I love Canada, and I’ve lived in Canada as an expat for well over a decade. So far, it is hands down the best country I’ve ever lived in, and I’ve seen quite a few across the board: from South America, through Europe and the Middle East. Without question, I connect the strongest with Canada and I think many of my fellow expats there would agree with me. Here are a few reasons you might want to put Canada on your list, if you are considering moving.
1. You won’t feel like an expat
The number one reason Canada is amazing is because you will not (have to) feel like you are a foreigner. Regardless of your nationality, creed, colour of your skin, or accent… you too can be Canadian. For a country with such an intense sense of national pride, Canadians are more than happy to share their land, passport, and flag with anyone who wants to become Canadian (at heart) as well. I’ve met so many expats who identify as Canadian, whether or not they have become citizens yet. In contrast, the European countries I have lived in (including my own home country) are a lot more prejudiced against anyone with an accent. Maybe for historic reasons, maybe because they are much smaller in area… whatever the reason I don’t think any reason is a good enough one to treat people like second class citizens when they have chosen your country as a place to make their home, pay their taxes, and contribute to the fabric of society just because they speak your language (im)perfectly, but with an accent.
In Canada, none of this seems to matter. Even if asked “where are you from”, it is with genuine interest for the story you bring with you. Rather than being met with a “go back to your own country”, as I’ve seen said so many times by my fellow Dutch-men/women. It is sad that this is the phrase people choose, instead of looking for the benefits someone’s worldly view can bring to their community. Inevitably, it leads to social isolation and expats befriending mostly other expats. In Canada, integration is real and possible, and an absolute no-brainer for anyone who wants to do so.
2. Canada is gorgeous and wild
From the lakes, to cottage country, the snow topped mountains. Canada is beautiful. That doesn’t even begin to cover the vast amount of untamed land available as well. Whether you love the big cities or the outdoors, you will find it. Canada is known for its wildlife too, such as the artic hare, badger, beaver, black bear, reindeer, gray wolf, red fox, and of course moose, among many more. Anyone who loves nature, conservation, and wildlife will have a lifetime’s worth of exploring just in their own backyard.
Lake Louise, Canada. Photo by Faye Cornish on Unsplash
3. Economic stability
The Canadian banking system is the cornerstone of a strong and secure economy. It is amongst the world’s most stable, and this financial security provides for a high quality of life for the majority of Canadians. The natural resources available in Canada supports this stable economy and the country enjoys income from oil & gas, gold, copper, iron ore and uranium. Beyond this, the knowledge economy is strong and there are also an increasing number of tech startups and incubators cropping up in major urban centers. The wealth of nature and the safety of the country as a destination fuels a thriving tourism industry, where visitors come to enjoy whale watching, hiking, skiing, and the Northern Lights.
4. Canada is safe
As mentioned in my third point, tourism can flourish in part because Canada is so safe. With violent crime quite rare and gun ownership low, Canada has built a great reputation for being a safe country. The combination of strict laws around firearm ownership, and a lengthy and difficult process to get one, combined with a general sense of safety means gun ownership is very low. I’ve only lived in the Toronto area, but have visited some other major cities in Canada regularly, and never felt unsafe. I’ve walked home after midnight on my own more than once, without any concerns for my safety, or looking over my shoulder.
5. Universal health care
Canada’s healthcare system is one of the fairest and most accessible in the world. Medical treatment is mostly free at the point of use and funded by government taxes. Each province is given a health budget to administer locally and issue health cards to all eligible residents allowing them to access healthcare.
Depending on which sort of visa you have, an expat may be granted a health card, but it is worth researching before hand in case you need to take out private insurance. There can be lengthy waiting times for some procedures, however this is a small price to pay for access to some of the best staff, facilities and treatment methods in the world.
All in all, I love Canada and I very much identify as being Canadian. Have you been to Canada? Or are you also an expat living in Canada? If so, what drew you to the country, and what do you like best about it? My favourite is my first point, the fact that as long as you’re willing… you too can be Canadian.