[nSLUG] Thinking About Relocating

George White aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca
Thu Jun 9 18:01:03 ADT 2005

On Thu, 9 Jun 2005, Damien Tougas wrote:

> Hello,
> I am a Canadian citizen, currently living and working in the USA 
> (Maine). Things aren't going so well financially with my employer at 
> the moment, so my wife and I are considering making a move back to 
> Canada. We are originally from Alberta, but we have really fallen in 
> love with Maine, and the East coast in general. We are considering 
> making a move up to somewhere in the Maritime provinces if we think it 
> could work for us.

I grew up in the mountains of New Mexico but have been living in Nova
Scotia since 1977.  Sometimes I miss the sunshine, but it is nice living
where plants grow without irrigation and there is enough water to float a
boat without building dams.
> So, my questions are:
> - What is the current tech job market like in that area? My areas of 
> expertise are FreeBSD/Linux (mostly FreeBSD) server administration, and 
> web application development. (For anyone interested, my resume can be 
> found at http://www.tougas.net/resume.pdf).

Canada didn't suffer as much from the flood of "high-tech" workers looking
for jobs when the bubble burst.

I work for the Federal Gov't.  There are initiatives to rationalize many
computing services, e.g., consolidate departmental computing facilities
into Public Works as well as talk of moving groups out of Ottawa.  Overall
this is supposed to reduce the number of computing staff in Gov't, but if
a major centre is established outside Ottawa there would likely be new
hiring as many who are let go will find private sector jobs closer to

> - What I would really like to do is freelance/project based work. What 
> kind of demand and/or competition is there for stuff like this in that 
> area (if you know...)? Are there any regions that would be better than 
> others for this kind of thing? Here in Maine, I could do pretty well 
> with this kind of work (but I can't because I don't have a Green Card).

There are people who live in the Maritimes and do contract work for 
customers in the USA, Ontario, or Alberta.  It helps to have some 
personal connections and a track record.

> - What is the cost of living like from your perspective? Can a family 
> survive on local wages with a single income? We are not a dual income 
> family (and really don't want to be), so wherever we move, we would 
> like to be able to make it work on a single income.

Of course the big difference is that you don't need a 2nd salary for
health insurance that still puts you into bankruptcy in the event 
of serious illness.

Many do manage on 1 income, but I think it is getting harder unless you
have extra resources such as family property.  There are people who make a
nest egg in the USA or a non-have-not province and then move to the
Maritimes where they can afford to buy a home outright. 
> I really know nothing about eastern Canada, having spent the majority 
> of my life in the west. If you have any options/advice regarding this 
> potential move, I would love to hear it.

George White <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca> <gnw3 at acm.org>
189 Parklea Dr., Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia  B3Z 2G6


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