BELIEVES AND REALITIES ABOUT LIVING IN CANADA
(Myths and Realities)
Moving with your family from your native country to begin a new
life in Canada, is perhaps, one of the most important decisions
to take in your life. This decision must be evaluated very
carefully, taking into account all the available information and
REAL judgment elements (not myths, supposed thoughts or wrong
Our purpose in this chapter is to show you information and
vision from different angles of the immigration process in
Canada for Professionals and Skilled Workers.
NOTE: Our comments are based on the experience and results
obtained for other skilled workers and they are aimed to inform
you about the life in Canada for the very point of view of an
immigrant. This information and our opinions have to be taken
only as a reference and we shall not take any responsibility for
the results obtained in your personal case.
● MYTH #1
“There is work
for all in Canada”.
IT IS NOT TRUE. The unemployment rate in Canada goes from 8 % to 10 % (2010). This
means that, apart from immigrants arriving daily to Canada, there are
thousands of Canadians looking for a permanent job. In general, the
competence for jobs is strong, especially if the search is posted in
Internet (workopolis, jobbank, etc) or in the newspapers.
important in Canada is to get a job to support your family”.
IT IS NOT TRUE. With a low or minimum salary you will not be able to support
an acceptable level of life and pay the high costs (rent, taxes, insurance,
services etc) with your family in Canada. Jobs with salaries higher than the
minimum are difficult to obtain. Getting a job is not enough, it is
necessary to get a GOOD JOB.
Canadian Embassy grants a visa because of my Engineer professional degree,
once in Canada, I shall work as an engineer”.
IT IS NOT TRUE. The Embassy shall recognize your degree only for Immigration
process purposes. For example, in Canada you will only be able to work as
engineer or dentist if you have a Professional License, and to get it you
will have to go through a certification process against the corresponding
professional association or government department.
“In Canada I
shall earn a lot of money and I shall be able to save money to invest in my
IT IS RELATIVE. If you come
prepared and without family, you will probably be able to save some money,
since your support expenses shall not be very high. If you come with your
family (wife and kids) support expenses are very high and you will find
difficult to save money. Main reasons are the high taxes, rent and insurance
costs that you will have to pay. Many families built an economic background
by buying a home with long term loans (20 to 25 years). In general, to save
money within the family, the wife will probably have to work, also kids
older than 14, at holidays seasons.
● MYTH #5
Workers and Investors are the only selected for permanent resident visa for
IT IS NOT TRUE. Besides Skilled Workers, Entrepreneurs and Investors,
thousands of persons arrive to Canada from countries in war or conflicts,
which are admitted for humanitarian reasons, and are economically supported
by the government. Through these “humanitarian” policies, the Canadian
Government gets low qualified workers for the future labor force.
● MYTH #6
“In Canada I
shall be able to support my family with a job at McDonalds or Wendy’s”.
IT IS NOT TRUE. It is very difficult for an immigrant to support his family
with the minimum salary of a poorly qualified job, since the rental of a
home, services, taxes etc are very high. In fact, many of these immigrants
who only have found this type of jobs have to depend on the help from
government or other helping institutions to get food and home for their
families. This is a very frustrating situation for a professional or
skilled worker, and creates trends towards depression and other negative
emotions. Remember, you have to come prepared and well informed to get a
good job related to your profession with a decent salary.
● MYTH #7
“In Canada, no
matter if we are not doing well, our children shall not be hunger”.
TRUE. In Canada there are programs for free food and clothes for needing
people (a group larger than what you could think) Food banks and other
charity institutions are spread all over Canada and they give free food and
clothes. (For further information on food banks see www.Dailybread.ca).
● MYTH #8
during winter, cold is so intense that nothing is done.”
IT IS NOT TRUE. During winter season, life goes on normally. Schools,
colleges, companies, stores etc. function normally. Only when heavy
snowfalls happen, school buses are suspended, although schools remain open
for students who can go by themselves. Holiday season is in summer.
● MYTH #9
like in USA, it is easy to buy a car and everybody has one.”
TRUE. Car prices in Canada go from a few thousand to what the buyer wants to
pay for brands and prestige. Car depreciation is fast and it is easy for a
newcomer immigrant to by one. Nevertheless, insurance prices (obligatory to
drive) are very expensive for immigrants with no driving experience in North
America. In Canada, car insurance costs are the higher of North America,
although accident incidence is minimum, in comparison with USA. Just to have
an idea, if you are a newcomer immigrant and buy a new car (regular car) in Canada with a
5 year loan, the insurance cost to be pay per month shall double the value
of the monthly payment of the car.
● MYTH #10
every child has the same opportunities”.
IT IS RELATIVE. Primary and secondary educations are public and free. But
complementary courses for children’s formation, like music, sports
(swimming, baseball, hockey etc) and others have to be pay by the family.
That is the reason why many teenagers from limited economic resources
families start working at 14 in supermarkets and fast food chains, during
holidays and on week ends. University and college education are expensive,
and to have access it is necessary to have own economic resources.
● MYTH #11
“In Canada I
shall work less hours and days than in my country.”
IT IS NOT TRUE. Even though working journey is of 40 or 42 hours per week,
in general immigrants will have to work more to get the money they will need
to cover basic needs (rent, food, insurance etc). Some companies use to
agree with worker more hours, for example 48 hours and they pay “overtime”
for the hours after 40 (with and extra per hour)
Workers have the right of 2 week of holidays
per year (pay, but with no holiday additional bonus, as in other countries).
In some European countries normal holiday period for workers is of 4 week
On the other hand, Canada is one of the
countries in the world with fewer holidays during the year. For example,
from October until March, there is no holiday, with the exception of
Christmas and New Year’s week. The first holiday of the year is Good Friday
in March or April.
Besides, there are some festivities which
are holidays only for government employees, not for workers working at
● MYTH #12
“Canada is an
industrialized country where most of the people works in Manufacturing
Plants and Production Companies."
IT IS NOT TRUE. More than 70 % of the Canadians work in service areas, such
as stores, government ventures (town, provincial or federal), education,
food and health areas. Less than 15 % of the workers do their jobs at
production and industrial companies. It is clear that one of the reasons why
this country is searching for immigrants is to work, integrate and pay taxes
which support the economy and system.
More than half of the consumed and marketed
goods in Canada are from other countries, especially from China and USA. But
Canada has huge natural and energetic resources and a mechanized agriculture
to produce food to export to the whole world.
● MYTH #13
“ For living
and working as skilled worker in Province of Quebec, I just need to learn
French. This language is enough”
IT IS NOT TRUE. More than 60 % of Quebecois living in main cities in Quebec
(Montreal, Quebec City, Lonqueuil City, Laval, Gatineau, Saguenay y
Sherbrooke) are bilingual in English and French. The best opportunities to
have a good job in Quebec are for workers fluent in both languages.
Even in basic jobs and low payment jobs
(such as stores, restaurants, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Tim Horton’s and so on)
are preferred workers who can communicate fluently in French and English.
As skilled worker living in Quebec, you
should learn to speak fluently both French and English, if you want to work
in your professional field with a decent salary and good opportunities.
Es important to be aware that Quebec is like
a small francophone island (7.8 M) into a huge Anglo-American (320 M) ocean.
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