With Canada Day upon us, many are reflecting on and celebrating the wonderful benefits that go along with living in this Northern nation. From sea to shining sea, Canada is full of opportunity, especially for those job-seeking students and grads.
Not convinced? We’ve collected a list of nine reasons why we think Canada is the best country for young professionals!
1. We are among the happiest people in the world.
In the 2016 edition of the UN’s World Happiness Report, Canada ranked sixth on the planet for overall happiness based on several factors including life expectancy, social support, economy, perceptions of corruption, and generosity. That’s right; we proudly live up to our stereotype as a nice, polite bunch of people. And yes, we’ll probably say sorry, even if it’s not our fault.
2. Statutory holidays, and then some.
Canadians get typically nine to ten statutory holidays a year thanks to historical birthdays and religious celebrations. Some provinces even celebrate Family Day in mid-February, a public holiday for most workers to encourage families to spend more time with their loved ones. Oh, and then there are those spontaneous wintry below-zero days when we’re snowed in or the roads are so icy that sacrificing our lives to go into the office is just one big NOPE. So really, having four seasons isn’t so bad.
3. You’ll get access to world-class universal free healthcare.
Canadians are well-known to brag about the quality and simplicity of their healthcare compared to other systems. While it’s far from perfect, the highly-subsidized system has its people in mind over profit: everyone is covered, no matter your job or dependent, and it stays with you for life. You show your health card when you go to the hospital or clinic, and no bills or invoices follow you home.
4. Canada’s minimum wage is the best in North America.
Starting from the bottom isn’t so bad. Canada rocks North America with its minimum wage for experienced adult workers, which ranges from $10.50- $13.00 depending on the province. Alberta Labour Minister Christina Grey is also pushing their province’s plan to hike the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour by 2018, giving students the chance to dent their student loans faster and to allow mature adults to make ends meet.
5. Canadians have a solid work-life balance.
A huge contributing factor to Canadians’ work happiness is the harmonic balance between work and play. We like our work lives and personal lives separated with a big, bold line. Fortunately for us, Canada’s regular work hours are typically 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week, with any extra hours paid as overtime. Now all we need is to follow France’s lead in banning late-night work emails; under the El Khomri Law, France gives workers the right to disconnect after office hours.
6. Our country grants generous parental/maternity leave benefits.
New mothers can take between 17 and 52 weeks of leave from their jobs depending on their employment history and hours worked. On top of maternity leave, the government offers paid leave for one or both parents through Canada’s employment insurance plan. The Canadian system also provides at least some ongoing income for almost a year to give these families the support they need, and guarantee re-employment after their leave. Bring on the babies!
7. Poutine for lunch, anyone?
Enjoy curds, gravy, and fries any time you want without judgement. This cheesy Canadian concoction will satisfy your lunch cravings or that gurgling afternoon hunger pang. It’s definitely a nice treat once in awhile from your usual paper-bagged sandwiches, no?
8. We celebrate diversity!
Canada gives rights to religion, culture, language choice and the freedom of communication. Our country is a proud mosaic; we are multicultural and multilingual. Workplace equity is important: the government’s Equity Employment Act promotes representation for women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities at work. Other than government jobs, you’ll most likely find employers advertising their inclusion to this Act on their job postings when you apply.
9. Tim Hortons is your best friend.
Stop by Timmies for all your budget-friendly, convenient and necessary caffeine runs before, during, or after work. There’s probably one outside your office, inside your office, or a few blocks away. Pitch in a toonie for a workers’ Tims run, and grab an ice capp to soothe your cold caffeine craving during a long day at work. Best part, they serve breakfast til’ noon.
Canada already has so much to offer: beautiful landscapes, a diverse and multicultural population, freedoms and civil liberties, and finally, plenty of opportunities. If you’re looking to get your career started, considering yourself lucky to be job hunting in the True North Strong and Free!