About Canada Canada is a ‘melting pot’ of many different cultures and different peoples. Aboriginal peoples have occupied the territory now called Canada for several thousands of years. Everybody else, either by birth or by descent, has been an immigrant -- all come from somewhere else. It has been aptly named as a "nation of immigrants." Canada is home to immigrants from more than 240 countries and it continues to attract new residents and citizens with the promise of a beautiful natural environment, stable economic growth and an excellent place to raise a family.
Canada is a young and dynamic country where immigration serves as the foundation for continued economic growth and which brings people, customs and traditions, rituals and culture to the forefront of Government policy. It is a land of opportunities and abounds in economic prosperity, sound and affordable education options, world renowned health care and retirement schemes, an abundance of land, clean air and fresh water supplies, all providing for a safe and secure environment.
Canada is the largest country, geographically, in the western hemisphere with a population of only 31 million people. Its form of government can be characterized as a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy and a federation. It comprises of 10 provinces and 3 territories.
As a member of the G8 group of leading industrial countries, Canada enjoys an enviable standard of living, an excellent infrastructure, a highly educated and skilled labour force as well as a well-deserved reputation as a successful trading nation. Canada is also known worldwide for its respect of human rights and freedoms as well its stand against discrimination and injustice.
Canada still needs the skills, talents and enthusiasm of newcomers to continue to grow. Today Canada is one of the most ethnically and racially diverse countries in the world, ranking next to the United Kingdom, Singapore and the United States as one of the world's most pluralistic societies. Canada’s dynamic multiculturalism can be attributed to its unique combination of Indigenous cultures, early European settlement and immigration from all parts of the world.
As Canadian permanent residents, you and your family can share with Canadians and take part in the continuous building of one of the world's most successful economic alliances involving Canada and the United States of America, its neighbor to the south. Indeed, Canada's esteemed stature is reflected in its being a member of the prestigious economic Group of Eight and its reputation as a respected participant in world affairs.
Due to growth in the Canadian economy and a shortage of skilled workers, the Canadian Government seeks skilled workers to live and work in Canada.
We have shared in the optimism and sincere belief that Canada will continue to provide a successful opportunity and a stable environment to those who opt to become a part of its landscape. Embrace your future and bring the heritage of your past to a place where you and your family will be proud to refer to as home – Canada!
Under the Official Languages Act, Canada is an officially bilingual country. Consequently, Canadians have the right to get federal government services in English or French, no matter what part of Canada they are living in. English and French are the two official languages in Canada. Many Canadians are functionally monolingual, although some parts of the country have both English and French speakers; over a quarter of Canadians are bilingual or multilingual. English is the dominant language in every province except Quebec, where French is dominant and actively promoted as the main language. There are francophone communities around the country, though. A list of areas where you will probably encounter the French language: New Brunswick (an officially bilingual province; the city of Moncton is famous for its unusual dialect); the national capital region around Ottawa and other parts of eastern and northern Ontario; the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and areas to the south; and many parts of the Acadian region of Atlantic Canada (these areas are dotted across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and the French Shores of Newfoundland). Likewise there are Anglophone communities in Quebec, such as some of the western suburbs of Montreal.
In Quebec, one can usually get by with English in the major tourist destinations, but some knowledge of French is useful off the beaten path, and almost essential in many rural areas. It may also be useful to know at least a few basic French phrases in the larger cities, where some attempt by travelers to communicate in French is often appreciated. It is worth noting that the French widely spoken in Quebec and Acadian regions differs in some respects from the French of France. There are also dozens of aboriginal languages spoken by many Canadians of aboriginal descent.
Canada has a wide mix of religions, but it has no official religion, and support for religious pluralism is an important part of Canada's political culture. All religions are represented in its multicultural and secular society. Canadians respect the freedom of people to practice their choice of religion. Churches, mosques, temples and synagogues are located in most major cities.
Canada is a land of many cultures and many peoples. Aboriginal peoples have occupied the territory now called Canada for several thousands of years. The First Nations or Indian people were the original inhabitants of Canada and the name comes from their language and means "Village" or "Community". The Vikings, who arrived in the 11th century and did not stay for long, were the first Europeans to land in Canada.
More Europeans arrived in the 16th century bringing with them manufactured goods which they traded for furs and native products - because of this they were made welcome by the indigenous people. The two main groups of European settlers were the French, who came first, and then the English. Despite France losing its part of the territory to Britain in a war in 1760, many of the French-speaking people stayed. In 1867, three colonies of Britain merged in an event called Confederation; this created a partially independent state of four Provinces. Six more Provinces and three Territories have been added since and in 1931 full independence was achieved. Canada still belongs to the Commonwealth of Nations.
