Canada is a great country, with many options for newcomers hoping to start a new life. Moving to Canada is a big step, though, so it's essential to know what to expect before you make the jump. Read on for some basics to understand before putting in your application.
Most of Canada experiences four seasons
When you're considering immigrating to Canada, it's essential to know that most of the country experiences four different seasons. That means you can expect both cold winters and hot summers — and that the weather in your new home will differ from one province to another. For example, fall in Vancouver is especially rainy, while in Ontario, it's a time when summer temperatures start to cool.
Canada's official languages are English and French
Newcomers to Canada will want to be familiar with the many languages spoken in Canada. While English and French are Canada's official languages, their use varies across the country. Additionally, because Canada is a country that has historically welcomed immigrants, there are many other languages spoken in certain cities.
In relation to services provided by the Government of Canada, the Official Languages Act dictates that public information must be provided in both official languages. However, the first language you might come across differs by region. For instance, in regions where English is more predominant, Government of Canada services will likely originate in English. However, in the National Capital Region, which is located in predominantly English-speaking Ontario, services must be provided to the public in either English or French.
Provincially and territorially, the rules change slightly. French is the official language of Québec and, aside from Montréal, it will be helpful to understand the language at least a little bit to get around. Formally, English and French are the official languages of New Brunswick, Manitoba, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon. In practice, however, bilingual service is not always readily available. English will likely predominate in these provinces, although in New Brunswick you are more likely to hear both languages spoken equally. In Ontario, language depends on what is most spoken by region. While most of the province is English-only, other areas are bilingual. Ontario's French Language Services Act provides individuals with a right to French-language service, but it may not be available right away depending on the availability of those who speak French.
There are also some areas with high concentrations of other languages. For instance, Punjabi, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Tagalog are commonly spoken in major cities like Vancouver and Toronto, although these are not considered official languages.
The majority of the population lives close to the Canada-U.S. border
Although its population is not widely spread out, Canada is a large country. Most of its population lives close to the border with the United States. The most densely-populated province is Ontario, while Québec has the second-highest population.
The cost of living in Canada is high compared to other countries worldwide
Something to note when coming to Canada is how the cost of living compares to your country of origin. The cost of living in Canada mainly depends on where you plan to settle, but it is not always known to be affordable. This is especially true when it comes to Canada's housing market.
Most Canadians spend between 35 to 50 percent of their income on their home and utilities. With the varying temperatures each season, be prepared for the cost of utilities (i.e. heating and cooling costs) to fluctuate at different times of the year depending on where you settle down.
In addition to the cost of living, consider the jobs you will be eligible for when you arrive. If you need additional education for your previous schooling to be recognized, you may need to take on a lower-paying job while going through the program.
Canada has a public healthcare system
The government covers many medical expenses through Canada's public healthcare system. Each province has its own program and covers different things. For example, Ontario provides some coverage for prescription drugs but not dental care; Alberta covers prescriptions but not vision care; British Columbia covers vision care but not hearing aids; Manitoba covers hearing aids but not physiotherapy; and so on.
If you're planning on making Canada your new home, you should become familiar with the health care services covered by your province. Be sure to do this before settling down and making any big decisions about work or family life that could affect your health coverage down the road. Discuss your options with an immigration professional who can help you understand how to become eligible for coverage.
Canada is a democratic nation
Democracy is the form of government in which citizens vote for representatives who make laws on their behalf. As a democratic nation, Canadian federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments are elected by their constituents. People can belong to any political party representing their views and beliefs. However, voting rights are only available to citizens.
Canada recently surpassed its citizenship goals
Canada is a great place to apply for citizenship. Not only are there great opportunities for citizens of Canada both inside the nation and internationally, but it is a place keen to welcome more citizens to contribute to its economy. Between 2021 to 2022, Canada surpassed its citizenship goals. Over 210,000 individuals were made Canadian citizens in that one-year span.
To apply for citizenship, a person must be a permanent resident who has lived in Canada for three of the last five years and has filed taxes. Prospective Canadian citizens must also pass a citizenship test and prove their language skills in one of the country's official languages.
Consider applying to immigrate to Canada today
As you can see, there are many things to consider when immigrating to Canada. From the weather to the cost of living, Canada provides a unique experience to those who choose to reside here.
If Canada sounds like a place you would be interested in, then it's important to start planning your move as early as possible. The sooner you begin the process, the more time you'll have to ensure that all of your paperwork is in order and that your affairs are taken care of before you leave. Consider consulting an immigration lawyer to determine the best immigration process for you to make your process easier.
Contact the Lawyers at Garson Immigration Law If You're Considering Moving to Canada
Garson Immigration Law is a Toronto-based law firm that helps people find solutions for their immigration needs, such as obtaining permanent residence in Canada and overcoming inadmissibility. Our focus on immigration allows us to understand our clients' unique concerns and obstacles. Our immigration lawyers have extensive expertise in all kinds of immigration matters, including work permits, student visas, and US immigration from Canada.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.