Lifestyle relocate to Canada with your girlfriend as a waiter in 2024/2025



My girlfriend and I have been considering relocating from the United States to Canada in 2024 or 2025. As a waiter, I’m interested in continuing my service industry career up north. 

In this article, I’ll provide an overview of our motivations for moving to Canada, outline the immigration process, and detail some practical steps for finding work and housing as a working couple. Cost of living, building a social life, and cultural differences will also be addressed. 

By the end, you’ll have a comprehensive guide to what relocating to and living in Canada might look like for us. My goal is to provide original perspectives from my own research and lived experience to help others considering a similar move do so successfully.

Why Canada?

There are a number of compelling reasons why you may want to consider relocating to Canada with your girlfriend. Here are some of the key benefits that make Canada an attractive place to live:


Canada is known as being an incredibly safe country. Violent crime rates are low, even in major cities, compared with other industrialized nations. You and your girlfriend can feel at ease walking around cities day or night. This peaceful way of life is attractive to many expats.


Canada has universal healthcare coverage for all legal residents. You won’t have to worry about affording treatments or going into debt from medical bills. Quality of care is excellent and wait times are reasonable. This can provide great peace of mind.

High Quality of Life

Canada is regularly ranked one of the best countries in the world for quality of life. Canadian cities provide good job opportunities, affordable housing, clean environments, good infrastructure, and ample amenities. You can enjoy nature and thriving multicultural communities. Canada offers a comfortable, balanced lifestyle.

Economic Stability 

Canada has a prosperous, stable economy. Even in recessions, Canada has fared much better than other countries. This provides economic security for residents. Jobs pay well and unemployment is relatively low. You and your girlfriend can have financial stability.


Canada embraces diversity and multiculturalism. Over 20% of Canadians are immigrants, so Canadian society is very welcoming of newcomers. You’ll find vibrant, inclusive communities from coast to coast. Canada makes it easy to integrate into the social fabric.

Immigrating to Canada

Canada has a robust immigration system that offers several pathways for relocating there permanently or temporarily. As an American, you have a few main options:

Temporary Work Visa

If you have a job offer from a Canadian employer, you may qualify for a temporary work permit. This allows you to live and work in Canada for up to 3 years. To be approved, you’ll need:

– A valid job offer from a Canadian employer 

– Proof you meet the job requirements

– Criminal background check

– Medical exam  

The work permit can potentially lead to permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class program after 12 months full-time skilled work. 

Study Permit 

If you want to study in Canada for a short course, diploma, or degree program, you can apply for a study permit. This allows you to live in Canada throughout your studies. Many student visas allow you to work part-time on campus. After graduating, you may be able to stay and work in Canada temporarily or apply for permanent residence.

Spousal Sponsorship

If you marry your Canadian girlfriend, she can sponsor you to immigrate to Canada as her spouse. To qualify, you’ll need proof of your genuine relationship and that you meet income requirements. Processing typically takes 12 months. As a spouse, you’ll get an open work permit and can apply for permanent residence after arriving in Canada.

Express Entry

Even without a job offer, you may be able to immigrate permanently to Canada through Express Entry programs like the Federal Skilled Worker Program. You’ll be scored based on age, education, work experience, and language ability. The highest-ranked candidates get invited to apply for permanent residence. 

Provincial Nominee Programs

Some Canadian provinces have special immigration programs tied to local labor market needs. If you have skills in demand in a certain province, you may qualify for a provincial nomination certificate, which can facilitate Express Entry or direct permanent residence.

Finding a Job 

One of the first steps after moving to Canada will be finding a job as a waiter to establish yourself and start earning income. The good news is that Canada’s strong service industry provides decent prospects for waiters and bartenders. Many restaurants, bars, hotels and other establishments in major cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal are frequently hiring.

While not an extremely high-paying job, waiting tables in Canada can provide a respectable living. Waiters in Canada earn a median hourly wage of $11 CAD ($8 USD), which aligns with the minimum wage in most provinces. With full-time hours, this amounts to an annual salary of around $25,000 CAD ($19,000 USD). Tips will provide a boost on top of hourly wages. Those working in higher end establishments can earn up to $30,000 CAD ($23,000 USD) or more annually.

To legally work as a waiter in Canada, you’ll need to get a food handler certification. Requirements vary by province, but training courses are available lasting 1-2 days for a fee of around $100 CAD. You’ll learn proper food safety and hygiene practices. Many restaurants will cover this cost for new hires.

With the food handler certification secured, you can start applying for waiter jobs posted on sites like Indeed, Craigslist, LinkedIn and local job boards. Be sure to highlight any past serving experience and enthusiasm for providing excellent customer service. Some larger hotels and restaurant chains may sponsor foreign workers. Smaller independent establishments will also hire immigrants with the right to work in Canada. 

