Our Canadian weather is only one factor that makes it a little tougher to be a “full timer” versus a “snowbird”. But having said that, when there is a will there is a way and the freedom and lifestyle of living full time on the road, if that’s your desire, is worth doing it and the sooner the better while health allows. When we had made our decision we wanted off the ant hill and the cost of maintaining a large home we started downsizing, which I will deal with in another article. It was one garage sale after another.
Doing a little research and learning in Canada and in particular Saskatchewan, you are required to have a physical address for several reasons listed later. We had a small cabin come up for sale at our lake and we grabbed it. There goes our full time status but it allows us a physical address and our retirement condo in case of bad health. It’s tough to spend winter in Saskatchewan even in our Northern Lite truck camper. The cabin needed to be renovated so I was busy grabbing many of my tools back off the garage sale tables the day we purchased the cabin. At least I did not sell everything for a buck and have to repurchase it for $20 or more. So the more planning ahead the better, we thought we had all the answers.
OK here it is; a physical address is required most importantly for health coverage, voting registration, vehicle insurance, getting a passport and more so check it closely in your province. Now we are told a post office box is not good enough. Even getting into the U.S. they want proof of a tie in Canada that you will be returning to. If you are renting out your property that would qualify or possibly rent a room from a friend or relative, however there would have to be a good paper trail on the room rental if ever questioned. We had considered just a lot in small town Saskatchewan and a P.O. box number.
As far as Federal voting full timers can qualify as there are provisions for those with no fixed address or homeless. This would be by special ballot and require registering providing two pieces of ID and an address where you are staying. To vote provincially you must be a resident of that province with a physical address.
Health coverage is probably the most important and as pointed out a privilege in Canada and not a right. Provinces administer their own health insurance benefits but all share these points: health insurance is only available to “residents”; residents cannot be “transients”; residents must make a permanent home in that province for at least six months a year. There are provisions for travel beyond six months with restrictions but varies with each province.
We thought we may beat the weather being as we can only be in the U.S. for approximately 183 days. We could camp in southern B.C. or the island for a few months… still cannot chance losing health coverage. We could apply to the health board and get permission but that would only work occasionally, not every year. Be aware of this! I will include the links to the health regulations for every province below.
Manitoba – http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/mhsip/#Q1
Newfoundland – http://www.health.gov.nl.ca/health/mcp/mcp_applications.html
Nova Scotia – https://novascotia.ca/dhw/msi/eligibility.asp
Health care is one area you must carefully check out and when travelling outside of Canada a supplemental plan should be a top consideration.
We are now content with our stick and stone cabin, the downsizing has lowered our overhead to a point it’s not a hardship to leave it unoccupied while we travel and can spend as few or as many days as we wish on the road.
Hope this helps….See you down the road.