Canada has always attracted a steady stream of expats, especially those from the UK and elsewhere in Western Europe.
A friendly culture, a range of job opportunities and stunning scenery make it a favourite, but there are plenty of things to prepare for before committing to a move.
Five Things to Prepare for in Canada
1 - Distance
Canada is enormous, and the sheer size of the country comes as a shock to many people. Placed on a map Canada would stretch from the United Kingdom to Turkmenistan, and between Spain and the Gulf of Finland.
This makes travelling between provinces time consuming, and the Canadians have a totally different sense of distance to anyone else - meaning a ‘short drive’ could be up to five hours!
It also means that the country has numerous different identities, with each province having a unique character and culture. Make sure that you research the area you’re moving to thoroughly, and don’t just assume that all of Canada is very similar.
2 - Weather
Canada’s weather can be extreme - though this isn’t the case everywhere in the country. In certain areas of Newfoundland temperatures can change from summer averages of 20°C, to winter temperatures of -9°C.
It’s far from the most extreme area though. January average highs in Manitoba are -21.9°C, whilst summer averages are almost 20°C in the positive.
Basically what we’re saying is pack a wide range of clothes. From heavy winter jackets to light shorts and t-shirts.
3 - Lengthy Recruitment Process
Canada is very strict about who it allows in, with all documents needing to be thoroughly checked and verified prior to a working visa being granted. The system in the country is well organised, and things do move efficiently, but having your documentation prepared and organised prior to applying is a must.
In some cases hospitals may be able to expedite the visa process, so it’s always worth enquiring with them about how urgently they require you to start.
4 - Taxes
What you see is what you get...Except in Canada what you see on the price ticket won’t be what you pay.
The Canadian tax system differs depending on what province your in. Sales taxes are just 5% in Alberta, but almost 15% in Quebec. So be prepared for a quirk of Canadian taxes, the price shown on shop labels is always excluding VAT - to allow for the same base product prices nationwide, with the tax differences adding on at the till.
This can be annoying at first, however in no time at all you’ll find yourself being able to work out percentages as you shop!
5 - Language
French and English are both official languages of Canada, and most Canadians will have a fluent grasp of one, and a working knowledge of the other.
English is the most widely spoken language, however in Quebec almost 80% of people used French as a first language. On top of this various dialects are spoken throughout the provinces that can sometimes make English feel like a foreign language!
Is a move to Canada something which would interest you? We’ve got a small number of jobs available in the country, meaning that a dream move could be far closer than you might imagine.