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Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts

12 September 2016

Setting an Appointment in Canada

Appointments are usually made in advance so that the slot of someone's time is reserved.  The one who made the appointment will cross out the date in his/her calendar.

We know that there are instances such as emergencies or sudden change of schedules may occur and the worst thing is, if it happens on that appointment date.  It can be a valid excuse, but there should be notifications in advance. We are in a society where there are different ways to inform each other, such as text message, email or phone call.

This post is to remind people that time is important to everyone.  The level may be different, but still is precious.  You may take someone's time for granted thinking that it's just his/her time anyway, but that should not be the case.

In Canada, time is important, we are paid by an hour.  Make it a point that when you schedule an appointment with someone whether he/she is a service, delivery guy or a salesman, you must be there at an agreed time and place.  If you can't make it, a simple message to inform the person involve so he/she can adjust accordingly.

On my previous post, Educate Yourself in Financial and Investments in Canada,  where I stated that I had coordinated with the Financial Advisers in Ontario,  I clearly wrote in the appointment form that a Financial Advisor will contact you based on your preferred media. You can see the form here.

If you filled up the form, it only means that you are open for an appointment with an advisor.  If you made one, make sure that the advisor is well informed in advance if something popped up or you had changed your mind.

A simple excuse message will do:
" Sorry Mr. or Ms. Advisor, we can't make it at the agreed time of the appointment because we need to go to a doctor."
 " Hi Mr. or Ms. Advisor, can we reschedule the appointment to this day, because something very important came up?"
If you are no longer interested or something prompt you that changed your mind, an honest message will do:
" Sorry Mr. or Ms. Advisor, I'm no longer interested about your FREE financial literacy.  Please cancel our appointment."
These excuses are no big deal for the advisors.  At least there are feedbacks coming from you.  There are no bad excuses. It's better to have one than no replies or zero messages at all.

Why am I saying this?

Financial Advisors are professional people. They are licensed by the Financial Services Commission in Ontario.  If you feel that there's a fraudulent act from them, you can report them immediately to the government.

You have to understand that they are also busy individuals.  A certain appointment set for them will ignore others that comes in.  They will set that date for you and that makes you a very important person.

You may say that "It's part of their job!".  We all know that, but would it be great to respect their time as well?

Tips for Making an Appointment with an Advisor:
1. Talk to them clearly.
2. If you are not interested, tell them straight to the point.
3. For the Financial Advisors, a date is a date, unless an emergency comes up.
4. If you are no longer available on that date, postpone it.
5. Leave messages.

Everyone has the right to be respected.

30 September 2015

How To Prepare For the University Education of our Children in Canada?

There's a list that I found in my Facebook wall, which states the Top 10 Most Expensive Colleges and Universities in Philippines.  I started browsing it and the top most expensive costs around US$9,435 or C$12,671 (P442,067) per year.

The chance of studying in these universities, when Mom & Dad is working with minimum wage is so thin.  Scholarship or having a student loan is possible though.  These were mostly built for elites.

I remembered the cost of my tuition was around PHP36,000 per year (C$1,000).  Luckily, my sister got me a scholarship plan when I was just 7 years old.  Although I had one, we still needed to pay PHP6,000 (C$200) for the miscellaneous fees, which was not covered by the scholarship plan.

You might think that it's a small amount of money, but for my sister, she worked really hard for that.

That's the reason why my monthly allowance was sacrificed.  Imagine having PHP500 (C$14) per month in your pocket.  It made me thrifty when it comes to food. Clothing and entertainment were not in the budget.

Honestly, writing this post made me realize how lucky we are as a family to be here in Canada.  Here's why...

Education in Canada
When we came here, we already had the idea that the government will give allowances for our children and their education is free, but we are not aware of the details behind it.

We enrolled our eldest son (10 years old) to a nearby school and submitted all the requirements. The school registrar encoded it to their system and that's it! He's enrolled already. No tests. No fuzz. No materials to buy as well. It's all FREE and provided by the school.

Since the education is free from Kindergarten till they reach Grade 12, it's also the time we need to save for their University education.

If you're living in a minimum wage, you and your spouse, this is possible with discipline and budgeting especially if your child/children is/are 10 years below. On the other hand, it can be difficult to those who have older kids. That means you have less TIME to save.

