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Newcomer Tips For Canada
New to Canada? If you are a newcomer or are thinking of immigration, we’d like to share some tips to make your life in our country easier and lessen the stress of being in new surroundings. As Licensed Canadian Immigration Consultants, we want to share some information with newcomers to our country. This post will also provide information for those who are just thinking of moving to Canada; they will be aware of some of the differences between where they now live and life as a Canadian.
Some Basic Information
The capital of Canada is Ottawa; it has a location on the Ottawa River, between Ontario and Quebec.
With ten provinces and three territories, there is a capital in each of these. The capital of the country, however, is in Ottawa. Provinces include the following:
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Prince Edward Island
- Nova Scotia
- New Brunswick
- British Columbia
On the western coast, you will also find the following:
- Northwestern Territories
- Yukon Territory
Most of the population is centered around Quebec and Ontario, Alberta and southwest British Columbia. The northern areas of Canada are not highly populated, due to the cold weather.
What Do the Levels of Government Do?
There are three levels of government in Canada: Federal, Territorial or Provincial and City (municipal).
The federal branch of the government is headed by the Prime Minister, who is based in Ottawa. Among the matters that the federal government handles are: Mail, taxes, foreign affairs, banking, shipping, national defense and more. Employment insurance and aboriginal rights are also part of the federal government.
The provincial and territorial governments are responsible for education, road rules and regulations and health care. They may change the rules and are responsible for management of the public lands within their province.
City or municipal government oversee the following: Fire protection, police, public transportation, water systems in the community, libraries, parking and more. They basically run the cities in which they are located.
What Money Is Used in Canada?
The currency of Canada is the Canadian dollar, shown with the sign ”$.” The dollar is made of 100 cents. Coins come in a variety or sizes and shapes and are called nicknames, such as “nickel” (5¢), “dime” (10¢), and “quarter” (25¢). Larger coins are the “loonie” for a one-dollar coin and the “toonie” for the two-dollar coin. “Loonie” comes from the picture of the loon on the coin.
Holidays in Canada
There are ten national holidays in Canada. They are the following:
- New Year’s Day – January 1
- Good Friday – March or April
- Easter Monday – March or April
- Victoria Day – Monday before May 25
- Canada Day – July 1
- Labor Day – First Monday of September
- Thanksgiving – Second Monday of October
- Remembrance Day – November 11
- Christmas Day – December 25
- Boxing Day – December 26
Provincial holidays also take place, such as Family Day.
Where Are the Embassies in Canada?
You might want to know the location of the embassy from your home country. Many are located in Ottawa. These include the following:
- High Commission of India. 10, Springfield Road, Ottawa ON K1M 1C9
- Embassy of the Philippines. 30 Murray Street, Ottawa ON K1N 5M4
- Embassy of the United States of America. 90 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON K1N 1G8
- Embassy of China. 515 St Patrick St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5H3
- Embassy of France. 42 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON K1M 2C9
- Pakistan High Commission. 10 Range Rd, Ottawa, ON K1N 8J3
- Nigerian High Commission. 295 Metcalfe St, Ottawa, ON K2P 1R9
- British High Commission. 80 Elgin St, Ottawa, ON K1P 5K7
- Embassy of Iraq. 215 McLeod St, Ottawa, ON K2P 0Z8
Some Canadian Customs
As a newcomer to Canada, you may not be aware of some of the social customs of our country. We want your interactions with your new neighbors and business associates to go as smoothly as possible. Knowing what is expected ahead of time, will help prevent awkward situations.
Everyone is equal in Canada; there is no hierarchy. The culture values honesty, empathy, sensitivity and humility in relationships with both strangers and friends. The people of Canada are known to be nice and polite, as they are a people that are both friendly and unpretentious. When you meet someone for the first time, shake hands with your right hand, while making eye contact. People in Québec may kiss you on the cheek. If you are a foreign man in Québec, however, it is best not to to this to a Québécois woman; It might seem quite strange to them. Until you are invited to use the first name, address people as “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” “Madame” or “Monsieur.”
Remember to be polite, opening and holding the door for others or letting people off the elevator before you. Use the words, please, you’re welcome and thank you to be polite. If you do not understand what someone said the first time, you can say, “pardon.” It is considered rude to point a finger at someone. You should also pick up after your pets and not spit or litter in public.
Neighbors might welcome you with a small gift, food or a card. If invited to someone’s home for dinner, it is polite to bring a small gift for the host or hostess. Flowers, wine or chocolates are welcome, in this case. Do not give your hosts cash. In Québec, it is a tradition to send flowers to the host before a dinner party. Avoid giving flowers of red roses, which mean love, or of white lilies, which are appropriate for funerals.
Some Smart Things Of Which to Be Aware
Since Canada is very diverse, it is smart to keep this in mind when making jokes or comments of humor. Jokes on sensitive and controversial subjects are avoided by Canadians, who are very politically correct. Although Canada is the home of comedians such as John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Carrey and Mike Myers, the people are straight talking. They do sometimes enjoy a good laugh. However, do not joke about ice hockey.
Indigenous people are not called Indians. The terms “First Nations people,” natives and Aboriginal people are used.
Discussions regarding separatism for Québec, politics and religion should be avoided. In other places, the topics of sex, religion, politics and finances are not usually chosen for conversation.
Cursing in public is not common. Other countries may do it, but it is frowned on in Canada.
Being a Newcomer to Canada
These are just some of the tips that will make living in a new culture more enjoyable. Whether you moved here for the polar bears, ice hockey, maple syrup, Canadian humor, health care or myriad other reasons, you can find both the benefits and the drawbacks to relocation here. We hope you will love our country and your transition will be a positive one.
You can find a host of immigrant services to help you adjust to life here. Newcomer services include help with finding a job, job specific language training, help with daily life, Francophone service providers and more. You can also access services for refugees, women, seniors and youth through the Government of Canada website.
Professionals can help you find a place to live as well as help sign your kids up for school. These friendly and professional services are free.
If you have questions regarding migrating to Canada, permanent residency in Canada or citizenship in our country, contact us. We have some answers and can help. Moving to a new home and country can be made smoother with the right knowledge.