(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 stereotypes)  

 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”.


Reality: 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.



-         “Which is important in Canada is to get a job to support your family”.


Reality: 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. 



-         “If the Canadian Embassy grants a visa because of my Engineer professional degree, once in Canada, I shall work as an engineer”.


Reality: 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 country".


Reality: 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.



-         “Skilled Workers and Investors are the only selected for permanent resident visa for Canada".


Reality: 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. 



-         “In Canada I shall be able to support my family with a job at McDonalds or Wendy’s”.


Reality: 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.



-         “In Canada, no matter if we are not doing well, our children shall not be hunger”.


Reality: 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




-         “In Canada, during winter, cold is so intense that nothing is done.”


Reality: 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.




-         “In Canada, like in USA, it is easy to buy a car and everybody has one.”


Reality: 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

-         “In Canada every child has the same opportunities”.


Reality: 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.”


Reality: 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 per year.


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 private companies.


MYTH #12

-          “Canada is an industrialized country where most of the people works in Manufacturing Plants and Production Companies."


Reality: 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”


Reality: 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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