with a high cost of living, but that is with me making a decent salary also. The major plus for me with moving to Toronto would be that I''d be closer to my family especially as we get closer to starting a family, so it would be nice if I could make this work.
 

lovegem

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Hi Mia,

I just want to add on to what others have pointed out.

Tax - There is a treaty between Canada and US. Basically you pay either the US tax or the Canadian tax. Whichever country's tax you will pay will depends on how long you have lived in that particular country. They don't do double dipping. Look up tax treaty and NAFTA on the internet.

Cost of living in Toronto - Not as expensive as in California, but not cheap either. A one bedroom apartment (600 sq ft) in downtown Toronto can easily go for $300,000. Two bedroom would cost you $400 k. Keeping two homes (one in TO, one in the U.S.) is not easy. If you are willing to travel a 30 mins one way trip daily (by car, keep in mind the traffic in Toronto is crazy during rush hours) or more than an hr by public transportation, you can buy a decent condo at $200,000 (again, one bedroom). Like Lyra pointed out... everything is expensive in Toronto.

Salary - I don't know what your DH does, so I am just making a general (personal) observation here about salary in Toronto. The salary in Toronto is not as high as those in major US cities. Lots of my friends moved down to US because the salary is so much better there.

Tuition - If you are not landed immigrant in Canada, you have to pay a visa student fee for going to school. That's not cheap. However, generally speaking, tuition in Canada is cheaper than in US. If you want, you can look up University of Toronto, York University, or Ryerson's tuition fee for visa students for reference. Or if you are considering going to a community college, look up George Brown, Seneca, and Humber college. There are couple more colleges that I kind of forgot.

Boarder issue - If you use the Buffalo/Niagara fall boarder often, you can consider using the whirlpool bridge (I heard it is for local people and they are streamlined.) Or you can consider the Nexus for frequent visitors. You have to apply for this Nexus. Shouldn't be too bad.

Good luck.
 

mia1181

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Thanks Lovegem for all the info, I'm so glad to hear there is no double dipping, that would make life much easier. I'll tell DH about the whirlpool bridge, we usually use the Queenston-Lewiston.

DH and I really need to put our thinking caps on and decide where to go. We've looked into a bunch of different places and can't seem to find a perfect fit. It's so frustrating.
 

swimmer

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Mia, do you have NY state certification to teach high school history in Buffalo? link Especially in urban areas near university towns it is really hard to get a history or English job without a Masters degree (so many of us out there you know!). So consider teaching further out, teaching in CA in a rural area might actually be easier to get a job. When I started my undergrad degree was in African studies, but had a course-load teaching early US history and survey of European history. Hard, but you learn it, no way to learn better than to teach! Or consider going back to school for a reading specialist certification or SPED, those jobs are in such high demand. If you speak foreign languages that are high need for a district, that can also get you "in the door." Just do look into certification quickly, the paperwork can take forever to go through and traditional hiring season is April-June.

It isn''t that we don''t like to hire folks with BAs, just that NCLB requirements for next year require that every teacher have or be on their way to a level of certification that includes or surpasses a masters...sometimes just having a ton of coursework will qualify though...so if you took a bunch of classes post BA/BS, that should be in your transcript pile or in your docs when you apply. Good luck! It is not as complicated as I''m making it sound...
 

mia1181

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Date: 2/7/2009 5:19:21 PM
Author: swimmer
Mia, do you have NY state certification to teach high school history in Buffalo? link Especially in urban areas near university towns it is really hard to get a history or English job without a Masters degree (so many of us out there you know!). So consider teaching further out, teaching in CA in a rural area might actually be easier to get a job. When I started my undergrad degree was in African studies, but had a course-load teaching early US history and survey of European history. Hard, but you learn it, no way to learn better than to teach! Or consider going back to school for a reading specialist certification or SPED, those jobs are in such high demand. If you speak foreign languages that are high need for a district, that can also get you ''in the door.'' Just do look into certification quickly, the paperwork can take forever to go through and traditional hiring season is April-June.

It isn''t that we don''t like to hire folks with BAs, just that NCLB requirements for next year require that every teacher have or be on their way to a level of certification that includes or surpasses a masters...sometimes just having a ton of coursework will qualify though...so if you took a bunch of classes post BA/BS, that should be in your transcript pile or in your docs when you apply. Good luck! It is not as complicated as I''m making it sound...
Swimmer are you talking about teaching in NY or Canada? I qualify for a NY preliminary teacher license. I went to school there so I meet all the requirements, I just never applied for it because I moved to California and got my credential there.
 

swimmer

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Mia, oh excellent! Did you submit your paperwork to the state? NY state has a one time only submission thing that is interesting, you send everything at once so that they get back to you faster. If you are missing anything they charge you a second time with your complete submission. Its not that bad, since you were in NY you don''t even need to get transcripts, they have some contact with the universities and it saves you the transcript charge and a few weeks of waiting for the mail. Genius! If you are going to go to NY, make sure that you have your certification done and on your resume/coverletter so that the first person skimming your info knows that you are already certified. good luck with all your decisions!
 
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