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Migrating to Canada? 7 things you should know

By Bevan Berning 

Moving to a new place is no easy feat. And given Canada’s highlights, it’s quite clear why people rush to pack their bags and move to this maple syrup hub. But before you reach for your luggage and passport, look into the following details to make your transition smoother.

1. Canadian Immigration Programs
If you’re looking to live in Canada for good, you need to know your eligibility and evaluate what immigration program is the right one for you. Furthermore, you need to be a permanent resident of Canada for a number of years before you can be eligible for Canadian citizenship. There are many ways for you to become a permanent resident, simply browse Canada’s government website for more information on immigration programs.

For quicker visa processing, you may want to consider getting an immigration service. Immigration consultants will provide you with a great starting point to make your move easier and hassle-free.

2. Weather
Excited to migrate but don’t know how to pick between snow and sun? Why not choose both? If you came from a tropical country, Canada is a great place for you to get a glimpse of snow.

Unless you plan to live on British Columbia coast or in parts of Southern Ontario, it’s almost certain that you’ll experience cold winters and hot summers in this country. Those who descend from a mild climate will surely be surprised by the bitter cold of Canada’s winter. It’s hard to describe how cold -25°C is but there’s no need to fear; you can always come prepared with the right attitude and clothing.

3. Cost of living
Knowing Canada’s basic cost of living is one of the most important things you should be aware of. Research is crucial especially if you’re venturing to a place unknown to you.

The downtown areas particularly Vancouver and Toronto are pretty expensive. On the other hand, rent-controlled Montreal has low rent and property value but lower income rates.

4. Taxes
Canada’s permanent residents are required to pay provincial, federal, and municipal taxes. In terms of income tax brackets, Canada differs slightly from the United States.

Compared to the US, Canada’s federal income tax brackets tend to be lower. Here’s a list of 2016 federal income tax brackets according to the Canada Revenue Agency:

  • 15% on the first $45,282 of taxable income
    20.5% on the next $45,281 of taxable income (over $45,282 up to $90,563)
    26% on the next $49,825 of taxable income (over $90,563 up to $140,388)
    29% on the next $59,612 of taxable income (over $140,388 up to $200,000)
    33% of taxable income over $200,000

5. Diversity
Many immigrants have received a warm welcome from Canada. Multiculturalism is a huge part of Canadian ethos and is vital to national policy. If you may have noticed, over forty Members of Parliament were born overseas.

In many rural communities and any major cities in Canada, you’ll encounter a myriad of religions, languages, and cultures. There’s no need to let go of your values or culture when you migrate to Canada, but you have to learn to adapt. This way, you can successfully adjust to the country and have the biggest chance to achieve a good life in Canada

Since Canada is a diverse place, having an open mind will benefit you and the people around you. Canadians give importance to etiquette formalities and are known around the world for being polite. Saying a simple “thank you” and “please” goes a long way.

If this is quite different than the customs of your home country, it may take time for you to adjust. Observe the ways of how Canadians interact and practice to read between the lines.

6. Tipping
You may originate from a place where workers earn a good wage with extra benefits which makes tipping not a part of your culture. But Canada is different and giving tips is something you should be accustomed to.

Tipping is expected in most service industries such as restaurants, taxis, bars, and hairdressers. The usual amount is around 15% but sometimes, more is given if the service is great. If you don’t want to appear like giving a protest against a bad service, make sure to leave a tip.

7. Bilingual
Canada is a bilingual country and the two official languages are French and English. Both these languages are not spoken in each province. About 17.5% of Canadians can handle a conversation in both French and English.

Quebec is mainly French-speaking and New Brunswick is the official bilingual province. If you don’t speak French, you don’t have to worry. You’ll get by, unless, you’re migrating to any small village in the rural areas of Quebec.

As you prepare yourself to embrace Canada, it’s vital to know the things above to be aware of what are done differently to what you’re accustomed to. This way, you’ll set yourself on the right path as you adjust to Canadian life. Realistic expectations and less confusion will increase your chances of success in your move to Canada.

Fact file

Bevan Berning is an Immigration professional and owner of Pathway Visas, an Immigration Agency dealing mostly with skilled immigration to Canada and Australia. Bevan’s enthusiasm for the industry has kept in the Immigration field for the past seven years. Bevan is South African by birth and has been residing in Dubai for the past eight years.

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