Unvarnished Canada or Real Life in Canada
When you dream of moving to Canada, you imagine vast uninhabited expanses, endless opportunities, great earnings, a fulfilling life, clean nature, friendly Canadians and things like that. You feel like it’s heaven on earth and exactly the place you’ve always wanted to go. The truth is that the reality can be much harsher, and a lot depends on what country you’re coming from. Life in Canada has changed a lot in recent years. The country is still a great place to go on vacation, but moving here is a different story. Today, I want to talk about the disadvantages of living in Canada.
I want to point out right away that this article in no way discredits Canada as a good country to live in. Unfortunately, most articles only point out the pluses of living in Canada, but many hesitate to talk about the disadvantages. For more details, check out the great article “Moving to Canada: is it worth going in 2018?”, which details the pros, cons and neutral points of living in Canada.
Real life in Canada: taking off the rose-colored glasses
We should start by saying that as everywhere and always, a lot depends on money. If you have a lot of it, perhaps immigration to Canada will happen faster and easier. Although, why go to another country, if funds allow you to live well at home? After all, many people leave for a better life. You can go to Canada on vacation, or buy a small house there with a piece of land. Come here once in a while and feel a little bit Canadian. But should you move here at all? And why Canada? Of course, the nature here is great, a lot of free space and wildlife, it is easier than in many other countries to start a business, but learn about the cons to weigh everything. I will try to tell you about them as constructively as possible.
Those who have been here for a long time (myself included) have noted that every year life in Canada is getting more expensive and society is becoming more mercantile.
Real estate prices
Real estate prices may seem quite reasonable, at least in some parts of Canada. But not in Vancouver and Toronto. Real estate prices in these cities are severely overheated. In fact, today, real estate in these cities is unaffordable for most Canadians and immigrants (except maybe Chinese immigrants). Utility bills, insurance, taxes are very noticeable.
The cost of cell phone service in Canada is one of the highest in the world. If you live outside of major cities, you will probably have to use very expensive satellite internet.
If you decide to move to Canada anyway, here’s something else I think is important to know, in my subjective opinion.
The problem with healthy food in Canada
If you want to eat healthy food, plan to grow it yourself. Canada does not require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms, so it’s hard to know which ones do not contain GMOs. If you have enough money, buy organic food (but note that organic meat will cost almost twice as much). You can harvest wild plants or get a hunting license if you don’t want to eat hormone-pumped meat from the store. Nevertheless, in recent years we have seen good progress in this area, but organic products will cost almost twice as much.
Although Canada is considered to have free health care, this is not entirely true. In some provinces, unless you have a minimum income, you must pay for health insurance. Public insurance does not cover prescription drugs, home or long-term care, prescription eyeglasses, and dental care. Extended coverage may cover some of these costs, but many people don’t have it unless it’s paid for by an employer. Sometimes people wait a year or two to get scheduled surgery. Those who have money often have surgeries in the United States. You can read more about health insurance in Canada here.
Difficulties with employment
It is difficult for young people to find a job. Graduation from college or university does not guarantee a job. Some young people have to work for free (as volunteers or interns) to gain experience. Many of the guys have to work off their student loans for years at a low-paying job, and pay them off just when it’s time to take out a mortgage. So from a young age, the average Canadian lives in debt almost to retirement. Recently, in Montreal, there was a case where a student sued his university for failing to find a job.
Scammers are everywhere.
There are a lot of scammers around here. Very much so. Naive Canadians and new immigrants often fall for their tricks, thinking that everyone in Canada is good and honest. This is far from true and you can easily lose a tidy sum. Almost every day you will receive calls from unknown numbers. Read more in “Top 10 scams in Canada. What you should know about it.
The friendliness of Canadians goes into being
Canadians are generally friendly people, but don’t expect them to be quick to open doors for you. Locals will help you in trouble and despair, but, like everywhere else, no more than they should. The custom of helping your neighbors here is slowly going away, as it is everywhere else.