No worries, I'll teach you how to do it as we go further down.

What If We Don't Have Enough Time To Save?
Here in Ontario, the government will not leave our kids behind, they made sure that every kid can gain access to College.  They have an option for a student loan.  It is called the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). 

The program was mainly designed to give financial support to eligible students who don't have enough budget for College.  The program will pay the tuition fees, books, mandatory fees, living costs, and transportation.

In return, students will pay their OSAP debt to the government once they graduate and find their respective jobs.  It's a Study Now & Pay Later type of program.

Although it is helpful for students, they are bonded with DEBT once they graduate.  They have to pay the loaned amount 6 months after they cease to be a full-time student.

Based on my estimate, which I mentioned in my previous post, University Education in Toronto Canada, an Engineering degree student will pay a total estimate of C$80,000++ 6 months after graduation on the year 2023.  I made this computation to have a glimpse on my eldest son's tuition fee.

One of my friends told me that some students can't bear the burden of paying such amount, they ended up taking their own lives.  I hope it's not always the case and sure there are other reasons for such behavior.

What is RESP in Canada?
Most parents don't want their kids to be burdened by the DEBT from OSAP.  Although it's a great help for our special ones, but we want our kids to have a better future and debt free after graduation.

This way, they will earn money for themselves, save earlier for their future.  It is also advantageous for us parents, we will be complacent when that time comes.

A savings plan was designed by the government to help parents save for the post-secondary education of their kids.  This plan is called the Registered Education Savings Plan or RESP.

Parents can save a certain amount on the RESP every month and the Canadian Government will match-up an additional percentage amount on to it and some grants as well.   As it matures, it grows interest because it's invested.

This is how RESP works:
  1. A subscriber enters into an RESP contract with the promoter and names one or more beneficiaries under the plan.
  2. The subscriber makes contributions to the RESP. Government grants (if applicable) will be paid to the RESP. These grants can be the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)Canada Learning Bond (CLB), or any designated provincial education savings program.
  3. The promoter of the RESP administers all amounts paid into the RESP. As long as the income stays in the RESP, it is not taxable. The promoter also makes sure payments from the RESP are made according to the terms of the RESP.
  4. The promoter can return the subscriber's contributions tax-free.
  5. The promoter can make payments to the beneficiary to help finance his or her post-secondary education.
  6. The promoter can make accumulated income payments. Source:

Where do I get the money for the RESP of my sons?
As promised, I'll teach you how to save and invest the money "I do not own" to my sons' RESP.

We received monthly allowances from the government that was covered by the CCTB and UCCB.  These were:

CCTB - Canada Child Tax Benefit
UCCB - Universal Child Care Benefit

The money that goes into our household were FREE from the government.  It will be used for our kids monthly expenses.  We can now save and invest in the RESP.

A quick summary...

Remember that the benefits were free money from the government. When I invest in the RESP, the government will again, add a percentage of it with some grants.

Isn't it great?  What do you think?

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21 August 2015

University Education For Your Children in Toronto, Canada

Yup, children have free education here in Canada.  But, not all of it are FREE, it's only for the Primary School and Secondary students (4-18 years old).

This is a system that was provided by the government, which they gave ample time for parents to save money for the University education of their children.

The next question is, how much do we need to save and when do we start?

In this post, I'll give you an idea about 
* What you need to know about University tuition?
* How much to save for our children's University education?

How Much are the Tuition Fees for Universities Degrees (2013)
I have done some research about the average tuition fees in Canada and here's the data that I've found from the Statistics Canada as of the year 2013.

The data was taken from the school year 2011 to 2013.  It shows the percent change of tuition fees between the school year 2011/2012 and 2012/2013.

As you can see, at the table for Undergraduates, Dentistry (C$16,910 with a rate increase of 5.4%) has the most expensive tuition, while Education has the cheapest (C$4,006 with a rate increase of 5.3%).

With this yearly increase of tuition, with a maximum of 6.8% annually,  we can predict how much would it cost for the tuition fees after 5 or 10 years.

How Much Should I Save?
I always ask my son on what course should he take when he'll be in college. He's still 10 years old now, but he is very serious on getting an Engineering degree.  Well, what I can do is to support him the best that I can.

