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Moving advice

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Whether there's a family, professional or personal reason for a move, it can be challenging. That's why it's a good idea to take the necessary steps to ease stress and protect your property during the moving process.

In a good move, all of the bases are covered. From the minute your belongings leave your home until they arrive at their destination, all of the necessary moving expertise, along with insurance and worker protection, is in place. You'll have peace of mind and know that you got value for money and quality customer service. No surprises, no extra fees, no losses and no missed deadlines.

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Choose a reputable mover

Choosing a reputable moving company is the first—and probably most important—step in the moving process. Seek a mover with reliable evidence of great customer service, truth in advertising and sound business practices.

When shopping around for a mover, it's important to:

Find out if the mover uses a subcontractor

Check if the company has their own equipment or whether they will use a subcontractor or another company to provide the service. If so, make sure you have information about their certification and track record. Determine if the mover is responsible for all services from end to end—including those provided by subcontractors.

Subcontracting is a major source of consumer complaints. It can result in a confusing trail of responsibility if a dispute arises.

Get a quote in writing from the mover

Before you commit, get the costs, as well as terms and conditions, of your move in writing.

You should also:

Get insurance for your move

A combination of your household insurance and the mover's insurance may cover you if there is damage to, or loss of, your belongings. Usually, your household insurance will cover you for catastrophic loss.

Under transportation law, the mover is not responsible for carrying goods of extraordinary value, such as works of art, unless that value has been declared. Some items have what is called "inherent vice" which means that they are intended to be assembled and left in one place for their useful life (e.g., some fiberboard furniture). Movers will ask for a waiver of liability when they see this type of fragile item in your inventory.

Make sure to:

Take steps for a smooth moving day

Good preparation on your part, and an awareness of your consumer rights, could turn a good move into a great move.

Here are some helpful tips:

Putting your belongings in storage


Wrap up your move

Once the mover has unloaded your belongings, walk-through your new space and check all hallways and pathways into your premises to ensure that there is no damage to the property. You should also check the moving vehicle to confirm that the mover hasn't forgotten to unload any of your items. Make sure that both you and the mover have gone through the inventory and confirm that the move is complete.

If there are lost items or unresolved issues with the mover, send a letter or email and ask for a resolution. Any damage or other insurance claim should be filed right away, as there are often very strict timelines associated with making a claim. Take pictures of anything that you think is damaged or broken.

Don't forget to give your mover feedback. Moving companies can only improve and sustain their high performance if they know that it is recognized and appreciated.

Once your belongings are moved, you can expect days of unpacking boxes, hanging curtains, making beds, connecting telephone and cable services, and putting your furniture in the right places. But before you know it, your new place will feel like home.

Moving checklist

This moving checklist can help you at every stage of your move.

This checklist for moving complements legal protections, established in law, that are already in place. It is hoped that it will set a high standard for moving companies so they can improve their own performance and benchmark it against moving industry certification standards.

Download this checklist to plan for a smooth move:

Moving checklist [PDF - 223 KB]
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Trusted consumer information

Published by the Consumer Measures Committee, a working group of federal, provincial and territorial governments, that helps educate and inform Canadian consumers.

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