During the 19th and 20th century, waves of immigrants arrived from Europe, attracted by the opportunity of a new and better life in Canada. Moreover, continuing over the last 50 years, people from all over the globe have sought a better life in Canada, often known as country of refuge. It has also been said that Canada is a "nation of immigrants."
Canada is to the north of North America. To the east is the North Atlantic Ocean, the North Pacific Ocean is to the west and the Arctic Ocean is to the north. The northern border of the United States is conterminous with the southern border of Canada.
Canada consists of 10 provinces and three territories in five main regions: the Atlantic area, Central Canada, the Prairies, the West Coast and the North. The culture and population are different in each region.
The Atlantic region consists of the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. In these provinces, main industries include fishing, farming, forestry, tourism and mining.
Central Canada consists of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. These two provinces together account for almost half of Canada’s population.
The Prairies include the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The land is largely flat and fertile, excellent for farming and rich in energy resources. In Alberta, the Rocky Mountains begin, and include some of the largest peaks in North America.
On the West Coast, the province of British Columbia is famous for its mountain ranges and forests. Natural resources such as lumber and fish are considered the cornerstone of the economy.
The North consists of Canada's three territories: Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Together, they account for 1/3 of Canada's landmass. Northern resources include oil, natural gas, gold, lead and zinc.
Government and Political System
Canada is a confederation, with a parliamentary monarch. Being a confederation means that powers and responsibilities are divided between the federal government and the 10 provincial governments. Canada also has three territorial jurisdictions. Canada has three levels of government: federal, provincial and municipal (cities and towns). The citizens of Canada elect these governments.
Canada has a diversified economy. Canada’s economy is based on natural resources industries, such as forestry, mining, oil and gas extraction, farming and fishing, which account for large numbers of jobs and revenue for Canada. Canada is also known as a leader in the areas of telecommunications, biotechnology, aerospace technologies and pharmaceuticals. Canada is a member nation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) along with the USA and Mexico.
Canada uses decimal currency with 100 cents to each Canadian dollar (CAD $1.00). The bills are in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 and $1000; coins include 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, and the $1 and $2 coins. The one-cent coin stayed as bronze. Why Canada
Canada is one the leading G-8 nations and the second largest country in the world with a population of approximately 30 million people. It is a highly developed country, with excellent working conditions, an outstanding education system, a very high standard of living and a health care system ranked one of the best in the world. The United Nations has ranked Canada the best place to live for several years in a row. Their surveys are based on quality of life, educational opportunities, unemployment and crime rates, and life expectancy.
Canada is a country composed of immigrants from practically every nation in the world. Canada's success is largely due to the contributions made by these immigrants. Each year, Canada welcomes more than 200,000 new immigrants. The diversified backgrounds and cultures are what makes Canada unique. Multiculturalism is promoted to help maintain this unique "melting pot".
No matter where you come from, once you are a landed immigrant you have all the rights of a Canadian citizen. These rights are protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Should you wish to become a citizen, you can do so after you have lived in Canada for three years. As a Canadian citizen, you can apply for a Canadian passport and you are eligible to vote.
Canada needs more immigrants!
Canada pursues a very active immigration policy. Especially during the past few years, the number of immigrants that have been accepted has rapidly increased. In 1986 the annual quota of immigrants was 85,000. In 1994 the target number was raised to 250,000 and for 2000 the number of immigrants admitted will be 225,000. Via immigration the Canadian government wants to increase the population of Canada (at the moment approximately 30 million inhabitants) by one percent per year. Canada therefore admits the largest number of immigrants in the world in terms of the population
Canada has been rated the top country in the world for overall quality of life ranging from a comfortable standard of living, good health care, social security, a high level of education, to a relatively safe and clean environment. Full of great natural beauty, from the rugged shores of Newfoundland to the mild climate and beautiful mountains of the west coast.
Being the second largest country in the world, Canada is filled with coasts, vast forests, mountain ranges, lakes and expanses of prairies, and is rich in natural resources. It contains 38 national parks, more than 1000 provincial parks, and nearly 50 territorial parks
THE BESt PLACE IN THE WORLD TO LIVE
Canada is known as a prosperous and strong nation valued for its stability, diversity and democratic institutions. Many of the world's immigrants have chosen Canada as their destination of choice. They have brought with them their unique cultural attributes, which have added variety to this country. The United Nations has voted Canada the best place in the world to live. Its one of the largest, cleanest, safest and less populated countries in the world, which helps make it a great place
Unlike the United States, its neighbor to the south, one thing that Canadians do not share with Americans, is the level of violence in the urban centers of the United States. Canada has strict gun control laws and some of the finest police forces anywhere in the world to which Canada's low crime and homicide rates are in large part attributable. Slums and ghettoes such as those in other countries do not exist in Canada, thereby making Canada a safe and a clean place to live in, two attributes of which visitors to Canada first take notice.
