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Coming to Canada




Canada has five main regions: Atlantic, Central, Prairies, West Coast, and the North. Culture and population are different in each region.

The Atlantic region consists of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland/Labrador. Resources such as fishing, farming, forestry and mining are important to the Atlantic economy.

Central Canada consists of Ontario and Quebec. This is the most populated region of the country. Together Ontario and Quebec produce more than three-quarters of all Canadian manufactured goods.

The prairies include Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Much of the land in these provinces is flat and fertile. It is excellent for farming and rich in energy resources. In Western Alberta, the prairies end and the Rocky Mountains begin. The Canadian Rockies includes some of the largest and most spectacular parks in North America.

The West Coast consists of the Province of British Columbia. It is famous for its mountain ranges and forests. Natural resources such as the lumber, fruit and ocean life are important to the economy of this region.

The North consists of the Canada' two territories: the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Together they make up over one third of Canada's landmass. Northern resources include oil, gas, gold, lead and zinc.


Canada is a democracy with three levels of Government - federal, provincial and municipal. Each is freely elected by popular vote. Canadian citizens' 18 years and older can vote in all elections.

The federal government is responsible for national defense, foreign policy, trade and commerce, currency, banking, criminal law, fisheries, shipping, postal services and some social benefits.

Provincial governments are responsible for civil and some criminal law, property rights, education, vehicle and marriage licensing, municipal institutions, working conditions, health care and social services.

Immigration and agriculture are shared by the federal and provincial governments.

Municipal governments look after police and the fire protection, local courts, jails, garbage and snow removal, road maintenance and public health services.

Canadian residents can benefit from programs that have been paid for from their taxes and payroll contributions.

Each level of government collects different taxes. Income tax and Goods and Services Tax (GST) are federal. Many provinces charge a sales tax. Education and property taxes are municipal.


Canada has a diversified economy. Resource industries such as forestry, mining, energy, agriculture and fishing are important source of jobs and wealth. However, Canada is also recognized as a world leader in high technology areas such as communications.

Canada's economy is responding to the challenge of global competition and challenging needs. More and more jobs involve working with people and information. Service industries are increasingly important.




Getting used to a new country is never easy, no matter how well you have prepared yourself. Depending on the country you come from, it may involve many changes - new customs, new surroundings and basic differences in day to day living. So be patient. There will be much to find out about Canada, and it takes time. If you need help, do not hesitate to ask police officers, shopkeepers or people on the street. Canadians are informal people. They will often call you by your first name and shake your hand when meeting you for the first time.

There is no official religion in Canada. Freedom of worship is a basic right. Look in the yellow pages for places of worship in your community.




Canada's money is in dollars. Canadian coins include the penny (1 cent), nickel(5 cents), dime(10 cents), quarter(25 cents), one dollar featuring a Canadian bird call the loon (often called a "Loonie" coin) and two dollar(often called a "Toonie").



FEDERAL LEVEL: Income Taxation, Social Insurance Number, Employment Insurance, Seniors Benefit, Canada Pension Plan, Passports, Child Tax Benefit, Immigration, Veterans Affairs, National Defense, Old Age Security

PROVINCIAL LEVEL: Education, Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates, Land Registry, Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan (OHIP), Workers Compensation, Family Benefits, Colleges and Universities, Ontario Student Assistance Plan (OSAP), Licenses (Drivers's, Hunting, Fishing).

MUNICIPAL LEVEL: Area Parks, Recreation Facilities, Garbage Disposal, Public Transit, Sewers, Snow Removal, Welfare and Social Services, Roads, Police, Homes for the Aged, Street Lighting.


For many newcomers to Canada, a dilemma even prior to finding a job is to get a roof over their head. A place that they can stay in and call home. Many condition themselves to settle for temporary accommodation until a source of income is found.

What next?
There are decisions to be made as to whether to rent or to buy, the costs to be considered and most importantly, a convenient location where public transport is easily accessible and schools for the children are nearby.

Fortunately, thanks to proper planning by those who came before us, primary schools are usually within walking distance of any residential complex that you may prefer to choose. High Schools at times could be a little distance away, but then, the education system provides an adequate and safe bus system to get those children to and from school. The junior kindergarten or the baby sitter, also within walking distance, is the only place to which you may have to hand hold your child to deliver to and pick up from. Most of the other facilities are conveniently accessible by children. By street proofing your children as to the do's and the don'ts while going to school and coming back from it, you acquire peace of mind while at work. Since all schools have an ethnic mix, if you are particular about cultural retention or religion, you may elect to check out the school by visiting it a few times at different hours, talking to the administrative staff and teachers.

