Canada Information

Facts About Canada

  • The cost of living in Canada is lower than in the UK.
  • In most areas of Canada - not but Vancouver - detached houses are available at a reasonable cost.
  • In 2008, average detached houses in average areas sold for around £105,000 in Montreal, £145,000 Ottawa, £191,000 in Toronto, £226,000 in Calgary and £384,000 in Vancouver. (Exchange rate of £1 = $1.90.)
  • Lower house prices can be found outside the cities.
  • 57 percent of Canadian households are made up of detached houses.
    • The lowest proportions of detached houses are in Quebec (46 percent,) British Columbia (55 percent) and Ontario (58 percent).
    • The highest proportions of detached houses are in Saskatchewan (76 percent,) Newfoundland & Labrador (75 percent) and New Brunswick (73 percent).
  • Petrol (gas) is cheap - around £0.60 - £0.65 a litre, depending on location.
  • Driving is on the right side of the road.
  • Electrical goods from the UK - unless they can be adapted - will not work in Canada. Canada's electricity is 120 volts, 60 hertz.
  • Huge mineral reserves, forests and prairie grasslands, combined with its proximity to the markets of the United States, ensure Canada's wealth. Canada is the United States biggest oil supplier.
  • Canadians pay income taxes to both the Federal Government and the Government of the province they live in. Income tax rates vary from province to province - See Canada's Income Tax Rates. Remember to add Provincial/Territorial income tax to the Federal income tax.
  • The Federal Government levies a goods and services tax (similar to VAT). GST is charged at 6 percent.
  • Most provinces charge a sales tax, paid in addition to GST. The provincial sales tax is zero in Alberta, so 6 percent is paid to the Federal Government and no more. Provincial sales taxes are highest in Ontario, where 8 percent TST is added to 6 percent GST, and Prince Edward Island, where 10.6 percent PST is added to 6 percent GST.
  • Canada ranks 4th in the United Nations' Human Development Index. The HDI measures life expectancy, educational attainment and adjusted real income of nations. Canada ranks behind Iceland, Norway and Australia. In the same index, France ranks 10th, the USA 12th, the UK 16th, and China 81st.
  • Over 600,000 British people live and work in Canada.
  • Everyone who intends to live in Canada must have the appropriate visa from the Canadian Government.
  • In 2008, there is a backlog not far short of one million immigration applications to be processed by Canada'a immigration authorities.
  • At the current rate of application processing, the backlog is projected to rise to 1.6 million applications by 2012.
  • English and French are the joint official languages of the Canada.
  • At provincial level, English is the official language of all of Canada's provinces, except for:
    • Quebec, where the official language is French.
    • New Brunswick where English and French are the joint official languages.
  • Outside of Quebec, only a small proportion of Canadians can speak French fluently.
  • The majority of Canada's 32.8 million people live in Ontario or Quebec. 39 percent of Canada's people live in Ontario and 23 percent in Quebec.
  • The main religion of Canada is Christianity - accounting for 72 percent of the population. The majority of Canada's Christians are Roman Catholic, found in greatest numbers in Quebec. 16 percent of Canadian people have no religion and 2 percent are Muslim. Around 12 percent are of other religions or did not declare their religion in the 2001 Census. Although a census was carried out in 2006, census questions about religion are asked at ten year intervals.
  • Since the nineteen-sixties, immigration has transformed Canada's population from overwhelmingly of British or French heritage to one accommodating people from many other countries - mainly Asian.
    • In the 2006 census, visible minorities made up 16.2 percent of Canada's people. (The figure was 13.4 percent in 2001.)
    • The highest numbers of minorities live in British Columbia, making up 24.8 percent of the people, and Ontario, 22.8 percent of the people.
    • The lowest numbers of minorities live in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and New Brunswick where around one to two percent of the people are visible minorities.
    • Visible minorities live in Canada's major cities to a greater extent than in the smaller cities. For example forty-two percent of Toronto, Ontario's people are from visible minorities while Kingston, Ontario has 5.8 percent minorities.
    • Chinese languages are the third most widely spoken in Canada, behind English and French.
  • Canada's area is 9,984,670 sq. km - over 40 times bigger than the UK. Canada's lakes cover an area more than 3 times the size of the UK.
  • Most parts of Canada - apart from British Columbia's Pacific coast - have continental type climates with hot summers and cold, snowy winters.
  • Canada has huge forests and it is the world's largest supplier of wood products. (PowerPoint document.)
  • There are 10 public holidays in Canada each year. Further provincial public holidays add an extra day in most provinces. Newfoundland has 6 additional holidays.
  • Canada became fully independent from Britain in stages:
    • The League of Nations accepted Canada as a member in 1919.
    • The Statute of Westminster in 1931 confirmed Canada's status as an independent country in most important respects.
    • The Canada Act in 1982 was the final stage in the process, when all aspects of law making came under full Canadian control.

Canada - Your Say:
When I compare our tiny house and garden in England with the big house on 20 acres that we've bought here, I sometimes have to pinch myself to remind myself that I'm not dreaming. There are no traffic jams, there's no yob-culture, and I feel a hundred times safer. Life is slower, people have time to welcome you into their community and take time to talk to you like another human being. Some people find Canadians boring but I love it here.
Charlie MacKenzie, New Brunswick

Canadians seem to take more pride in looking after their towns than Brits do. They don't drop litter and they don't let their dogs foul the pavements. The kiddies playparks here aren't covered in grafitti / broken glass / and 13 - 18 year olds don't hang around the playparks scaring off the youngsters. The other big difference I notice is that people here seem less tense, or less aggressive than in the UK.
Julie Elliot, Ontario

Further Reading

CIA Factbook, Canada