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moving to singapore from Toronto

Moving to Singapore? Ask our regular expats in Singapore questions on relocation and their experience here. Ask about banking, employment pass, insurance, visa, work permit, citizenship or immigration issues.

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Postby money » Sat, 17 Apr 2010 11:37 pm

cdnxpatq wrote:Thats one of the things i really wanted to know,if the standard of living is much lower because I also heard the other side where some expats are saying its great given the relatively affordable regional travel and kid friendly environment.

Then again, life is what you make it to be. I'm here in Canada but my daily life is work, come home, play with the kids and watch a bit of tv before bed, repeat. But the weekends are pretty free.

I'm in the banking/finance sector. And no disrespect to anyone but based on the salary on offer, after the rent (4k?) schooling (5k?) food/transport(2k?) insurance/other expenses (say 1K) and then tax deductions, it doesnt leave much for savings or travel....but then again its pretty well the same for me in canada as well but at least i'm ever so slowly paying down a mortgage!


you wont be able to watch the Maple Leafs anymore if you move to singapore. are you willing to make that sacrifice?

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Postby cdnxpatq » Sun, 18 Apr 2010 11:47 pm

Leafs? Have you watched over the last say ten years? Not much of a sacrifice!

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Postby wickedom » Wed, 21 Apr 2010 12:40 pm

Hi paterpan74,

If you have the relevant employment pass in Singapore, you would be eligible to purchase most of the insurance that are available to any Singapore resident.

WRT to medical cover, if your insurer in Canada continues to cover you in Singapore, you may not have to shop around, albeit it be more tedious when it comes to claims.

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Postby sinlocan » Tue, 27 Apr 2010 1:42 am

cdnxpatq wrote:Thats one of the things i really wanted to know,if the standard of living is much lower because I also heard the other side where some expats are saying its great given the relatively affordable regional travel and kid friendly environment.

Then again, life is what you make it to be. I'm here in Canada but my daily life is work, come home, play with the kids and watch a bit of tv before bed, repeat. But the weekends are pretty free.

I'm in the banking/finance sector. And no disrespect to anyone but based on the salary on offer, after the rent (4k?) schooling (5k?) food/transport(2k?) insurance/other expenses (say 1K) and then tax deductions, it doesnt leave much for savings or travel....but then again its pretty well the same for me in canada as well but at least i'm ever so slowly paying down a mortgage!


Hi, from my own experience for a family of 4, I am finding that my expenses are lower and my standard of living has gone up in Canada than when I was in Singapore.

Food: Used to be hawker center office-hour lunches for the adults and school canteen lunch for the kids, and home-cooked meals for dinners. We tended to put more beef and salmon on the dinner table to make up for the lunch quality. Now, its home-cooked meals lunch & dinner from Loblaws, Btrust, Fortinos, Longos and our food bills are lower.

Car: We scrapped our 2L car to get the rebate from LTA, and spent half of it to buy a 3L car of the same type, age and mileage. We used to mix our use of car with taking the MRT, but never taxis. Now we use the car 100% of the time.

House: We rented out our house on a 3000 sq ft plot and use a third of it to pay the mortgage for a house on a half-acre plot close to Lake Ontario. Income tax rates notwithstanding and for the same standard of housing it is easier to pay down a smaller mortgage in Canada than a large one in Singapore.

Work: Our work had not required traveling and evenings and weekends are relatively free. However, I see my friends fly the region for work a few times a month and work late evenings and weekends, and they have very little time for their kids. Incidentally, they are now out of Singapore too in search of a balanced family lifestyle.

Leisure: We used to spend our free time at home watching TV and hanging around at home or in the malls. Now we tend to spend more time outdoors and walk the numerous trails.

Sport activities: My kids and I like to cycle off-road and there are only limited places to do that in Bukit Timah, Mandai and Pulau Ubin, and the trails are too technical for my kids anyway.

