Living in Quebec: 15 things to know before leaving for Canada
Author: Clark Tos
Do you want to live in Quebec? Whether it is to study or to work, whether to stay for a few months or to settle permanently, here are fifteen things to know before leaving for Canada.
The province of Quebec, in Canada , and particularly the city of Quebec attract many foreigners who come to settle for studies or for work, for a few months or for an indefinite period. Many French people in particular go to live in Quebec, and not only because the official language is French. The Province of Canada is a particularly dynamic region , which offers a remarkable quality of life. Note that Quebec has one of the lowest crime rates in North America, and Quebec City has been voted the safest city in Canada to raise children. Another advantage of Quebec is access to lush nature and outdoor activities near cities.
Attractions that have perhaps already convinced you to live in Quebec or Montreal? Whether you are leaving to study or for work, here are fifteen things to know before leaving France for Canada. To properly prepare for your move and not to feel totally foreign when you arrive, like a guide to expatriation in Quebec!
15 tips to follow before moving to Quebec: understanding and getting to know the region
1) Living in Quebec: the province of Quebec and the city of Quebec
Guide to expatriation in Quebec: 15 tips to follow before leaving / Credit: Unsplash
When we talk about Quebec, we are talking about the province of Canada - country with 10 provinces and 3 territories. Quebec extends over 1,542,056 kilometers and has 8,501,833 inhabitants. Montreal is the largest city in Quebec. When we talk about Quebec, it is the city, capital of the province. It has 549,459 inhabitants. Quebec is divided into six boroughs (La Haute-Saint-Charles, Charlesbourg, Beauport, Saint-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge, Les Rivières, La Cité-Lemoilou) with different characteristics. We must therefore not confuse Québec (the city) and Québec (the province). And we must not confuse Quebec, capital of the province, with Montreal, metropolis of the province.
2) Living in Quebec: the weather
Winter in Canada is harsh, much harsher than in France. Thus, in Quebec, temperatures can drop to -15°C during the winter, with (exceptional) peaks down to -35°C. This does not prevent Canadians from multiplying outdoor activities: skating, skiing, hiking, among others. To protect against cold and wind, it is important to be well covered in winter. Before your move, prepare warm clothes in your suitcase. And count on the “onion skinning” technique, that is to say the accumulation of layers to be able to be comfortable (and especially warm) both inside and outside. . Don't forget a hat, scarf and appropriate shoes (like furry boots). If the winter is (very) cold, the summer in Quebec can be very hot, with high humidity.
Guide to expatriation in Quebec: preparing for the cold / Credit: Unsplash
3) Living in Quebec: the story
Knowing the culture and history of the place you want to move to is essential for integration. So for a successful immigration, here is a brief history of Quebec.
The first inhabitants of Quebec are nomads from Asia who crossed the strip of land that linked Siberia and Alaska more than 12,000 years ago. In 1534, French navigator Jacques Cartier arrived in Quebec via the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The French colonize Canada, which they call New France. Then Canada became an English colony in 1759, after the defeat of the French. Thus began a long conflict between English Canadians and French Canadians. In 1867, Canada became a federal state, and Lower Canada became the province of Quebec. Province which will try to obtain its independence from the 1960s during the Quiet Revolution. After two referendums with very tight results (in 1980 and 1995), Quebec remained attached to Canada.
Guide to expatriation in Quebec: knowing the region where you are settling / Credit: Unsplash
4) Living in Quebec: the Quebecois
Former French colony, Quebec has kept French as its official language… with a few subtleties . For example, Quebecers say “hello” instead of “hi” and “bon matin” rather than “bonjour”. “See you soon” means “see you soon”, the “cell” is the “telephone”, while the “dryer” is the “tumble dryer”. They don't say it's 'cold' but 'frette'. Other useful words for living in Quebec: a “blonde” is not a beer but a “girlfriend”, while a “chum” is a “boyfriend”. And if a blonde and a boyfriend live together, they are said to be 'adjacent'. But before settling together, they have to “chat” (“talk”), “crouser” (“flirting”) and even “frencher” (“kiss on the mouth”). “Tabarnak” can be complicated, but, for integration, learn a few words in Quebec will facilitate your arrival.
5) Living in Quebec: wildlife
In Quebec, you can come across many animals , such as white-tailed deer, moose, caribou, black bear, polar bear, coyote, arctic fox and red fox, blue whale, beluga or seal. In towns, you may also spot gray squirrels, skunks and raccoons. Among others.
Steps to take to move to Quebec
6) Living in Quebec: the different visas
For tourism in Canada, in general, a visa is not necessary: a travel certificate (AVE) is sufficient. But to stay more than six consecutive months in Canada, to study in Canada or to work in Canada, a visa is required to enter Canadian territory . The request must therefore be made (and validated) before departure. There are several types of visas, divided into two main categories: temporary resident visas and permanent resident visas. The Working Holiday Permit (PVT) is a temporary solution that allows young people between the ages of 18 and 35 to work in Canada for a fixed period, for example. For immigration to Quebec, you can apply for a visa adapted to your project (you will find more specific information here ).
