A continually expanding economy, lots of recreational space, some of the cleanest cities in the world, and low crime rates make Canada one of the best places in the world to live. Here are some things to consider if you are moving Canada for business or personal reasons.
Those planning to stay in Canada for the long term should immediately begin seeking out guidance on achieving citizenship. Canada has many benefits to offer its citizens, but government programs such as Universal Health Care are only available to permanent residents. Becoming a Canadian citizen requires an application, and certain official documents, and you may have to pass a test.
Don’t Believe the Weather Rumours
It is likely that if you have never spent a lot of time in Canada, you have heard stories about the country being the land of ice and snow, with freezing conditions in the winter and bleak summers. While most of the country does get cold in the winter (although coastal areas such as British Columbia’s Lower Mainland rarely get below 0 C and see little snow) the summers in many areas can be quite hot. This ranges from the dry and scorching heat of the B.C. interior (where temperatures climb to the mid-40s for several weeks in July or August) to the more humid heat of locations along the St. Lawrence River (Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa).
Get Used to Distance
Eighty percent of Canada’s population is located in the strip of land that runs from Quebec City to Windsor at the American border. The three biggest cities in the nation are located at opposite ends of the country: Montreal and Toronto in the east are within an easy day’s drive of each other, while Vancouver lies far to the west on the Pacific Ocean. Most other cities are well under 1 million people, and the farther north you go, the more empty space you can expect to find between population centres.
Social programs and Big Taxes
If you ask a Canadian what the country’s most important institutions are, nine out of ten will point to Universal Health Care and the Public Education System. These systems guarantee that all Canadian citizens have access to good health care and every child can attend school up until grade 12 without having to pay for it. Both systems are within the jurisdiction of the provinces, as the Catholic background of Quebec was a major contributor to the development of both its hospitals and its schools; therefore, it is necessary to purchase health insurance even when traveling out of the province you reside in.
Hand in hand with comprehensive social programs come high taxes in order to fund these programs. Canada has taxes on almost everything that you could imagine, from various federal and provincial gasoline taxes to taxes on alcohol, cigarettes, hotel rooms, and cross border goods. In addition, the federal government applies a 6% tax to all goods and services, and every province but Alberta has some form of provincial sales tax. Income taxes for Canadians are also quite high, with a greater share deducted the more you earn.
Like any country, Canada has points in its favour and against. As most Canadian citizens will point out, the price of taxes is fairly minor when measured up against the many benefits Canadians enjoy, not the least of which is being one of the cleanest and safest countries in the world.
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