To Rent Or To Buy

Unlike other parts of the world, buying a home may not lead to instant equity building all the time. Therefore most people in the interim decide to rent a home whether it is an apartment, a leased condominium in a building, or in a housing complex, a townhouse, a link home or even a detached home.

Rents vary from the facilities provided, the vicinity, and the size of accommodation. Leases here are usually one year long with the requirement of the payment of the first and last month's rent. The rent is paid at the beginning of the month in advance rather than at the end.


Buying A Home


Do not be coerced into making such a major decision without doing your homework first. A lot of leg work may also be required. There is no reason to make a hasty decision and be talked into "an opportunity of your lifetime" by a fast talking agent who may just want to make a fast sale. Finding a reliable agent who can give you in-depth understanding and information and at times even recommend that you don't buy a home because you may not be ready for it, is the right person to deal with. We would be happy to recommend a reliable, trustworthy person who has experience in the area that you may be looking for.

You should take into account every hidden cost which is usually taken for granted and match it with your budget and affordability. This, since it is a large commitment and the values of the property do not accelerate at the same pace as they do in other parts of the world.




Whether you buy or rent, the rule of the thumb, both for budgeting and economic reasons as well as qualifying to rent or to buy, is directly proportional to your income level. In other words to qualify to rent or to take a mortgage from a financial institution, your monthly outlay should not exceed more than one third of your gross income. The second third is obviously required to make a living and in providing for food, clothing, entertainment and other expenses. The last third could be provided for taxes and other costs which provided direct and indirect facilities for your safekeeping and contingency for the rainy days. This is not any different from what everyone usually does work for a third of the time, sleep for the other: third, recreate for the last third (most of which for : newcomers could be absorbed in chores related to settling and self upkeep). Within this spectrum, there may also be room to give someone a helping hand.

Information in this article has been provided in good faith.



Canada has a predominantly publicly , privately delivered health care system that is best described as an interlocking of ten provincial and two territorial health insurance plans. The system provides access to universal, comprehensive coverage for medically necessary hospital, in-patient and out-patient physician services.

The management and delivery of health services is the responsibility of each individual province or territory which plan, finance and evaluate the provision of hospital care, physician and allied health care services, some aspects of prescription care and public health. The federal government's role in health care involves the setting and administering of national principles or standards for the health care system (i.e., Canada Health Act).


How The System Works


Canada's health care system relies extensively on Primary care Physicians (e.g., family physicians and general practitioners), who account for about 60 percent of all active physicians in Canada.

They are usually the initial contact with the formal health care system and control access to most specialists, many allied providers, hospital admissions, diagnostic testing and prescription drug therapy.

Canada does not have a system with doctors employed by the government. Most doctors are private practitioners who work in independent or group practices enjoy a high degree of autonomy. Private practitioners are generally paid on a fee-for-service basis and submit their service claims directly to the provincial health insurance plan for payment.

When Canadians need medical care, in most instances, they go to the physician or clinic of their choice and present the health insurance card issued to all eligible residents of a province.

Canadians do not pay directly for insured hospital and physicians' services, nor are they required to fill out forms for insured services.

A number of allied health care personnel are also involved in primary health care to a certain extent. Dentists work independently of the health care system, except where in-hospital dental surgery is required. While nurses are generally employed in the hospital sector, they also provide community health care including home care and public health services. Pharmacists dispense prescribed medicines and drug preparations and also act as an independent knowledge source, by providing information on prescribed drugs, or by assisting in the purchase of non-prescription drugs.

Over 95 percent of Canadian hospitals are operated as private non-profit entities, run by community boards of trustees, voluntary organizations or municipalities. Hospitals have control of the day-to-day allocation of resources, provided they stay within the operating budgets established b\ the regional or provincial health authorities.

