What you need to know
Canada is one of the best countries in which to live. The quality of life is extremely high. It provides a very comfortable standard of living, good health care, efficient social security, quality public education, low crime rate, stable and growing economy, and clean environment.
Canada, the second largest country in area in the world, supports and advocates a free and democratic society. The Canadian constitution, called the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, guarantees everyone the right to equality, mobility, and freedom of speech, assembly and association.
Canada is one of the few countries in the world with an active program for permanent immigration. In fact, Canada accepts more immigrants and refugees, in proportion to its population, than any other country.
One out of every six Canadian residents was born outside the country. Directly or indirectly, immigration policy has touched the lives of every Canadian, and it has helped make Canada a culturally rich, prosperous and progressive nation.
Citizenship and Immigration assesses immigrants and visitors on standards, which do not discriminate on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, or sex. In addition, the immigration program is universal -- applicants from around the world are assessed against exactly the same criteria.
Canada is a land of great natural beauty. With its Atlantic and Pacific coasts, vast forests, mountain ranges, lakes and sprawling prairie, Canada is rich in natural resources. In addition to the main landmass, it has numerous islands and has the world’s largest number of lakes and inland waters.
Much of Canada is in the Earth’s Frigid Zone and experiences severe winter weather. The rest of Canada is in the Earth’s North Temperate Zone and has more moderate four-season climate.
The federal government is responsible for such national matters as foreign affairs, national defense, trade and commerce. It also shares many powers with the provincial governments. The provincial government takes care of education, transportation, health, and social services.
The municipal government controls local matters such as police, schools, garbage collection, and property taxes. It is headed by a mayor with representatives acting as councilors.
Canada is an independent constitutional monarchy and has three tiers of government: federal, provincial, and municipal (for towns and cities).
Canada's head of state is the Queen of England. She is represented by the Governor General in Canada and has a mainly symbolic role.
In Canada, federal, provincial, and municipal governments pass laws. The courts interpret and enforce the laws, although separate from the government. There are different types of courts dealing with different areas of the law. The Canadian court system consists of three levels: trial courts, appeal courts, and the Supreme Court of Canada, which is the court of final appeal. Interpreters who speak your language are available upon request to assist you in court.
Health and Welfare
The federal and provincial governments share social welfare responsibility. The federal government administers national programs such as the Canada Pension Plan, Canada Assistance Plan, old-age security pensions, family allowances, youth allowances, and unemployment insurance.
Financial aid is provided to the provinces by the federal government for public assistance programs. Local governments provide for and administer most public assistance programs. Health and Welfare Canada is the federal agency that administers health matters.
All Canadian residents are granted medical coverage under the national Medical Care Insurance Program also known as Medicare. The program provides comprehensive coverage for all medically required services rendered by physicians and surgeons on a nonprofit basis.
Canada is one of the most industrialized countries in the world. Its abundant natural resources supply the raw materials. Agriculture is the main economic activity but industrialization has outstripped the land-based economy and established itself.
Industrialization has created a great demand for workers. The need for professionals and skilled workers prompted the Canadian government to allow immigration as a method to fill the void in areas where local residents are unable or unwilling to meet local demand.
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