What you need to know before moving to Quebec

Julia Hornstein
Published: December 18, 2023

Quebec is Canada’s second most populated province, with a population of over 8.7 million. Quebec’s three biggest metropolitan areas include Montreal, Quebec, and Sherbrooke.

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Quebec is a unique province compared to Canada’s other provinces and territories due to it being Canada’s only majority-French region. Hence, Quebec is the only province that is predominately Francophone. Moving to Quebec can be a great option for immigrants coming from French-speaking countries as well as those looking to become fluent in French.

If you are planning on moving to Quebec, this article will help you explore everything from housing to healthcare in the province.

Housing

Quebec has one of Canada’s largest housing markets. Housing prices and property types will vary based on the area you choose to live, the size of your family and the type of property you are looking to live in.

Based on the National Rent Rankings updated in August 2023, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Montreal is $1,752 CAD. This is compared to $1,234 for a one bedroom in Quebec City. Rent for a one-bedroom in Quebec is below the national average of $1,860.

Commuting

At least 76% of people living in Quebec’s three larges metropolitan areas live less than 500 metres from some form of public transit.

Public transportation includes the subway and the bus. Montreal has the Société de Transport de Montréal (STM), which is a network of buses and subways that span the city. Sherbrooke and Quebec City have their transportation system of buses.

Despite the access to public transportation, over 75% of residents in Montreal, Quebec City and Sherbrooke use a personal vehicle to commute, so leasing or buying a car upon moving to the province may be a good option.

In addition, for the first six months as a new Quebec resident, you may operate a motor vehicle using the driver license you obtained in your home country. At the end of the six-month period, newcomers to Quebec will be required to get a provincial driver’s license from the Government of Quebec if they want to continue operating a motor vehicle in Canada.

Employment

Quebec’s largest industries by employment include the trade occupations, healthcare and social assistance and manufacturing.

Employees in the trade occupations include retail and wholesale trader workers from a large number of industries, like grocery and electronics. The healthcare and social assistance industry employs doctors, nurses, and other health professionals. Finally, the manufacturing industry includes professions such as mechanical engineers and appliance technicians.

Healthcare

In Canada, public healthcare is funded through a universal healthcare model that is jointly funded by resident taxes.

In Quebec, most newcomers over 18 years must wait up to three months before they are eligible to receive public healthcare coverage from the province. At the end of the waiting period, any newcomer residing in Quebec is eligible for free healthcare with a valid health card.

You can apply for a health card on the government of Quebec website. There is a different set of rules and guidance for people who are settling in the province permanently, those who come to Quebec as a seasonal worker and those who are accompanying immigrants on a study or work visa. The eligibility for health insurance in Quebec also depends on your status in the province.

Generally, a provincial health card gives access to public health services for free. However, certain treatments and medications will require the recipient to pay out of pocket.

Education

Children in Quebec enter the education system around the age of 5, when most children start kindergarten.

Residents of Quebec can send their children to school for free until the end of high school through the province’s public educations system. Parents can also choose to send their child to private schools or boarding schools; however, tuition must be paid out of pocket.

In regard to post-secondary education, Quebec has the second highest number of Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) in the country, with almost 430 DLIs across the province. Many of these institutions offer Canadian newcomers access to programs that would make them eligible for Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP) upon graduation.

The PGWP is valuable for graduates looking to become permanent residence, as the permit allows the holder to obtain Canadian work experience, which is valuable for permanent resident immigration pathways.

Taxation

In Quebec, the provincial government charges a sales tax of 14.975%, which combines a standard Goods and Services tax (GST) of 5% and a Quebec sales tax of 9.975%.

Residents in Quebec are taxed on their income, which like the rest of the country, is variable and depends on how much money you make in a year.

Newcomer services in Quebec

Finally, Quebec has many resources that can aid newcomers to the province with settling into their new home. Some services include:

  • Accompagnement Quebec: a free service that helps immigrants with tasks ranging from settling in to learning French
  • Government of Quebec online resource: allows newcomers to search for a local service provider depending on their needs
  • AIDE inc: a francophone service provider offering settlement services to newcomers in Sherbrooke

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