OT: Vancouver, BC Help

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Hello,
I am considering moving to Vancouver, BC and since there are a number of Canadians who post here, I figure this is as good a place as any to get the REAL story of life in the Great White North. ;-)
I've looked over the official government web sites, but like most such sites, it's not particularly helpful.
My questions are:
What are the average income tax rates, and what other taxes are there to contend with?
Are "immigrants" eligible for the health care system?
Gas runs about 114 cents per liter, or $3.45US per gallon, correct?
How cold does it get in the winter, and how hot in the summer? (Global warming not considered...)
Which side of the road do you guys drive on? lol
Is English the predominant language of BC?
Is your government as corrupt as that of the usa's?
Any other useful information concerning livability would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, dg
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Tanus said:

Thanks for the quick response!

I'm assuming this is the equivalent of the US State's sales tax - which can be anywhere from 5 to 8% - so that's in line... The loss of mortgage deduction is unfortunate, however.

Some of which is considered zone 7-8 by the USDA.

LMAO. Here in the big city, on any given Friday/Saturday night, you might come to the conclusion that lanes are optional. Heck, if what I witnessed last night was any example, ROADs are apparently optional.
We don't, however, have mooses. ;-) I understand that May in Ontario is a really exciting time...

I hear ya... But the fact that no one else in the world cares, in today's political climate, is a BIG plus.

That tea business was a looong time ago. These days, they would just bribe some douche bag politico type and share in the profits.
And don't be too sure about the US being concerned with any individual's rights except for the well-heeled. Again, that was a looong time ago. The US Constitution is being gutted, and corrupt local political types are not interested in anything but their own miserable, overpaid careers.

Speaking of which, I have quite a bit of woodworking equipment - I'm hoping that the voltages and frequencies are the same as the US, and that you don't have restrictions on bringing your own equipment into Canada. Dado's are legal, etc. Is there a fee involved with bringing your own personal possessions and equipment across the border?

Greatly appreciated!
dgg
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That's only the half ot it. In provinces other than Alberta you ALSO pay a 7% local sales tax in addition to the GST. So sales tax is actually 14%.
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His original estimate of 40% is overstated a lot. If you're paying that much, you need an accountant or your head examined. It's more like 27%-33% for most people. There are such things as deductions, after all. Don't forget that with those tax rates, you don't need your own personal health insurance, though you might want supplemental for things like dentistry, private rooms, prescription drug coverage etc.
In addition, while Vancouver is a pricey place to live compared to many other cities, it's one of the most liveable cities in the world. Various organizations that rate cities for quality of life put Vancouver at or very near the top - well ahead of almost all US cities. You get what you pay for.
Oh, yes - bring a hardhat - they're overdue for an earthquake. :-)
Mike Who has never lived in Vancouver.
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DGG wrote: <sniip>

You didn't say whether you were professional or a hobbyist. I'll assume you don't make your living from woodworking
In that light, I don't think there is anything that is illegal in terms of what equipment you can use. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.
Voltages and frequencies are identical. If it works in the US, it'll work here.
On bringing your stuff over, if you're moving here, it shouldn't be a problem since it's your personal belongings and you're not bringing the stuff into the country for resale. If you have a truckload of equipment, Canada Customs will likely question you about it, but I'd contact them beforehand and ask what, if anything, you have to do to prove that.
They don't have a lot of information on immigrants, but you can start here: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/menu-e.html
This site may tell you how to bring your equipment in: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/index.html
Good luck
Tanus
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Tanus said:

Hobbyist - mostly. And a little bartering.

Cool. Thought so, but it pays to be sure. My next question is, Will my Audio/Visual gear work there as well? Is NTSC the broadcast standard? AM/FM radio the same? And has Canada embraced the ATC HD digital TV crap yet?

A fair truckload. I will, of course, check first.

