Salary range US to Canada Inter Company Transfer


This question is addressed to people who have made a transition within the same company from US to Canada or others who have done research on the topic of salary adjustment upon such a move.

I am trying to get a sense for what is a reasonable salary adjustment range to request if the company has agreed to transfer me to its Canada branch. Assume it is a Bay Area, California to Toronto move. Generally, I have heard that the salary number remains the same, but currency changes to CAD (for example, 200K USD becomes 200K CAD). Is that the common case? Or is that number a non-common case and at the higher end of the spectrum. Also, I am curious if it is unheard of to get a higher salary than that. This information is helpful in salary conversation with my employer. I want to be reasonable.

On a related topic, I have done some research on cost of living b/w Toronto and Bay Area (which includes cost for child care, setting aside money for kid’s college education, etc). It seems like 200K USD in Bay Area is roughly equivalent to 215K CAD in Toronto (meaning that you end up with roughly the same USD savings in these two cases) if you maintain the same standard of living (measured in things like distance to work place, quality of child care, and other basics like groceries, eating out, etc). I am wondering if that is the right ballpark.

The salary adjustment seems in line with what I have seen and heard from others who made transfers with my past employer especially if you are in the bay area and are planning to move to the GTA. Also, 200K is not that uncommon anymore in Canada. Even at that range, employers are probably easily making a 20% cost reduction when 200K USD becomes 200K CAD :slight_smile: Of course, base salaries won’t be that high but your total comp could definitely go up much higher than 200K for tech roles depending on your level, the company etc. Especially, if there’s equity involved, then we are talking about RSUs in USD so that adds to it as well.

There’s a thread on cost of living comparison between bay area and GTA here. That might throw some light.

Thanks @rangarajanm for the response and the link!

I was actually talking about base salary alone. Do you mean to say that someone getting 200K USD base+bonus in Bay Area is not likely to get 200K CAD base+bonus in Toronto? I work in a startup which has not IPO’ed, so I am not counting the stock options I have (so I may or may not get actual cash out of it). Perhaps this is already answered in the other link. I will go through it.

Well I wouldn’t say 200K base is impossible but I have seen base salaries plateau somewhere below that and other components bumped up here much like in the bay area. These observations are mostly limited to bigger companies, so can’t really speak to your case. If you’re already at that range for base alone, I’d say go for it and negotiate well. These salary caps are artificial ceilings created by employers anyway :wink:

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@arjun-humain - I’m on a similar boat - moving from the Bay Area and I’m having conversations with my employer to facilitate my relocation. From what I’ve seen, companies (big tech) generally reduce the base salary by a certain % and do not offset RSUs. I’m not entirely sure about the scenario for startups that do not have RSUs.

For the cost and standard of living between the Bay Area and Toronto, was there a specific reference you looked at?

Typically base salaries would be adjusted to an equivalent amount in CAD plus COL adjustment. So 200K USD base in bay area could be anywhere between 170 - 190 K CAD. This is mostly true for big tech and well established companies. New hire Equity wont change (what was issued while living in US), however refresher equities every year might be prorated from 50 - 90% of what you would nornally get in US.

Startup salaries are a different game, since they offer high base in USD, offering similar base salary in CAD wont be challenging for them. So if you get 250K USD Base in bay area, you can easily ask for 300K CAD in Canada (If they have a solid presence in Canada, than this could be difficult).

Hi @j9lad Did your employer mention the % yet to you? It will be info to have.

Regarding the cost of living, I did extensive research myself to figure out the difference. At high level, in my case (with newborn), the big costs in both places are rent, day care for toddler and setting aside money for college education for child. So, I did some research and figured out how much these cost in Toronto/Canada. For remaining things, I assumed that if I spend X USD in bay area, I will spend X CAD in Toronto. Alternatively, I think you can use numbeo cost of living calculator for first level comparison. You can PM me if you want to discuss further.

Makes sense, thanks for the great info @usa2can !

I agree with all comments here. But some startups are matching US salaries in Canada like Chime, Brex, Bolt, Instacart. These startups are beating FAANG salaries in Canada.

I can speak to Bolt and the compensation is the same for employees living in SFO California and Calgary AB. The base for 4-5 YOE is more than 220K CAD plus they do a 4-day workweek regardless of the stationary holidays.

The same with Brex and Chime afaik. A few startups are against pay discrimination where companies are thinking they can hire 2 employees in Vancouver/Toronto instead of hiring one in the Bay area. If you can find the right startup once you’re here and match RRSP (401k equivalent) and TFSA (Roth IRA equivalent) fully, you pay less tax than US states like NY, CA and your quality of life is much better.

@j9lad I would suggest vesting and liquidating your RSUs while you’re in the US otherwise the tax would be more in Canada afaik.

Hi @canadainland thanks for the insightful data! Very helpful. Quick question: when you say these startups match the US salary, do you mean to say that someone making 220K USD in SF would earn 220K CAD in Calgary? Or did you mean someone making 172K USD in SF would earn 220K CAD in Calgary? 172K USD is 220K CAD after currency conversion. I think you mean the latter, given that someone with 5 YOE is more likely to earn 172K USD in Bay Area than 220K USD (I think). Just want to confirm.

It’s the latter.

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