Life in America vs life in Canada

As we all know, Canada sits right above the United States, so it makes up a large part of North America. Throughout history, these two countries have been very close. Just think about it, from some of the northern states it’s just a short drive to get there. So, one could easily assume that comparing life in America vs life in Canada would be a boring thing to do as they are the same. However, this is as far from the truth as it can be. 

There are differences in politics, regions, currency, and of course food. Some of them you already know, but some may surprise you. Here’s what to prepare for if you’re thinking about moving to Canada.

Different government system than in America

Before you start looking into everything you need to know about international relocations, you need to understand the political and system differences that you’ll encounter. And the biggest one here is that America is led by a president, while Canada is a Commonwealth country that is led by a prime minister. It’s also worth mentioning that technically, Queen Elizabeth is the head of the state there although she doesn’t really do much.

There are also differences when it comes to political parties. If you lived in the U.S. for the most of your life you’re used to having Democratic and Republican parties as two major ones. In Canada however, there are four major parties and lots of smaller ones. The biggest ones are Liberals, Conservatives, Green party, and the New Democratic Party.

Canada is more welcoming to expats

This is one difference between the two countries that seems more obvious now than it ever was. Canada takes more refugees than the United States of America does. They see immigration as a crucial thing for their economic growth and success and they invite people from all over the world. In fact, according to statistics one-fifth of the population is foreign-born.

So, if you figure out that Ontario gives you many reasons to move there feel free to try it. You’ll be referred to as new Canadian and trust us, you’ll feel welcomed. 

People talking about life in America vs life in Canada.
One of the main differences between life in America vs life in Canada is that Canada welcomes expats much more.

Canadians have more vacation and work less

Now, we don’t want to sound rude but who wouldn’t want to work less and rest more? Well, it seems that Americans do work more than Canadians. And that’s one of the biggest differences of life in America vs life in Canada.  They have regular 30-minute breaks every five hours on working days and their vacation times resemble that of Europe. 

What this means is that you get the amount of paid vacation time depending on how long you’ve been working for. In the beginning, you have only two weeks but after five or six years you climb up to three. And that’s much more than you usually get in the U.S. In fact, it seems that south of the border employees choose not to use paid vacation time even if they can. And if you look at it from the Canadian perspective, that’s more than strange.

Snacks in Canada are very different

Although they’re close geographically, food in these two countries differs very much. One important thing that our professionals from Number 1 Movers Ontario told us you need to know is that Canadians are serious about their potato chips. The two most famous options are ketchup ones and nations’ favorite all-dressed chips. They’re a combination of barbecue, tomato, salt, sour cream, onions, and vinegar. It may sound strange but actually is very delicious.

There are also very into maple syrup, as you might expect. So, although you can get a nice cheeseburger in bigger cities you’ll probably forget about them very quickly. 

Potato chips with dip.
Canadians are very serious about their potato chips and they really do make it good.

No middle school

In the U.S., the kid starts its’ schooling with kindergarten, goes to elementary up to the fifth grade, move onto middle school through eighth grade, and finally high school until 12th grade. In Canada, the situation is a little bit different and you need to be aware of that if you’re planning a family relocation here.

There’s simply no middle school. Elementary school lasts up to seventh grade, and then the high school goes all the way to 12th. If you happen to think about moving to Quebec, know that your kid will finish high school after 11th grade, and then a vocational school is mandatory for two years. College comes after that.

E-commerce is much better in America

To many, the ability to buy anything online and have it shipped immediately is an important asset to have. So we think that it should be the next big difference when we’re talking about life in America vs life in Canada. You see, while many things are similar so you have lots of malls to choose from, different options when it comes to moving are available, and you have many restaurants to visit, you can’t buy many things online. 

Infographics very easily explain what’s going on here. So, Canadians do have a high rate of internet usage, however, fewer than half of their businesses have websites. Let alone have the ability to sell online. Even Amazon Canada has a very restricted offer compared to its American cousin.

Man holding a credit card in front of computer.
Buying online really isn’t that easy in Canada.

It’s actually cold in Canada

Although pretty much every American knows that it’s cold in Canada if you’ve been living in one of the best places to live in Central California we’re not sure that you can comprehend how it is in Montreal during the winter. Even a simple task like walking a dog becomes very complicated when it’s -8 degrees for months outside.

Of course, there are places in the U.S. that have a cold climate, but the difference in life in America vs life in Canada is that all Canadians experience harsh winter. So, it’s a thing to prepare for. Especially if you lived in a warm place for most of your life.

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