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What to Expect When Moving to Canada from South Africa

May 31st, 2019

Census data has revealed an increase in South Africans moving to Canada, with around 5,765 South Africans moving to Canada from 2011 to 2016. Any move comes with change, culture shock, and more! For South Africans, this move may require a significant adjustment compared to other regions of the world. Here’s what to expect when making the move of over 15,000 kilometres from South Africa to Canada.

Safety Concerns

Crime and safety are the big reasons many South Africans are moving to other countries like Canada and New Zealand. Canada is considered a very safe country ranking the eighth safest out of a ranking of 162 countries (from safest to most dangerous). Canada’s overall crime rate is 1.6 per 100,000 which is low. While theft and petty theft is low, don’t leave valuables in your car and lock up your bike to prevent theft. Because Canada is safe, not many people live in gated communities like they do in South Africa. Marijuana is legal in Canada. You’ll also find in Canada that most police are not corrupt, so if you get stopped for speeding, it’s not a time to negotiate, just pay your fine and move on.

Official Languages

English and French are the official languages of Canada, but roughly one-fifth of Canadians report that their first language is neither of these languages. The top five languages spoken in Canada are (in order of most spoken) English, French, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Punjabi.

Weather Changes

Canadian winters can be frigid. If you’re looking for something a little more temperate, but don’t mind the rain you’ll want to make the west coast your home. While Canada has four seasons, just like South Africa, winter here runs from December through March, and summer is May through September (the opposite of life in the Southern Hemisphere). Cars will need snow tires for better traction in winter, and you will need to get accustomed to walking and driving in cold, wet, and sometimes blizzard conditions. In the summer, there are concerns surrounding forest fires in areas like British Columbia.

Good Help Is Hard To Find

While you may be accustomed to domestic help in South Africa, beyond hiring a cleaning person every week or two, most Canadians can’t afford regular domestic help. This means most ironing, gardening, and cleaning will be done by you and your family.

Get Your Visas In Advance

Take care of your work permits and visa well in advance, before you move. Canada has visa application centres in Cape Town and Pretoria, or you can apply online for your visa provided you have access to a credit card and digital camera to make copies.

It’s Cheaper…. Sometimes

Food, entertainment, and housing is cheaper in South Africa than it is in Canada. What you’ll save money on is toys, electronics, cars, and inflation (which is only at two percent). Used to only being able to buy/drive a white car in South Africa? In Canada, you’ll be able to pick out a car in virtually any shade or colour.

The Food

Canada is a multicultural country with great food, but you aren’t going to find a substitute for real braai, sorry! Barbecue isn’t going to even compare, so find other fantastic local food to enjoy. The amazing food you will have access to is fantastic sushi, maritime and west coast seafood, and more!

Time Zones for Communicating with Your Family

While South Africa is far away, the time zone difference between Canada and South Africa will allow for easy phone communication with family. Use your mornings to connect with family at home, who will be nearing dinnertime.

Orbit International Moving Logistics Ltd.: Your International Moving Expert

We have over a decade of experience moving customers around the world. Some of our customers like us so much, they’ve used us more than once. Why did they come back to Orbit? Our customer service is what sets us apart – customer service representatives answer every question, no matter how small, and our moving crew shows up on time with all the materials they need to get the job done correctly the first time. To learn more about Orbit, call us at 416-661-4228.

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