Moving to Toronto: Relocating Business as an Expat | Expatland

Moving to Toronto

To live in Toronto is to experience a large multicultural community, quality universal healthcare for expats in Canada, a diverse climate, and one of the best skylines in North America. Let’s explore what to expect when relocating to Toronto and note the many reasons to move to Canada.

What to Expect After Relocating to Toronto

  • Toronto is the largest city in Canada and has earned the nickname New York North due to its healthy business environment to relocate your business, cultural vibrancy, and huge entertainment scene.
  • Toronto has a healthy gastronomic scene, the increased presence of internationally known boutiques, world-renowned festivals, and it is the BBC's choice for the most multicultural city in the world for business expats. It promotes a green lifestyle filled with parks, serene recreational areas and boasts a ranking as the sixth safest city to relocate with family in the world as of 2019.

Why Should You Move to Toronto?

Toronto mixes safety and a healthy lifestyle with the large urban environment of a North American metropolis. Its position as Canada’s most populous city and 4th largest in North America has made it a hub of entertainment and business. It also attracts people from all walks of life and from multiple international regions, making it a vibrant and diverse city to relocate business to, enjoy and work as a business expat.

The move to Toronto also gives newcomers access to Canada’s universal healthcare system, which is a point of national pride among locals. Canadian people are traditionally welcoming to expats and people seeking Toronto immigration while sport is encouraged and bike lanes cover the city.

Finally, Toronto sports several parks, and the serenely beautiful Canadian wilderness is only a drive away if you are renting an office for your business. Seasons are mild but varied, with a full four seasons on offer.

  • Tax & Accounting
  • Relocation & Shipping
  • Visa & Immigration
  • Property & Real Estate
  • Language & Culture
  • Health & Wellness
Tax & Accounting

Tax & Accounting in Toronto

If you are relocating your business to Toronto and will be paying taxes here are the current tax rules. The tax-free threshold in Canada is CAD$14,398 as of 2022. Any more and you will be subject to Canada’s progressive tax rates, which were updated as of 2022. Residents of Toronto must pay both federal and provincial taxes.

Federal Taxes in Toronto

  • For the first CAD$50,197, the federal tax rate is 15%
  • Up to CAD$100,392 is taxed at 20.5%
  • Up to CAD$155,625 is taxed at 26%
  • Up to CAD$221,708 is taxed at 29%
  • If your income exceeds CAD$221,708, the tax rate is 33%

Ontario Province Taxes

  • For the first CAD$46,226, the provincial tax rate is 5.05%
  • Up to CAD$92,454 is taxed at 9.15%
  • Up to CAD$150,000 is taxed at 11.16%
  • Up to CAD$220,000 is taxed at 12.16%
  • If your income exceeds CAD$220,000, the tax rate is 13.16%

When selecting a bank while relocating to Toronto, consider monthly fees, atm charges, interact e-transfer (a transfer service used by Canadian banks), CDIC insurance (those moving to Toronto from US can compare this to FDIC), and what you will need to open an account.

  • Your mobile phone number
  • Your email address
  • A valid passport
  • Employment and yearly income information
  • Proof that you are 18 years old or older
  • Your Social Insurance Number (some banks accept US Social Security Numbers)

There are no special rules for newly opened or relocated businesses or expat entrepreneurs.

Check our “Moving to Toronto” recorded webinar and learn more about the tax system in Canada from our experts in Tax and Accounting, Immigration, Relocation & Moving.

Tax & Accounting

Tax & Accounting in Toronto

Relocation & Shipping

Relocation & Shipping to Toronto

When moving to Toronto, Canada, know that you will initially must have 2 forms already filled out. Both forms should indicate the estimated value of the goods as well as descriptions including the make, model, and serial numbers if applicable. Items that arrive separately from you can qualify for tax-free exemption, but only if you list them.

  • Form BSF186 – This is a form declaring what goods you have as you are entering the country. This is required even if you have no goods with you when you arrive.
  • Form BSF186A – This is a form declaring what goods will arrive separately from your own entry into the country.

Shipping items by air is the more expensive option and is subject to increased cost due to the weight limitations of aircraft. They will arrive faster. Shipping items by sea is the preferred option when moving many items or when moving heavy items. They will arrive slower.

Shipping containers come in different volumes:

  • 20 foot shipping containers have 33 cubic meters of space and may cost between CAD$7,500 and $8,500.
  • 40 foot shipping containers have 67 cubic meters of space and may cost between CAD$14,000 and CAD$16,000.
  • Automobiles can be shipped for an estimated CAD$11,000 to CAD$17,000.
Relocation & Shipping

Relocation & Shipping to Toronto

Visa & Immigration

Visa & Immigration for Canada

Canada’s immigration law is comparatively strict. Minor past offenses can disqualify you from immigration, so it’s recommended to check your admissibility before moving to Toronto. Some of the most common offenses include:

  • Theft
  • Assault
  • Manslaughter
  • Reckless, Dangerous or Drunk Driving offenses
  • Drug Influenced Driving
  • Drug offenses such as possession or trafficking

Canadian immigration requires a reason to immigrate. Visa types include:

  • Student Visas – for those admitted to a Canadian university.
  • Work Visas – for those that have a job offer in Canada. These are good for 6 months.
  • Permanent Residence Visas – Allow the holder to settle in Canada Permanently but subject to more scrutiny.
  • Express Entry Visas – For people with specific skills in trade occupations, in demand by federal or provincial economies, or for student visa holders seeking to transition to permanent residence.

Expats in Toronto typically apply for Permanent Residency visa before relocating to Canada.

