Feb 282013

I often like to compare lifestyles between different countries. I think where each of us are born has a huge impact on not only our own lives but also how we influence those around us. I recently found this ifitweremyhome.com that compares countries and the average lifestyles of people from all over the world. Coincidentally Canada is currently featured as their country of the week lol. It’s a pretty nifty tool if you want to do some research on another country before you move, or even just go there for a vacation. You can compare Mexico to Australia, United Kingdom to South Korea, etc.. Below lists some of the things it said comparing US and Canada (my comments in italics).

If I lived in the US instead of Canada I would……

Spend 83% more money on health care.
Our government recently announced that health insurance premiums are going up 4% next year. At first I wasn’t too happy about this because over the last 12 years our MSP premiums have almost doubled. However NOW since I realize it’s still relatively cheap I would have no complaints even if they raised it by 10% because that’s still a discount compared to alternatives 🙂
Experience 40% more of a class divide.
I think this is why we’re generally perceived to be more friendly. Even when we get angry we’re nice about it. Unfortunately it also makes for some boring politics sometimes.
13_02_comparison_upsetHave 35% more babies.
Americans have about 138 births per 10,000 people every year. Canadians only have about 103. Not sure exactly why but some people are talking about immigration reform to help grow our population. Why do you think Canadians aren’t having as many children as our southern neighbors?
Have 23% more chance of dying in infancy
The number of deaths of infants under 1 year old in a given year per 1,000 live births in the US is 6.14 while in Canada it is 4.99.
Use 21% less electricity
Makes sense. It’s colder up here in the winter. ~Brrrr~
Make 20% more money
Maybe this is why a lot of smart people finish their studies in Canada and then move to the US to find career opportunities.
Die 3 years sooner
Maybe you live longer in colder temperatures 🙂
Consume 6% less oil
Looks like Canadians aren’t as environmentally friendly as we would like to be
Work 72 hours longer each year
That works out to about 6 hours a month.

So ideally if you want to have the best of both places, you should be born in Canada. Spend your working years in the US. And then move back to Canada to retire and live out the rest of your life. But of course life has too many moving parts to put it that simply. It’s hard to say which country really is better to live in. Both Canada and the US have their pros and cons.

Dec 082011

Most people don’t understand how our medical system works. We do not have free health care in the traditional sense. 75% of Canadian health care services are delivered privately, but funded publicly, if that makes any sense. Basic costs are covered by the government. But less than half the cost for our medication is publicly funded. And only about 10% of long term and chronic illness treatments are paid for by the public. The rest is through private insurance or the patient’s own pockets.

Waiting times are usually longer than in the US, and we are slower to adopt new technology and medicines which leads to higher mortality rates for conditions like heart attacks. That’s why sometimes we travel to other countries to get treatment. The Ontario government is currently spending 40% of it’s whole budget on health care. Some estimates health care costs will climb to as high as 80% of all their provincial spending by 2030 if left unchecked. I wonder if that has anything to do with why Canadians pay so much tax.

Speaking of taxes, BC is raising MSP premiums (government health insurance that everyone has to pay, unless they live with parents or don’t have a job) As of January 2012, BC medical rates are increasing as detailed below. I’m single, so I’m paying the lowest rate. And even better, my employer pays most of it for me (ಥಥ ) I feel so lucky.

Single:           Now  $60.50 per month           Next Year      $64.00 per month
Family of 2    Now  $109.00 per month          Next Year      $116.00 per month
3 or more      Now  $121.00 per month          Next Year      $128.00 per month

Does your company pay for your health care premiums too? Canada has a pretty good medical system overall, but I think it can be improved. For example, on average, Canadian surgeons only earn half of what US surgeons make, so there’s little incentive for skilled doctors to stay here once they finish medical school, which is a whole other issue that I wont get into today.