In addition to insured hospital and physician services, provinces and territories also provide public coverage for other health services that remain outside the national health insurance framework for certain groups of the population (e.g., elderly, children and welfare recipients)

Although the provinces and territories do provide some additional benefits, supplementary, health services are largely privately financed and Canadians must pay privately for these non-insured health benefits. The individual's out-of-pocket expenses may be dependent ()n income or ability to pay. Individual's and families may acquire private insurance, or benefit from an employment-based group insurance plan, to offset some portion of the expenses of supplementary health services.



North America's free enterprise environment is an ideal climate for almost anyone to start a new business of their own, large or small. The ingredients required are either a good idea or a good product, a few contacts, the appropriate capital, self-discipline and most importantly, a lot of energy and determination to put in the hard work required in order to succeed. Yes, you guessed it right. It is the same formula in any part of the world. All except the requirement of a larger capital, red tapism and a lot more contacts elsewhere.

Those who have little or no experience, but the capital to substitute, may even look into taking over an existing business or going for a good franchise. This advice comes from a lay person's point of view who has some business experience by being on the streets of Toronto and many other parts of the world for the past many years. Listed below are some pointers from the Ministry of the Economic Development and Trade, Ontario which one should consider very carefully. In addition it goes without saying that one should "look before they leap". In that, a viability study rather than a "jump in the deep end" is compulsory if not mandatory. While it is not a bad idea to take advice from real estate agents, bankers, accountants, and lawyers, bear in mind that they are not in the business you are intending to go into. Why not, as an alternative if not in addition, talk to the real people who actually do it. Try talking to them. You may be surprised as to the level of co-operation, another distinct feature in this part of the world so long as you do not wish to open across the street. At times this idea is also acceptable. Better still, why not take up employment in that field if that's one of the entities you may be interested in. In short, it's better to be safe, rather than sorry.

What is the difference between a sole proprietorship, partnership and corporation?

A sole proprietorship is a business established by one person who is financially responsible for the operation of the venture. All profits and debts of the business is the responsibility of the owner. The income, net of expenses, earned by the owner of the business is considered to be personal taxable income by Revenue Canada.

A partnership is a business formed by 2 or more individuals who are jointly and separately financially liable for the operation of the business. All partners must be registered under the name of the business. The income, net of expenses, earned by the partnership is considered by Revenue Canada to be personal taxable income of the partners. It is advisable that a partnership agreement be drawn specifying all terms and conditions of the partners involvement in the business, including the sharing of business profits, debts, responsibilities, etc.

A corporation is a business registered as a distinct legal entity apart from the owners. Shares of the company are owned by shareholders and the shareholders/owners personal liability are limited to the amount of his/her investment in the company. The exception to this liability relates to personal guarantees of the owners for corporate bank loans and legal obligations associated with that of a company directory. Income, net expenses, earned by a company is considered by Revenue Canada to be taxable income of the corporation.

When do I have to register my business name?

If the name of your business is or will be different than your own personal name it must be registered with the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, Companies Branch, before you start using it. For example, if Jane Smith conducts her business as "Jane Smith" she does not need to register the name. However, if she operates as "Jane Smith Enterprises" she will have to register the name.

The fee for registration is $70.00 for expedited service and an additional $10.00 for a name search to see if the name you have chosen is presently being used by another business. If you register by mail the cost is 60.00 and $8.00 for a name search.

You may register your business or conduct a name search by mail or in person at:

Companies Branch

Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations

393 University Avenue, 2nd Floor

Toronto, Ontario M7 A 2H6

Tel: (416) 314-0096

You can contact the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations General Inquiry Unit toll-free in Ontario at 1-800-268-1142, or in the local Toronto area at (416) 326-8555 TTY (for the hearing/speech impaired) (416) 326-8566 You may also register your business in person at any of the Ontario Business Connects (OBC) Workstations. Registration forms can be obtained at the OBC workstation.

To find the nearest OBC Workstation to you, go to their website, Ontario Business Connects.


Does registering my business name protect me from someone else using it?


Registering your business name does not give you exclusive use of the name. You may want to conduct a name search before registering the name to ensure someone else is not using the name in your business area. Name searches can be conducted at the Companies Branch of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations or at any of the Ontario Business Connects Workstations.

Provincially and federally incorporated business names are protected to a greater extent. You may be sued if you use a name that is the same as the legal name or registered trademark of an incorporated business.

Do I need a municipal License to start my own business?

