Your Cross-Canada Moving Guide and Checklist

Cross-Canada Moving Guide and Checklist

Moving is part of life, and everyone will experience it at least once or twice. However, there’s a major difference between local moves and long-distance moves, and it doesn’t get much more long distance than moving across Canada. It can be difficult to pull off in the best of times and, if you’re not prepared for the reality here, you could face serious hurdles, setbacks, and headaches.

We’ll walk you through what you need to know about planning and carrying out your cross-Canada move.

A Rough Schedule of Events

We’ll begin our discussion with a rough schedule of events. With a cross-Canada move, you’ll need to get things going pretty quickly, far earlier than you would with a local or even regional move.

  • 10 Weeks Out – About 10 weeks before your move, you need to start looking at where you’ll be heading. You need to find a realtor (if you’ll be buying a home) and start researching neighbourhoods. Use online resources to research the area, and to start comparing houses. Narrow down your choices and, working with your realtor, shortlist a few homes.

When you have a few contenders, pay a personal visit to the area so you can see them in person. Make an offer on the home you want and start the purchase process. Note that you should have already gone through mortgage prequalification and have preapproval for a home mortgage before this. You should always, always shop for a mortgage first, and homes second.

  • 10 Weeks Out – Find a realtor to handle selling your current home for you and follow their advice about prepping so that you can show the house while still packing for your move.
  • 8 Weeks Out – By this point, your home-buying should be in the works and it should be just a matter of dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s, although that can take 30 to 60 days on its own. While all of that is going on, you need to find and compare estimates from moving companies.

A DIY cross-Canada move is probably not the best idea, so consider only professional movers who will do all the heavy lifting for you. makes it simple to get quotes and compare moving estimates, plus our moving companies are pre-screened so you enjoy peace of mind.

  • 8 Weeks Out – Start packing up things that you don’t use regularly. Your Christmas decorations should go, as should anything else in your attic or basement that you won’t need before the move.
  • 8 Weeks Out – Start using up perishables that you don’t want to take with you. Your goal should be to get your pantry as close to zero content as possible.
  • 6 Weeks Out – Get in touch with IRS Revenue Canada and discuss what portion of your moving expenses may be tax deductible. You can also learn more about that here.
  • 6 Weeks Out – Start letting people know that you’ll be moving. This includes government agencies, as well as your creditors.
  • 6 Weeks Out – Start cleaning and repairing your home. Whether you own the home and are selling it, or you’re renting, you cannot afford to skimp in this area.
  • 6 Weeks Out – Work with your moving company if you will need storage solutions during the move. You should also start planning your road trip – where you’ll drive, where you’ll most likely stay, and all the rest.
  • 4 Weeks Out – Let Canada Post know that you’ll be moving by submitting a change of address form.
  • 4 Weeks Out – Arrange to have your utilities turned on at the new home and turned off at the old home. Make sure that you do not schedule connection/disconnection until the appropriate date, though! It would not be fun to wake up the three days before the move to find out you don’t have power.
  • 4 Weeks Out – Make sure you have plenty of boxes and packing supplies and start packing all your belongings. Label each box by the room it will go to in the new place and keep a packing inventory list.
  • 3 Weeks Out – Make whatever arrangements you need for your road trip. If you’re flying out instead of driving, book your flight for the day after the movers show up in case there are issues.
  • 2 Weeks Out – If you’ll be driving, have your car checked out for the trip. Get you oil changed, tires rotated, and have any other services necessary.
  • 2 Weeks Out – Confirm the date and the time of the move with the moving company you previously chose. Make sure to double check what services the moving company will provide, and anything they might need, such as reserved elevator time if you live in an apartment building.
  • 2 Weeks Out – Gather your important documents – insurance papers, passports, birth certificates, and make sure they’re packed in luggage that will go with you, not with the movers.
  • 1 Week Out – Close any local accounts that will not be transferring to your new location and settle any outstanding bills. Make sure that any lawn care equipment is drained of gas and oil, and that you have properly disposed of hazardous materials. If you’ll be taking them with you, disconnect your appliances and get them ready for the move (defrosting freezers, etc.). Finish packing a couple of days before moving day.
  • Moving Day – There should be little for you to do other than wait for the movers to arrive. Supervise load up, then double check that your home is clean and ready to close up. Head out on your road trip, excited to start your new life!

This rough outline covers the high points of preparing for your cross-Canada move. The most important thing to remember is that you need to give yourself and your family as much time as possible. This is particularly true in the preparation and packing stages.

Take time to go through your belongings and winnow them down, rather than just dumping everything you own in boxes. Look at moving as a chance to downsize and get rid of junk and clutter.

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Moving Tip

  • Get rid of the junk! Get rid of anything you don’t need or want, it will make packing that much easier and save you money.The more stuff you have will increase the time and or weight of the move and will cost you more money!
  • Do not move jewelry, money, coin collections, etc. Keep these items in your possession.
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