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5 considerations when moving to Canada
By Umer Ishfaq, February 2020.
If you are planning to tour Canada or if you have made up your mind to immigrate to the land of the maple, here are a few crucial considerations to bear in mind.
Immigration Program of Canada
Before moving to Canada, you’ll need to determine your eligibility and assess which immigration program you are potentially eligible for (i.e. work, visit, study, citizenship). You must be a permanent resident of Canada for three of the last five years before you will be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship and begin the process of naturalization. According to the Government of Canada website, permanent residents of Canada have the right to the most social benefits like health care coverage; they can live, work, or study anywhere in Canada; and have protection under the Canadian law.
There are numerous ways through which you can become a permanent resident, but the Canadian government’s website recommends applying through the Express Entry immigration selection system, which can typically be processed within six months.
If you like both sun and snow, then choose Canada. If you come from a mild or warm climate, the bitter cold of the Canadian winter is sure to surprise you. It’s really hard to describe how cold -25°C can feel, but fear not, the good news is that you can come prepared with the right clothing and attitude.
Canadians don’t take summer for granted, they know how to make the most of the warm months. There’s no place for words like ‘chilly’ and ‘nippy’ in Canada. When they say it gets cold, they mean the bloody cold. Apart from the country’s west coast in British Columbia, nowhere else in Canada does the average temperature exceed zero in the wintertime. Vast parts of the country can dip as low as -30°C or -40°C, which makes going outside fairly unenjoyable. Chuck in the severe wind chill and the great outdoors are a no-go. The coldest temperature ever recorded in North America was in Yukon, Canada in 1947 at -63°C, which is the same as the surface temperature of Mars. Suddenly those lakes don’t seem very appealing. So, before leaving for Canada the outfits should be considered according to the temperature of Canada, not your current home.
Heli-skiing Canada is the eventual experience for powder hounds, although you don’t have to be a true powder hound because there’s no need to smell out the powder. Helicopters drop you right in amongst it. After that, all you have to do is follow the guide and enjoy the remote backcountry terrain that you normally only get to look at from afar.
It has been reported that 95% of all heli-skiing in the world occurs in British Columbia, Canada. The profile of heli-skiing Canada has continued to increase, in part due to the exposure in Warren Miller movies that shows extreme skiers making the most of the fantastic conditions.
So, it’s always fascinating and enjoyable to do so while visiting Canada.
Diversity in Cultures
Multiculturalism is the basic trend of Canadian ethos and central to national policy. 40 of the Canadian members of parliament were born abroad. In any major city, as well as many rural communities for that matter, you will come across countless languages, religions, and cultures.
You are certainly not required to forget your own culture and values when in Canada, however, you do need to be tolerant of others. The only way to successfully co-exist, integrate and become a productive member of Canada’s multicultural community is to be tolerant and understanding toward the backgrounds and life-choices of the people around you.
Tipping is a must
This might not be an essential consideration when migrating to the country, but it is quite a necessary social survival tip: tip your waiters. This is one of those adjustment things. You may be unaccustomed to ‘overpaying’, as you hail from a country where tipping is optional because HORECA workers earn a guaranteed livable wage with additional benefits, Canada is different so this cultural aspect is a good example of the ‘when in Rome...’ adage.
In Canada waiters typically earn a minimum wage, which, depending on the province, is around $10 per hour. In some provinces wages may be as low as $8 per hour for service workers, who rely heavily on the tips they earn to supplement their income, furthermore, staff usually have to “tip out” other staff (such as those in the kitchen), with a portion of their earnings.
This might sound strange to you and you may disagree but by not tipping, the waiter is effectively paying out of their pocket to serve you. So, unless the service is poor, please tip.
The standard tip is 15% of the total bill (or 20% for highly knowledgeable, attentive service), or a dollar per drink (a couple of dollars would suffice for around).