Kid friendliness: For very young kids, there are well-equipped public playgrounds within HDB estates, in West Coast Park and Pasir Ris Park. But when they grow into tweens and teens, the options get fewer. Hanging out in airconditioned malls to beat the heat become their choice activity. There are no laws requiring kid safety equipment when cycling, if it is even possible at all to cycle safely on the streets. In Canada, the facilities extend the age ranges from young kids to older teens. Tennis courts in summer that become skating rinks in winter, organized structured fun swims and length swims in public swimming pools, street side hockey and basketball, grassy parks, leash-free dog runs, trails, lake and waterway canoeing, skiing etc.

Please note that what I have described applies only to me and you may have different circumstances. For example, your work might allow you evenings and weekends for the family, or it might not.

About the DVP, I'm afraid I am not familiar with it at 5pm. I am familiar with the QEW and 403 in rush hour, and I think that though it looks bad, the cars do move along albeit slowly in an orderly manner. After all, the cars do get to disperse somewhere into some suburb eventually. There are the occasional jerk who cut in and out, but it is better than having everyone driving bumper to bumper dueling with each other using their cars as weapons. The Singapore highways can be smooth flowing outside of rush hour, but when the jam builds up, the cars all got nowhere to disperse to because the endpoint is a HDB estate multistorey carpark, or the sea.

As you are a young family, your priorities will be different from those who are alone or without children. Those will have a different experience, and I'm sure it can get interesting for the unattached party types. I don't wish to discourage you from moving, after all, its not everyday one gets an opportunity to try living in a different environment. If you do, do it for the experience and adventure, to open your horizons. Its not always about the dollars and cents.

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Postby NJ » Tue, 04 May 2010 10:19 pm

i am a canadian with and 2 and 3 year old born in singapore. Although I love Canada and am so homesick at times, i would recommend coming to SIngapore. It is a great place for kids and you and your kids will have an experience you won't forget. Singapore is an extremely easy place to live and you DON"T need a car. WE do just fine using public transport. I take both kids to daycare three mornings a week on my own, on the bus and i have no issues. People here are very helpful when they see that you have children. Also, both are being exposed to Mandarin at a very young age - which I like and which I think could be very useful in the future...
Nothing is permanent...give it a go...
ps...only down side is kids can't go ice skating until the are 4 year old!!!!

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Postby cdnxpatq » Fri, 07 May 2010 11:35 am

Thanks all for your very informative views and responses. I will give it a go and am currently waiting for my employment pass to go thru. There are a load of things on my mind schooling, housing, insurance, worrying about my place here etc...i hope i can meet as many helpful people there as I did in this forum.

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Postby movingtospore » Mon, 10 May 2010 2:34 pm

You might be able to squeeze more salary out of them here for International Schools. I would use the argument that Singapore is making it increasingly difficult for expats to get their kids into the better local schools, which is true. You guys can make up your own mind once you arrive whether you want to consider local schools, but it's good to have the budget to keep your options open. For preschool, there are a number of local ones to choose from, and they tend to be cheaper than the ones at CIS etc.

If your wife is coming on a dependent's pass, be prepared in your budget for her to be low-balled on salary here in Singapore. That's been my experience anyways - it seems once you are here, and particularly if you're a woman on a dependent's pass, companies will want to pay you much less than you would make at home.

Also make sure you're clear on what medical benefits your company is offering. We were a bit naive about this being Canadian, and ended up having to pick up our own medical insurance to the tune of about $300 CAD/month.

Good luck! It's hot, crowded and ridiculously overpriced here, but also a great place to get some unique experience, for both you and your family.

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Postby poodlek » Thu, 01 Jul 2010 9:51 pm

movingtospore wrote:Good luck! It's hot, crowded and ridiculously overpriced here, but also a great place to get some unique experience, for both you and your family.


In a nutshell, this is my view of Singapore exactly. I've been here 3 months so far, coming from Brampton, ON., and I have to say it's been an adventure, and the weather is great (although I miss the summers I always spent in northern ON I don't miss the 5 month winters--so far). That said I *much* prefer the quality of life in Canada. I never much liked the idea of private insurance, and the fact that they won't cover many female-related practices (like PAP smears or mammograms or anything related to pregnancy) is disturbing. Fortunately we're comfortable enough to afford to have a baby here.