So, I computed the cost of an Engineering degree 8 years from now, when he turns 18,  with a rate of 6.8% or let's say the worst and the easiest to compute is 10%.
Engineering Tuition 2013 - C$6,552 per year
Rate Increase - 10% per year
Tuition on the year 2023 (my son turns 18) - C$16,994 per year
We also need to consider the miscellaneous fees like books, dorm, etc...

I asked a mother with a son in college.  She explained that the miscellaneous fees would cost her another C$3,000.  There are books that cost about C$800 each.

So, in order for my son to be in the University on 2023, we need an estimate of C$19,994 on the first year.  That would be about C$80, 000++ for the whole Engineering degree.

Are you interested more about Education for your kids in Ontario, Canada?  Email me at ( to get more information about education loans and education savings plans with the help from the government.  There are ways on how to save now and give yourself and your child a worry-free education.

If my post is helpful, please tick the LIKE button below.

04 August 2014

How to Know Your Degree Equivalence in Canada for FREE?

After reading the Red Maple Leaf Free eBook, you still might be hesitant to submit your application. It's either you're worried that:
  • The result of your IELTS can not reach the required points or
  • The result of your educational credential assessment is not favorable
For the IELTS test, there is nothing more that we can do to know how good we are in English until we take the test.  But, for the educational credential assessment, we can do something about it.

Take note, for the education factor, we can estimate how much points we can get from the assessment even before we pay with the assessors of Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

As I mentioned before, I took the services of World Education Services (WES) for my ECA.  There are few reasons why I chose their services and it was stated in one of my post.

How to Assess the ECA for FREE?
The good thing about WES is that they have a FREE WES Degree Equivalency Tool.  Anyone can go online and have his degree credentials assess and it is Free, but there will be no certificate for this.

All you have to do is visit the link below:

Do the following procedures:

  • Click the START NOW
  • Key in all required details (name and email address)
  • Click Continue
  • Select Country of Education
  • Select Name of Degree Diploma
  • Select Major and  Number of Years of Study
  • Search the Institution Attended
It will immediately give you the equivalent years of studies of your credentials in Canada.  

My Assessment at WES Degree Equivalency Tool
Even though I'm done with my credential assessment, I tried this tool just to have a feel of it.  Unfortunately, the result was not the same with my Educational Credential Assessment certificate.  
At the FREE WES Degree Equivalency Tool:
B.S. Engineering - 3 years

At the ECA Certificate:
B.S. Engineering - 4 years

In my opinion, WES will still check the curricula at the Transcript of Records as what they had stated at the note below:
 "NOTE: Any degree equivalency provided is based on the information you have entered. It is not based on verified information or documents and may not be used as proof that you attended an institution or earned a degree. WES may change this provisional degree equivalency upon document verification and analysis." - World Education Services
How does the ECA Certificate Looks Like?
If you want a glimpse of the WES certificate, it should look like this:

Now that you know what your education is worth in Canada, get a WES credential evaluation to verify your credentials so they will be recognized by universities, employers and licensing bodies in Canada.

After the free assessment using the WES tool, you can now prepare the required documents and payment.

*If you like this post or appreciate the author, please tick the LIKE button below.

If you have any questions regarding this post, you can leave a comment below or email me at

Important: Please read the DISCLAIMER Page

For questions not related to this post, leave a comment at the ASK ME.

If you want to know more about my life in Singapore, visit my blog at

How much you need to prepare for the applications, visit EXPENSES.

Check on what are the documents you need to prepare and more info on RESOURCES.

28 July 2014

Reasons To Evaluate Our Credentials for Federal Skilled Worker Program in Canada 2014

In this video, it explains the importance of having our credentials assessed in a Canadian accredited institution like World Education Services (WES).

 WES evaluation is important if you will migrate to Canada, for the following reasons.

  • Employment
  • Higher or Continuing Education
  • Licensure in regulated profession
  • Apprenticeship
  • Immigration

Watch the video for the complete details.

Log In to your WES Account

21 July 2014

IELTS Test Centers and Locations with Free Practice Materials and My Experience in Singapore

One of the requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program in Canada is to provide a proof of your language skills.  To do this is to take the International English Testing System (IELTS) exam.

