Living in Canada

Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west and northward into the Arctic Ocean. It is the world's second largest country by total area. Canada's common border with the United States to the south and northwest is the longest in the world.

In its short history, Canada has grown into a knowledge-based nation with world-class governance, corporations, culture and lifestyle. Canada prides itself on its stunning natural attractions and vast open spaces. Committed to education, the environment and health care for all, Canadians look to the future with confidence and optimism.

Canada is a federation composed of ten provinces and three territories. In turn, these may be grouped into regions: Western Canada, Central Canada, Atlantic Canada, and Northern Canada (the latter made up of the three territories: Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut). Eastern Canada refers to Central Canada and Atlantic Canada together. Provinces have more autonomy than territories.

Canadians place great importance on learning, and have developed a first-rate education system with high standards. The country spends more on education (as a percentage of GDP) compared to the OECD average, and is the second highest among G-8 countries.

Canada has ranked as one of the top ten places to live in the world since 1994 according to the United Nations (UN) and the Economist Intelligence Unit.  In the UN survey Canada earned particularly high marks for its access to education, high life expectancy (due to universal health care system); and low crime and violence rates. In addition, Canada's largest cities -- Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal -- have been recognized as world class cities in which to live and work, for their cleanliness and safety and for their cultural activities and attractive lifestyles.

Canada has traditionally been a country of immigrants and has a policy of encouraging multicultural diversity. In this vibrant setting, different perspectives are respected and learning together is encouraged. Almost all of the world's ethnic groups are represented in Canada. As a result, most ethnic foods and recreational activities associated with specific cultures are available in Canada. Clubs, informal clubs and associations representing a multitude of ethnic backgrounds are also easily accessible. International student advisors at schools can help students get in touch with such groups. Canada's two official languages are English and French.

All major urban centers have a variety of shopping malls, restaurants, theatres, art galleries and museums. Canadian cities provide numerous parks, gardens and beaches for public use, as well as excellent sports and recreation facilities.

Canadians place a high value on their natural environment. There are currently 42 national parks and national park reserves in Canada. National parks are located in every province and territory, and some have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Each province and territory has also designated areas as provincial parks, wilderness areas, ecological and nature reserves. There are over 2000 of these designated areas across the country.*

Students who come to Canada will witness one of the most beautiful, natural environments in the world. Canada is also a country of diverse geography, and there is much to experience in its great outdoors: from the lush coastline of British Columbia, the majestic Rocky Mountains of Alberta, the big skies of the prairies, to the 'maple sugar country' in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence and the rugged hills and picturesque coastline of the Atlantic Provinces.

Canada is a stimulating environment in which to do business and to learn, thanks to the contributions of many bright and talented scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs. The country is an international leader in computer and information technologies and has a reputation for excellence in such sectors as telecommunications, transportation and engineering; and specifically, aerospace, urban transport, microelectronics, medical devices, advanced software, hydroelectric and nuclear power, lasers and opto-electronics, biotechnology, food and beverage processing, geometrics; and ocean and environmental industries.

High points in Canada's telecommunications industry include Teleglobe's CANTAT 3 cable, which is the first of its kind in the world, and which supports high-speed and high-capacity delivery of transoceanic, multimedia transmission. The Stentor Alliance of telephone companies invested $8 billion to provide the latest in broadband technology to 80 per cent of Canadian households. Canada was also among the first in the world to recognize the need to connect schools and libraries to the Internet, and its SchoolNet program is being copied around the world. Industry Canada's SchoolNet has successfully made Canada the first nation in the world to connect its schools and libraries to the Information Highway.

 

Studying in Canada                                                                                                                                   

Canada has a large selection of universities and university colleges located in both urban and rural settings in every region of the country. Universities are internationally known for the quality of teaching and research. Degrees from Canadian universities are considered to be equivalent to those from American and other Commonwealth universities. Canadian universities are largely publicly funded; as a result they are of a consistently high quality, regardless of location or area of study. As well, they all retain a high degree of academic autonomy.

Full-time student enrolments at individual universities range from over 35,000 to less than 1,000. In addition, most universities have a large number of part-time or continuing education students. They offer a broad range of courses and a full range of degrees from undergraduate to doctorates, and can also offer certificates and professional degrees. Fees for universities differ depending on the province, institution and program of study.

The university year usually runs from September to May. Some universities are on a semester or trimester system, with all courses available even in the summer. There is no Canada-wide entrance test: each university sets its own admission standards and assesses the qualifications of each applicant individually. In a majority of instances, Canadian universities share the same outlook as US universities.

As Canada has two official languages - English and French - an international student can take a degree either at an English language or French language institution. Some universities offer instruction in both languages. However, students do not have to be fluent in both languages to attend a Canadian university.

To qualify for a degree program at most English-speaking universities, students for whom English is not a first language must have passed an English examination test. The TOEFL is commonly accepted but Canadian universities often have their own tests for students or may accept other English examination tests such as the IELTS.

Lawand Education Counselors should be able to provide valuable information on English examination tests acceptable to Canadian universities. Counselors can also advise students on whether they may qualify for an exemption from English examinations. In addition, Counselors should have extensive materials on Canadian schools and can also provide counseling to students on finding the appropriate institution and applying for study in Canada.

If applicants are interested in studying at a French language institution, it is good to note there is no standardized French language test that international students are required to pass in order to qualify for a degree program. French universities, however, will determine the level of a student's French language skills on a case-by-case basis, and may choose to administer their own written tests if language skills are in question.

There are more than 150,000 international students who go to Canada every year to study.

  • Canadian universities and colleges are respected worldwide for their high quality of education.
  • Tuition fees for international students in Canada, and the cost of living, are among the lowest in the world.
  • Eligible students can gain valuable Canadian work experience through off campus employment.
  • Canada ranks among the most multicultural nations in the world. Regardless of ethnic origin, students feel at home in our diverse communities and campuses.
  • According to the United Nations, Canada offers one of the highest standards for quality of life in the world.

 

Courses & Universities

The education system in Canada encompasses both publicly-funded and private schools, including: community colleges/ technical institutes, career colleges, language schools, secondary schools, summer camps, universities and university colleges. 

Education is a provincial responsibility under the Canadian constitution, which means there are significant differences between the education systems of the different provinces. However, education is important to Canadians, and standards across the country are uniformly high.

The 89 Universities that are members of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada are located across the country, with institutions in every Canadian province. Taken together, they offer a wide range of courses.

In addition to universities, Canada's postsecondary system includes 175 community colleges, which respond to the training needs of business, industry and the public service, as well as the educational needs of vocationally oriented secondary school graduates. These colleges, also known as institutes of technology, university colleges or CEGEPS, historically offered diplomas and certificates rather than degrees.

Canadian universities provide a full spectrum of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, with faculty undertaking research of national and international importance.Most of the graduate degrees are research programs rather than course work. So the possibility to get graduate (Master) offer is difficult like PhD.