The most important information about Canada

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A few words about Canada

The world’s second largest country racks up an astonishing diversity of landscapes; vast prairies rise abruptly to glacier-topped mountains; rugged, unspoiled coastlines give way to immense forests and emerald lakes; and Arctic waters lap upon frozen tundra.

eTA Canada


Canada is the biggest country in North America. It has borders from Atlantic Ocean to Arctic Ocean. It’s known that Aboriginal peoples were the first people living in area. Then in the 15th century, French and English colonialists conquered the country. After some wars, country declared Canada Act 1982.

Canada’s political structure is parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. Head of state is now Queen Elizabeth II. Population of country is 33.4 million. Canada has territories and provinces. Main difference between them is that provinces take power from Constitution Act, 1867 but territories take power from federal government.

There are 10 provinces in Canada. They are Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador. The biggest province of Canada is Ontario. It’s on the east-central of country. Most populour and capital city Toronto and Canada’s capital Ottawa locates in here. Ontario’s 2,700 km border locates in United States. In the last decades, people calls Ontario on two parts as Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario. Southern Ontario is the main place people choose to live in Ontario. Ontario’s climate is mainly warm. Winter is cold and summer is hot. Scottish, Irish and French migrates mostly choose to live in Ontario. At last census, population of Ontario was 12,851,821. Ontario has a strong economy and it’s the manufacturing capital of Canada.

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Travel documents

Canada – Visa RequirementsIncludes information on what is needed to travel to the country/economy.

Entry into Canada is determined solely by Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials, in accordance with Canadian law. Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry both proof of citizenship and proof of identity. A valid U.S. passport, passport card, or NEXUS card satisfies these requirements for U.S. citizens.

The NEXUS program allows pre-screened travelers expedited processing by U.S. and Canadian officials via dedicated processing lanes at designated northern border ports of entry; at NEXUS kiosks at Canadian preclearance airports; access to TSA Pre✓™ at US airports; and at marine reporting locations. NEXUS – Trusted Travelers may see the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (USCBP) “NEXUS” webpage for more information and to learn how to enroll. The Beyond the Border initiative facilitates cross-border movement of business travelers by allowing travelers to submit applications for a TN (Trade NAFTA) visa prior to arriving at the border and by promoting greater consistency in the processing of NAFTA travelers. For more information, please see the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) “TN NAFTA Professionals” webpage.

If a U.S. citizen traveler to Canada does not have a passport, passport card, or NEXUS card, a government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver’s license) and proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate, can be presented. Minors under the age of 16 need only present proof of U.S. citizenship. A visa is not required for U.S. citizens traveling to Canada for visits of less than 180 days. Anyone seeking to enter Canada for a purpose other than a visit (e.g., to work, study, or immigrate) must qualify for the appropriate entry status, and should contact the nearest Canadian Embassy or Consulate. Because visas may take several weeks to process, applications should be submitted as far in advance as possible.

When returning to the United States from Canada, U.S. citizens are required to present a valid U.S. passport if they are re-entering the United States via air. For entry into the United States via land or sea border, U.S. citizens must present either a U.S. passport, passport card, NEXUS card, Enhanced Driver’s License, or other identificationWestern Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) Compliant Document. The only exception to this requirement is for U.S. citizens younger than 16 (or younger than 19, if traveling with a school, religious group, or other youth group), who need only present evidence of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or naturalization certificate. U.S. citizen travelers are urged to obtain WHTI (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) compliant documents before entering Canada well in advance of their planned travel.

In most cases, Canadian citizens are exempt from visa requirements for travel to the United States. Canadian citizens wishing to enter the United States as a Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor must obtain a visa. Companies applying for an initial E1 Treaty Trader or E2 Treaty Investor visa are processed at the U.S. Consulate General in Toronto; visa renewals and visas for family members are processed in Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Calgary. U.S. companies that require non-Canadian foreign business associates to travel to the United States should be advised that visa processing times can vary and may require additional time for administrative processing.

For more information, please see the U.S. Embassy in Canada’s “Treaty Trader and Investor Visas” webpage.

United States Visas

For more information, please see the U.S. Department of State’s “U.S. Visas” webpage or contact Consular Services at any of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Canada.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide.

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The Canadian currency system uses dollars ($) and cents (¢) similar to the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Canada now has one- and two-dollar coins, often called the “loonie” and the “toonie” respectively, in addition to 0.01¢, 0.05¢, 0.10¢ and 0.25¢ coins. Paper money comes in different colors and designs. The most common are $5 bills (blue), $10 bills (purple), $20 bills (green), $50 bills (red) and $100 bills (brown).

Most hotels, stores and restaurants will accept US dollars, though sometimes at a lower exchange rate than at banks or airports. Large hotels will usually give you a rate similar to those at the bank. It is always a good idea to convert some of your money to Canadian currency prior to leaving home.

Exchanging Currency in Canada

You can change money at any recognized financial institution, bank, trust company or currency exchange in Canada. Many major stores, hotels and restaurants will also exchange currency, but often offer a lower exchange rate than a financial institution. Be sure to convert some of your money prior to leaving home.

For information on currency exchange rates, check out the Bank of Canada’s Currency Converter.