The exam is to check your skills in Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.  Each skill will be measured by a band score, which is then used to compute for the points at your FSW eligibility under the language skills factor.

There are two types of the exam, one is Academic and the other is the General Training.  If we are taking the test as a proof of our language skills for the FSW in Canada, we only need to take the General Training test.

Where to Take the IELTS?
There are many test centers for IELTS that you can choose from.  For me, I took it with the British Council examiner for the following reasons:
  • The name itself, British Council, is legitimate enough to take the English Test.
  • The website of the British Council is easy to navigate and I found no glitch when I tried it with my IELTS application.
  • They will provide IELTS reviewers once the appointment fee is received.
  • The test center, in Singapore, is organized, no hassles.
  • The results delivered at my doorstep was on time as expected.
IELTS has more than 900 test centers and locations in more than 130 countries.  I made a link for you, so you can select the IELTS test center and locations nearest you.  It's up to you which center would you take your test with.

What to Expect During the IELTS Test? 
There are four assessments for the IELTS exam. These are the reading, listening, writing and speaking.  I'll give you an idea based on my experience taking it at the British Council in Singapore.

The test for reading, speaking and listening were done inside an air-conditioned room at the Civil Service College near the Buona Vista MRT Station.

There were 15-20 applicants inside the room seated in rows.  It was a classroom setup with armchairs and a single space gap between applicants.

We were instructed not to take a toilet break or go out from the room during the testing period.  So, for those who will take this test, do not drink a lot of water and never take a heavy breakfast.

There were two audio speakers, paper board and a projector in front that were used for displaying instructions.  The speakers were used for the listening test.

Each test category was given a time limit and was strictly implemented.

Reading - We were given a booklet, inside were articles and short stories provided.  There were three types of passages and need to respond to related questions in a given time limit.

Here are some examples of the test, take note that this is not the actual.  This is only for your reference.
Listening - The two audio speakers in front of us were used at this time.  It played a conversation between two persons and we need to fill in the blanks at the questions provided.
Writing - We were given an specific topic wherein we need to write about it.
  • Questions for Writing practice test 
  • Answers for Writing practice test 
Speaking - This was taken at a different location, at Napier Road. At the moment I entered the room, the examiner asked me about my personal background.  I never thought that it was part of the exam, so I just answered her questions normally.

The next question that she asked me, the actual test topic, was "Do you read newspapers? What do you think about the future of newspapers in this digital world?".

This time, I was quite nervous thinking that it's the actual test question.  What I did was to say everything that I needed to say, the best that I can in an orderly manner.

I got a good score with each of the test and so with my FSW Canada points for Language Skills.

Source of the sample tests and audio:

Do You Think Your English is Good Enough for the IELTS?
If you're hesitant on your language skills, you need to study more on it.  Below is one of the IELTS Reviewer that you can purchase at a reasonable price.

You can click below to redirect you to website.

What to expect from this book?
Barron's IELTS Superpack, 2nd Ed.

  • Academics and professionals looking to validate their English language proficiency by taking the IELTS get the most comprehensive preparation available anywhere with Barron's IELTS Superpack.
  • It consists of the new 3rd edition of the Barron's brand-new IELTS manual with 2 audio CDs, 
  • IELTS Practice Exams with 2 audio CDs, and
  • Barron's Essential Words for the IELTS
Other Reviewers for more choices: 
Language Skills (CELPIP, IELTS and TEF) Reviewers

Disclosure: Whenever you buy the products at those links, I can get an affiliate commission and I Thank You for doing so.

*If you like this post or appreciate the author, please tick the LIKE button below.
If you have any questions regarding this post, you can leave a comment below or email me at

Important: Please read the DISCLAIMER Page

For questions not related to this post, leave a comment at the ASK ME.

If you want to know more about my life in Singapore, visit my blog at

How much you need to prepare for the applications, visit EXPENSES.

Check on what are the documents you need to prepare and more info on RESOURCES.

18 July 2014

Which Province In Canada To Live and Settle?

There were questions in my email inbox that I need to address.  Many were asking about it and this is the perfect time to answer those queries.

I took one question from my Me Moving To Canada (MM2C) email subscriber.

