Canada is a vast country which is often over shadowed by the neighbouring United States of America. Unknown to many, Canada is actually the second largest country in the world by land mass, and is one of the top 10 economies (by size) in the world. Hence there is plenty of room for the growing number of Expats deciding to live in Canada .
In what some may find surprising, the country was original inhabited by the aboriginal tribes commonly associated with Australia, although the country has very strong links with the UK and France, hence English and French are stated as the two main languages of the country.
Canada is well known for the mounted police force, the "mounties", and offers some of the most beautiful and relatively untouched natural scenery seen anywhere in the world. Often thought of as a "poor cousin" of the USA, Canada has a lot to offer, and is one of the most progressive nations of the world.
The culture of Canada is vast and complicated with strong ties to both the UK and France - in fact Canada is still part of the Commonwealth, with Queen Elizabeth II still the head of state.
Due to the close vicinity of the USA, Canada is also heavily influenced by the US culture with US TV and media holding prominent positions in Canadian life. The government still hold a major influence over many areas of business, with a an array of provincial owned businesses used to promote the diverse culture and attractions of the country. The Canadian population are heavily into sport, with Ice Hockey one of the countries most successful exports, along with Lacrosse.
The population of Canada is dominated by the English (20.2%), Scottish (14%) and Irish (12.9%) although there are also strong contingents of Germans (9.3%), Italians (4.3%) with smaller communities of Chinese and Ukrainians.
Employment in Canada
Canada has a thriving economy which is centred on the country's vast array of natural energy resources and mineral reserves, including Oil, Gas, Gold, Nickel and Lead. The country also has substantial aeronautics, automobile and space industries which seem to work in tandem with the requirements of the US - with which Canada has a complicated trade agreement.
While the Canadian economy is not as strong and varied as the US economy, it is stronger than many European counterparts having shown great improvements over recent times. This recent prosperity has been connected to the growth of the manufacturing and service sectors, which have reduced the country's dependence on more traditional markets of the past.
While there is a degree of government intervention within the labour markets, this is no where near the levels seen in mainland Europe. Canada actively promotes a free market approach to business, although there are employment protection laws to cover employee and employers alike.
The country has an unemployment rate of some 6.3% which is the lowest it has been for the last 30 years. As the country continues to embrace technological and businesses changes in a forthright and structured manner, many do not expect any meaningful increase in the rate in the foreseeable future.
The Canadian tax system ensures that tax is deducted at source, and while the rates vary among the various groups of society, nearly everyone will contribute to the provincial budget in some shape or form. After receiving clearance to work in Canada, and contributing to the taxation system, a resident will become entitled to draw from a range of benefit payments as and when appropriate.
Property in Canada
As with most developing and advancing nations there are a number of property hot spots, often centred around the popular employment areas. Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal seem to be the places of choice for many foreign nationals, due to the strong and varied local economies. Employment prospects are also higher in these growing areas of Canada.
Canada has historically been a rental focused market, although favourable interest rates and lending terms have seen this turn around, with many people looking to acquire property rather than rent. The country has an excellent infrastructure which has allowed many workers to purchase properties further out of the city, taking advantage of the non-premium pricing away from the hot spots.
The property market has recently experienced a boom time, and while there are signs that the market is cooling off, the long term attractions are still in place. The change from a rental based country to one of outright purchase should help to stabilise the property market in the short term, and the ever growing influx of foreign nationals should take up any of the "slack" from local investors.
Provincial Benefits in Canada
The Canadian state benefits system is split into two sections, with the Federal government in overall control and individual provicial authorities helping to shape various payment on the ground. Due to the vast size of the country, the success, unemployment rates and dependence on provincial benefits differ from province to province.
The overall government benefit budget has recently come under pressure with a variety of spending initiatives leading to a tightening of the immediate fiscal policy. Unemployment is a figure which can differ greatly in various areas of the country, even though the country average is a rather impressive 6.3%.
Canadian residence are eligible for the full variety of benefits including unemployment initiatives, income support, pensions and healthcare to name but a few. The government have recently introduced a means testing of benefit claims, with the intention of diverting more funding to areas of real need.
Historically in the shadow of the neighbouring US, Canada has recently broken free and is now becoming a major economic power in its own right. Even though wealth and employment are spread unevenly throughout the country, this is most definitely a country which has further development potential.
As energy prices continue to rise on the open market, the reserves of the Canadian government should receive a welcome top up. This will in turn lead to further internal investment and employment / business initiatives.
While the climate is obviously not as welcoming as the likes of Spain and Portugal for example, the multi-cultural basis of Canadian society offers a welcoming and potentially lucrative resting place for many foreign nationals.
More facts about Canada:-
Capital : Ottawa
Official Language : English, French
Government : Parliamentary Democracy and Federal Constitution, with a Governor General and Prime Minister
Size : 9,984,670 km2
Population : 32.8 million
Currency : Canadian Dollar
International Dialling Code : +1
Economy : 9th largest in the world
Religion : Catholic