When we first landed in Toronto, I was surprised how many things I had to relearn; I’m not just talking about driving on the wrong side of the road, light switches that needed to be flipped upwards to put the light on or keeping track of daylight saving time.
There were some points I wish I had been told, when I was a new Canadian, fresh ‘off the boat’ as they like to say. Some I knew already, but I feel all 5 points will help newcomers to Canada more than you can imagine.
Here are my top 5 things to watch out for, as you head to Canada’s shores.
- Don’t ask anyone ‘where are you from?’ Many newcomers do this when they are eager to make friends and want to find common ground, but some people feel offended. Its just not a cool thing to do. Remember: Everyone you see is Canadian regardless of their skin color or accent until they tell you otherwise.
- If someone asks you how are you? Don’t tell them. It’s just a greeting like ‘hello’ The accepted answer is ‘ I’m good, how are you?’ Anything more than that will probably receive an eye roll when you are safely out of sight.
- This one I have been careful to avoid ( Wouldn’t tell you if I did either, would I?) Don’t ever lie ( even a little, white lie) while getting an insurance quote, making an insurance claim, or talking to anyone from the government. I know a few individuals who have tried and had their financial reputation marred. Canada is very well connected so there are databases where companies can check for fraud, credit scores and even insurance claims. A new immigrant might be tempted to use a better postal code or marital status or group affiliation while trying to get a better insurance rate and beat the system. I get the reasons why someone might do it. However fraud is viewed very seriously in Canada and it can have very major impacts. Insurance could be cancelled and impact the client for up to 6 years not to mention criminal charges.
- Do help others as much as you can. Buy someone a coffee, volunteer or even mow your neighbor’s lawn. This is the very soul of being Canadian. Read all about it here.
- Do thank everyone that helps you with anything at all. The person who holds the door open for you as you pass, the customer service rep that gives you a quote for a new phone service ( even if you didn’t like the offer) and most definitely the Uber or bus driver as you exit the vehicle. It is the polite and civil nature of ( mostly) everyone around that have earned Canadians the well deserved moniker of the most polite country in the world. Follow suit and enjoy living in such a cordial atmosphere.
These are the top 5 things that newcomers to Canada should keep in mind. I’m sure there are several others that you will learn as you go along. Please do share.