Thanks again! So many stupid questions...
dgg
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On Mon, 22 May 2006 03:39:44 -0400, DGG wrote:

Huh? That can't be correct.
--
Art Greenberg
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Art Greenberg said:

That's what I thought as well, but I got that from the Canadian Government web site - for whatever that is worth. So many details - so little time... <and such bad speeling> :-\
dgg
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On Mon, 22 May 2006 13:54:51 -0400, DGG wrote:

Please cite the URL.
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Art Greenberg
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On Mon, 22 May 2006 18:02:28 -0000, Art Greenberg wrote:

Never mind, I looked myself. You are wrong. From the "Amateur Certification Fact Sheet" found at:
http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/epic/internet/insmt-gst.nsf/en/sf01862e.html
"Effective April 1, 2000, Industry Canada has combined these documents into one authorization, the Amateur Radio Operator Certificate. This certificate is the sole authorization required to operate amateur radio apparatus in the amateur radio service."
And, from:
http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/epic/internet/insmt-gst.nsf/en/sf01636e.html#qualifi
"Authority to operate radio apparatus in the amateur radio service is issued to holders of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with Basic Qualification.
"Other qualifications available with the Amateur Radio Operator Certificate are Morse code and Advanced Qualifications.
"Operating privileges are granted according to the level of achievement. Attaining honours scores (i.e. 80% or above) on the Basic examination or attaining qualifications in addition to the Basic Amateur Certificate will grant the amateur certificate holder certain additional operating privileges as specified in RIC-2, giving full access to the amateur frequency bands below 30 MHz (i.e. high frequency (HF))."
Reading a bit further down this page, you'll find equivalencies and other important related information.
There may be a two-way radio service available to Canadian residents that does not require obtaining a government issued license, but it is definitely NOT the Amateur Radio Service.
--
Art Greenberg
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Art Greenberg said:

Well, this may have been misleading and/or incomplete. It was mentioned in two places, one of them here, the other I can't recall the URL. The quote was: -------- Radio transmitting equipment
A U.S. resident is allowed to operate aircraft, marine, amateur, citizen band (CB), and Family Radio Service (FRS) radios as well as cellular and PCS mobile radiotelephones in Canada, without explicit permission from the Minister of Industry.
If you are not a U.S. resident, you will need permission from Industry Canada to use this equipment. ------------
http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/E/pub/cp/rc4161/rc4161-e.html
It doesn't say that you need to be a US citizen AND possess a US FCC amateur radio license...
I really haven't had time to thoroughly research the entirety of CA law - sorry if that misleads anyone.
dgg
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On Mon, 22 May 2006 19:32:14 -0400, DGG wrote:

In the case of licensed services, such as the Amateur Service, that only applies to license holders.
Now, if you want to operate on the Amateur bands, why don't you get a license? I did it when I was 12. It really isn't all that difficult.
--
Art Greenberg
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Art Greenberg said:

OK - I surrender. ;-) Did a 10 minute read of a CA gov site, and mistakenly assumed something which was untrue. The wording was vague.
Obtained a license when I was a teen - then upgraded so that I could repair and maintain equipment later on. All equipment and paperwork was destroyed in the late 80's. Never bothered to replace either, unfortunately, because it was never a big money maker. But the times, they are a changin... And I now feel the need/desire to hop back on the radio waves. But I will have to again bone up on Morse code, as that is something I haven't used in over 20 years. At the time, I was mostly interested in slow scan video.
I am actually surprised at the number of people who actually remember what the ARRL or a 10 meter band IS at this point in time. Must be a lot of old farts in here... ;-)
Especially surprising after watching three 20-something guys drive a car for over a mile with a flat tire Saturday night - totally mystified as to how to change a tire. They eventually called someone on the cell phone, after pressing buttons on the key FOB didn't magically fix the problem. Truly a pathetic display of clueless-ness.
Thanks for the clarification.
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On Mon, 22 May 2006 22:32:27 -0400, DGG wrote:

You don't get any kind of repair & maintenance privileges with an Amateur license, and you don't need any special license to work on that gear, at least not in the US. Broadcast and commercial two-way work did at one time require a Radiotelephone License, quite a different animal from an Amateur license. I don't know if that is still the case.

Well if you're going to do this while you're still in the US .... 5 WPM is the top code speed. You can get a Technician class license without Morse. The General class license requires 5 WPM, and upgrading to Extra class from General class is done without any additional code test.
Look at http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/license-requirements.html
Canada's license structure is different, and I didn't pay attention to the requirements, which I think were posted on the URL I cited earlier.