Each municipal government has the authority to issue its own business licenses within its jurisdiction. Since there is no uniformity throughout the province regarding municipal licenses for businesses, you should consult with the appropriate local offices to determine if your business will be affected by local regulations, licenses or zoning requirements. Local Municipalities are also responsible for the administration of certain provincial laws like the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act, which governs community health standards. To find out what regulations apply to your business, contact the nearest small Business self-help Office in your area.



Recognizing the dramatically increasing costs of a university education, many people would like to start setting funds aside as soon as possible for minor children or grandchildren. And, of course, they would like to use the most tax-effective savings strategy possible. The strategy chosen often largely depends on their financial means, the children's ages and the length of time left to save. For instance, older parents or grandparents sometimes have more excess capital to quick start an education savings program for older children. On the other hand, younger parents with younger children typically need to focus on paying down a mortgage and saving for retirement, and may have to take a gradual, long-term approach to education funding.

Regarding of your stage of life or family circumstances, you should know that there are several education funding strategies that are effective. You may even choose to implement a combination of strategies.

Retain ownership of Assets

Invest in your name

You may prefer to save for a child's future education needs while retaining ownership and complete discretion over all the funds. Once way to so do this is to merely invest in your own name. Unfortunately, if you invest in your own name, any interest, dividends or capital gains earned on the investment will generally be taxable to you at your own tax rate. The advantage of investing in your own name is that you will always be in the driver's seat as far as if, why, when, and to whom your assets are ultimately distributed.

Registered Education Savings Plan

Another way to save for a child's education while retaining ownership of assets is to contribute to a Registered Education Savings Plan or RESP (you may be required to relinquish ownership of earnings with a group RESP or "tontine" plan. An RESP offers some tax advantages, and recent enhancements add some attractiveness to this vehicle. Although an RESP is subject to contribution limits and various other restrictions, it can be very effecive under the right circumstances. An RESP can also be used in combination with other other funding options.

Here is a brief outline of some of the rules governing an RESP:

The maximum amount that all subscribers together can contribute for any beneficiary is $4,000 per year up to a lifetime limit of $42,000 per beneficiary.

Each year, from 1998 on, every child under age 17 at the beginning of the year will accumulate $2,000 of Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) room; the federal government will contribute 20% of cumulative CESG room or 20% of your contribution, whichever is less, as a grant to the RESP; as grants are claimed, cumulative CESG room will be reduced by eligible contributions.

NOTE: Contributions for children age 16 and 17 are eligible for grants only if they have amounted to at least $300 per year in any 4 years before the year the child reaches age 16, or a minimum of $4,000 has been contributed before the year the child reaches age 16;

Contributions for children age 18 and older are not eligible for grants at all.

Taxes on income are deferred (like RRSPs) but contributions are not tax-deductible. Contributions can be withdrawn tax-free at any time. Accumulated income is taxed in the child's hands if educational requirements are met.

If all beneficiaries are over age 20 and not pursuing post-secondary education, and the RESP is at least 10 years old, the subscriber may roll up to $40,000 of accumulated income to his or her own RRSP or a spousal RRSP to the extent RRSP contribution room is available (rollover limit increases to $50,000 effective ]January, 1999), or accumulated income can be recovered subject to tax at the subscriber's tax rate plus a 20% penalty surtax.

RESPs may particularly appeal to younger parents with young children, especially if they want a forced savings program and they are building up RRSP carry forward room because of financial constraints. Older parents or grandparents, and high net worth individuals (with no RRSP carry forward room and more exposure to the 20% penalty surtax) are much more likely to require the flexibility of a formal trust structure.

Nargis Maherali is a Financial Advisor at the Willowdale office of Midland Walwyn Capital Inc. specializing in conservative investment advice, and can help you save for your child's education. For your complimentary copy of Midland Walwyn's special report on Education Funding or for further information feel free to call her at (416) 496-6687



Canada is the greatest sports country in the world today. There is no other country, that affords its people more sport, athletic and recreational opportunities. Race, color, creed, where you came from or even how good you are does not matter. At any age, young or old, just name your game.

I'm a huge sports fan. My better half will tell you that all the time I listen to sports radio, watch sports television or pay attention to sports of one kind or another. I love motorcar racing, football, baseball, hockey, golf, tennis, fishing and camping. My children are into basketball, karate, roller blades, swimming, fishing, skating, snowboarding and tobogganing. In this article, I'll give you just a starting menu and probably not finish.

