We asked readers what information they would include in Canada’s immigration guide. Here are some of their responses:
I would include information on the political system and finding their elected officials at all three levels of government. I think the guide should encourage newcomers to become active in the community and offer political engagement as a pathway to learning about local issues, support groups and other community organizations.
Erin Langs, Canadian currently living in Dubai
It would be good to have some idea of the costs of living, including rent, groceries, transportation, clothes and so on. The big surprise to me was how much it cost to rent an apartment. I had naively thought that since Canada is such a large country, with a low population density, the cost of renting would be lower than it is.
Charles Manuel, Ottawa
The importance of Canada’s parks and protected areas.
Nikita Lopoukhine, Ottawa
I would make it mandatory that everyone learn to speak English within two years of arriving and have them take a basic English literacy test. I am an immigrant and have seen so many parents not learn how to speak English although they have been in the country for 20 to 30 years. Many people my age interpret for their parents. If they lose their children’s support they are lost and not self-sufficient.
Marjoke Apking, Vancouver
I would encourage new Canadians to seek and familiarize themselves with the support they can receive from governments and non-profits. I wish my family was aware of the concept when we arrived. In my country of origin, no such things were available and we didn’t think to even look for them when we encountered difficult times in Canada.
Polina Emelianova, Toronto
That there are guaranteed rights for women and homosexuals and that no religion is above any other.
George Gianakopoulos, Toronto
It will be harder to get to know the general population of Canada if you live in an ethnic enclave. Please feel welcome to live in neighbourhoods outside of your ethnicity so other Canadians can get to know you. Please learn and keep the law. Please get as much education as you can. Please be friendly and tolerant. Treat your family, your neighbours, and your community with respect and kindness.
Dana Sherlock, Bowmanville, Ont.
Buy good winter clothes, boots, scarves and gloves. Learn to ski downhill or ice skate. Buy winter tires and slow down because of icy roads. Make friends with the First Nations people and learn one word, like Tansi in Cree for hello, or take in a PowWow. The heritage and character of Canada lays within the First Nation people. Go camping and spend at least one night in a teepee.
Beverly Crier, Hobbema, Alta.
With such a diversity of weather conditions, I would include a picture guide on how to feel comfortable in all temperatures. The layering principle can also be shown in a graphic, a fun but informative way.
Ann Atkins, Toronto
Having lived in Quebec for the last seven or so years, I would recommend more information on primary steps to accredit your profession in your new homeland, including timelines, where to go and what to expect. Another difficulty is banking. You basically have no existence without a credit card. Your credit history had zero value in Canada and you must realize that.
Paolo Solano, Montreal