Guide to expatriation in Quebec: preparing for immigration / Credit: Unsplash
7) Living in Quebec: social insurance and health insurance
Upon arriving in Quebec (to stay there), you must apply for a social insurance number (SIN) with Service Canada. This is one of the essential steps, and it's free. The SIN is a unique number that allows (among other things) to pay taxes in Canada or receive government benefits. It is also necessary to register with the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) to benefit from access to free care. Health coverage allows you to pay nothing when consulting a general practitioner thanks to the card given to permanent residents, temporary workers with a permit for more than six months or certain students.
8) Living in Quebec: driver's license
For people settling permanently in Quebec, Montreal or elsewhere in the region, the six months following the installation in Quebec, the French driver's license is sufficient to drive a car. But, after the six-month period, it is necessary to have a Quebec driver's license, which you can obtain by taking the steps with the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). You can also ask an international driving license (valid for three years, you can take the steps even before your departure to facilitate your expatriation). For students who come for a fixed period, the procedure is not necessary: the French permit is valid for the duration of their school year or their term.
9) Living in Quebec: money
Difficult to keep a French bank when you no longer live in France. The ideal is to open a bank account in the country where you settle. Some Canadian banking institutions offer remote account opening. Steps that you will not have to do when you arrive on site, which will facilitate your expatriation. To note that the currency used in Quebec is the Canadian dollar. There are 5, 10, 20, 50, 1000, 500 and 1000 dollar bills and there are 1 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 25 cent, 1 dollar and 2 dollar coins. The exchange rate is 1 euro for 1.32 Canadian dollars.
Guide to expatriation in Quebec: preparing your arrival for worry-free immigration / Credit: Unsplash
10) Living in Quebec: housing
Before moving, be aware that the price of real estate in Quebec is one of the lowest in Canada , which makes the province very attractive. For example, renting an apartment with two bedrooms will cost an average of 945 Canadian dollars in Quebec City compared to 1679 Canadian dollars in Toronto. The average cost of a house is 555,017 Canadian dollars in Montreal, compared to 1,791,633 Canadian dollars in Vancouver. The rental or sale ads indicate 1 1/2, 2 1/2, 3 1/2 (etc), that is to say the number of rooms in the accommodation, knowing that the kitchen is considered as a room and the half-piece bathroom. If the metric system is in effect in Quebec, the surface of an apartment or a house is sometimes indicated in square feet. It is therefore important to know that 1 square meter corresponds to 10.76 square feet.
Living in Quebec: life there
11) Living in Quebec: the school system
If you decide to immigrate in Quebec as a family, with one child (or more), here is how the school system works. Schooling (before higher education) lasts 13 years. Children start kindergarten from the age of 5. Primary school is compulsory from the age of 6 for a period of 6 years. This is followed by 5 years of secondary school, then 2 years of Cégep to obtain the college diploma (DEC), equivalent to the French baccalaureate. In Quebec, school buses (yellow buses) pick up children to take them to school up to secondary school.
12) Living in Quebec: work
The Canadian system is not the same as the French system and does not guarantee the same job security. You should know, for example, that an employment contract is optional , which can make hiring for a job easier than in France, but also easier to lose your job. If the job market is dynamic in Quebec, it is essential to find out about your field before leaving because some sectors are blocked. Another problem: some diplomas require equivalences to be requested in advance.
Guide to expatriation in Quebec: find out before you leave / Credit: Unsplash
13) Living in Quebec: taxes
Goods and services - with the exception of commodities - are subject to consumption taxes imposed by the governments of Canada and Quebec. Taxes which amount to around 15% and which are not included in the prices indicated on the labels. As for tips (at the restaurant or at the bar), it is necessary to calculate around 15% of the bill.
14) Living in Quebec: alcohol
In Quebec, it is forbidden to consume alcohol in public places (the street, parks), at the risk of receiving a fine. Alcohol is not sold in supermarkets but at the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) - and the prices are high because they are generally imported products. Moreover, many restaurants (where you can taste poutine) do not have a license to sell alcohol. Some therefore offer their customers to bring their own bottle of wine. For restaurants that have the license, they must stop serving alcohol from 11 p.m. Bars must stop from 2 a.m.
15) Living in Quebec: emergency numbers
In case of health problems or other concerns, here are some useful numbers:
- Doctors, ambulances, firefighters: 911 in Montreal and Quebec, 0 in Quebec
- Quebec Poison Control Center: 1 800 463-5060
- Health info: 811
- Info crime Quebec: 1 800 711 1800
- Sûreté du Québec: 310-4141 or *4141
- Electricity: 1 800 790-2424
- Gas smell detection: 911
- Suicide Prevention Center: 1 866 277-3553
- SOS conjugal violence: 1 800 363-9010
Guide to expatriation in Quebec: a new life begins with immigration / Credit: Unsplash