Thinking about living in Canada? By now you may have heard a lot of good things about the Great North. But does Canada really live up to all the hype? Well, it can’t be all that bad living in Canada since the country has one of the highest naturalization rates in the world. This means that about 98% of new immigrants do not regret their choice of moving to Canada.
But every country has its highs and lows and Canada is no different. The good news is that in Canada’s case, and just like in true Canadian spirit, for every ‘bad’ there is a silver lining. In this blog, we uncover 5 little-known pros and cons of living in Canada.
Pros and Cons of Living in Canada
1. The Weather
If you don’t know yet, Canada’s weather patterns are extremely unpredictable. You can leave home in the morning when it’s a sunny 25-degrees Celsius and return in freezing 5-degree weather. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to layer clothes and take an umbrella with you just in case. Your weather app will also be your new best friend when you live in Canada.
The weather in Canada reaches extremes. In the winter, it’s not just cold, it’s absolutely bone-chilling with a temperature of -20 degrees in some areas. Throw heavy snowfall and Chinook winds in the mix and you’re left with the lucky task of shoveling thick icy sludge off your car at 7 am in the morning. In summer, the temperatures are an average 20-30 degrees but in certain areas, like Ontario, it’s also very humid and your clothes feel like cling wrap against your body.
For immigrants living in Canada from countries with tropical climates, it’s quite hard to adapt to Canada’s extreme weather patterns.
If you immigrate to Canada from a country where snow is nearly a myth then living in Canada which turns into a winter wonderland will most definitely take your breath away. Snow-covered lawns, roofs, and mountains – it takes a while to get used to.
You’ll also get to participate in awesome and unique winter activities that people come from far to experience like skiing or snowboarding off a snow-capped mountain, skating on a frozen lake, dog-sledding and even building a snowman. Taking up an action-packed hobby in Canada is sure to pump your blood and keep you warm. If not, there’s always a Tim Hortons nearby for a cup of hot cocoa.
2. The People
It’s not just a stereotype. Canadians really are extremely friendly, humble, polite, and apologetic people by nature which makes it very easy to make new friends and invite your neighbors over for dinner. Canadians are also very welcoming to newcomers and immigrants of all races, ethnicities, and cultures. Canada is, after all, a proudly multicultural nation.
In some countries and cultures, speaking directly and frankly is not seen as a bad thing. However, in Canada, you may come across as ‘rude’ or ‘bossy’.
For example, your professor might phrase a statement as a question to make it seem less harsh: “Would you like to submit your essay?”
Whereas in other countries, the same statement will be put more directly: “You need to submit your essay today or you’ll miss the deadline.”
3. Credit Score
When a new immigrant moves to Canada, they do not carry over their credit history from their old country. This can be quite inconvenient if you’ve built up a good credit score and would like to invest in property, apply for a mortgage loan or a credit card right away.
The good news is that major banks in Canada offer newcomer packages which include a credit card with a low monthly limit and even bank loans.
Even better: If you didn’t have a good credit score back in your old country (naughty), you get to start on a clean slate when you live in Canada. Now, remember to pay those bills on time.
4. Free Universal Healthcare
Canada is consistently ranked as one of the countries with the best healthcare system in the world due to its care and quality. The universal healthcare system known as Medicare is one of the main reasons for the country’s high quality of life and excellent overall health.
Canada strongly believes that every person has a right to equal and exceptional healthcare. Although Medicare is tax-funded, Canada allocates a big portion of its annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on healthcare compared to other countries. In fact, Canada pays an average of more than 6,000 CAD per Canadian, permanent resident, and even some non-citizens.
Many newcomers to Canada don’t know this but there is a 3-month waiting period before you can apply for your public health insurance card in Canada and access any free healthcare services. For this reason, it’s important to get private health insurance during this interim.
Canada’s universal health care only covers medically necessary healthcare. That means, if you need an operation you’ll be covered but if you need braces or prescription glasses, you’ll have to pay for it out of your own pocket or you can do what everyone else does – get private health insurance to cover the gaps that Medicare doesn’t.
5. Exploring Canada
Exploring the big, beautiful country is something you should do when you live in Canada. It might take you forever and a day to see and experience all the wonders of Canada but it’ll be worth it. Canada is every traveler’s dream destination with its exquisite natural environment (Banff National Park, Rocky Mountains, Niagara Falls), European architecture (Quebec City), small maritime towns and endless museums, restaurants, festivals, and parades.
Exploring Canada may come with a hefty price tag. Domestic airline travel in Canada is surprisingly very expensive. Some say it’s cheaper to fly from Toronto to a city in the USA and then to Vancouver instead of taking a direct flight from Toronto to Vancouver. This is largely due to the fact that there is little to no competition among airlines.