Canada is one of the most livable places in the world.
In recent years, Canadian cities such as Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver figured prominently among the world’s most desirable places to live. Such a reason attracts thousands of new migrants to arrive each year. Canada offers a stable economy, a beautiful environment, top-quality education, and job opportunities.
However, several drawbacks should cause people to exercise more caution or research before choosing a particular province or city.
Here are nine bad things you may or may not know about Canada.
No gun ban.
Although firearms are regulated in the country, Canada has a high rate of gun ownership so it seeing citizens with a sidearm is not uncommon. Despite lower crime rates related to guns per capita compared to the United States, the rate has risen since 2013. Statistics Canada states that firearm-related violence increased 42% from 2013 to 2017.
Compared to the United States and neighboring countries, buying goods and products in Canada will cost citizens more because of the tax rates. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the inflation rate, and commodity prices are rising fast. Note that this is not unique to Canada, but this is horrible news for those who are settling in and have a limited income at their disposal.
Income gap growth.
The pandemic continues to get blamed for bringing misery to life, including among Canadians. According to National Post, the number of people living well below the low-income threshold had fallen further behind in the years before COVID-19, based on updated poverty figures that experts say might worsen because of the pandemic.
Asia and the Middle East were often identified as the place of birth for racialized immigrants across three cities, though proportions vary widely:
• Montreal – 47% of poor racialized immigrants.
• Toronto – 74%
• Vancouver – 91%.
Canada generally has lower salaries in many sectors compared to the United States. It also pays higher tax rates in some cases and more expensive products and services generally. Canadian workers get fewer paid vacation days than the rest of the industrialized world.
Sale of asbestos.
Asbestos and asbestos-containing products were officially banned by the Canadian government in 2018, with some limited exceptions for brake pads and cement pipes. Moreover, the government has established strict regulations to ensure that asbestos-containing materials in buildings and infrastructure are handled and disposed of safely.
Asbestos sales were legal in Canada in the past, but the risks associated with asbestos exposure have led to its ban in the country. The Canadian government has implemented several regulations to limit the handling and disposal of asbestos-containing materials, and efforts are being made to help develop safer, more sustainable alternatives.
The current monarch of Canada is His Majesty King Charles III, who has been the reigning monarch since 8 September 2022. As the head of state, the monarch is responsible for granting royal assent to bills passed by the Canadian Parliament and performing ceremonial duties such as opening Parliament and receiving foreign dignitaries.
There is a negative perception of the Canadian monarchy as a symbol of colonialism and the country’s historical ties to the British Empire. In particular, Indigenous peoples may view the monarchy as a reminder of their colonial history and ongoing struggles for self-determination and recognition of their sovereignty.
The cost of maintaining the monarchy, primarily borne by taxpayers, is another negative aspect of the Canadian monarchy. Estimates suggest that it costs millions of dollars annually to support the Governor General, pay for royal tours and visits, and maintain royal residences such as Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
Canada is known for its diverse and often extreme weather conditions, which vary greatly according to the region and season. People migrating from warm countries will need a lot of adjustments since Canada is generally cold and chilly. Snow frequently falls in various provinces. The impact of climate change meant that cold weather wasn’t the only challenge people had to face.
The unprecedented Canadian heatwave in the middle of 2021 killed dozens of people and could become more common.
Many parts of Canada experience extremely cold temperatures during winter, with some regions dipping as low as -30°C (-22°F). In some cases, this can make it difficult to travel or even go outside; if proper precautions are not taken, it may even be dangerous.
British Columbia and Alberta, particularly in the mountainous regions, throughout the winter months, receive heavy snowfall. As a result, travel may be disrupted, power outages may occur, and other challenges may arise.
Some parts of Canada, particularly the southern provinces of Ontario and Quebec, experience heatwaves during the summer, with temperatures exceeding 30°C (86°F) and high humidity levels. For vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with respiratory disorders, these conditions can be uncomfortable and even dangerous.
Severe thunderstorms can cause flash flooding and damage to homes and infrastructure in Canada during the summer months, with lightning strikes, high winds, and heavy rainfall.
