How to Retire in Canada

July 28, 2023


  • Shireen Fisher

Canada is considered to be a popular immigration destination for those in search of new beginnings. The country recently revealed that it aims to grant Canadian permanent residency to 465,000 newcomers in 2023, 485,000 in 2024, and 500,000 in 2025. While there is a strong emphasis on attracting young people to fill labor gaps brought on by the country’s own retiring population and low birth rate, all may not be lost should you wish to retire in Canada.

Is Immigrating to Canada an Option For Retirees?

If you are of retirement age or fast approaching it, you may be wondering how it will be possible to move to Canada. The good news is that there are definitely a number of possibilities, even though the acceptance rate may be lower than for younger people. In this article, we will look at the available options and the best places to live in the Great White North.

Part-time Option for Retiring in Canada

If you're not ready to fully commit to a move to Canada, you can opt for something more part-time.

The Super Visa

The updated Canada Super Visa will allow you to visit your children or grandchildren for up to 5 years at a time. This particular visa gives you multiple entries for up to 10 years.

To qualify, you must:

  • Have a child or grandchild who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada
  • Obtain a signed letter from your child or grandchild which invites you to Canada that includes. The letter must include a promise of financial support for the length of your visit. It must also list the amount of individuals in the household of this person and a copy of this person’s Canadian citizenship or permanent residency papers
  • Provide proof of private medical insurance from a Canadian insurer
  • Make your application for a super visa from outside Canada
  • Print your visa outside of Canada
  • Not be inadmissible to Canada
  • Do a immigration medical exam
  • Meet other conditions set
  • Not include dependents in this application

Note: If you plan to be in Canada for six months or less, you will have to apply for a visitor visa.

Full-time Immigration Options for Retiring in Canada

If you have your sights set on a more permanent status in the land of the maple leaf, there are a number of pathways that could get you permanent residency in Canada. The process may be more complicated than the temporary options, as the Canadian government will have to check your eligibility, as well as your intentions for wanting to settle in the country. They still want to know what you want to do in Canada if you are eligible.

Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship

If you have a child or grandchild over 18, they can sponsor you to move to Canada, after which you could obtain Canadian permanent residency. The person sponsoring you will have to be able to financially support you.

To meet the minimum income level for this program a sponsor must:

  • Submit notices of assessment as given by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) to confirm their income
  • Sign a sponsorship agreement with you stating their commitment to sponsor you for 20 years.

Express Entry

The Express Entry is an online system the IRCC uses to manage immigration applications from skilled workers. With the Express Entry System, there’s a program for everyone. So if you are a skilled professional whois still looking to squeeze in a few more years of work before you retire in Canada, Let’s find the one that best matches your profile:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP): The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is for you if you are a skilled worker with a degree from a recognized university. You must have skilled work experience, the language ability to communicate in one or both official Canadian languages, as well.
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP): You can apply for the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) if you are a skilled tradesperson with a recognized diploma or certified job-specific training in their occupation. You must be proficient in one or both of Canada’s official languages. You will also have to have at least two year’s paid work experience and meet the job requirements as per the National Occupational Classification.
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC): You will be able to apply to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program if you are a skilled worker who have been living and working in Canada for a minimum period of 12 consecutive months by means of a study permit or work permit. You will have to have the language skills needed for your job.

Quebec-selected Skilled workers

If you’re a skilled worker who wants to become a permanent resident of Quebec, you will be happy to learn that the province has a immigration special agreement with the Government of Canada. This province plays by its own rules when selecting immigrants to live and work there. To immigrate to Canada as a Quebecois skilled worker, if you still have a few more years of work left in you. You will have to undergo two application stages.

  • You will first have to make an application to the Government of Quebec for a Quebec Selection Certificate or Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ). The Province will assess you according to its own criteria. The certificate you receive will indicate that the Province of Quebec has approved your request.
  • If your application for a CSQ is successful, you must apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for permanent residency.

Start-up Visa

Canada is supportive of immigrant entrepreneurs who wish to establish a new business or expand an existing one. So if you have an innovative business idea, that will lead to job creation and the possibility to participate in the global business arena, you may be able to immigrate to Canada via the Start-up Visa Program. For your business to qualify, it must meet certain requirements.

