If you’ve decided to jump ship and bail out of Britain before you’re asked to bail out Britain, we don’t blame you.  Canada is one of the most popular locations that British émigrés focus on when looking for a country that will suit their needs abroad – after all, it is so similar to the UK in many ways, but in all the ways that count it is satisfyingly different!

If you’re moving to live in Canada there is one big question that may be eating away at you, and that’s what to ship out there for your new life.  The fact of the matter is, you don’t need to ship anything as Canada is first world and full of all sorts of goods and possessions…however, there may well be items and perhaps even pets that you want to take with you.

In this article we’ll look at everything from taking your extended family with you to shipping your sideboard or even your dog…

When it comes to possessions there are two ways to approach the question of what you should take and what you should leave – the approaches are a) based on the actual value of the item and how much it will cost to replace and b) the sentimental attachment that you have to the item in question.  Some things in Canada cost more than in the UK, most things are however cheaper.  So, if you’re thinking about taking electrical goods for example, chances are they’re cheaper in Canada anyway, so if you can sell off your old fridge and TV and have some cash in hand, you’ll probably save yourself in the long run in so doing and then buying new in Canada.  After all, you won’t have to pay to ship bulky items that are hard to insure in international transit anyway.

If you have items of furniture that are particularly special to you – perhaps they are heirlooms or just prized possessions, then by all means think about moving them with you to live in Canada!  You will have to find out from an international removal company about the cost of insuring and removing the items.  The only other alternatives are re-housing these items with loved ones in the UK for safe long-term storage, or perhaps placing some possessions in a lock-up in the UK in case you will ever return to these shores?

You need to be aware that Canada likes to know about what you will be importing – but your removal company will be able to appraise you of the forms that need to be completed.  Suffice to say, any ‘normal’ household effects can be imported without restriction, but you will need to write a very detailed inventory of what you are taking with you.  If you use a reputable removal company, they will pack everything for international shipping and write this inventory list for you – it’s in their best interests anyway as that way they can ensure everything is properly packaged for safe transport and that they know they’re not shipping any illegal items such as drugs for example!

When it comes to thinking about who to take with you to Canada your considerations might extend as far as pets and even extended family members such as your parents or parents-in-law.  Your extended family can enter and reside in Canada on a temporary basis as just tourists – with a British passport they can remain for up to 6 months in a year.  This may be the best option for everyone as it means they can spend a lot of time with you, but they needn’t go through the rigmarole of trying to get a visa for permanent relocation.  Alternatively, once you have your right to reside in Canada in place, chances are you can sponsor them to move to live in Canada fulltime.

It may be prudent to see how you settle in to your new life before you invite others to join you however – just in case after a couple of years you decide to repatriate or even relocate again!

And finally, taking pets to Canada – should you or shouldn’t you?  Again, this is very much a personal choice.  For me, where I go my dog goes, I couldn’t live without him.  But for other people a) the expense of relocating a pet and b) the stress and hassle could make the whole venture seem impossible.  Fortunately for us Brits, Canada is in the PETS scheme meaning if your dog or cat (or ferret?) has been vaccinated against anything and everything including rabies and has a valid vet certificate and all their paperwork in order, they can travel with you to live in Canada.

Look on any of the expat forums and you’ll see threads about shipping pets to live in Canada and how people found the experience – they give the best advice about the best carriers and handlers, how to get paperwork in order and what to do to prepare your pet for transport simply because they are all speaking from personal experience.  However, it is not cheap to ship an animal with you.  You have extra vets bills, airline charges, you have to buy a transport case, you have to pay for airport and veterinary authorities’ bills and the whole amount can add up to hundreds of pounds.  You have to think about whether it’s worth it – and if not, where and how you can re-home your pet.  We would ask you to be responsible and think carefully about the long-term welfare of your pet – if you do re-home it, do so with consideration and ensure that your pet is not abandoned.