Canada is a nation renowned for its high number of immigrants, and has people from all over the world who have settled and made Canada their home, myself being one of these. Whilst living in Canada, I have noticed that there is an amazing acceptance of cultural differences, as well as a mutual love and respect for the country by those that live in it. Expatriates in mining are by and large, adventurers at heart. They thrive on uprooting from the familiar and moving to a new country, where they will experience a different culture, possibly need to learn a new language, eat unfamiliar food and get to see new and exciting places, and Canada is a popular choice for expatriates.
Despite the last couple of years having been so challenging and eventful for job seekers in mining, it seems that Canada has certainly not lost its attraction for expatriates in mining, and the prospects of a better life still lead many hopeful expatriates to seek opportunities in Canada. With its reputation for its natural beauty and first world lifestyle, its world renowned healthcare system and educational standards, it is not really surprising.
Canada is repeatedly lauded as one of the world’s most livable countries, and its allure is not only in its scenery but also the lifestyle and security that it offers expatriates and their families. Generally those in mining offered the opportunity to work in Canada are quick to grab at it. Canada has one of the world’s strongest economies; it also offers an incredibly solid infrastructure and service sector. For expatriates in mining, who have professional qualifications, it holds tremendous opportunity because of its copious amounts of natural resources.
The majority of expatriates working in Canada work in one of the big cities or towns. Approximately 80 percent of Canadians live in urban regions. Canada has approximately 6.8 million immigrants, of these 91 per cent of them live in metropolitan areas, and 63.4 per cent live in the Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver areas. With only 35 million people currently living in this huge country there is just an abundance of space. The sheer size of the country, which is second only to Russia, is awe inspiring. Not only is Canada a country of tremendous opportunity, it has breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, from its mountains and glaciers to its secluded lakes and forests, few countries offer the beauty and natural wonder that one can find in Canada.
Canadians as a whole are polite respectful people, the majority of Canadians have a real and very genuine appreciation for, and love of their country and its natural beauty, and do their utmost to preserve and respect their environment. Canada has also frequently ranked number 1 in the United Nations annual Human Development Index, and because Canada is still a part of the British Commonwealth it is very popular with expatriates from both France and the United Kingdom. It is also popular amongst expatriates from the US as it shares many social and economic similarities with the United States.
As an ex South African one of the first things that struck me when arriving in Canada, apart from its breathtaking beauty, was the freedom one has. Having lived in Johannesburg for the majority of my life I was accustomed to living behind high walls and electric fencing. From my experience of living in Vancouver, it seems that where houses have fences around them that it is in order to keep small children and pets in, not people out. When living in South Africa, when high jacked or involved in an armed robbery ones attitude is often that you are lucky to have escaped unhurt and with your life.
Living in Canada one just does not accept or expect that violent crime will be a part of your life, as people in some countries sadly are forced to do. I am sure that as with any city there are areas of Vancouver and other cities in Canada where crime can be a problem, and the reality is that living anywhere in the world there are dangers, but as a whole it seems that Canada is a very safe country to live in. This may be especially so for those of us who have lived in countries where crime is sadly a way of life, and for that reason expatriates in mining often feel very privileged to have the opportunity of working and living in this amazing country.
The climate in Canada varies tremendously from region to region. Winters can be very harsh in many parts of the country, this is especially so in the interior and the Prairie Provinces. In non-coastal areas snow can cover the grounds for at least 6 months of the year, and in some areas all year round. Coastal British Columbia has a temperate climate with mild but rainy winters. This makes Vancouver extremely popular amongst expatriates. For those of us who were brought up in the sunshine in countries like South Africa, we miss the sunny skies, the thunderstorms and the lifestyle that accompanies good climate. For this reason expatriates can find the weather can take some getting used to, but Canada has so many other positives, that adapting to the weather is a small sacrifice to make for expatriates. I have also noticed that Canadians as a whole take very little notice of the weather and still spend huge amounts of time outdoors enjoying and making the most of their beautiful surroundings.
In Canada the provinces and territories are responsible for education with the mandatory school ages ranging between 5–7 to 16–18 years. Canada boasts an adult literacy rate of 99 percent. According to Wikipedia, as of 2011, 88 percent of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, compared to an OECD average of 74 percent. It also stands among the world’s most educated countries – ranking first worldwide in the number of adults having tertiary education with 51% of adults having attained at least an undergraduate college or university degree (according to the OECD 2012 survey).
As a whole Canada, with its beautiful landscape, first world lifestyle and peaceful law abiding people is a wonderful country for expatriates in mining to consider when looking at job opportunities abroad.