Moving Seniors Safely with CAM and CARP

Q & A with Nancy Irvine, President of the Canadian Association of Movers

1. Why is it important to research your mover before you book them?

  • The moving industry is unregulated, so anyone can be a mover
  • While moving scams have been around for a couple of decades, there was a meteoric rise in moving scams since the pandemic started as scammers were taking advantage of consumers’ fears.
  • Scammers were very aware that there was record breaking housing sales and not enough movers available to move folks, so they swooped in making ridiculous delivery promises that they had no intention of keeping
  • Scammers target the vulnerable populations who may not understand the complexity of moving which includes students, new Canadians, and unfortunately, older Canadians.
  • There’s good money in moving scams, and while some of the bigger crime rings have been caught, there are still dozens of smaller operations out there, ready to reel you in.
  • Moving scam season is about to begin again as people are investigating May and June moves

2. What should you look for in a mover?

  • #1 thing – do they have an office/warehouse with a street address that you can access them at if something goes wrong?
  • Will they either come out to your house or offer to do a virtual/video survey to confirm what your home looks like and what you are taking? Like snowflakes, every move is different. Professional movers know that.
  • What is their reputation (not what they’re saying about themselves), but what are the BBB and other review sites like Google and Home Stars. And what does CAM say about them?
  • Get moving company referrals from your friends and family and again, check with CAM
  • They must have their own insurance and workers compensation coverage, else you willbe solely on the hook for damages or injuries
  • Do they have uniforms and branded trucks?

3. Are there any red flags people should be aware of?

  •   They don’t have a physical address (so you can’t find them)
  •   They don’t provide last names of the people you are dealing with (so they can say theydon’t know who you are)
  •   They only accept cash (so you can’t stop payment)
  •   They don’t put their promises in writing (so you can’t prove anything)
  •   They refuse to confirm the shipment size by an in person or video survey (so you have no idea of your final charges)

4. How should someone prepare for a move?

  • Start as early as you can – decluttering and downsizing can begin any time
  • Charity – give things to charity – Habitat for Humanity; Goodwill; Church organizations who look after youth or refugees who are setting up on their own; china cups & saucers to funeral homes, churches, or even hotels. Ask around.
  • If you haven’t moved in a long time, there are all sorts of things you’d never think about. CAM has put together a personalized moving checklist that will set up based on how much time you have left before your move.  It will tell you:
    • How many weeks you have left.
    • When to make an inventory of what you are taking with you
    • When to start cleaning out your closets and when to get medical records transferred to your new doctors if you are leaving the area
    • And when to get arrangements for utilities to be disconnected, and mail forwarded, amongst many other things!
  • Decide what’s going with the movers, what’s going to family or charity and what you’re trashing
  • You want to look at getting estimates and booking your mover 2 months out. That way, your know you are set and the mover will know what equipment and staff they need and can also adjust your move as you downsize, or find a new place or alter your packing plans.

5. You mentioned some CAM resources, how can CAM help out when someone is planning a move?

  • CAM has so much information on our website
  • We have also put together a Moving Seniors Safely section which you can access off ourmain page
  • On that page we have a video presentation explaining the full moving process, and also a video on senior specific moves – either closer to family, to get out of a large multi- level home to a one-level location, or transitioning to a special care facility one of our young movers who specializes in seniors moves. We want to help make the clients comfortable with their move
  • We also have booklets on downsizing and decluttering and tip sheets on all sorts of aspects like moving artwork and antiques, and other packing tips
  • And there is a series of videos about moving scams and links to the CBC Marketplaceundercover investigations that exposed a huge moving scam operation last summer that was ripping off millions from Canadians. The two episodes from 2022 are must watch TV!

6. Is there anything that people should be aware of when they get their estimates?

  • Get at least 3 written estimates from three different sources
  • Is the company name, address, phone number and full name of the salesperson listed?
  • Is there a GST/HST tax number on the tax calculation line?
  • Are the conditions of the move listed? What have you agreed to?
  • Has move protection/valuation (“insurance”) been included?
  • Have the company verify what you’re moving with either an in home visit or one donevirtually
  • Get all communications regarding estimates in writing and keep everything, especially when relating to cost, or promises made by the moving company
  • Do not pay a large deposit


What would you (Nancy) say are the next steps if someone is planning a move?

  • Get the Moving Checklist going
  • Research your movers
  • Get some estimates that includes a survey done by the mover – not just you sending in the information
  • Review your estimates, double check their reputation and then choose your mover
  • Book early so you don’t get stuck with a substandard mover
  • Get ready

Any parting advice?

  • Start early
  • Don’t try and do it all yourself, get help! Either family or friends or, if you can, a movecoordinator or professional organizer, who is subjective and will help you downsize.

Know who your mover is – if you can’t do your own research, check with us

Contact Canadian Association of Movers


[email protected]

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