Visa & Immigration

Visa & Immigration for Canada

Property & Real Estate

Property & Real Estate in Toronto

Prices for Toronto residences are high by Canadian standards and continue to rise. From 2017 to 2018, prices rose roughly 30%. The Canadian government is combating this rise by raising taxes on foreign investments, but buying and renting property still remains high. However relocating business to Toronto, Canada still is encouraged and with low taxation.

  • Rent – As of 2022, 1-bedroom apartments in Toronto average nearly CAD$2,000 per month, 2-bedrooms were CAD$2,600, 3-bedrooms were CAD$3,300, and 4-bedrooms were CAD$4,000.
  • Buy – As of 2022, the average price of a property in Toronto was CAD$1,300,000. Detached homes prices averaged nearly CAD$1,700,000, semi-detached were CAD$1,317,000, townhouses were CAD$1,212,542, and condos were CAD$808,566.

Check our “Moving to Expatland: The Journey to Toronto” podcast and learn more professional moving tips for expats relocating to Toronto and the logistics matters business owners have to prepare for and consider before moving their business to Toronto.

Property & Real Estate

Property & Real Estate in Toronto

Language & Culture

Language & Culture of Toronto

The overwhelming majority of people in Toronto speak English as their primary language, with about 8% of residents knowing both English and French. Around 4% of the population knows a different language which usually includes Italian, Cantonese, Chinese, Punjabi, Tagalog, Spanish, and Urdu.

Despite the relative homogeneity of languages, it’s a city of many ethnic backgrounds with expats in Toronto from all of the world, all of whom bring their unique cultures and heritages to the city. Toronto has one of the highest counts of film festivals in the world. It holds several major history and art museums, the most active English Language Theater scene, and richly diverse gastronomic offerings.

Language & Culture

Language & Culture of Toronto

Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness in Toronto

Toronto boasts a large number of health and wellness centers, serene nature walks, a commitment to mental health and stress reduction, and universal healthcare. The city offers a directory of over 100 health and wellness clinics and centers, including their specialties.

Toronto is dotted with numerous parks and a unique ravine system that forms an urban forest throughout most of the city. The city encourages transportation via bicycles, and bike lanes are present city-wide. Bike sharing options are common, and new trails/lanes are built frequently.

Residents with residence permits or work permits are eligible for Canada’s healthcare system, but private health insurance groups also exist for those who are not eligible.

Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness in Toronto


Spence Walker

Group Leader

Kreston GTA has expertise in local and foreign tax that will prove invaluable to you. Kreston GTA offers to advise on local Canadian tax obligations and can work with the tax team in your home city to ensure your international tax position is effectively managed.

Nitin Badhwar

Group Leader

As one of the leading relocation firms in Canada, with extensive industry experience, more than 80 trusted relocation consultants and numerous awards, you can’t go wrong with Welcomehome Relocations. They ensure a stress-free and enjoyable experience while you move to Toronto.

Andrew Cumming

Group Leader

Cumming & Partners is a boutique cross-border law that provides Canadian and USA immigration services to expats moving for over fifteen years. They are focused on Canadian and US immigration matters and have more than forty professionals within our immigration practice.

Fran Roy

Group Leader

With their experienced team of professionals, King’s Transfer ensures that the expat’s shipments arrive on time and in excellent condition. Their team helps expats with land, sea, and air moving through the entire process, from loading to tracking to docking.

Mohamed Manzoor

E-Team member

Established in 2004, Canadian Mortgage Group has been assisting expats with mortgage financing, along with helping to build and maintain their credit in Canada. The experts behind their team listen to the needs of expats and offer expert guidance to help them in their seamless transition.

Maymar Naman

E-Team member

Naman Private Wealth of RBC Dominion Securities assists expat individuals and businesses, charitable foundations and other organizations build on and preserve their wealth through sound financial planning, trusted investment advice and unparalleled wealth management solutions.

Maria Tilotta

E-Team member

Since 2004, Right at Home continues to maintain its position as the number one brokerage in the Greater Toronto Area and remains the largest independent brokerage in Canada. They have grown to become the largest independent real estate brokerage in Canada, with a network that has grown to 10 offices and over 5,800 members serving Ontario with recent acquisitions in Barrie and Ottawa further extending their reach.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is the Cost of Living in Toronto?

    The cost of living in Toronto is higher than in other cities in Canada at about CAD$45,500. Without rent, a single person relocating to Toronto can expect to pay around CAD$1,300 per month, while a family of 4 should expect closer to CAD$5,000.

  • Is It Worth Living in Toronto?

    It depends on what your financial situation is and whether you qualify for residency. Toronto is undoubtedly a wonderful city to live in, with a diverse population with a lot of expats from around the globe, good business opportunities for entrepreneurs relocating their business, excellent education, multifaceted entertainment scene, and vibrant nightlife. This comes at the cost of real estate, potentially long commutes, and a true winter during the later parts of the year.

  • How Safe Is Toronto?

    The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2019 Safe City index listed Toronto as the sixth safest city in the world and the safest in all of North America. This is due to a commitment to infrastructure security, personal security, and health security.

  • Are There International Schools in Toronto?

    There is a number of private international schools for families who relocate to Toronto with their children to continue with their home country’s curriculum and usually offer the International Baccalaureate in addition to their own curricula.

  • What Is the Best Neighborhood to Live in Toronto?

    Before moving to Toronto take a look at the 3 best neighborhoods to live in Toronto:

    • Runnymede-Bloor West Village – Excellent housing, employment, safety, shopping and health options, with a decent education, transit, and housing availability. Diversity is lower but still good for Toronto.
    • North Riverdale – Housing is expensive, but entertainment is everywhere. Good shopping and employment options in a safe and diverse area.
    • Mount Pleasant East – Shopping and entertainment are excellent in this safe neighborhood, as are employment opportunities. Education is good here for families with children.