Sales Taxes & GST

The GST, or “goods and services tax,” is a 5% federal tax applied to most goods and services provided in Canada.

In all provinces except Alberta, there is an additional provincial sales tax (PST) of between 5-10% added to purchases and financial transactions. The territories do not add PST. The HST or “harmonized sales tax” is a 13% tax that replaces the PST and GST in the provinces of Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Some hotels and retailers include the GST or HST in their prices; others add it on separately.

Visitor Tax Rebates

Non-resident visitors and non-GST/HST-registered businesses visiting Canada may be entitled to take part in the Foreign Convention and Tour Incentive Program (FCTIP). Rebates may be available to those who purchase short-term and/or camping accommodations in Canada. Non-GST/HST-registered businesses coming to Canada for a convention and/or as an exhibitor may qualify for a rebate as well. For more information, consult the Canada Revenue Agency Visitors to Canada website.

Credit Cards & Bank Machines

Major credit cards such as American Express, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted in Canada. Your financial institution at home will automatically make the currency exchange before you receive your monthly statement. Be sure you contact your credit card company to let them know you’ll be using the card outside the country.

Using an ABM (automatic bank machine), also known as an ATM (automated teller machine), is an easy way to access cash while travelling abroad. Most international bankcard systems, including Interac, Plus, Cirrus and Maestro, will work at most ABMs in Canada. You’ll find them conveniently located at banks, stores, airports and many other locations. You can also get cash advances on your credit card at an ABM.

It’s a good idea to notify your home bank that you’ll be using your bank card in Canada to find out whether any special conditions and withdrawal limits may apply.

Travellers Cheques

Travellers cheques can often be used as cash as most Canadian restaurants, hotels and stores will accept small-denomination Canadian Dollar travellers cheques. You may be asked to produce a passport for identification when cashing your travellers cheques.

Banking Hours

Standard banking hours are Monday to Thursday from 9:30 am until 4:00 pm. Many banks are open to 6:00 pm on Friday. Some banks and specific branches may be open later on weeknights and even on Saturdays. Trust companies are generally open from 9 am to 6 pm on weekdays and on Saturday mornings.


Tipping is a common practice in Canada. Tips or service charges are not usually added to restaurant bills in Canada, but server salaries are based on the assumption that staff will receive a good proportion of income in tips. Some restaurants will also place a mandatory service charge on a bill for large groups. In general, you should reward good service by tipping 15-20% of the total amount.

Barbers, hairdressers and taxi drivers are usually tipped 15%. Bellhops, doormen, porters and other staff at hotels, airports and railway stations are generally tipped $1-$2 CDN per item carried. Tipping the server both at the bar and at the table is common in Canadian bars and nightclubs.


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Provinces and territories in Canada have primary responsibility for organizing and delivering health services and supervising providers. Many have established regional health authorities that plan and deliver publicly funded services locally. Generally, those authorities are responsible for the funding and delivery of hospital, community, and long-term care, as well as mental and public health services. The federal government cofinances provincial and territorial programs, which must adhere to the Canada Health Act (1985), which in turn sets standards for “medically necessary” hospital, diagnostic, and physician services.1 The act states that to be eligible to receive full federal cash contributions for health care, each provincial health care insurance plan needs to be: publicly administered, comprehensive in coverage, universal, portable across provinces, and accessible (for example, without user fees).

The federal government also regulates the safety and efficacy of medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and natural health products; funds health research; administers a range of services for certain populations, including First Nations, Inuit, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, some veterans, resettled refugees and some refugee claimants, and inmates in federal penitentiaries; and administers several public health functions.

Publicly financed health care: Total and publicly funded health expenditures were forecast to account for an estimated 11.1 percent and 8.0 percent of GDP, respectively, in 2016; by that measure, 69.8 percent of total health spending comes from public sources.2 The provinces and territories administer their own universal health insurance programs, covering all provincial and territorial residents in accordance with their own residency requirements.3 Temporary legal visitors, undocumented immigrants, those who stay in Canada beyond the duration of a legal permit, and those who enter the country “illegally,” are not covered by any federal or provincial program, although provinces and territories provide some limited services.

The main funding sources are general provincial and territorial spending, which was forecast to constitute 93 percent of public health spending in 2016.4 The federal government contributes cash funding to the provinces and territories on a per capita basis through the Canada Health Transfer, which will total an estimated CAD36 billion (USD28.8 billion) in 2016–2017, accounting for an estimated 24 percent of total provincial and territorial health expenditures.5

Private health insurance: Private insurance, held by about two-thirds of Canadians, covers services excluded from public reimbursement, such as vision and dental care, prescription drugs, rehabilitation services, home care, and private rooms in hospitals. In 2014, approximately 94 percent of premiums for private health plans were paid through employers, unions, or other organizations under a group contract or uninsured contract (by which a plan sponsor provides benefits to a group outside of an insurance contract).6 In 2014, private insurance accounted for approximately 12 percent of total health spending.7 The majority of insurers are for-profit.

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"I love Canada. It makes a nice hat for America. When America runs out of water, it's the first place I'll go!"- "Ryan Reynolds"

Some curiosities about Canada

Famous Canadian Quotes Quotes