Before you make the decision to move to Canada, it would be best if you knew some basic information about your new country. This article will cover 10 things that might just surprise you!
We need to make sure that we are not moving to a country where it is difficult to live. We need to understand the culture and the people and how they feel about us. We should remember that Canada is a multicultural country, which means that there are many different cultures, languages and religions.
We should also know about Canada’s climate and its weather conditions. There are many different seasons in Canada, with different temperatures all year round. Canadians love the snow, which means that Canadians tend to be very fond of winter sports.
Keen to emigrate but can’t choose between sun or snow? Why not have both?
Unless you’re living on the BC coast (or, to a lesser extent, parts of Southern Ontario), you are almost certain to experience cold, snowy winters and hot summers with short transitional seasons.
If you come from a mild or warm climate, the bitter cold of a Canadian winter will surprise you. It’s difficult to describe how cold -25°C can feel, but fear not, the good news is that you can come prepared with the right clothing and attitude.
Another upshot is that Canadians don’t take summer for granted — they know how to make the most of the warmer months.
Generations of immigrants have received a warm welcome in Canada. Multiculturalism is part of the Canadian ethos and central to national policy.
Over 40 sitting Members of Parliament were born abroad. In any major city and many rural communities, for that matter, you will encounter various languages, religions, and cultures.
You don’t need to let go of your culture or values after moving to Canada, but you need to evolve to successfully adjust and have the greatest chance of achieving success. Keeping an open mind will benefit you and those around you.
You may come from a country where workers in the service and hospitality sectors earn a livable wage with additional benefits. Therefore, tipping may not be a part of your culture. That’s great, but Canada is different, and becoming accustomed to tipping is a basic ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’ situation.
Bartenders and servers generally earn minimum wage, which, depending on the province, is around $10 per hour. Indeed, some provinces have a lower minimum wage, closer to $8 for service workers, on the expectation that they will earn tips to compensate, and staff usually have to “tip out” other staff (such as those in the kitchen), with a portion of their sales.
This might seem strange, and you may disagree, but the server effectively pays out of their pocket to serve you by not tipping. So, unless the service is poor, please tip.
The standard tip is 15% of the total bill (or 20% for highly knowledgeable, attentive service) or a dollar per drink (a couple of dollars would suffice).
The job hunt
Researching, looking for, and applying for jobs in Canada can be a lengthy process — perhaps much longer than what you are used to, as you establish connections in your new home. Months can pass before you land a professional position, so you should plan accordingly to ensure your welcome to Canada goes smoothly.
1. Bring enough funds to tide you through your first few months.
2. Be prepared to take on a non-career job in the short term but always be on the lookout for your next career move.
Cost of living
Avoid a harsh welcome to Canada by knowing the basic cost of living in your adopted city before you move. If you move and are surprised by how expensive rent or transportation is, that’s not the city’s fault — it’s yours.
Research is crucial. Toronto and Vancouver, particularly the downtown areas, are relatively expensive. On the other hand, Rent-controlled Montreal has low property values, low rent, and lower salaries.
It is illegal to smoke in public places, such as restaurants, stores, offices, hospitals, and other places of employment. This also includes public or shared areas of apartment buildings and rental complexes.
If you smoke, the only places you can now do so are in your own living space, your vehicle (unless you have a minor with you), and in the great outdoors.
Known worldwide for its excellence, the healthcare system is one of the pillars on which the warm welcome to Canada received by newcomers is built.
T’s delivered through a publicly-funded system, which is mostly free at the point of use and has most services provided by private entities.
Though paid for using some federal funds, healthcare is administered by the provinces. The Provincial Ministry of Health issues a health card to each individual who enrolls in the program, and everyone receives the same level of care.
Permanent residents can receive provincial cover, but some provinces will have to wait a few months for their local coverage to begin. Private comprehensive health insurance policies are available during that period.
Many of the tests or examinations you have completed in your home country may not be valid in Canada or require paperwork to be converted.
Driving licenses are a minefield for two reasons.
Firstly, licenses are awarded by the provinces, not the federal government, and individual provinces have their own rules and testing procedures.
Secondly, different countries around the world have separate agreements with the provinces.
Take a look at the rules for international license-holders in your chosen province or
territory and ensure you gather the correct documentation before you arrive in Canada.
Under Canada’s decentralized federal system, taxes are levied at multiple levels. Income taxes are collected by both the federal and provincial governments.
Depending on your status and terms of employment, you may be entitled to a tax refund at the end of the fiscal year.
Sales taxes vary between the provinces, from 5% in Alberta to 14.975% in Quebec. These are added at the point of sale, not on the price tag, so be aware that an item advertised as $10 will cost you more when you pay for it.
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms
It is important to know what rights you have on arrival and throughout your stay when moving to Canada.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees certain political rights to Canadian citizens and civil rights to everyone in the country, from the policies and actions of all areas and levels of government. The Charter forms the bedrock of Canadian political, civil and social society and outlines the kind of welcome Canadian newcomers can expect.