" to which province you choose and the pros and cons, we will definitely appreciate to receive your inputs." - Faith

First of all,  I will be concentrating on the pros here, which I have some data to provide, because the disadvantages are relative depending on one's perspective.  

In considering the perfect place to settle down, we need to see the following criteria:
  • Adaptability
  • Employment opportunities
  • Education of our children or future clans
  • Health 
These criteria depend on our priorities in life so we need to weigh each factor.  We can have many on the list, but we need to take down the important ones.  Let's discuss it one by one.

At our first application, Canada gives points for our spouse's IELTS, having relatives in Canada, and work experience in Canada.  Let us focus more on relatives in Canada since for me, it is more important.

If we have a relative in Canada, we have a 99% chance to survive in that country.  Once we arrive at the airport, we can consider ourselves blind from the country's culture and environment because we were only relying on Google and advice from acquaintances.

This is where relatives plays an important role for our success in Canada.  They are our eyes, a reliable one, that had seen the beauty and the ugly side of Canada.  

Our relatives can orient us even before we arrive there, advice us what to bring or not, where to find a job and etc...

I have relatives in Canada, specifically in Toronto, such as my sister, cousins, aunt and uncle.  I thank God that I have them as my guide and support.  That is why I chose Toronto, Ontario as the place of destination.

This is the reason why Canada gives points for the Eligibility Factor - Adaptability.  

Employment Opportunity
Job opportunities are everywhere, it depends on your current status and your preferences.  This is one of the difficult topic to discuss because everyone has his own idealism.

Once we land in Canada, keep our Ego to the lowest level because we are only noobs (newbies or newcomer). 

Yes, I'm an Engineer in Philippines and also an Engineer working in Singapore, but I will always  remind myself to wake up, this is Canada.  It's a different country with a new set of rules.

As advised by my relatives, there are a lot of jobs waiting for me, BUT I should not choose first.  The industries there needs a Canadian Experience.  

How to get it? Apply as a newbie employee, such as survival jobs, and eventually look for a job that really fits you.

Maintain your cash flow first to sustain your monthly expenses while waiting for the right job.  If your lucky to get the perfect job once you arrive, please buy me a coffee. :D

To make sure of our employment, lets look at the statistics.

The data table for this graph is located below

Based on the data above, unemployment decreased from 2012 to 2014.  This is a good indication that me and my wife can land a job, 90% chance, in Ontario.

If you want to find the employment statistics at your place of destination, please choose from this link:

Education of Our Children or Future Clan
As we all know, Canada has one of the world's best education system.  

At a 2013 poll survey done by the New Jersey Minority Educational Development (NJMED), Canada ranked the 7th in the world.

There is no doubt that the future of our children will be brighter when they are studying in any province of Canada compared to other countries ranked 8th and above.

Looking at the provincial view inside Canada, which is the best place to have your children educated?

Let's take a look at the ratio of educators to students in each province compared in an 8-year gap (2000/2001 and 2008/2009).  This indicates how our children will be given the most attention in school.

Chart 4: Student-educator ratio, by province and territory, 2000/2001 and 2008/2009

Given with this data, Ontario is still considerable.

From the rankings, one of the Top 20 of World University Rankings 2013-2014 is in Ontario, the University of Toronto.

Health of Our Family
Health is one of the most important status in our family.  That is why we need to see which province is the best health care in terms of value-for-money.
Relative health-care value-for-money, according to the Fraser Institute (zero to 10, 10 being the best)
Quebec — 10
Ontario — 7.43
New Brunswick — 5.87
Nova Scotia — 4.73
B.C. — 4.12
Manitoba — 3.66
Alberta — 3.35
Saskatchewan — 1.17
P.E.I. — 0.48
Newfoundland and Labrador — 0
Source: National Post
Ontario is ranked the second for the best value-for-money in terms of healthcare in Canada.

The above reasons are just supplemental data for me to decide on Toronto as my place of destination.  

The most important factor for me is staying near with my relatives and family, given that being inside Canada itself is already the best place to live in, always at one of the Top of the World's Best.

