Can't help you with mining, but we (family of 4 + cat) moved to Ottawa permanently last year and what a great move! House is bigger than I'd ever imagined (and mortgage smaller), people are great, last winter was fantastic for snow sports with near record snowfall and although the summer was pretty shitty up to about 3 weeks ago we have been swimming and waterskiing in the Ottawa and St Lawrence rivers since the sun came out.
No problems with the move at all. Come on over you can't beat it!
I've lived and worked in Canada for two years, we live in northern BC. Great choice, my full pension is tax free from the UK, I pay (some) tax in canada on it, but I use all the tax allowances from medical expenses and other things that the tax lady at HR Block tells me to claim (and only pay a small amount). I love our life here, if people are genuine in wanting to come, I'd be happy to offer some pointers, but it's not for everyone.
Skilled workers can expect to wait for about 3 years from their initial application (please note you guys at the 19 year point). As for training I've found Northern Lights College (NLC) to be good at getting the qualifications wanted here for general jobs - H2S, OFA 1-3 etc for the gas and oil jobs. Good pay if your up for it and a real work minded person (Lots of good jobs and the ability to retrain).
Keep your old BF(G) permit if you have one - even 5 years out of date, as BC will swap this for a class 5 driving licence, they will not accept a UK one.
I agree with moving-target-survivor that the west is best, the east coast is in the dumps. I'll answer any reply posted.
Ive also been looking at relocating to canada but the biggest problem ive found is gaining the required point to moved under the skill worker scheme. The biggest problem is that jobs in the Armed Forces arent in the required cat. so work expericence counts for nothing, if im wrong please let me know. Any other information on the process would be great.