Not the best climate to live in
If you don’t like the cold, Canada is the last place you should live. Canada has amazing beaches, mountains, but short summers. Lakes and rivers are under ice for most of the year, and the ground is covered with snow, and there are real cold winters. Except for Vancouver because of its unique location. You can read more in the article “Climate and Weather in Vancouver”.
Is life that bad in Canada? What to do?
No, living in Canada is great, and every country has minuses. Still, what to do? Should you move to Canada? Compare the pros and cons, calculate the approximate monthly expenses and your approximate earnings, there is a lot of information, including our website. See if your specialty is in demand. Decide for yourself in what city you see more potential for growth, and be sure to look at the prices of housing in it. Approach immigration wisely, as just moving to Canada is unlikely to solve your problems.
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Features of life in Canada
Canada’s national flag
You can read a lot of information about how to live in Canada, but you can experience all the nuances of Canadian life only by living in this country. Canadians have their own mentality, which is very different from the Russian way of life. That is why our compatriots do not feel quite comfortable at first.
Canada has a very high standard of living, comparable to that of Germany. This also has an effect on society. Canadians are law-abiding people, they respect and follow established rules and regulations. It is considered normal for a neighbor to report to the police if he or she has committed a crime, such as a traffic violation, or if the neighbor has inappropriate expenses in excess of his or her income. Canadians will not break the law even if it means a lot of money.
Canadian police officers
An interesting feature of Canada is the way they dress. Unlike Russian girls, who may have evening gowns in their everyday clothes, the closet of Canadian women rarely includes mini-skirts and flashy outfits. The reason may be their religiosity. Almost all Canadians have a religion of some kind, and it occupies an important place in their lives. Often even at the hospital or when applying for a visa they may ask what local church you are a member of. Therefore, the clothing of Canadian residents is simple and modest.
In Canada, it is impossible to tell which social class a person is in by the clothes he or she wears. The same clothes are worn by wealthy people and employees with a modest income. The difference may be in the cost of things, but not everyone can distinguish a branded item. It is the same with cars; Canadians do not drive prestigious cars, their models are very simple. But almost every adult family member has a car.
Unlike Russia and CIS countries, in Canada there is no concept of propiska and registration, so all citizens of the country are free to move from one city to another. All Canadian cities have a general principle of structure. Any city in the country has its own downtown (center), surrounded by residential areas. The downtown area is the business and historic part of the city; it has huge skyscrapers with wealthy citizens living in them, as well as many shopping malls, cafes, restaurants, stores, theaters, and other cultural venues. This is very different from the suburbs. The peculiarity of such centers is that the day in them begins very early, though life slows down by six o’clock in the evening. By this time, all theaters and restaurants are closed. Most people by evening massively leave the center, going to the sleeping areas, where most of the population lives.
The bedroom communities are mostly one- and two-story houses. All bedroom communities have stores, cafes, restaurants, fitness centers and everything else necessary for normal living. Neighbourhoods vary geographically; there are neighborhoods with more affluent residents who live in expensive homes, and there are neighborhoods with inexpensive homes where people with low incomes live. Canadians usually buy houses on credit, and sometimes pay it off over generations.
Homes in Montreal suburbs
Canadians don’t really like to do household chores and cooking, so they prefer to eat at restaurants to save time standing at the stove. Holidays and celebrations are celebrated there as well.
Canadians are very friendly people. They usually make friends where they work and live. As they change where they live, they also change their surroundings. One of the characteristics of the country is multiculturalism. Canada has been officially recognized as a multicultural society since 1971. There are many immigrants in the country, so it is common to respect the culture and religion of any nation. Everyone has equal rights. Canada is a bilingual country, so documents can be in English and French. All provinces have English as the official language, French is official only in Quebec. The only officially bilingual province in Canada is New Brunswick, where many French speakers live.
Celebrating Canada’s multicultural heritage
Canadians are very protective of nature and do not pollute the environment with trash. There are many nature reserves and natural parks all over the country.
Canada is different from Russia, of course, but only in the best way, and it’s always easier to get used to the good.