Canadians place a premium on education and demand first-rate schools. Canada spends more per capita on its education system than any other country in the G-7 and is among the top three countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). A degree from a Canadian university is recognized world-wide and as a result, international students who graduate from Canadian universities enjoy successful and prosperous careers. Ranked as #1 in the World
For the past several years, a United Nations survey has found Canada to be the best place in the world to live. Conducted every year, the survey evaluates quality of life in 174 countries, using over 200 performance indicators. 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.
High Standard of Living
Canadians enjoy a standard of living among the highest in the world. More than 65 per cent of Canadians own their own homes, with a higher percentage owning durable goods, such as automobiles, refrigerators, washing machines, television, telephones and radios.
Media, entertainment and artistic endeavours are well-developed in Canada. Canadians are proud of their world-renowned and highly sophisticated broadcasting system which includes more than 1,000 AM and FM radio stations and some 719 television stations to serve, entertain and educate the listening and viewing audience.
Canada is a country of immigrants and has both a tradition and policy of encouraging multicultural diversity.
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.
All major urban centres 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 39 national parks and national park reserves in Canada, located in every province and territory. 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.
* National Parks Board and the Federal Provincial Parks Council.
A Safe Place To Study
Canada is well-known as a safe, just and peaceful society. Canadian crime rates have been falling steadily since the 1990s. In 1997, Canada's police-reported crime rate decreased for the sixth year in a row, falling by five per cent. Violent crimes declined for the fifth year in a row in 1997 and Canada's homicide rate now accounts for less than one percent of all reported violent incidents. Unlike its US neighbours to the south, firearms are strictly controlled and generally are not permitted in Canada.
A High Tech Country
Canada 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, geomatics; 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 is investing $8 billion to provide the latest in broadband technology to 80 per cent of Canadian households by 2005. 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
A Bilingual Nation
Canada is a bilingual country with two official languages, English and French. The vast majority (75 per cent) of Canada's French-speaking inhabitants live in the province of Qu?bec, which is located in the eastern part of the country but there are French-speaking communities throughout the country.
According to a 1991 census, French is the mother tongue of 82 per cent of Qu?bec's population and is spoken at home by 83 per cent of Qu?becers.
Internationally, it is estimated that some 800 million people speak English and 250 million speak French. As a bilingual nation, Canada offers superior English as a Second Language (ESL) and French as a Second Language (FSL) training for students wishing to learn either or both languages.
(Source: Government of Canada)