It's a daunting task. Canada is an enormous country. In the past 500 years, everyone who ever came here, came from somewhere else - and everyone brought their sport. Our aboriginal people's games and sports are still popular and actively played, even a thousand years later. Canadians play all the world's games, and a couple, like hockey and lacrosse, we call our own. At this time of year, for example, you'll find cricket matches every weekend in every major city across our five thousand miles of country. In Toronto, you can watch for free, just about any Sunday, in Sunnybrook Park.




I'll bet you didn't know that more boys and girls register and play soccer than any other organized sport in Canada. Soccer has become huge here. Especially in numbers of players of all ages, more than Hockey - and in Canada, that's saying something.

This rapid rise in popularity has been recent. Certain immigrants have brought "soccer in their blood", along with greater experience and training, to our new sport. On the national level, Canada is taking applications for a new head coach. We are striving for our first World Cup berth. Canada has been close; almost to the point of tasting it. We've beaten Paraguay, Columbia and the U.S.; tied mighty Brazil and Mexico, but some others we should have won, got away recently. There is a growing talent pool of good young players with more on the way. Canadian players are now showing up on major European Club Teams, and in U.S. and Canadian professional leagues. High school and college soccer programs are well developed. As I understand from soccer people, the real need is for more experienced coaches at all levels to develop the talent.


Canadian Football is not called soccer, and soccer is not called football. Rugby is not football either, although the ball has roughly the same shape. Canadian and American Football players wear helmets and body pads for protection. Teams take turns on offense and defense, have pre-designed plays, passing, running, and kicking on offense, along with a lot of blocking and tackling, on defense. The game is played on a 100m field, with goals at each end, similar to rugby. Football is followed by millions of fans in North America with the same fervor and excitement that soccer attracts in other parts. Fans join pools, cajole and cheer their favorite CFL or NFL teams, and wager on their best predictions right up to the Grey Cup and Superbowl Championships.

Take my advice and go at least once to a Canadian Football League game. This is top level, professional sports entertainment, featuring tremendous football and amazing athletes. It is rare indeed that one should ever see a boring CFL match. Best of all, ticket prices are affordable.


It's hard to say, but according to many sports observers, the 'best' game is Canada's game, hockey. Canadians play hockey everywhere, all the time. It's the game we grow up with. All you need is a hockey stick, a ball, goal, and a few players, and the game is on. You can play almost anywhere. Hockey Night in Canada is the most watched television program in the country.

Organized hockey is played on ice in arenas. Skating is obviously required. Teams have five skaters and a goalie and try to score goals on the other team, much like in soccer. In fact, many of the skill sets and strategies of soccer, translate well to hockey. Unlike soccer though, a goalie can expect to face up to fifty shots in one game and usually three or more goals are scored. You can expect fast, end to end action with scoring chances, on almost every rush.

Kids get into hockey at any age and both boys and girls play. Skating lessons, coaching, and registration for teams are found even in the smallest communities. Myself, I learned to skate on frozen ponds & streams and I started playing road hockey with the big kids from the age of five. Now I play in a seniors' league, with players who are terrible, just like me, with dreams of glory and the winning goal.




While hockey, curling, baseball ( we haven't even touched on this), auto racing, skiing, skating, snowboarding and the Olympics have proudly marked our country and our athletes as champions, there is one other sport, more popular than all the others. With more than one million freshwater lakes, rivers and streams and not counting our ocean and Arctic bounty, its no wonder that Canada is home to the world's best fishing. I think there are three main reasons why Canada has become a leading sports country.


1. Our Constitution and how we take care of ourselves.

2. Us - the people. Interested, positive, open, involved people.

3. The Countryside - God Given.


Every country has beauty and wonder, I'm sure. Canada just has been blessed with more. Much more. So next week, I'm going fishing with my children, on a lake just north of Kingston, right next door to heaven.

If you would like further information, you can contact the author, simply by registering your request with Inter-Connections Canada.

Jim Dunstan Garen is a business person who resides in Guelph, Ontario. You can contact him directly at 416-937-9950.


As a newcomer to Canada you may wonder how the Canadian income tax system works. Many of the benefits we enjoy in Canada are made possible by taxes. For example, Canada's tax system pays for roads, public utilities, schools, health care, law enforcement and many other important things.

