What Is Life Like In Canada’s Territories, Nunavut?
Knowing which province to settle in is essential if you want to migrate to Canada via Study, Express Entry, or Provincial Nomination. I previously shared a post about what life is like in Saskatchewan, which you can read about here. This post is focused more on what life is like in one of Canada’s Territories – Nunavut. Tee of My Canadian Diary is sharing all about her journey and life in Nunavut.
Tell me a bit about yourself
My name is Tee, and I blog about my life as a mom, employee, new immigrant in Canada and most especially living in Nunavut at @mycanadiandiary
What was your immigration journey like?
I won’t even sugar-coat it. It’s been a wild ride so far. I came into Canada through the Federal express entry program. I am so happy I listened to my gut and friends that told me to apply then. Two good friends of mine were in the process and encouraged me to apply.
I got my PR in Feb 2018 and I went through the process without any immediate relocation plans as I got a very good job offer in a multinational after writing my IELTS and almost abandoned the dream then. I soft-landed in April 2018. Finally decided to move in Feb 2020. I settled in Calgary with my then 4 years old daughter. It was a little tough, given that we arrived smack bang amid a pandemic.
What are the highs and lows of migrating that you never expected?
The low is the loneliness that comes with this abroad life, you must be very intentional about interacting with others beyond the workplace. Craving out time to speak with loved ones back home can be hard due to the time difference.
For the highs, happy with the new direction my career is taking. I am a lot less anxious due to access to good health care, it’s safer. I do not panic when I am driving anymore because someone might smash my windows to rob me. Better time management too, cos I spend less time commuting and I can be a very present mum.
Why did you move from Calgary to Nunavut?
I got a very good job offer, there was no passing it up at all.
How easy was it to secure a full-time job? What are the jobs that are in demand in Nunavut?
In my case, which I have been told is exceptional, it was remarkedly easy. It took just about 3 weeks from the interview to offer letter and another 1 month to pack up our life in Calgary to move here.
The major in-demand jobs are in the health and education sectors. There are also jobs in other fields, especially if you are willing to move further inland from the capital city Iqaluit.
You have been sharing some very interesting things about Nunavut on your Instagram. What is Nunavut like?
Nunavut does not feel like the Canada I knew in Calgary; in fact, I sometimes forget I’m still in Canada because everything here is so different from what I was used to during my time in Calgary and Toronto. Iqaluit is a charming little city with which I have fallen in love. I already consider myself a Nunavummiut.
As a single mum, how have you juggled working and raising a child? What are the Daycare and school systems like in Nunavut?
I think Nunavut has helped me thrive as a single mum. It has allowed me to be more present in my daughter’s everyday life.
I’m not going to lie; navigating the daycare system is a nightmare. You must register your child as soon as you become pregnant; otherwise, your chances of getting a spot for your child are greatly reduced.
I remember calling every daycare in town and still not being able to find a spot for my daughter. Fortunately, a friend in town (who I met through LinkedIn after I signed my offer letter) assisted me in speaking with someone who runs a daycare center and convincing them to accept my daughter.
Dayhomes, in my opinion, are better and more reliable than daycares because daycares can sometimes close due to weather and other factors, leaving you scrambling because you need to be at work and have no caregiver for your child.
The school system is comparable to what is available in Calgary. The difference is that your options are significantly fewer. In that, my daughter was registered to attend a French Catholic school in Calgary, but we don’t have catholic schools here, which is understandable given the devastation caused by residential catholic schools on the Innuits.
Would you advise anyone to move to Nunavut?
Just try to be as prepared as possible. There are a lot of job opportunities here, but the cost of living is high. I will advise that you have good reasons for moving here, have a job offer or know someone who can house you till you can stand on your own feet.
What do you wish you knew before moving to Nunavut?
- I wish I knew how expensive basic food items are. There are limited stores here especially in terms of African food. You can’t get goat meat or Titus to buy here. I would have bought and brought along with me in coolers from Ottawa. I had to get someone to do those shopping for me and send via air cargo which was a tad bit expensive. Although food items are more expensive in Canada than in the US, it’s even more so in Nunavut. For instance, $5 jar of orange juice in Calgary retails for $22 here
- Also, I wish I knew how unexaggerated the cold is, sometimes the weather temperature can have a windchill of -50 degrees.
- Racism is very in your face in Nunavut. Almost every black person I have interacted with have had racial slurs yelled at them openly and everyone just pretends as nothing happened. I have also personally experienced this but I just shake it off and move on. There will always be a few bad eggs in the mix, but you don’t let that deter you from the other amazing people who go out of their way to make you feel welcome.
Any second thoughts about migrating?
To be honest, none, while I miss my loved ones still back in Nigeria and something like hanging with friends, the weather and amazing cuisine, I do not think I miss Nigeria itself. I can say hands down I made the right decision so far.
What do you love the most about Nunavut?
I love the small-town life; this is exactly what I envisioned when I left Nigeria. A place where I can take my daughter to school, pick her up, go home for lunch and generally just slow down.
What is the least thing you like about Nunavut?
I think it’s the limited options for me. Limited options for where to shop, mechanic workshops, activities to do etc. But we are slowly adapting and it is going well.