Moving to Quebec? Here's What You Should Know

Quebec, Canada, is a beautiful province filled with culture, beautiful scenery, old cities, and culinary delights. With top-rated universities and a reasonable cost of living, it’s no wonder that this unique part of the world is so appealing to international students and expats.

If you’re considering moving to Quebec, here are some important things to know to make the transition smoother.

Quebec Regulatory Often Differs from Canada

Despite being a part of Canada, Quebec is essentially its own country. In fact, talk of separation and becoming an independent nation has long been a topic of conversation. After a short amount of time spent in Quebec, you’ll see that the people who call it home consider this province an independent nation.

Due to the nuances in Quebec’s relationship with Canada, this province has a lot of unique regulations, requirements, and laws that set it apart from federal rule. 

For example, international students will require a Certificate of Acceptance Quebec (CAQ) to stay in Quebec specifically, in addition to the broader Canadian immigration requirements. As CAQ processing time can take months, it’s important to get this done well before the school term starts.

Even moving to Quebec from within Canada can be complicated. Canadians from other provinces must get a new driver’s license, which is processed with international applications. There are also several tax complexities to consider.

As you navigate this process (and relationships with people in the province), just remember that you’re not moving to Canada; you’re moving to Quebec. That will make everything easier to process.

Montreal is Ideal for Students

Montreal is home to some of Canada’s top universities, including McGill University and the University of Montreal. As such, it’s no wonder that 25,000 international students from over 150 countries call Montreal home during the school year. 

If you’re considering an international education, you can’t go wrong with Montreal as your point of origin in Quebec. Choosing the best neighborhood to call home depends on your university. The key consideration is finding something close to the subway to simplify navigation to and from your campus. 

Ville-Marie is a popular choice thanks to its proximity to the Green Line, which runs close to McGill, University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), and Concordia. Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Verdun, and LaSalle are a bit further out on the Green Line and more affordable options. For those attending University of Montreal (UDEM), neighborhoods near the Blue Line like Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, Plateau Mont-Royal, and Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension are ideal.

You Should Learn Some French

Canada is a bilingual country with two official languages: English and French. Quebec, however, is a French-first province. While many people in Quebec can speak English, you’ll want to learn the basics of the French language to live there comfortably.

Don’t be intimidated by stories of the Quebecois (citizens of Quebec) scoffing at those trying to speak French. While some people will be rude about it, most are happy that you’re embracing their culture and willing to work with you. You can even take free French classes offered by the Quebec government.

You’ll Learn to Love (and Hate) Winter

Winter in Quebec is rough. Expect harsh conditions, sub-zero temperatures, feet of snow and ice, and miserable roads. In Montreal, there’s even an underground mall and tunnels spanning a large part of the city, so you don’t have to travel the streets above.

You can also expect amazing skiing, sledding, and other fun winter activities. Don’t forget to celebrate your new home by visiting a maple syrup farm and tasting a maple snow pop. 

To dispel any Canadian stereotypes, you can also expect scorching hot summers; it’s a land of extremes.

You’ll Wait for a Family Doctor

One of Canada’s greatest assets is universal healthcare. If you get injured while visiting or living in Quebec, you’ll be covered. Yet, the system isn’t perfect, with many provinces experiencing a doctor shortage as many lifelong practitioners reach retirement age. 

Consider applying for a family doctor as soon as you know you’re moving to Quebec. You can expect to wait upward of a year as of 2022, though it used to be almost three years before 2021.

You Should Embrace the Cuisine

Finally, embrace the local cuisine. Quebec is a culinary hotspot and treasure trove of regional dishes. Eat the poutine, try the Montreal smoked meat, dine on tourtière, and binge on maple baked beans.

Preparation and an open mind are the keys to creating a fantastic life in Quebec. Start researching early and learn un petit peu de Francais, and you’ll be ready for your adventure.

We hope you found this blog post Moving to Quebec? Here’s What You Should Know useful. Be sure to check out our post 5 Tips To Adjust In a New Country for more great tips!


Moving to Quebec? Here's What You Should Know

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