As you pack your bags and get ready for the big move, you’re probably eagerly anticipating life in your new home. Getting your Canadian visa was the first hurdle, and now that you’ve accomplished that task, it’s a good time to start preparing for the transition into a culture that may be a little – or a lot – different than the one you are accustomed to.

To help you on your journey, here are a few things that often take newcomers by surprise when acclimating to life in Canada.

Activities for Every Season

Before choosing a city to settle in, you probably researched the climate a little, but if not, get ready. Unless you live on the West Coast of Canada, you will get to experience all four wonderful seasons including hot summers and cold, snowy winters. Minus 30 degrees Celsius may be something you’ve only read about, but it’s a fact of life for many Canadians. On the other end of the spectrum, temperatures can rise to above 30 degrees Celsius in the summertime.

You will discover that there is no shortage of new experiences to keep you busy all year. Canadian have the unique opportunity to enjoy the best of all four seasons, summer and winter included.

Tipping is Heavily Ingrained in Canadian Culture

Even for Canadian citizens, knowing when and how much to tip on the service you received can present a bit of a challenge and undoubtedly so for newcomers arriving from countries where tipping isn’t common.

As of 2021, Canadian workers employed in the hospitality and service industry are typically paid minimum wage, ranging from $15.20 in British Columbia to $11.81 in Saskatchewan. However, some service workers like restaurant staff and bartenders are paid even less based on the expectation that customers will leave a tip.

As a general rule of thumb, good service in places like restaurants or salons warrants a 15%-20%, a drink at a bar a dollar or two, and Uber or taxis drivers receive between 10% and 20% depending on the distance traveled.

The Sticker Price Isn’t the Price You’ll Pay

In Canada, taxes are levied at both the provincial and federal levels, which applies not only to your earnings and on goods and services you might buy.

Long-time Canadians have become apt at mentally calculating sales tax on top of the advertised sticker price, but for newcomers might take a little practice. Just be prepared to pay between 5% and 15% more than the advertised price, depending on which province you live in.

You May Have to Work Odd Jobs Before Finding Employment in Your Field

Unless you arrive in Canada with a job offer already lined up, you should be prepared for the employment search, especially for professional positions, to take longer than expected. You might also have to be open to accepting posts outside of your area of expertise.

Resuming a professional career is possible in Canada. In fact, many of the most in-demand employees are in professional or skilled careers. However, having foreign experience and qualifications recognized can take time. We suggest bringing more money than immigration authorities recommend and working with an agency that can help connect you with employment opportunities within your field.