*If you like this post or appreciate the author, please tick the LIKE button below.
If you have any questions regarding this post, you can leave a comment below or email me at

Important: Please read the DISCLAIMER Page

For questions not related to this post, leave a comment at the ASK ME.

If you want to know more about my life in Singapore, visit my blog at

How much you need to prepare for the applications, visit EXPENSES.

Check on what are the documents you need to prepare and more info on RESOURCES.

26 June 2014

Accredited Assessors for Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) FSW Canada 2014

One of the requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program to immigrate to Canada is the Educational Credential Assessment or is shortly known as the ECA.

You need to send your credential to one of the accredited assessors in order for your foreign credentials assessed for the equivalent number of years of studies in Canada.

You can choose your preferred assessor according to your budget and convenience.

They may differ in the fees of their services but at the end of the day, you will get the equivalency report.  You can click each link below to know more about them and their in-house procedures .

List of Accredited Assessors for Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) 2014

Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies

International Credential Assessment Service of Canada

World Education Services

Medical Council of Canada (for professional body)

Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (professional body)

My Experience in Getting my Credential Assessment at WES
For my ECA, I took the services of World Education Services.  First of all, I found their service fees the cheapest.

I am not in a hurry at that time so mailing documents to WES, for me, is not an issue for a regular or an express.

For my first impression of WES, their website is user friendly and easy to understand.

By the way, I made a blog post on this at this link Credential Assessment for Canadian FSW at WES.  In that post, you can read the detailed story of how I got my WES and how much are my expenses for the whole process.

What To Expect After You Get the Result of Your ECA?
After the assessment of your credentials, the assessor will send you an original copy of the assessment result.  This original copy should be included in your full application for FSW CANADA.

The equivalent number of years of studies written in the report will be your bases for the points in your education eligibility factor.

If you have any questions regarding this post, you can leave a comment below or email me at

For questions not related to this post, leave a comment at the ASK ME.

If you want to know more about my life in Singapore, visit my blog at

How much you need to prepare for the applications, visit EXPENSES.

Check on what are the documents you need to prepare and more info on RESOURCES.

24 June 2014

Two College Degrees: How to Compute the Number of Years

What if you had 2 degrees in college, how do you compute for the total number of years of your studies?

To explain it further, I will use my experience as an example that suits this problem perfectly.

It happened that I got two Engineering Degrees in College, I'll just name it as Eng-1 and Eng-2.   Each degree is normally a 5-year course.

How Long Did I Finish My Two Degrees?
For the Eng-1, I finished it for just 4.5 instead of 5 years, it's because I was so excited to finish that course.  I was so enthusiastic back then.  

The school that I enrolled into allows us to take advance courses during summer.  So, I went to school to take the summer courses that was supposed to be taken on the next semester.  My classmates that did not took this program were overtaken.  

After finishing the Eng-1, now I have a vacant of 0.5 years, right?  Then I decided to take Eng-2.

Eng-2 is a 5-year engineering degree also, but the minor subjects from my Eng-1 are all credited so I just needed to finish the major subjects to graduate/finish the degree.  And, it took me 1 year to finish it.

To summarize my educational background, I had tabulated it below:

Eng-1 - 4.5 years
Eng-2 - 1.0 years
             5.5 actual years in school

How Did I Fill-up the Form IMM008 (FSW Canada) for My Two Degrees?
At the Schedule A Background Declaration (IMM5669) item #7- Education form, I counted the number of years of studies based on my secondary and post-secondary education in Philippines.

We have 6 years of elementary/primary school, which starts from Grade 1 to Grade 6 and  4 years in Secondary/High School from First Year to Fourth Year.

I indicated 6 years on the University/College.  Even though I have 5.5 actual years in this level but Eng-1 is a 5-year course and took another year for Eng-2, a total of 6 years.

For the Trade school or other post secondary school section, I left it as "0" because I don't have one.  But if you do have, like 1 or 2-year courses, you can indicate it there.

I guess had explained it here clearly. If you have any questions regarding this post, you can leave a comment below or email me at

For questions not related to this post, leave a comment at the ASK ME.

If you want to know more about my life in Singapore, visit my blog at

How much you need to prepare for the applications, visit EXPENSES.

Check on what are the documents you need to prepare and more info on RESOURCES.

Ben Alagnam - MeMovingToCanada