As you prepare to embrace your welcome to Canada, it’s important to know that some things are likely to be done differently than what you are accustomed to.
This article will help set you on the right path to integrating into Canadian life. Less confusion and realistic expectations when moving to Canada will increase your chances of achieving success.
Keen to emigrate but can’t choose between sun or snow? Why not have both?
Unless you’re living on the BC coast (or to a lesser extent, parts of Southern Ontario), you are almost certain to experience cold, snowy winters and hot summers, with short transitional seasons.
If you come from a mild or warm climate, the bitter cold of a Canadian winter is sure to surprise you. It’s difficult 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.
Another upshot is that Canadians don’t take summer for granted — they know how to make the most of the warmer months.
Generations of immigrants have received a warm welcome to Canada. Multiculturalism is part of the Canadian ethos, and central to national policy.
Over 40 sitting Members of Parliament were born abroad. In any major city, as well as many rural communities for that matter, you will encounter myriad languages, religions, and cultures.
You don’t need to let go of your culture or values after moving to Canada, but you do need to evolve so that you can successfully adjust and have the greatest chance of achieving success. Keeping an open mind will benefit you, as well as those around you.
You may come from a country where workers in the service and hospitality sectors earn a guaranteed livable wage with additional benefits, and therefore tipping may not be a part of your culture. That’s great, but Canada is different, and becoming accustomed to tipping is a basic ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’ situation.
Bartenders and servers generally earn minimum wage, which, depending on the province, is around $10 per hour. Indeed, some provinces have a lower minimum wage closer to $8 for service workers, on the expectation that they will earn tips to compensate, and staff usually have to “tip out” other staff (such as those in the kitchen), with a portion of their sales.
This might seem strange and you may disagree, but by not tipping, the server is effectively paying out of their own 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 a round).
4. The job hunt
Researching, looking for and applying for jobs in Canada can be a lengthy process — perhaps much longer than what you are used to, as you establish connections in your new home. Months can pass before you land a professional position, so you should plan accordingly to ensure your welcome to Canada goes smoothly.
1. Bring enough funds to tide you through your first few months.
2. Be prepared to take on a non-career job in the short term but always be on the lookout for your next career move.
- Read: Finding jobs in Canada
- Get the latest employment data for your industry in our Moving2Canada Labour Market Report
5. Cost of living
Avoid a harsh welcome to Canada by knowing the basic cost of living in your adopted city before you move. If you move and are surprised by how expensive rent or transportation is, that’s not the city’s fault — it’s yours.
Research is crucial. Toronto and Vancouver, particularly the downtown areas, are relatively expensive. Rent-controlled Montreal, on the other hand, has low property values and low rent, but also lower salaries.
This site allows you to compare the cost of living between Canadian cities and towns.
- Visit our city guides section to learn more about life in Canada’s major cities.