It’s a good idea to visit restaurants and bars in person with a print resume. Developing connections can give you a leg up. With persistence and qualifications as an experienced server, you should be able to land a steady waiter job within a few weeks or months after arriving. This will provide the income needed to establish yourself while looking for other opportunities.

Cost of Living in Canada 

Moving to a new country can be a big adjustment financially. While Canada is considered a wealthy, developed country, the cost of living can still be higher than what you may be used to, especially in major cities like Toronto or Vancouver. It’s important to do thorough research ahead of time to ensure you budget properly for the move.  

Some key things to factor into your cost of living calculations include:


Rental prices in cities like Toronto and Vancouver are some of the highest in the world. Be prepared for much higher rents than you may be used to. Purchase prices for homes are also extremely high. 


Grocery prices in Canada can be higher than other countries, especially for fresh produce which can be pricier due to import costs. Dining out is also expensive, so be prepared to cook at home more.


Public transportation like buses, subways, and trains can be very good in major cities. However, you may need to purchase a monthly pass which can add up. Owning a car also comes with high insurance, gas, and parking costs.

Cell phone/internet:

Digital services like cell phone plans and internet tend to cost more in Canada than other comparable countries. Shop around for the best deals.

Other costs: Sales tax, income tax, entertainment expenses, and basics like clothing and personal care can potentially be higher as well.

When comparing costs to your current location, carefully go through your current expenses category-by-category to determine where you may see price differences. Develop a detailed budget for living in Canada based on average costs, and make sure to pad an extra 10-20% for unforeseen expenses that come up. Research which cities or towns offer a lower cost of living to maximize your salary and savings potential. With some careful planning, Canada can be an affordable place to relocate to.

 Housing: One of the first things you’ll need to sort out when relocating to Canada is finding a place to live. As a couple, you’ll have a few different housing options to consider.

 Overview of Rentals:

The rental market in Canada is quite competitive, especially in major cities like Toronto and Vancouver where vacancy rates hover around 1%. Landlords usually require potential tenants to fill out applications and provide references. Standard leases are for 12 months, though shorter 6-month leases may be available. Rents are typically quoted in Canadian dollars per month. 

When looking for an apartment or house to rent, key factors to consider are:

Location – Convenient access to public transit, grocery stores, amenities 

Size – Enough space for the two of you and any shared living areas

Amenities – In-unit laundry, dishwasher, A/C, outdoor space

Parking – Availability and cost of parking spots if you have a car

All-inclusive vs plus utilities – Some rentals include heat, electricity, internet while others require paying separately 

To get an idea of average rents in different Canadian cities, sites like and PadMapper are helpful. Expect to pay around $1,000-$1,500 for a decent one-bedroom apartment in most major metropolitan areas.

Considerations for Couples

When relocating as a couple, keep the following housing factors in mind:

Budget – Determine your total monthly rental budget based on your combined incomes. Generally, housing costs should be under 30% of your total income.

Space – Consider if you’ll need a one-bedroom, two-bedroom or larger multi-bedroom unit based on your lifestyle.

Neighborhood – Look for an area with amenities and transit options that suit both your needs, as well as a reasonable commute to your respective jobs.

Furnishings – Some rentals come furnished or partially furnished. If not, budget for buying basic furniture and kitchen supplies.

Lease term – Opt for at least a 12-month lease when first relocating to provide stability as you get settled.

Roommates – Sharing with roommates is an option to split costs, but consider privacy and compatibility.

Choosing the right housing is an important decision for couples relocating abroad together. Discuss your needs, priorities and finances to find a rental you’re both happy with.

Navigating the Canadian Healthcare System

Canada’s universal healthcare system provides coverage for all Canadians and permanent residents. Unlike the United States, there are no private insurance options. Healthcare is managed at the provincial/territorial level, so the system can vary across Canada, but core services like doctor’s visits, hospital care, and emergency services are covered for all.

When moving to Canada, obtaining healthcare coverage should be one of your first priorities. Here’s what you need to know:

Provincial Health Insurance Plans

Each province and territory provides basic healthcare coverage to residents through provincial health insurance plans. As a new resident of Canada, you must register for the plan in your province. It may take up to 3 months after establishing residency to become eligible. Make sure to apply as soon as possible.

Coverage includes visits to doctors, hospital treatments, emergency services, and more. Some provinces also cover prescriptions, dental, vision, and additional services. Costs are generally free at point of service or have small copayments.

Interim Private Health Insurance 

It’s recommended to purchase private health insurance to cover you during the 3-month waiting period before provincial coverage kicks in. Private insurance can also supplement services not covered under the public system like prescriptions, vision, and dental. Shop around as plans and pricing varies significantly.

Finding a Family Doctor

Canadians often have an assigned family doctor who provides primary care services and referrals to specialists. New residents should look into clinics accepting patients in their neighborhood. Be prepared for long waitlists in some cities. Walk-in clinics are another option for non-emergency care when you don’t have a regular doctor.

