About the NCR - Outaouais
The Outaouais region consists of 5 municipalities, all of which the MFRC NCR serves:
Gatineau (/ˈɡætɪnoʊ/; French: [ɡatino]) is a city in western Quebec, Canada. It is the fourth-largest city in the province after Montreal, Quebec City, and Laval. It is located on the northern bank of the Ottawa River, immediately across from Ottawa, Ontario, together with which it forms Canada's National Capital Region. As of 2016, Gatineau had a population of 276,245, and a metropolitan population of 332,057. The Ottawa–Gatineau census metropolitan area had a population of 1,323,783.
Should I Know French Before Moving to Québec?
The 2016 census concluded that 10.6 percent of the population in Quebec speaks English as a mother tongue, and forty-five percent of Quebecers can speak both English and French. That being said, if you only speak English, there might be a language barrier. However, most of the time you will be able to communicate in English, especially in larger cities such as Montreal. So, make sure to lend an ear to the famous “bonjour/hi!”
Many regions in Quebec are welcoming and offer a variety of job opportunities. Yet, it will be difficult to secure employment if you don’t know French, especially outside of Montreal. For example, in the service industry, you must know French. According to the Charter, every person in Quebec has the right to be served in French. Meaning workers who deal with the public have to know French well enough to communicate with the public in French.
That being said, finding a job in Quebec as someone who speaks English is not impossible, but it can be a challenge. Being able to speak French is a tremendous asset.
What are the First Steps to Take Upon Arrival in Québec?
Below is a list of the first administrative steps you should take upon your arrival in Quebec.
The Obvious: Cheaper Real Estate
There’s absolutely no doubt that Gatineau prices are more attractive than Ottawa’s. The average Gatineau home is over a $140,000 less when compared to Ottawa. That’s a 'pack your bags and run for the Gatineau Hills' difference! Or is it?
The Not-So-Obvious: Taxes
This is a tricky analysis because it depends on your income. The Cole’s Notes version is that if you work in Ottawa and live in Gatineau, you will pay higher taxes to the tune of 5-10% depending on your income bracket. Does this make up for the gap between real estate prices? Over time, yes. Shorter term no and from a service perspective overall you get better value in Ottawa.
But, What About Subsidized Daycare?
Subsidized daycare is no joke. At $8.25 per day versus $40-50 per day in Ottawa, that difference alone can be enough to tip the scales. However, the waiting list for public daycare in Gatineau is years-long, so after one year of parental leave, you’re still looking at the same cost for daycare, if not more than in Ottawa. Private daycares in Gatineau can’t compete with the $8.25 subsidized rate so they don’t and their rates are the same or higher than in Ottawa. You can’t simply move to Gatineau with the mindset that you’ll automatically qualify for daycare.
Health care is significantly less available in Gatineau, which is why so many residents retain or seek Ottawa services (Find out more: Québec relies on Ontario to fill Outaouais Health Care Gaps). This extends to emergency services so while you may take small comfort in the fact that getting a family doctor in Ottawa is equally challenging, the number of clinics and emergency services in Ottawa can capably meet residents’ needs, while also handling the significant and somewhat terrifying overflow from Gatineau. Asking the scary question of how much your health care is worth to you must factor into any decision to move to Gatineau.
If you are military and you need to sell your house quick, Ottawa is the clear winner here. The market is more expensive but has historically always had quicker resale and stronger demand. For military clients this a huge consideration.
Read More: Living in Ottawa VS Living in Gatineau
As the fourth biggest city in Quebec, Gatineau is located just a glance across the river from Ottawa. Nestled in Western Quebec, it is a very scenic and beautiful space to explore and unwind. Many people from near and far come to Gatineau for exercise and outdoor activity as the Gatineau Park is home to 165 kilometers of hiking trails and 32.5 kilometers of scenic biking trails.
The city of Gatineau has a bit of an Old Montreal, European feel! So, why live in Gatineau?
- Save money! Ottawa is one of the most expensive cities in Canada to live. Rent prices in Gatineau are 30-50% lower than in Ottawa.
- Cut down your commute! If you commute to work or school each day, traveling from Gatineau to Ottawa you can actually reduce your commute time. Commuting from parts of Gatineau to downtown Ottawa can often be quicker than from Ottawa's own outer suburbs.
- Close to schools. Do your children weigh heavily on your decision to move? If what interests you the most is to live in a place where you or your kids can get a very high-quality education, Gatineau has a lot to offer as it is close to several different universities and colleges.
- Lots of green space. There are many parks and playgrounds in Gatineau. Some parks are well-manicured playgrounds but many are much larger and connect to wooded areas. You can escape the big city without having to go far from home!
- Something for everyone! Gatineau hosts many different events throughout the year. For example, on Labour Day weekend, the hot air balloon festival takes place and Gatineau skies gets filled with colourful balloons and their passengers.
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