Canada has recently experienced more frequent and severe wildfires, particularly in the western region. In areas affected by these wildfires, air quality issues and evacuations may result from the combination of dry conditions and lightning strikes.
High cost of education.
In Canada, higher education can be costly, with tuition fees, living expenses, and other expenses posing substantial financial challenges to many students and their families.
- The cost of tuition at Canadian universities and colleges can vary greatly, with some programs costing upwards of $20,000 per year. Most international students pay even higher tuition fees, which can make studying in Canada unaffordable for them.
- Students must also cover living expenses such as housing, food, transportation, textbooks, and tuition fees. It is important to note that these costs vary from region to region and can quickly accumulate, particularly in large cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.
- As government funding for post-secondary education has decreased, universities and colleges have relied more heavily on tuition fees to fund their programs.
- Although some financial aid is available through scholarships, grants, and loans, this support is often limited and highly competitive. Many students struggle to cover their education costs, mainly if they come from low-income or marginalized communities.
- Living costs are high in Canada, particularly in urban areas. Students may be unable to afford basic needs, let alone cover the cost of their education.
Many students are disadvantaged by the high cost of education in Canada, which can limit their access to higher education and perpetuate social inequalities. It is being attempted to increase government funding for postsecondary education and increase access to financial aid. Still, more must be done to address the systemic issues contributing to the high education cost in Canada.
High cost of transportation.
Transport costs in Canada can vary significantly based on the mode of transportation, the destination, and the time of year. As a general rule, however, air travel within Canada can be more expensive than travel overseas.
There are several reasons for this. First, Canada is a vast country with a relatively small population distributed over a large geographical area. Fewer people are traveling to and from many destinations within Canada, which can make it more expensive for airlines to operate flights and offer competitive pricing.
Additionally, Canada has relatively high taxes and fees on air travel, which can increase the cost of flights within the country. In Canada, the Air Travelers Security Charge (ATSC) is a fee for all air travelers to fund security measures. This fee may add up to $25 to the cost of a domestic flight.
As a final consideration, low-cost carriers compete on international routes, which can result in lower flight prices to Europe and other destinations. Compared to international routes, domestic routes within Canada are less competitive, which can result in higher fares.
High cost of housing.
Housing costs in Canada can vary greatly depending on the region and city. In general, housing costs in Canada have increased over the past decade due to a combination of factors, including low-interest rates, population growth, and a limited housing supply.
The following are some examples of the cost of housing in key Canadian cities:
- Toronto: Toronto is one of the most expensive cities in Canada for housing. The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board reports that the average home price in the city was over $1 million in 2021. Part of the reason for this is a limited supply of housing and a strong demand from both local residents and foreigners.
- Vancouver: Vancouver is another expensive Canadian city for housing. In 2021, the average home price in Vancouver was over $1.4 million, ranking it among North America’s least affordable housing markets. Due to a limited supply of housing and a high demand for housing in the city, housing costs have been high.
- Montreal: While Montreal is generally considered more affordable than Toronto and Vancouver, housing costs in the city have also increased in recent years. Home prices in Montreal increased from around $300,000 in 2015 to over $500,000 in 2021.
Several key factors contribute to the high cost of housing in Canada, including:
- A limited housing supply is a problem in many Canadian cities, particularly Toronto and Vancouver. This is due to restrictive zoning regulations and a lack of land for development.
- In recent years, Canada has experienced rapid population growth, particularly in urban areas. This has resulted in a tightening of the housing market and a price rise.
- As a result of low-interest rates, Canadians have been able to take out mortgages and buy homes, which has increased housing demand.
It is pertinent to note that foreign buyers have played a significant role in driving up the price of housing in some Canadian cities, particularly Vancouver and Toronto.
Like everywhere else, people will always observe bad things about any country or neighborhood. Acknowledging these weaknesses helps potential residents and migrants understand the areas for improvement and dispel wrong notions or incorrect perceptions.
Being informed of such realities makes them more prepared to take on these challenges and minimize potential disappointment. There are things that Canada may such at, but they are outweighed by the benefits of living there, as experienced by many immigrants may be able to attest. Canada is still an excellent immigrant destination.
mapeh paydah canada.