Your Income Tax Return

Income tax applies to all Canadian residents. If you have questions about your residency status, contact you local taxation office.

In Canada, taxes are levied upon most types of incomes you earn. Each year, residents of Canada submit an Income T ax Return. This informs the government how much money you earned that year and determines how much tax you owe the federal and provincial governments. Like all Canadians, you are responsible for giving the government true information, and for calculating how much you should pay.

You have to submit an Income Tax Return if you lived in Canada for part or all of the year. In some cases you must pay the government when you submit your return. However, you may have already paid more than you owe through deductions on your pay cheque. In this case you may be eligible for an income tax refund.

If you lived in Quebec during the year, you may also have to file a separate provincial tax return.

The deadline for submitting your complete (income tax return is April 30). If you submit your forms late and you owe tax, you will be charged penalty plus interest.


Other Taxes


These are utility based rather than those based on one's income. For example the business tax for operating a business premise and the realty tax for owning a home goes to the government, who look after funding the educational system, and other services such as road construction and maintenance, garbage collection, snow removal and many other facilities. The GST (goods and services taxes) subsidizes federal government costs in maintaining a business environment. The PST (provincial sales tax) subsidizes the provincial government in maintaining standards of consumer protection. All of these result in services and benefit to the end-users. It is gratifying to note that all levels of government account for every penny of taxes collected and Canada is one of the few countries that provide financial statements for scrutiny, comment and challenge by residents who contribute to the same.

Disclaimer The information in this article has been provided in good faith. For more details, please contact Revenue Canada.



Information provided by Human Resources Development Canada

The Employment Insurance (El) Act is designed for today's labor force, providing assistance where it is most needed and offering incentives for claimants to return to work.

You can receive regular benefits if you lose your job and can't find work, provided that you meet these requirements:

You have paid into the EI account; :

You have worked a minimum number of hours of work. This minimum varies depending on where you live, because it is determined by the unemployment rate in your area. Most people will need between 420 and 700 hours of work within the last 52 weeks, or since the start of their last claim to be eligible for Employment Insurance benefits

Exceptions :

If you are entering the work force for the first time or re-entering the work force after an absence of two years, you will require more hours of insurable employment to qualify. You will need a minimum of 910 hours of work. If you apply for sickness, maternity, or parental benefits, you will need 700 hours of work.

How long you can draw benefits depends on:

The unemployment rate in your region and how long you have worked. Benefits don't last forever. You can receive benefits of between 14 and 45 weeks depending on your circumstances. The basic benefit rate is 55% of your average insured earnings up to a maximum of $413 per week. You may receive a higher or lower benefit rate depending on your personal circumstances.

If you quit your job without just cause or if you are fired for misconduct, you will not receive benefits. The following are a small selection of the most common circumstances which HRDC may consider as just cause:

Sexual or other harassment;


Working conditions that endanger your health or safety;

Excessive overtime or an employer's refusal to pay for overtime work;

Major changes in work duties;

Difficult relations with a supervisor, for which you are not primarily responsible.

Your employer is doing things which break the law.

There are other circumstances which could be considered as just cause to leave a job. More information regarding this can be found at the Centre.

Employment Insurance is a financial safety net to protect Canadians from hardship when they lose their jobs and while they are looking for work. The right to receive benefits however, is balanced by the responsibility of each person to abide by the requirements of the law. You have the responsibility to:

be willing and able to work;

be looking for work;

Follow instructions from HRCC staff members;

Accurately report all money earned while on EI;

Report all work you do while on EI even if you have not yet been paid; and report any absences from the country.

Under most circumstances, you are not permitted to receive regular benefits for any period in which you are not in Canada.

The government is determined to protect the EI fund for honest and deserving Canadians. The wealth of EI personnel experience and the development of powerful computer tracking and data systems have virtually closed off any possibilities of abuse going undetected for long. It is everyone's responsibility to help detect and deter EI fraud. Stop abuse before it happens. Disclosure of mistakes or overpayment protects you and the system.

If you need more information, contact a Human Resource Centre of Canada (HRCC). Check the telephone directory under Human Resources Development Canada for the office nearest you. The Centres have EI agents and staff whose jobs are to make certain that you get all the benefits to which you are entitled, while helping you return to work.