I've been a ham since 1965. During sunspot peaks, 10 has been my favorite band. I used to drive around with a converted CB rig in my car, and could easily chat with hams in South Africa with just 5 watts AM and a 100-inch whip antenna. Way cool.
Woodworking came much, much later.
But I think you'll find there are plenty of younger folks getting into ham radio these days. Things aren't as dismal as you seem to think.
Anyway, we've used plenty of the group's bandwidth on this off-topic branch of the discussion. Feel free to follow up with me via email if you wish. Address is below.
Good luck with your move, and everything that follows.
--
Art Greenberg
artg at eclipse dot net
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What that means is: IF you are only visiting and IF you are suitably licensed in the US. If you are a US citizen living in Canada or do not have a license in the US, you have to get a Canadian license.
The marine license comment is misleading further. If you have a US Marine VHF without a license (legal for recreational boaters) you must get a license to use it in Canadian waters.
US GMRS radios are not allowed in Canada. Canadian GMRS is limited to 2 W and no license is required. US radios are 5W and exceed permitted power limits.
CB, FRS have no license requirements. Cell phone licenses are buried in the contract agreement and fees (signed or implied - you pay regardless).
Mike
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Michael Daly said:

Remember, I didn't write the paragraph... Also, See previous reply to Art's message.
Thanks for the concise summary. It certainly makes far more sense that the site I quoted. More research is in order...
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You do not need a license for "CB", or "RC" models, but you still most likely need one for "Ham radio". You can drive and talk on the cell phone all you like, it's still legal. Whistler is a two hour drive from Vancouver on the deadly'est road in BC (Maybe western Canada) and while it gets a ton of snow, Vancouver (at sea level) gets mayby a trace in a given year, if that. A cold wave is when the temperature drops to 32 degrees F. House prices in Vancouver are the highest in Canada, and I filled up with gas on Friday at $1.20 CDN, for 1 liter. We have two Lee Valley outlets, one Busy-Bee tools, two KMS tools, 1 Summit tools, and of course the Borg. (needed to add the woodworking component to the post).
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Nirodac said:

So, the radio requirements aren't too dissimilar to the US. It's too bad about cell-phones - I consider them a scourge upon society. Not only a severe safety issue while driving, but a factor in the dumbing-down of the populace as well. Mass-NonThink scares the hell out of me. JMHO.
House prices aren't as much a consideration as land prices, and when I stated Vancouver, I didn't mean Vancouver proper, but more outside the ring of dense population. More interested in building my own passive-solar cabin with a woodworking shop out back. Bears and owls and moose make far better neighbors than what I have here... ;-)
I did check gas prices on the Internet, and while expensive, perhaps not as expensive as it's going to be shortly in the US. It is my understanding that the US imports much oil from Canada, you guys might end up being better off than the masses here.
As for the elevation, I want to be a minimum of 30 feet above sea level. And it could still end up being waterfront property before I'm dead.
As for the cold and snow, that is one reason I picked the Vancouver area, it is in a more temperate zone than the rest of the Great White North. It's all pretty nice in the summer, but in winter - brrrrr. Don't want to live in an area where you die if your car breaks down.
And back to woodworking, you apparently have far more tool outlets and wood suppliers than we do, and I live in a metro area with well over 6 million people - and growing. Rapidly, Uncontrollably, and Without Plan or Reason.
Thanks dgg
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Choose your location carefully. That part of BC has interesting weather patterns and you can find an area that has sun, contrary to the perception that it always rains in Vancouver

Every time the oil price rises, Canada nets a benefit. Something like 10% of US oil comes from Canada.

Idiots die if their car breaks down in winter. Some people die in their homes in warm parts of the US if the electricity goes off. Planning counts.

All without arbitrary, government-mandated surcharges like Canadian softwood suffers in the US.
Mike
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Michael Daly wrote:

This is important. Some areas will get alot more rain or sun than others. Due to prevailing winds and geography.
John
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