5 Things to Know Before Coming to Canada

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A sign in an airport directs international visitors to a Canadian Border Services Agency post.

Whether you’re coming to Canada from the USA or any other country, or coming to Canada as a student or for any other reason, you want to be prepared.

We’ve put together this list of five things to know before coming to Canada to help you adjust, adapt, and succeed in your new surroundings.

1. COVID-19 is Still a Major Border and Immigration Concern

The Government of Canada requires travellers to meet specific requirements to enter the country. That includes proof of vaccination. Fully vaccinated travellers still need to provide documentation and meet other requirements.

Thankfully, the government also provides a tool to help you determine if you can have an easy border crossing when arriving in Canada.

2. Canada Can Get Very Cold

For international students, International Experience Canada (IEC) participants, workers, and immigrants coming to Canada, it’s crucial to understand the climate.

Unless you’re only moving to Canada for a very short time, you’ll likely spend at least some of a winter here. You’ll need clothes you can count on to keep you warm, including many layers and a heavy jacket.

Coming from the USA to Canada? Unless you live in the most northern parts of that country, your winter clothes may not be enough.

It may be easier to buy cold-weather clothes after entering Canada. Just be sure to have a plan and follow through before winter arrives.

3. Canada is a Huge Country

Planning to visit family, study, or work in Canada means going to a specific destination (or destinations). Make sure you learn about the place you plan to visit, not just the country in general.

Why? Encyclopedia Britannica points out Canada is the second-largest country in the world. Climate, culture, and much more can change from one province to the next. The experience you have on Prince Edward Island (a smaller Atlantic island) could be very different from the one you have in Alberta (a large, landlocked prairie province), for example.

4. Canada Has Two Official and Many Unofficial Languages

Both French and English have status as official languages in Canada. French is most common in Quebec, which has the largest percentage of French speakers according to Canadian Heritage, and New Brunswick. English is the most common of the two in all of the other provinces and territories.

There are many unofficial languages in Canada as well. The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages says Mandarin, Cantonese, and Punjabi are the most common. You’ll be most likely to encounter these languages in the country’s largest cities, although speakers are spreading across the country.

5. Canadian Universal Healthcare Doesn’t Cover Everyone

If you’re only temporarily visiting Canada, you probably won’t qualify for public health care. The term “universal” in Canada’s health care system refers to citizens and permanent residents.

We can connect you with effective healthcare coverage, whether you’re involved in the IEC program, using a Super Visa, or visiting for any other reason. Learn more about IEC Insurance!

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