I don't know anything about the schools here, but dealing with the general public who (I may be incorrectly assuming) have come up through the Singaporean school system...well all I can say is thank GOODNESS for my Canadian education. I have my first child on the way, and we may stay here long enough to enroll him/her in school here, but I will be certain that s/he grows up speaking and writing in coherent English, and learns the value of critical thought, even if I have to teach it myself at home.

Artistic ventures seem to be in their infancy here--perhaps this is just my Western perspective--but it seems that the arts (specifically performing arts) are viewed more as a novelty here than a legitimate industry. This is what I am missing most about home. It's this attitude that leads me to think that the Canadian education (at least the system as I experienced it in Peel Region in the 80's and 90's) is much more well-rounded.

Come and try it out for a few years. Your children are young still...if you decide within 10 years or so that it's not going to work out you can ship everyone back to Canada with no irreversible damage :-)

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Postby cdnxpatq » Sun, 04 Jul 2010 5:07 am

just out of curiousity - poodle, boffenl - did you go to SG as a transfer from your company in Ontario with a view to go back with them when you're done there?

If not, is it concerning to you what you will do for work when decide to move back?

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Postby poodlek » Sun, 04 Jul 2010 2:49 pm

cdnxpatq wrote:just out of curiousity - poodle, boffenl - did you go to SG as a transfer from your company in Ontario with a view to go back with them when you're done there?

If not, is it concerning to you what you will do for work when decide to move back?


I'm not working here, my husband is. He's in the entertainment industry, so he's never had a permanent job. I guess that means we're always concerned about what we'll be doing at the end of the current contract, but so far it has worked out well for us. When this contract is up he may be offered another here in SG by the same company, or else we could end up just about anywhere they have circus or big casino variety shows or Broadway or London's West End, etc. Life has been an adventure for us, and we like it that way. That's the biggest reason we ended up here.

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Postby jeffreyong » Tue, 10 Aug 2010 5:22 pm

There are many ways to cut cost living in Singapore. The public transport buses and trains network are good. Owning a car here can be a killer and the high traffic ERP road charges too.

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possibly moving to singapore from toronto - Cost of living?

Postby mamimal » Mon, 25 Oct 2010 6:54 am

Hi Guys, great posts so far. My wife and I are also considering the move to singapore. Together in toronto we earn approx $190K CDN a year.

If I do go we would be earning approx $270-$300k sing dollars (this inlcudes all housing etc etc).

If we wanted to live in a 2+1 or 3 bedroom condo with ALL facilities (pool/gym/steam/etc etc etc), In a location similar to queen west or queen east, or just off that area (assume this is districts 9-12, but pls let me know if otherwise), would this be enough to live a great life, travel a lot and enjoy life there with saving a bit as well?

Pls let me know all your thoughts and also how much a condo such as the above would cost? no kids yet. The more detailed info the better....


thanks everyone!!!

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Re: possibly moving to singapore from toronto - Cost of livi

Postby x9200 » Mon, 25 Oct 2010 9:00 am

mamimal wrote:Hi Guys, great posts so far. My wife and I are also considering the move to singapore. Together in toronto we earn approx $190K CDN a year.

If I do go we would be earning approx $270-$300k sing dollars (this inlcudes all housing etc etc).
[..] would this be enough to live a great life, travel a lot and enjoy life there with saving a bit as well?

No, not enough. You still need to love and respect each other. On more materialistic side you should have no problems.

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Postby mamimal » Mon, 25 Oct 2010 9:35 am

that we def do, or we know we wouldn't make it there together :)


thanks though for the feedback, just don't want to feel a strain in moving far away with unforseen hardships.

I hear life is VERY expensive there, but also here it is quite an amazing place to live.

Other comments appreciates

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Postby x9200 » Mon, 25 Oct 2010 10:59 am

Just use the search function - there are tons of information on this forum.


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