In Canada, quality health care is affordable and accessible to all. Canada offers free health care to its citizens and Permanent Residents, comprised of the most modern hospitals, the latest in medical equipment, the most skilled health care professionals, and the most accomplished scientists at the forefront of medical research and development.
Elementary and Secondary education at public schools is free in Canada. For those who prefer a fee-paying private system there are also a number of good private schools. Canada has one of the highest standards of education, particularly at the post secondary level. It is the home of well-known universities such as McGill, Queens, Mc Master, University of Toronto, and many others. An immigrant pays the low tuition fees offered to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
Canada's climate is characterized by its diversity, as temperature and precipitation differ from region to region and from season to season. While it is true that in the extreme north temperatures climb above 0C for only a few months a year, most Canadians live within 300 kilometres of the country's southern border, where mild springs, warm summers and pleasantly crisp autumns prevail at least seven months of the year.
The seasons dictate the look of the land: according to whether the natural environment is in a state of dormancy or growth, Canadians may be alpine skiing...or water skiing.
While seasonal change signals fluctuations in temperature and the number of hours of sunshine, the shifting position of air masses also plays a part. The usual air flow from west to east is often disrupted in winter when cold, dry air moves down from the Arctic, and in summer when warm, tropical air moves up from the southeast. Added to these factors are the effects of mountain ranges, plains and large bodies of water.
The West Coast
The coast of British Columbia has the most temperate climate in Canada, thanks to warm, moist Pacific Ocean airstreams. The province's most populous cities, Vancouver and Victoria, enjoy comfortable and relatively dry summers and mild, wet winters. Snow seldom falls in low-lying areas, and when it does, it usually melts the same day.
The Cordilleran mountain system, which includes the Coastal Range and the Rocky Mountains, alters the warm, moist Pacific air from the interior plains of the Prairie provinces. As the moist air is forced to rise over the mountains, it cools and falls on the western slopes in heavy amounts of precipitation, as rain at lower altitudes and snow at higher ones. The valleys between the mountain ranges receive much less precipitation and experience warm, even scorching, summers.
The Prairies Part of the vast central plains of North America, the Canadian Prairies extend east from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes. Here, cold winters and hot summers are the norm, with relatively light precipitation. For instance, in the dry southern portion of Saskatchewan, annual precipitation averages less than 300 millimetres. Manitoba, the wettest of the Prairie provinces, receives about 500 millimetres each year.
Spring rains and dry autumn conditions have helped make the Prairies one of the top grain-growing areas of the world. Farming is not without its risks, however, in the form of wind erosion, drought, floods, thunderstorms and hailstorms and unseasonably early autumn frosts.
Among the most remarkable features of the Alberta winter is the "chinook," a warm, usually dry winter wind that affects much of southern Alberta. The chinook sweeps down from the Rocky Mountains and has been known to raise temperatures as much as 10C in one hour.
The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region More than half the Canadian population lives close to the Great Lakes or along the St. Lawrence River. Here, winter brings heavy snowfalls. Summers tend to be longer and more humid than elsewhere in Canada. Rainfall varies little year to year and is ample enough to sustain some of the best farming areas in Canada. Mean daily temperatures range from the mid-teens to low twenties from mid-June to mid-September, with week-long heat waves in the 30s not uncommon. Warm, sunny days and crisp, cool nights make the fall season popular.
Atlantic Canada The combined influence of continental air masses with air currents off the ocean give this region one of the most rugged and most variable climates anywhere in the country. In winter, mean temperatures can vary markedly as Arctic air is replaced by maritime air from passing storms. Snowfall in winter is relatively heavy, and fog is common in spring and early summer. The warmest month is July, when mean temperatures are in the 16 to 18C range, except near coastal areas where August is often warmer.
The North Spanning the entire country north of the Prairies and the populated Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region is the boreal forest. This area is usually snow-covered more than half the year; its "summer" the frost-free period lasts barely two months. Precipitation is light, except along the coast of Labrador where the influence of Atlantic storms is felt.
Farther north, above the tree-line, lies the Arctic. Here, temperatures rise above freezing only a few weeks a year. Just a metre below the delicate but tenacious vegetation that grows in summer, the ground remains permanently frozen.