Thinking of moving to Alberta? Check out our top 7 tips to ensure a smooth transition
TIP 1 | If relocating for a new job, ask about housing allowances & relocation assistance provided to new employees.
- Many companies will reimburse moving costs for new employees, include short-term rentals & real-estate commissions. Remember that any moving expenses not covered by your new employer (including real-estate commissions) may be tax deductible.
- For lower skilled work, note that local residents tend to have priority for obvious reasons. Consider relocating to help your job search. However, always make sure you've secured a place to live before you move since vacancy rates can be low in some parts of Alberta.
- Some companies also offer employment assistance for relocated spouses; be sure to ask for this benefit if available.
TIP 2 | Research the housing market in both your neighbourhood & the new prospective city.
- Assess the real-estate market your current location. Decide if you plan to sell your house or keep it as an investment property.
- Determine what you can afford in your new location. Talk to your financial advisor if required.
- Don't forget that salaries & benefits are often more generous in the oil sands; income taxes are generally lower in Alberta than most provinces, particularly at the higher income brackets.
TIP 3 | Consider renting in the short term.
- Renting in the short term allows time to explore your new surroundings & narrow down your neighbourhood of choice.
- Do not relocate without a housing plan; some Alberta cities have low vacancy rates & it may take time to secure new housing.
- Never wire money without first visiting your prospective unit & meeting your landlord in person.
TIP 4 | If relocation is not feasible or practical for your family, consider one of the many fly-in fly-out opportunities in the oil sands.
- A fly-in fly-out assignment describes a facility where employees work on rotation & are housed in near-by accommodations. For each work rotation, employees are flown in/out of their designated home base on a fixed rotation schedule.
- Flights & accommodations (including meals) are generally provided to employees as a tax-free benefit; however, rules can vary between the different employers. Be sure to ask your employer which benefits are taxable.
- Although generally reserved for construction work, some more remote mining operations & in-situ facilities will offer fly-in fly-out to full time staff. Edmonton & Calgary are the most common home bases.
TIP 5 | Remember that many trades jobs require a technical degree, certification or membership into a trades association.
- If you're looking for trades work, note that some trades require some kind of diploma or certification in the province of Alberta. Trades people registered in one province can often easily transfer to an Alberta. Click here for more information on trades certification.
- If you're interested in trades work but lack the experience, consider enrolling in a trades school with a good apprenticeship program.
- Foreign workers looking for employment in the oil sands should also obtain certification under the Temporary Foreign Workers program. Click here for more information & details on how to apply.
TIP 6 | Remember that the Canada Revenue Agency has strict guidelines on province of residency.
- As a general rule, your province of residency for a taxation year is the your place of residency on December 31st. However, your province of residency is also the province where you have the most social & economic ties.
- For those employees on a fly-in fly-out rotation, province of residency is generally where the family or primary residence is located.
- More information on residency guidelines can be found on the Canada Revenue Agency website.
TIP 7 | Changing your province of residency is easy once you've established a new Alberta address.
- Once you have a new home address, apply for your Alberta Health Care card online. Bring all documentation to any Alberta Registry Office.
- Complete an out-of-province vehicle inspection for all vehicles to be relocated to the province. Bring all documentation to any Alberta Registry Office, including your vehicle registration.
- Ensure that all mailing addresses are updated for all bank accounts & credit cards.