Ten Things to Check About Canada

Contrary to the very limited and often biased information provided by media and government departments, Canada is not a country where it's easy for immigrants to prosper. You have to do your own research thoroughly before deciding to come here. At very least, you should get a clear picture based on investigating the following 10 areas.
1. HOUSING. Very expensive especially in big cities. Very little social housing and long waiting lists.
2. HEALTH CARE. Different monthly premiums in each province. Dental and eye care often not covered. Many medications not or only partly covered.
3. JOBS AND JOB CREDENTIALS. Your education and experience may not be accepted here. Many immigrants end up working far below their abilities. Do not come to Canada without a written guarantee of a job in your own field.
4. CLIMATE. Varies a lot but generally long, bitterly cold winters in interior of Canada and wet winters in coastal areas.
5. TRANSPORT. Distances you have to travel are often great even within cities. Public transportation is poor except in major cities where it is overcrowded, Hard to survive without a car. Check costs of vehicle insurance.
6. TAXES. Income taxes high with federal levy plus each province also charging its own tax. Goods and services taxes also apply to purchases. Check also property taxes.
7. UTILITIES. Electricity, water, natural gas - vary from one town or city to another. Electricity in Ontario is very expensive.
8. SAFETY. Check the crime maps for any city/town you're considering.
9. EDUCATION. Often expensive. No free school supplies, sports equipment etc. You pay for university or college.
10. SOCIAL SUPPORTS. Very little safety net here. Unemployment insurance and social security do not pay enough to live on. Check what you'd be eligible for and what happens if you lose your job. Old age security and other income for seniors are token payments to keep recipients barely surviving.

Other things you can't research include loneliness, loss of family and friends, and having to deal daily with things that are simply unfamiliar to you.

Hello Kirrimuir:

Who says that Canada is an easy country for immigrants to prosper? Which country is? 

Canada is a great country and I am proud to be Canadian. Any immigrant in any country in the world has to struggle and strive to succeed in life. There is no mystery on that even in your homeland you need to work hard to prosper.

There are many immigrants I know who have achieved their goals in life  and prosperity for their families in Canada.  At the end of the day every immigrant knows that there are many challenges to face specially the first years and they do not expect an easy path to success.

I am sorry that If this is not the case for your personal experience you should not make it as a rule for all discouraging good people to come.

Of course you need to make a careful investigation before you come specially if you are a professional but thee are many items you listed that are not accurate or exaggerated to say the least for example in education, health, transport.

With all due respect but I would say if I am not happy in Canada then I would go back to my homeland where I might be better off than here.

Kirriemuir, thanks for the break down of things to think about. I believe that it's important for immigrants to know what they are facing when coming to a new country. Canada is all of those things, even for natural born citizens! It is hard to make ends meet and find financial success, but the benefits of life in Canada cannot be down played either.  You can practice your religion without fear of persecution, you have access to education for your children and medical care is inexpensive compared to the United States. It's hard to provide services nationwide for a country with some much space and a fairly small population. Can you imagine the taxes if the entire country had transit services like in the major cities? Compared to Scandinavian and European countries, Canada's taxes are mid-range and there are ways to save on taxes and get the government's help for things like your children's university education.  (RESP's for example).

The climate can be challenging for everyone, and being from the west coast (or wet coast) I can't say I'm a huge fan of cold and snow, but if you have the right clothes (layers layers layers) then it is manageable. Anyhow, I'm glad you bring up the challenges of living in Canada, they sometimes make it easy to forget the advantages of living there as well.

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