Immigration Corner | Why come to Canada?
Dear Miss Powell,
I keep reading your articles about Canada and while I’m tempted to apply, I have a good life in Jamaica. Why should I leave Jamaica to live in Canada? What is so fantastic about living in Canada?
I get where you are coming from. Jamaica is indeed paradise and individuals can have an amazing life there. The decision to move is a personal one. However, since you asked, I will share with you some information about life here in Canada.
Disadvantage of Living in Canada.
I am going to start with obvious disadvantage that even individuals who were born in Canada have a difficulty with. Canada’s winter can be challenging. However, the key to dealing with winter is to dress appropriately and participate in winter activities. Even though temperatures can fall below -40C, most cities and towns have bright sunshine for a significant period. However, the effects of global warming have significantly changed the weather in Canada, so the weather seems to be erratic, just like the rest of the world.
Do not worry too much about the weather, the Caribbean is only a short plane ride away, so you can take quick break from the cold.
Advantages of Living in Canada
Canada has once again ranked in top 10 of ‘world happiest country', and number one in the Americas. The World Happiness Report, which was released by the United Nation, is a landmark survey which examines how individuals in 156 countries perceive themselves, their happiness and wellbeing. The report examined a combination of social, economic, political and psychological factors and delved into the science of happiness to rank countries based on six key factors. These factors look at things which support the wellbeing of citizens such as income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity. The report also examined each country based on its overall sustainability, cultural influence, entrepreneurship, economic influence and most importantly, quality of life of the people living there.
Canada is one of the most peaceful and innocuous places to live in the world. The crime rate is low, and most individuals feel safe in their homes and community. It is a place where immigrants and same-sex couples have a general sense of inclusion and can easily and successfully integrate into their communities. Furthermore, workplaces are mandated by law to be inclusive in their attitude and policies when hiring individuals.
You do not need a job offer in order to apply to live permanently in Canada. However, the government of Canada has a website where perspective immigrants are encouraged to apply for jobs before they arrive.
Our healthcare system is the best in the region. In fact, we supersede the USA and the UK when it comes to health care, pension and other benefits, paid holidays, paid leaves, including maternity and paternal leave. Moreover, the government is constantly improving benefits to the elderly, children and individuals who suffer from a disability.
Canada has one of the strongest economies in the world and is seen as a good place to invest or establish a business. The unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the world. In fact, there is a shortage of labour in some areas and the reason for the various temporary foreign work programmes, the increase in the work permits being granted and the promotion of an immigration system that attracts the best skilled and most educated individuals from around the world.
You may wonder about possible language barriers, however, Canada has two main languages - English and French. Majority of the individuals speak English, and many individuals are bilingual. Where bilingualism is important, some employers will facilitate language training. Additionally, there are newcomer agencies in every major city that offer language classes.
Canada is recognised as being one of the most welcoming countries to immigrants and the Government of Canada recognises and celebrate the contributions that immigrants have made to the country and the economy.
The pathway to citizenship is simple and one of the best in the world. Individuals who immigrate to Canada can apply for citizenship shortly after they are granted permanent residence. The requirement is that an individual will need to demonstrate that he has lived a minimum of three out of the last five years as a permanent resident in order to apply. Some of benefits of citizenship is that you will be able to travel with a Canadian Passport and vote in general elections.
I know that moving to a new country and leaving family and friends is a big endeavour. It is challenging and the idea of establishing a new home and trying to integrate into a new society with different rules and customs may be daunting.
The government recognise that there is need for provide support to newcomers during their transition and there are various community agencies or settlement offices that provide valuable support so that your transition process is a seamless one.
Other things to consider
You will not feel ostracised or out of place as approximately 20 per cent of the population was not born in Canada or they are children of immigrants. If you choose to live in the main city areas such as Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa , you will find that there are more immigrants in those areas. You should also note you can find stores, restaurants, food and supplies from your home country, plus some of these foods may be found in stores such as Loblaws, Walmart and Food Basics.
Under the express entry system, qualified individuals who have the skills, education, work experience and other factors, could be granted and invitation to apply to live permanently in Canada. In some cases, the application is approved within six months. Almost sixty per cent of immigrants came to Canada under this system. This is a more efficient and faster system than many other developed countries.
There are more than 80 different pathways to become a permanent resident and citizen of and every individual situation is different. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you consult with an authorised Canadian immigration lawyer to advise you of the best option for you and to answer any other questions you may have.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public with office in Ottawa, Ontario Canada. Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 613.695.8777. You may also connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram