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The Answers to Common Canadian Life, Weather, and Immigration Questions

Do you have a question about Canada? Contact me!

Meanwhile, read the answers to the most frequently asked questions.


Will I freeze to death in Canada?

Canada’s long and harsh winters are world-famous. The stereotype is true, you will quickly learn to use “cold, eh?” as a greeting.

However, keep in mind that Canada is a huge country with different weather patterns. Most Canadians live close to the US border, where temperatures are much warmer than in Nunavut or the Yukon.

For me, coming from a French city where snow is rare, the first few winters were actually a fun and fascinating adventure. I got to experience blizzards, ice rain, snow storms and more. I also got familiar with other types of extreme weather—I survived a few tornadoes and a derecho as well.

However, I’m one of these people who hate cold weather. It took me a few years to admit I would never get used to six months of snow, slush, ice and below-zero temperatures. These days, I try to head South for as long as I can.

Do you have snow year-round in Canada?

Nope. In most of Canada, there’s snow on the ground from December to May but summers are very hot and humid. I’m talking heat-warning level here.

This is a country where you can go from -40°C to 30°C just a few weeks later!


Where can I learn French? How can I improve my English skills?

You will find more info about learning English and French in these two articles:

Is the French spoken in Quebec very different from the French spoken in France?

Yes and no. We understand each other just fine and the grammar is largely the same. The slang is different though, and so is the vocabulary.

I’s a bit like British English vs. American English or the flavour of Portuguese spoken in Portugal versus Brazilian Portuguese.

As for the accent, well… everybody has an accent!


Is the cost of living high in Canada?

There is no perfect answer to this question with too many variables. If you’re from Bangladesh or El Salvador, everything will be more expensive in Canada than back home. If you’re from Australia, Germany or the US, you probably won’t notice a major difference. Big cities are also much more expensive than middle-of-the-wood Canada.

Your budget also depends on your lifestyle and expectations. Homeownership is a goal for many people but real estate has gotten very expensive over the past decade.

Generally speaking, expect a sticker shock for telcos (Internet, cable, cellphone plans, etc.), dairy, alcohol, and domestic travel.

Should I settle in Vancouver or in Toronto?

Most immigrants settle in either of these two cities, and French speakers favour Montreal. Just remember that Canada is a big country where other provinces and cities are also an option.

Don’t worry, there will be a Tim Hortons nearby no matter where you decide to live.


My application has been “in process” forever. Can I sue Citizenship & Immigration?

It’s frustrating but there’s not much you can do at this stage and I doubt that making a formal complaint will help your case.

Immigrating is not a right and unless you can prove discrimination or wrongdoing, long processing times are the norm nowadays.

I am a brain surgeon/a professional poker player/a belly dancer. Please tell me if I am eligible to immigrate to Canada.

The skilled worker category is a point-based system. You can determine your eligibility for free online on the Government of Canada website.

I applied for permanent residence under the Quebec skilled-worker program but now I want to live elsewhere in Canada. Is it okay?

In short, yes. As a permanent resident, you can live anywhere you want in Canada.

I landed in Canada to activate my permanent residence visa, then I went home right away. Now, I’m ready to live in Canada. Where do I start?

How long ago did you land?

If it was more than five years ago, you may have lost your permanent residence status. As a permanent resident, you must be physically present in Canada for two years for every five-year period.

Do I need to hire a lawyer to take me through the application process?

I don’t recommend hiring a lawyer or an immigration consultant unless your case is very tricky. Most people fill out the forms and handle the immigration process by themselves—it can seem daunting at first but it’s not that hard, and you will save a lot of money.

Note that no lawyer has the power to speed up the immigration process. Be very suspicious of anyone claiming they can.

Read this first if you do plan to hire a representative.