HRCC's are also a good place to start if you are looking for work or planning to change jobs. They have computerized job banks and job boards which post openings available in the area. The Centres display a collection of publications, including brochures on other EI benefits, how to prepare a resume and how to look for jobs


Private Transportation


Because of the longer distances between places, most Canadians drive cars and find their convenience worth the high vehicle and insurance costs.

Legal Driving Age

You must be at least 16 to drive legally in Canada.


Driving In Canada


The driver's seat is on the left side of the car.

Canadians drive on the right side of the street with oncoming traffic on their left.

Speeds and distances are in kilometers and gas (petrol) is sold by the liter.

Street parking in downtown districts can be scarce, and in some areas, non-existent. Where permitted, it is strictly controlled and limited to certain hours or for a specified period. Don't forget to keep an adequate supply of coins handy for parking meters. Parking on streets is illegal and must avoided as it can cause obstruction.

Vehicle license plates must be renewed at regular intervals. Your insurance company will provide details.

Drivers may turn right on a steady red light when safe to do so after coming to a stop ( except in Quebec where it is not permitted).

International traffic signs are used. You must make a full red lights and then at steady or blinking orange proceed only when the light to green or, in the absence of a changing signal, only when it is safe to proceed.

Drivers are required to proceed with caution at flashing amber signals. A steady amber signal requires you to stop.

The speed limit in most cities is 50 kilometers per hour, except in almost all parks where it decreases to 30 kilometers per hour.


The Demerit Point System


Drivers receive a certain number of demerit points for each driving offense. These points can result in penalties ranging from a warning letter to a driver's license suspension. Ask your local Motor Vehicle office or licensing authority (listed in Transportation in your city section) for more information.


Buying A Car


Cars can be bought from both dealers and private individuals.


Points to remember:


Shop around as prices vary considered the starting . The asking price is usually point for bargaining.

Bargaining can take time - be patient and persistent.

It helps to shop with someone who is knowledgeable about cars.

If buying through a dealer, protect yourself by ensuring he or she If you buy a used car privately, confirm that the vendor has clear title to it. (See Transportation in your city section for details).

Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)

While used cars can be a bargain, they should be examined by a licensed mechanic. The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) offers a vehicle inspection service at a low cost to members.

CAA members also have access to 24-hour emergency road service, insurance, maps and tour books, and vehicle testing.

Car Insurance

Every vehicle operated in Canada must carry insurance. a letter from your insurance agent verifying your safe driving record may qualify you for a safe-driving discount. For information on insurance in your province, see Transportation in your city section.


Safe Driving Rules


The law requires all drivers and passengers in Canada to wear seat belts.

Safe baby seats with harnesses are required for infants up to 18 kilograms.

Motor cyclists must wear helmets.

Pedestrians always have the right-of way.



Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law. Offenders are fined or imprisoned for a first offense in addition to receiving a year-long driver's license suspension.

Refusing a police officer's request for a breath or blood sample is also a criminal offense. Random roadside breathalyzer checks and road blocks are common in Canada.




Anyone involved in a car accident is required to:

give his or her name, address and phone number, the name and address of the vehicle's registered owner, the vehicle plate and permit number; and the name of the insurance company, agent and policy number in writing to anyone who needs it.

In case of injuries or if damages police are called, remain at the accident site until allowed to leave or legal formalities have been completed.

If someone is injured in a car accident, call 911 immediately for the police or an ambulance.

Protect yourself by:

getting witnesses' names, telephone numbers and addresses

making no admissions or accepting any blame at the accident scene.




If a police officer tickets you for a traffic violation, read the ticket carefully to learn where and when to appear if you wish to contest the charge, where and how the fine must be paid, and how to appeal.




Severe Canadian winters and long distances between places require that you have a dependable vehicle and drive safely.

A minor mechanical failure or driving error can become an emergency.

Knowledge and prior planning can also make the difference between life and death or serious injury. Before departing, call the Road Condition information number listed in the provincial section of the Blue Pages.

Gas stations sell antifreeze (a fluid able to withstand very cold temperatures) to keep your engine radiator from freezing. Gas line and windshield wiper antifreeze is also necessary in extreme cold. Depending on the type of tires on your car, you may have to switch to snow tires in winter.

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