Monthly Archives: February 2016

Immigration Minister: Significant changes to the Citizenship Act in the coming days

Come to Canada

There’s a better life to be had as an office worker, doctor, contractor and backpacking student hoping for an internship with a four-year $80,000 philosophy degree

The Globe and Mail is reporting that, “The Liberals will soon follow through on their election pledge to repeal the Conservatives’ controversial Bill C-24, which gave the government the power to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens convicted of terrorism, treason or espionage.”

This caused an uproar when it was introduced as a lot of people with citizenship felt like second-class Canadians. Especially relevant to new immigrants that had come to Canada for a new life and gained citizenship.

Snip:

“Immigration Minister John McCallum said the government will also remove barriers to citizenship posed by Bill C-24.

“‘We believe that it’s better to make it easier rather than harder for people to become citizens.'”

Full story here and worth a read.

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Successful Brits in Toronto: Rory Petty

Rory Petty

Exclusive early promo still from Kingsman: The Secret Service 2

Like a well-aged wine, fine cigar, roasting a turkey or being stuck behind a Sunday driver on the way to the seaside, some things you just can’t rush. Such is the case with Rory Petty.

We first contacted him on January 22 to be our next Successful Brit in Toronto. Today is February 22. That makes it exactly a month. But his answers are good. Very good. Worth the wait, we think you’ll agree.

What made you decide to choose Toronto as a city of choice? Did you plan a permanent move, or wanted to “try it for a while and see how it goes” and it turned out to be longer than planned?

My better half is from Toronto, and having been on the London treadmill for a number of years, I was keen to try a different style of life in Toronto. I’m a Permanent Resident legally, but my mindset is this could be permanent or temporary still — citizenship is the next goal.

What steps did you take to land your first Toronto job? Did the infamous “Canadian experience” hinder you in any way?

I work in advertising, and luckily for me, the UK is seen as a leading practitioner of this internationally. A lot of what I do is transferable, but I also had to sell myself aggressively (being in advertising probably helped me in that respect).

What’s the best/worst aspects of living in Toronto?

The best thing is the sheer livability — those global surveys don’t lie when Toronto makes the Top 5 … especially when you’re coming from an expensive city like London.

But people make a place, and Torontans (Torontonians is so long) are so damn likeable; the small town friendliness in a big city is great.

Worst? Property prices.

Do you make an effort to connect with other Brits in the city, or just meet them when chance allows it? Any recommended pubs/eateries/other places for homesick Brits to meet each other and network?

I meet them through happenstance, but love when I do.

An Sibin Pub in Riverdale is an Irish pub, but the drunken hubbub there really reminds me of British pubs. Canadian pubs/bars tend to be too genteel.

Open question/comment: feel free to write anything here/advice/tips on a Brit living in, or moving to, Toronto.

The Numbeo Cost of Living Comparison was a great tool to see how our finances would stack up here vs. London.

I also sampled Toronto in both summer and winter to make sure I really wanted to come!

It’s that time of year again. Don’t forget, Brits, you have to file taxes in Canada. How about $20 off? And a wormhole?

Tax

Tax. Just like a sad love song, it affects most of us and makes our bottom lip tremble

Let’s face it — this is not a fun, well-crafted, witty and spellchecked post reviewing some nice British-themed food, or a heartwarming story about a Successful Brit in Toronto.

It’s about TAX!

There, we said it. But you have to face it. So we made it a little easier and partnered up with Taxback.com for the second year running to make the task not such a pain. And as it’s a sponsored post, they’re also offering you $20 off your filing fee. We’ll repeat that fact at the end too just for more impact.

So, let’s get filing those taxes!

The deadline is approaching for us all to file our tax returns. If you’ve worked in Canada in 2015, you’re obliged to file a tax return.

Unfortunately, the Canadian tax system does not mirror that of the UK’s, where tax is looked after for us. In Canada, we are entrusted to file our own tax returns each year.

It’s not all bad news however, because if you paid tax in 2015, you’re more than likely due a tax refund. Taxback.com’s average refund for international workers in Canada is $904, which is not to be sniffed at! What would you do with $904?

So, where do you begin? Luckily, Brits In Toronto has partnered with Taxback.com to guide you all in the right direction. Taxback.com specializes in filing tax returns for international workers, and looks after the whole process for you.

They will even send your refund to your UK bank account if that’s what you want.

Taxback.com can send you a free no-obligation tax refund estimate in three days, and all they need from you is to follow this process:

1. Click here to fill in the registration form
2. Click here to sign and date the Canadian tax forms
3. Send your T4 and copy of passport/ID to canada@taxback.com

Mention Brits In Toronto in your e-mail and you’ll get a $20 discount on your filing fee.

Might as well, right? You have to file them somehow. You could then invest that extra $20 in a tax-free savings account, which will create a tax wormhole and implode the fabric of time and space in a singularity.

And who said tax wasn’t exciting?!

Totally biased product review by me — Coastal Rugged, Mature British Cheddar

Coastal Rugged Mature British Cheddar

You can’t beat a nice bit of rugged British cheese. The French prefer robust

When Nancy — our Brits in Toronto office accountant — heard that we were testing out something “rugged” and “mature” she got a little flustered. A tad disappointed when she found out it was just a “hunk” of cheese.

Nancy tutted a few times and went back to cutting and pasting our Thank God It’s Friday, Let’s Go Out On The Lash slush fund from column A to column C, minus column B.

