Welcome to Canada: Things You Need to Know

Canada is known to be the second-largest country on earth, covering a sphere of 10 million square kilometres (3.9 million square miles).

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Three oceans border Canada: The Pacific Ocean which is in the west, the Atlantic Ocean which is in the east, and the Arctic Ocean which is up north.

In all totality, Canada has over 200,000 kilometres (125,000 miles) of coastline.

Welcome to Canada

Canada shares two borders with the United States: an extraordinarily long border within the south and another long frontier within the northwest.

Due to its large size, Canada has many various sorts of landscapes.

There are areas with high mountains, differing types of forests, prairie grasslands, and arctic tundra where the earth is permanently frozen.

Canada is home to several rivers and lakes. Just as it is with Canada’s landscapes, there’s a variation of the climate condition across the country.

In areas where most of the population live, there are generally four distinct seasons – summer, fall, winter, and spring.

Moving to Canada is an exciting opportunity, but also an excellent challenge. Find what to expect in your first few weeks of coming to Canada and find out how to

  • find an area to live in
  • get around your new city
  • work and attend school, and
  • connect together with your community

We have made a moving to Canada checklist for people who are about to migrate to Canada.

As you prepare to embrace your welcome to Canada, it’s important to understand that some things are likely to be done differently than what you’re familiar with.

This article will help set you on the proper path to integrating into Canadian life. Becoming less confused and having realistic expectations when moving to Canada will increase your chances of attaining success.

In this article, you will also find information on Canadian laws, health care, and the way to acquire help in settling in Canada.

10 things you need to know about Canada.

1. Canada Weather

Unless you’re living on the British Columbia coast (or to a lesser extent, parts of Southern Ontario), you’re almost bound to experience cold, snowy winters and hot summers, with short transitional seasons.

If you come from light or warm climate, the bitter cold of a Canadian winter is certain to surprise you.

It’s difficult to explain how cold -25°C can feel, but do not be scared, the great news is that you will come prepared with the proper clothing and attitude.

Another upshot is that Canadians don’t take summer without any consideration — they are blessed with the ability to make the best optimization out of the warmer months.

2. Cost of Living

Avoid a harsh welcome to Canada by knowing the essential cost of living in your adopted city before you leave for the city.

If you leave for the city and are surprised by how expensive rent or transportation is, that’s not the city’s fault — it’s yours.

Research is crucial. Places like Toronto and Vancouver, particularly the downtown areas, are relatively expensive. Rent-controlled Montreal, on the opposite hand, has low property values and low rent, but also lower salaries.

3. The Hunt for a Job in Canada

Researching, trying to find, and applying for jobs in Canada is always a lengthy process — probably much longer than what you’re accustomed to, as you develop connections in your new home.

Months can pass before you secure a professional job, so you have to plan accordingly to make sure your welcome to Canada goes smoothly before you get a place to work in Canada.

This means:

  • Bring enough funds to sustain you through your first few months.
  •  Be prepared to secure a non-career job for short term basis but always get on the lookout for your next career move.
  •  Be ready to take actions and think like a Canadian before you even set your foot in Canada. Meaning you have to adapt to the resume format in Canada, networking and become proactive.

4. Healthcare in Canada

Known around the world for its excellence, the healthcare system is one of the many pillars on which the nice and cozy welcome to Canada received by newcomers is made.

It’s delivered through a publicly-funded system, which is usually free at the point of usage and has most services provided by private entities.

Healthcare, though purchased using some federal funds, is run by the provinces. A health card is issued by the Provincial Ministry of Health to every individual who enrolls in the program, and everybody receives an equivalent level of care.

Permanent residents can receive provincial cover, but in some provinces will need to wait a couple of months for the provincial coverage to start.

There are also private comprehensive health insurance policies available at his time for those who wish to use the service.

Temporary residents (e.g. holders of a working holiday visa in Canada) and visitors would require a personal policy throughout their stay.

5. Diversity in Canada

Various and wide range generations of immigrants have received a warm welcome to Canada. Multiculturalism is a key member of the Canadian ethos, and central to national policy.

With over 40 sitting Members of Parliament being born abroad. In any major city, including many rural communities for that matter, you are bound to encounter myriad languages, religions, and cultures.

You do not necessarily have to abandon your culture or values after moving to Canada, but it is ideal for you to evolve in order for you to successfully adjust and have the best chance of achieving success. Keeping an open mind will benefit you and those around you.

6. Smoking in Canada

It is illegal to smoke in public places, like restaurants, stores, offices, hospitals, and other places of employment.

Perhaps you are a smoker, the only permitted places you can smoke is in your own living place, your vehicle (unless you’ve got a minor with you), and within the great outdoors.

7. Tipping in Canada

You may come from a place where workers within the service and hospitality sectors earn a guaranteed livable wage with extra benefits and thus tipping might not be a lifestyle in your culture.

That’s great, but Canada is different, and becoming familiar with tipping may be a lifestyle.

Bartenders and servers generally earn wages, which, on the basis of the province, is around $10 per hour.

However, some provinces pay service workers a lower wage close to $8, with the expectation that they’re going to earn tips to compensate, and staff usually need to “tip out” other staff (such as those within the kitchen), with some of their sales.

This might sound strange and you may stand in disagreement, but by not tipping, the server is effectively paying out of their own pocket to serve you.

The standard tip is 15% of the entire bill (or 20% for highly knowledgeable, attentive service), or a dollar per drink (a few dollars would suffice for a round).

8. Driving licenses

Many of the tests or examinations you completed in your home country might not be considered valid in Canada, or require paperwork so as to be converted.

Driving licenses are a minefield for 2 reasons.

Firstly, licenses are awarded by the provinces, not by the federal government, and individual provinces have their own rules and testing procedures.

And for the second reason, various countries around the world have particular agreements with the provinces.

Read our full post on Canadian driver’s license.

9. Taxation in Canada

Within the decentralized federal system of Canada, taxes are levied at multiple levels. Both the federal and provincial governments usually collect payments for income taxes.

Depending on your status and terms of employment, you’ll be entitled to a tax refund at the end of the financial year.

Sales taxes usually differ between the provinces, from 5% in Alberta to 14.975% in Quebec.

These are added at the point of sale, not on the tag for the price, so remember that an item advertised as $10 will cost you more once you buy it.

10. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada

When moving to Canada, it’s important to understand what rights you possess on arrival and throughout your stay.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees certain political rights to Canadian citizens and civil rights to everyone within the country, from the policies and actions of all areas and governmental levels.

In doing so, the Charter forms the bedrock of Canadian political, civil and social society, and highlights the type of welcome to Canada newcomers can expect.

The moment you arrive in Canada, it is ideal for you to start making preparations to become a Canadian citizen.

You will have to establish and display a deep commitment to the country by living in Canada, learning to speak in a minimum of one official language, learning about Canada, and obeying Canadian law.

Citizenship requirements and their means of assessment are bound to change. So, ensure you continually check the CIC website for the most up-to-date information.

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