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Marli

Ottawa

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Marli

I've been curious for a while about why no one seems to be interested in moving to Ottawa. According to an Ottawa page

  • More than 1,800 advanced technology companies employ more than 76,000 people
  • With the highest-educated workforce in Canada, Ottawa has more engineers, scientists and PhDs per capita than any other city in the country
  • $3.7 billion CDN in venture capital was invested in Ottawa technology companies from 2000 to 2005
  • With 90 per cent of Canada’s industrial telecommunications research and development conducted here, Ottawa is one of the world's top five sites for R&D
  • According to Statistics Canada, families in Ottawa had the highest median incomes of any Canadian city in 2001
  • Mercer Human Resources International recently placed Ottawa 20th in a survey of 200 cities worldwide for best quality of life. Another study by Mercer found that Ottawa is the least expensive major city in which to live in North America.

So, if it has so many things going for it, why aren't there more South Africans interested in moving there?

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Matisse

I don’t know if its a case of not being interested or of being there, but just not so visible. I know of 2 SA couples in Ottawa. The one couple has been there for more than 10 years already, and the husband is working in the public health sector. The other couple is personal friends from our SA years, they preceded us to Canada with 10 years. There first 4 years were spent in Toronto, where the husband – an electronics engineer – was employed by a large North American company, who transferred him to Ottawa. He eventually left that company and joined one of those advanced technology companies, but it went bancrupt last year and he was unemployed for a while before being re-employed by the company that bought out the bancrupt one. Apparently working for these high-tech R&D companies are not a good way to ensure employment stability and peace of mind. Last year their kids received tennis lessons from a SA-born instructor.

Apart from the high-tech sector, the other major employer in Ottawa is the public sector – unfortunately not very accessible for immigrants, partly also because public sector jobs in Ottawa usually require bilingual language ability.

Our friends are very happy in Ottawa, and visiting them also convinced me that Ottawa would probably be a nicer city to stay in than Toronto.

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Karen

Ottawa does seem to be a very livable city, indeed.

It is however, much colder than Toronto is in the winter months, so perhaps this is another reason why people are not flocking there. It is also a very bilingual city, given that it is the capital city and has so many government personnel working there.

Anyway, who would not want to be in Toronto if they are coming to Ontario - it is the centre of the universe, you know!!!! ;)

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Harry

Marli,

as Matisse suggested, few immigrants end up in Ottawa because of the predominance of government jobs, for which they are not allowed to be considered. The same holds for Victoria in BC.

The day you get your citizenship, they will also push a paper in your face, suggesting you apply for a government job.

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Adele

I have also been told that you need to apply for a security clearance to work in Ottawa and especially near any Parliament buildings. Maybe that is a big factor to.

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Robert McGee
Marli,

as Matisse suggested, few immigrants end up in Ottawa because of the predominance of government jobs, for which they are not allowed to be considered. The same holds for Victoria in BC.

The day you get your citizenship, they will also push a paper in your face, suggesting you apply for a government job.

Many government jobs require that you must be bilingual. Because of its proximity to Quebec, many private companies require the same. Another reason why fewer immigrants would move there.

Personally, I really like the place and would seriously consider moving there if the opportunity presented itself.

I seriously doubt one would need security clearance to work in Ottawa or near the Parliament buildings, although most government positions will require security clearance of some sort.

Like many other countries, the capital of the country is hardly the largest metropolitan centre where the main workforce is. Ottawa is similar to places like Pretoria and Canberra in that sense. One would more likely find work in Jo’burg and Cape Town than Pretoria or Sydney and Melbourne than Canberra.

Edited by Robert McGee

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Marli

Thank you everybody.

I guess this does explain it to some extend. Although, I cannot believe that in high tech companies they would decline you if you're not bilingual... but I guess I don't really have much of an idea about the politics of the French and English. It really is no issue here in Vancouver, so perhaps that is where my ignorance comes from..

Anyway, is there someone out there reading this site who does live in Ottawa? or planned to go there and then due to some reason decided not to? I would love to hear from you.

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Robert McGee
I guess this does explain it to some extend. Although, I cannot believe that in high tech companies they would decline you if you're not bilingual... but I guess I don't really have much of an idea about the politics of the French and English. It really is no issue here in Vancouver, so perhaps that is where my ignorance comes from..

Marli, when I say many companies require that you must be bilingual, it will still be the minority. It is just relative to say Vancouver or Toronto where bilingualism is no issue at all. It is also more applicable to people working directly with the public. I'm sure it won't be an issue if you are an engineer for example.

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