Once you get a commitment from a designated organization:

  • Each candidate that applies must own 10% or more of the voting rights onto all corporation shares.
  • With the designated organization, you must hold more than half of the voting rights on all business shares as the owner or owners.

When you obtain permanent residency:

  • You must continue to manage the business in Canada
  • The main business functions must be carried out in Canada

Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP)

The AIP is an employer-driven program for employers based in Atlantic Canada. Participating provinces include Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The pilot was established in a bid to help these provinces find qualified candidates to bridge labor gaps that are unable to be filled by Canadians. To be qualified for the AIP, you will need a job offer from a designated employer based in one of the above-mentioned Canadian provinces.

Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is for individuals who want to live in one of Canada’s 11 participating provinces. This program is ideal for retirees as much as it is for younger folk, because you can choose the province you plan to live in and possibly work in, should you be able to. Researching an area you feel would best suit your needs is a good opportunity. Think about whether you would prefer a warmer climate to the rest of the country and whether you would like to be on the coast or inland. The participating provinces are:

You will have to have the relevant skills sets, credentials and employment experience to meet the needs of the province or territory you apply to. Every region has its own streams or pathways and requirements for this process. This means the demand for skill sets will differ from province to province.

The Self-employed Program

If you are self-employed, you can also obtain Canadian permanent residency. This is possible because the Canadian Federal Self-employed Persons Program allows eligible, and experienced athletes, artists, and those in other culture professions the opportunity to apply for Canadian permanent residency.

Cultural Occupations that qualify to work in Canada include:

  • Authors and writers
  • Creative and performing artists
  • Creative designers
  • Craftspeople
  • Musicians
  • Painters
  • Technical support and other jobs in film
  • Visual artists

Eligible Sport occupations include:

  • Athletes
  • Coaches
  • Referees
  • Program facilitators

The Benefits of Retiring in Canada

Lower Cost of Living

As with all places, cost of living will vary from region to region in Canada. But all in all, Canada is one of the most affordable developed countries in the world. This means that you can retire quite comfortably once you settle in the Great White North, with a good quality of life.


Access to healthcare is a priority for the Canadian Government. For this reason, Canadian citizens and permanent residents have universal healthcare. While you won’t have access to this when you arrive, it’s a good incentive to push you to apply for Canadian permanent residency. In the meantime, though, you’ll have to take our private health insurance.

A Society Welcoming of Immigrants

Known as one of the friendliest nations in the world, you’ll find that Canadians welcome immigrants with open arms. There is no need to be concerned about fitting in, as the country is a cultural melting pot.


As the second-largest country in the world, Canada has extensive terrain. For this reason, the country has a solid transport system, with good roads and an effective public transport system. This means that you will be able to get around safely. You’ll also find reliable Telephone and internet services to keep you connected.

The Best Places to Retire in Canada

With 13 provinces and territories, and also the second biggest country in the world in size, there are plenty of settings to choose from when you move to Canada. From city life to more suburban settings or rural life, you’ll never run out of options in the Great White North. Before settling for a particular region, do some research and consider things like weather patterns, the crime rate, cost of living and facilities available.

The best places to live in Canada for retirees are:

  • Calgary, Alberta
  • St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Victoria, British Columbia
  • Nelson, British Columbia
  • Picton (Prince Edward County), Ontario
  • Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Saanich, British Columbia
  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • Orilla,Ontario


Will I Qualify for Canadian Pension if I Decide to Retire in Canada?

To qualify for Canada’s Old Age Security (OAS) pension, you will have to:

  • Be 65 years of age or older
  • Have Canadian citizenship or permanent residency in Canada
  • Have lived in Canada for a minimum of 10 years since turning 18

How Does the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa Differ From a Multiple Entry Visitor Visa?

Most visitors to Canada can visit for up to six months. If you want to stay longer, you will have to apply for an extension and will be required to pay a fee. By obtaining a parent and grandparent super visa, as an eligible parent or grandparent, you can stay in the country a lot longer.

What Would Make Me Inadmissible to Canada?

Certain people who will not be granted entry to Canada. Reasons for not being allowed could include:

  • Security issues
  • Criminal
  • Medical reasons