No Bills or Claims 

One perk of Canadian healthcare is you don’t have to worry about claims, billing, and negotiating with providers. Show your provincial health card and the fees are billed directly to the province. However, you may need to pay upfront for private services like prescriptions and dental and submit claims afterwards.

Additional Healthcare Options

Some employers provide supplemental health insurance plans that cover services not included in provincial plans. Options like telehealth services, prescription drug coverage, massage therapy, and semi-private hospital rooms may be available. 

New residents should understand their provincial healthcare options and proactively apply for coverage. With a few preparations, obtaining access to Canada’s high-quality medical services is straightforward.

Building a Social Life 

Moving to a new country with your girlfriend can be an exciting adventure, but also challenging when it comes to meeting new people and building a social life. Here are some tips for making new friends and maintaining an active social life as a couple:

Join Expat Groups

Look on Facebook for groups of expats in your local area. These are great for meeting people from your home country or region who can relate to the experience of adapting to Canadian culture. Events are frequently organized where you can immediately start meeting new people.

Take a Class  

Enroll in a fun class like cooking, art, dance, or even French lessons. You’ll automatically have something in common and see the same people regularly to develop friendships. Classes are also great date night activities you can enjoy as a couple.


Volunteer together for causes you care about. Animal shelters, food banks, and habitat for humanity are options. You’ll do good while meeting kind hearted people.

Explore the City

Spend weekends exploring different neighborhoods, parks, cafes, restaurants and events. By getting out and about you’ll find hidden gems and naturally start conversations with people along the way. 

Join a Sports League

Sign up for a casual sports league like softball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, or bowling. Play together or join individually to widen your social circles.

Attend Meetups

Use sites like to find groups getting together for almost any activity from board games to hiking. It connects you with locals who share common interests.

Socialize with Coworkers

Make an effort to connect with coworkers by joining for lunch or happy hour drinks. Having local friends helps fight loneliness and homesickness.

Building a social life in a new place may feel intimidating at first, but taking initiative to regularly get out and meet people will lead to meaningful friendships and a strong support system. Sharing the experience together also strengthens your relationship as a couple.

Cultural Adaptation  

Moving to Canada from another country comes with an adjustment period as you get used to the local culture and customs. Here are some tips for smoothly adapting to life in Canada:

– Learn about Canadian etiquette and social norms. For example, Canadians tend to value punctuality, politeness, and modesty in social interactions. Holding doors open for others behind you, saying “please” and “thank you,” and not boasting about achievements are considered good etiquette.  

– Brush up on ice hockey, the most popular sport in the country. Hockey permeates Canadian culture year-round, not just during hockey season. Many Canadians grow up playing pond hockey outdoors in winter.  

– Get used to friendly chatter with strangers. Striking up conversations in public places like grocery stores or buses is common in Canada and not seen as intrusive.  

– Understand Canadian values like multiculturalism, diversity, freedom, and human rights. Canadians take pride in their mosaic society and welcome immigrants from around the world.

– Appreciate the outdoorsy lifestyle. Canadians love the wilderness and enjoy activities like camping, fishing, hiking, and canoeing. Experiencing the natural beauty across the provinces is a favorite national pastime.

– Sample iconic Canadian foods like poutine, maple syrup, butter tarts, and Nanaimo bars. Tasting these comfort foods can help you better understand Canadian culinary culture.

– Learn some key French phrases even if living in English-majority areas. Around 20% of Canadians speak French as their first language.

– Connect with locals who have moved to Canada from other countries. They can offer first-hand tips on adjusting and making friends.

– Join groups or clubs related to your hobbies and interests. Great ways to meet people and learn more about Canadian life.

– Keep an open mind. Adjusting takes time. Immerse yourself in the Canadian way of life at your own pace.

Next Steps 

As you prepare for your move to Canada with your girlfriend in 2024/2025 to work as a waiter, there are some key next steps to take:

Save money: Moving countries and establishing yourself in a new place can be expensive. Try to save as much money as possible in preparation for costs like flights, shipping belongings, apartment deposits, etc. Budget for at least 6 months of living expenses in Canada as a buffer.

Research visa options: Look into which Canadian visa would allow you to legally work as a waiter. The most common options are the work visa or permanent residency. Consult Canadian immigration websites to understand requirements.

Improve English skills: Fluency in English will help tremendously in daily life and job searching. If needed, enroll in English classes or use language learning apps. 

Network and research jobs: Reach out to contacts in Canada, join hospitality networking groups, and proactively research open waiter positions. Getting a job lined up will make the move much smoother. 

Prepare essential documents: Gather important documents like passports, birth certificates, drivers licenses, education credentials, etc. You’ll need these for visa applications.

Book temporary accommodations: Look for short-term rentals for when you first arrive in Canada while you search for a permanent apartment.

Moving countries is exciting but takes thorough preparation and planning. By following these key next steps well in advance, you’ll be setting yourself up for the best chance of success in Canada! The most important things are saving money, securing a work visa, and lining up employment.