Right off the bat, I learned that Canada is one of the few countries in the world still actively encouraging immigration. I learned we would be applying for Permanent Resident status, which would give us full rights and responsibilities, with the exception of voting, since we would not be Canadian citizens.
And I learned that there's no quarantine period for dogs. All we need is proof of rabies vaccine and the pups can cross the border with us.
Two things led us to believe that emigration would take a very long time, possibly several years. (Allan nearly refused to believe this. He would grumble and flatly deny it every time I mentioned it.) One, we would need to show "proof of funds" - a certain amount of money in the bank, over and above whatever we needed to move and get an apartment, in case we didn't find immediate employment. This meant we couldn't even submit our application until we had $10,000 in the bank. And two, there was a very lengthy waiting list. Altogether, it seemed like a move could be two or three years down the road.
In addition, in the "skilled worker class" - our category of immigration - there is a point system by which you can judge your approximate chances of being accepted. You get a certain number of points for language skills, employment history, formal education, family in Canada, and so forth. This gives an objective criteria, though there is also discretionary leeway - someone without enough points can be accepted and someone over the minimum can still be rejected. Unfortunately for us, the system is weighted heavily towards formal education, and because Allan doesn't have a college degree, and I have "just" a BA, we were borderline. The passmark was 75. I scored 77 and Allan scored 68.
On the other hand, it's clear that Canadian Immigration wants to see that you are employable, and we know we are definitely that.
But all in all, given the money involved and our borderline status, things looked a little iffy.