The quality of life in Quebec makes it an ideal destination for family expatriation.
However, moving to Quebec with your family is a project that requires a lot of thought.
Moving, immigration, health, and schooling, the steps to take into account are numerous, and traveling with children leaves no room for improvisation.
How to Move to Quebec: an Excellent Choice to Expatriate With Your Family
An Unforgettable Adventure
Moving to Quebec with your family is an opportunity to live an extraordinary experience on the other side of the world. Parents and children build unforgettable memories through discoveries, challenges, and even the unexpected.
Living abroad is also an exceptional opportunity to develop children’s curiosity, sense of adaptation, and open-mindedness. These qualities will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
The Quality of Life in Quebec
Moving to Quebec as a family means taking advantage of a particularly welcoming environment for children and their parents.
There is a real balance between personal and professional life in Quebec. In fact, despite the 40-hour work week, hierarchical relationships are flexible, and companies respect family constraints.
The openness to telecommuting, the division of tasks between spouses, and an advantageous parental leave make it possible to organize one’s life in a balanced manner.
The quality of life is also enhanced by:
- The numerous parks and green spaces
- Low population density
- The size of the apartments
Living an English-French Speaking Experience
Quebec is an English-speaking province with a large expatriate community, and the integration of the whole family is largely facilitated.
Nevertheless, English-French bilingualism remains the norm. Moving to Quebec as a family allows children to quickly and naturally acquire a good command of English.
Expatriate Child Growing up in Quebec
The kindness of Quebecers has been proven. Raising children in Quebec allows them to grow up in an environment where qualities such as friendliness and benevolence are valued by society.
Also, like their American neighbors, Quebecers encourage pride and the celebration of success.
The sense of security that prevails in the country reassures parents who decide to move here with their children.
Schooling and Childcare
Specificities of Education in Quebec
The school system in Quebec has specificities that differentiate it from the American school system:
- Kindergarten begins at age five
- Compulsory elementary school starts at age six and lasts six years
- Secondary school (equivalent to college) lasts five years
- Finally, high school lasts two years.
Unlike in the US, the age taken into account for school is September 30 and not August 31.
The yellow buses provide school transportation for kindergarten and elementary school students.
Schedules vary from school to school. Generally, school stops early or mid-afternoon for preschool and primary school.
The school year starts at the end of August and ends on June 30 of the following year.
Regarding school vacations, there are only two weeks of holidays during the end-of-year holidays and one week in March.
A “pedagogical days” system allocates 20 days per year to outings or to teachers (there is no school).
In total, Quebec students have 180 school days per year.
A paid daycare service (about $4 to $5 per day) is offered before and after school hours.
Differences Between Public and Private Schools
One of the questions parents may ask themselves before moving to Quebec with their family is the choice of school.
The most difficult choice is between public and private schools without knowing the quality of education offered by the public school.
For a private school, count on approximately $2,500 per year for schools that the government partially subsidizes. Schools that do not receive subsidies cost parents between $5,500 and $6,000 per year.
The question of schooling and childcare is obviously of primary importance when moving to Quebec with a family. In Quebec, education is managed at the provincial level, and schooling is mandatory from age 6 to 16.
Before the age of six, it is, therefore, necessary to consider childcare, and there are a variety of childcare solutions:
- Early childhood centers (CPE) are organizations subsidized by the state. An additional contribution from parents is calculated according to their income. This contribution is reduced by half for the second child and is zero for the third child.
- Some private daycares are subsidized and offer spaces at a reduced contribution. Others are non-profit companies that set their rates (approximately $28 to $42 per day).
- Family daycare services are provided by a manager who has undergone specific training. This person is subject to certain norms to receive and care for children in their home.
- The babysitter comes to your home to look after your child for a few hours a week.
When the daycare is not subsidized, the fees paid by the parents are eligible for a tax credit calculated on the family income.
Formalities for Moving to Quebec With Your Family
Since the school year begins at the end of August in Quebec, it is advisable to move during July. However, moving across the Atlantic requires a minimum of organization.
Moving to Quebec as a family means preparing for a big move. It is, therefore, essential to get organized in advance with a checklist of the steps to take before departure and the essential documents to bring with you.
Here are a few things to think about:
- Check the validity of passports and renew them if necessary
- Sending a notice to end your lease for people who rent their accommodation in the US
- Notify the children’s schools
- Notify your bank and open a bank account in Quebec (this can be done from the US by contacting a Quebec bank)
- Notify the administrations (tax office, CAF, social security, among others)
- Get quotes from companies specializing in international moving
- Gather important documents, especially the children’s school documents
- Gather health and medical records
- Give power of attorney to a relative for specific procedures
What are the Immigration Procedures?
There are many ways to immigrate to Quebec. Moving to Quebec from the US with your family, it is essential to identify the most appropriate residence permit.
Among the choices available to candidates for expatriation, various temporary permits allow you to apply for permanent residence once you are here.
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)
Specific jobs that do not require a work permit are listed as exempt from work permits. If an American plans to work in a position that does not appear on the list, they must apply for a work visa.
Family reunification allows a Quebec citizen or a permanent resident living in Quebec to bring in a family member.
Then, they become the guarantor of a close relative who wishes to immigrate. The people who can be sponsored are, among others, the spouse, the de facto spouse, and the dependent children.
The International Experience Canada (IEC)
There are three categories of IEC:
- Working Holiday Permit (WHP)
- Young Professionals
- International Co-op Internship
However, the WHP seems the most appropriate type of IEC for moving to Quebec with your family.
The WHP as a Family
The spouse must obtain their status: worker (by obtaining their permit), student, or visitor (without authorization to work).
Children can also accompany the WHP holder but must obtain their status. Children over 6 must be enrolled in school and get a study permit.
Renewing Your Permit or Applying for a CSQ
Once in Quebec, holders of these temporary resident permits can :
- Either renew their permit
- Apply for permanent status via the Certificat de Sélection Québec (CSQ).
Health Insuring for You and Your Family While Moving to Quebec
In most cases, the Quebec Health Insurance Board (RAMQ) covers the health expenses of permanent residents and temporary foreign workers. However, WHP holders cannot access Quebec’s public health insurance system.
In all cases, public health insurance covers only routine care and basic hospitalization costs.
Dental care, optical care, alternative medicine, or consultations with doctors outside the public sector are not covered. It is often difficult to get an appointment in the public system due to a recurrent lack of practitioners.
For all these reasons, it is advisable to have excellent insurance when moving to Quebec. It allows you to benefit from satisfactory reimbursements. You will be reimbursed for private care worldwide, as well as repatriation assistance, which is recommended when you are moving to Quebec with your family.
If you wish to move to Quebec’s main city, read our advice on finding private medical insurance in Montreal.