The Brits in Toronto crew love rugged cheese. In fact, the ruggeder the better. This could be one of the ruggedest.

We want our cheese to climb the snowy mountain during a blizzard and rescue the stranded puppy, help the old lady across the road and still have time to take the Aston Martin for a spin to buy those tickets for the Las Vegas lost weekend that we all have in us. Before lunchtime.

Coastal Rugged, Mature British Cheddar fits the bill. Sourced from Whole Foods, this is the kind of cheese that when you cut a slice and stand it up, the crumble factor makes it bend and snap halfway.

Aged for up to 15 months, it has a nice tartness, but not overpowering. To be fair, it’s not the strongest cheddar we’ve ever had … but this could be the cheese to ease your nervous processed-slice-in-a-plastic-sheet-orange-cheese-loving friends into the world of stronger flavours.

You could be their Cheese Whisperer and allow them into that arena of mature cheddar.

We think it could be very versatile. Coastal Rugged, Mature British Cheddar will sit quite happily atop a slice of toast (grilled and bubbly) or astride a baked potato. Shred that bad boy, chuck it into a lettuce and avocado salad and get the party started. So many options.

In summary, we give this British cheese a Brits in Toronto 4/5 stars.

Totally biased product review by me — McDonnells Indian Tikka Masala Curry Sauce

McDonnells Indian Tikka Masala

Proudly made in Ireland. And just round it up to $3, you can’t get a penny back anyway. Where would you spend a penny?

Last weekend the Brits in Toronto crew hugged our families, made sure the survival gear was stashed in the motor, grabbed our passports and headed off to Mississauga.

We had one mission in mind: curry sauce. Our destination was A Bit Of Home … and you can also order online, which is handy.

Rummaging through the Beefeater Gin bar towels, numerous Keep Calm And Carry On t-shirts and KP Hula Hoops (BBQ Beef), we finally chanced upon our choice: McDonnells Indian Tikka Masala. Score!

We had planned to make a box opening video for this review, but considering it was a packet and opened in two seconds via scissors, didn’t bother. Plus we were starving.

Usually we opt for a ready-made curry sauce, rather than granules that you have to mix with water, so were beside ourselves with curiosity as to the taste of this one.

Prep was easy: 250 mils of water in a saucepan, stir in the granules, come to the boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. The last part is important as the sauce really thickens up nicely, so no cutting corners like when you copied someone else’s homework at school. It’s really not worth it in the end, it’s not clever and you won’t make anything of yourself. You also won’t look hard in front of your mates either. Think about it, OK?

Add the sauce to your chicken (or meat of choice) and cook it for a while. Throw abandon to the wind and chuck in some tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and ginger too if so inclined.

Taste? We always say this — not spicy enough! Lovely flavour, but needs the heat. We suggest adding some extra hot sauce to taste.

We give this a Brits in Toronto 2/5 stars.

Successful Brits in Toronto: Ted Clark

Ted Clark

“Pork scratchings? Yer ‘aving a larf ain’t ya, geezer?! This is Toronto!”

Ted Clark was a little unsure as to whether he was “successful” enough to earn a coveted spot on Brits in Toronto. This man co-founded a brewery. With an ale called Across the Pond.

Nuff said.

“I actually started this business because I was still drinking my favourite English ales, like ESB, Lancaster Bomber, Abbot Ale and Old Speckled Hen about five years ago,” explains Ted. “But I thought I could brew something similar that I would want to drink with local ingredients.

“Hence Across the Pond, English Special Ale, a bitter and our flagship beer, which is reminiscent of the excellent ales around Cambridge from my youth.  This current Canadian craft beer movement reminds me of the CAMRA movement that I experienced in the UK during the 1970s and early 1980s,” he adds.

Case nicely made.

What made you decide to choose Toronto as a city of choice? Did you plan a permanent move, or wanted to “try it for a while and see how it goes” and it turned out to be longer than planned?

I came here in 1981 from a tiny village near Cambridge on a gap year after ‘A’ levels. I planned to travel and see if I liked the city, and I am still trying to decide whether to stay … although with two children in university, a house, a dog and a beer business, this decision has probably already been made.

What steps did you take to land your first Toronto job? Did the infamous “Canadian experience” hinder you in any way?

I thought I had landed a dream job at Sunshine Village in Banff, Alberta but the year I was hired it did not snow; resorts only started paying salaries when there was skiing, and I ran out of money and had to come back to Toronto to find other (real) work in a sporting goods store.

What’s the best/worst aspects of living in Toronto?

Best: I actually like the weather here and appreciate the change in the seasons. Since moving I have taken up ice hockey and skiing, and developed a strong network of like-minded friends. We play hockey, drink beer, and then ski, and drink more beer.

Worst: Initially I missed my family and friends, and in particular the beer and banter in a good pub.

Do you make an effort to connect with other Brits in the city, or just meet them when chance allows it? Any recommended pubs/eateries/other places for homesick Brits to meet each other and network?

I don’t really seek out other Brits, but I have found a lot of good pubs/bars around High Park where there is great live music and craft beer.

3030 Dundas West, The Hole in the Wall and The Mugshot Tavern are fine examples.

Open question/comment: feel free to write anything here/advice/tips on a Brit living in, or moving to, Toronto.

Canada is an amazing country with lots to offer on both a personal and professional level. Travel, meet people, try new activities and enjoy your life!