Practical Information
Visa Information

Citizenship and Immigration Canada website: www.cic.gc.ca
Canada welcomes millions of visitors each year. All visitors are required to have a valid passport and, depending on where you are from, how long you plan to stay, and the reason for your visit, you may be required to obtain a Visa prior to your entry to Canada.

Students coming for a study period of six months or longer are required to obtain a Study Permit prior to arrival. Students failing to present a Study Permit upon arrival into Canada will be denied entry. Study programmes of less than six months do not currently require a study permit.

Canada also requires a Temporary Resident Visa (TRVs) for visitors coming from a specified list of countries.

For more details about Canada’s Immigration policies, please refer to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website: www.cic.gc.ca

Unacompanied Minors (UMs) Information

Certain airlines require that young passengers traveling alone, (typically aged 5 to 11 years) be designated as an “Unaccompanied Minor”. This is usually subject to a fee determined by the airline which must be paid by the parent(s) prior to arrival in Canada. Airlines will require the name(s) of the contact person(s) receiving the children at the Airport. Students arriving in Canada to attend a CISS programme who require this designation must arrange for all fees (for travel in both directions) be paid prior to departing from the home country. CISS will advise the name of the CISS staff who will meet the student upon arrival in Canada.

Currency

Canada’s currency is based on dollars and cents.

100¢= $1.00 CAD

Mint denominations include: 5¢ (nickel or five cents), 10¢ (dime or 10 cents), 25¢ (quarter or 25 cents), $1.00 (Loonie, or one dollar), $2.00 (Toonie or two dollars). 
The 1¢ (penny/cent) has recently been decommissioned. Stores now either round up or down to the nearest 5¢

Bank notes include: $5.00 bill, $10.00 bill, $20.00 bill, $50.00 bill, $100.00 bill, $1,000.00 bill.

Most retailers accept all denominations up to $50.00. Larger denominations may not be accepted at all retailers.


Banks

The Bank of Canada is our central bank and is the sole issuer of banknotes in Canada.

All banks in Canada offer automated teller machines (ATMs), which allow customers holding a bank card to withdraw or deposit funds. Most ATMs operate on one of two international systems: PLUS or CIRRUS. International travellers with bank cards using either of these systems may withdraw Canadian funds at ATMs at the current daily exchange rate (service charges apply).

Taxes on goods and merchandise

Most provinces require the addition of two sales taxes be applied to all goods purchased: (1) the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is a federally mandated tax and (2) a Provincial Sales Tax (PST), which is a provincially mandated tax.

When both GST and PST are applicable to a sale, the amounts of each should be shown separately on the cash register tape or invoice.

The provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick now charge a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). Instead of charging a provincial retail sales tax as well as GST, only the HST is charged. 

Province 

   GST    

   PST    

   HST    

Alberta 

5%

none 

 

 

British Columbia

13%

Manitoba

5%

7%

 

 

Ontario

13% 

 

Quebec

5%

7.5%

 

New Brunswick

13%

Newfoundland  

  

 

13%

 

Nova Scotia 

 

 

13%

 

Prince Edward Island          

5%

10%

 

Saskatchewan

5%

5%

Northwest Territories

5%

none

Nunavut

5%

none

Yukon

5%

none



The Canadian Seasons and Climate

Most cities in Canada experience a four-season year, each season offering its own character and appeal.

Winter: December 21 – March 20
- Characterized by cold temperatures, snow, and other precipitation. Temperatures often dip below freezing and wind chill factors make it feel much colder than the temperatures reveal. This season has the shortest days and longest nights of the year. Common outdoor sports include skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, tobogganing, and hockey.
- Common holidays and observances in winter: Christmas (December 25), Boxing Day (December 26), New Year’s Day (January 1), Valentine’s Day (February 14)

Spring: March 20 – June 21
- Characterized by warmer temperatures causing flora to bloom. In some parts of Canada (e.g., Victoria, British Columbia), this occurs very early in spring. Frost is still a risk, but most people enjoy the general awaking of this season. Sports include: golf, fishing, and jogging.
- Common holidays and observances in spring: Easter (March – April, depending on the year), Mother’s Day (May), Victoria Day (3rd week of May), Father’s Day (June)

Summer: June 21 – September 22
- Characterized by warm, often hot, temperatures, long days (sunsets as late as 9:00 p.m.), and a preference for outdoor activities. Sports include: swimming, boating, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, golf, rock climbing, jogging, and much more.
- Common holidays and observances in summer: Canada Day (July 1), Civic Holiday (August), Labour Day (September)

Autumn (Fall): September 22 – December 21
- Characterized by cooler temperatures, a crispness in the air, and the changing in the colours of the leaves on trees. In some areas, the end of September and the beginning of October can bring a return to very warm, even hot temperatures for a week or two. Autumn is considered by many to be the most beautiful season because of the beautiful colours of the leaves on the trees at this time of year.
- Common holidays and observances in autumn: Thanksgiving (October), Halloween (October 31), All Saints Day (November 1), Remembrance Day (November 11)

Average temperatures in Celsius

http://climate.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca

   Jan Feb Mar  Apr  May  Jun  July  Aug  Sept  Oct  Nov  Dec 
Vancouver 

 3.3

4.8 

6.6 

9.2 

12.5 

15.2 

17.5 

17.6 

14.6 

10.1 

6.0

3.5 

 Toronto

 -6.3

 -5.4

-0.4 

 6.3

 12.9

 17.8

 20.8

 19.9

 15.3

 8.9

 3.2

 -2.9

 Ottawa

 -10.8

 -8.7

 -2.5

 5.7

 13.4

 18.3

 20.9

 19.5

 14.36

 7.8

 1.0

 -7.1

 Calgary

 -8.9

 -6.1

 -1.9

 4.6

 9.8

 13.8

 16.2

 15.6

 10.8

 5.4

 -3.1

 -7.4

 Montreal

 -10.2

 -8.4

 -2.3

 5.7

 13.4

 18.2

 20.9

 19.6

 14.6

 8.1

 1.6

 -6.3

 Fredericton

 -9.5

 -7.9

 -2.2

 4.5

 11.2

 16.4

 19.3

 18.6

 13.7

 7.6

 1.5

 -5.8

 Halifax

 -6.0

 -5.6

 -1.4

 4.0

 9.8

 15.0

 18.6

 18.4

 14.1

 8.3

 3.1

 -2.8


Note: wind-chill factors often make the temperatures in winter seem colder than the noted temperature, while humidity often makes the summer temperatures seem hotter. 

Current Conditions:


Interesting climate facts

Victoria, British Columbia is the Canadian city with the lowest annual average snowfall at: 47 centimetres.

Winnipeg, Manitoba is the city with the sunniest winters and the most hours of sunshine during December, January, and February at: 358 hours.

Windsor, Ontario is the most humid Canadian city during the summer months.

Vancouver, British Columbia is the Canadian city with fewest days at below freezing, with an average of only 51 days per year at freezing temperatures.

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories is the Canadian city with the coldest winters.

Kamloops, British Columbia is the city with the warmest summers. Kamloops has an average daytime temperature of 27.2 degrees celsius in June, July, and August.

St. John's, Newfoundland is the city with the greatest number of days per year with fog at: 121 days. St. John’s is also the windiest city, with the greatest average annual wind speed being 24 kilometres per hour. The city also has the greatest number of days per year of freezing precipitation at: 38 days.

London, Ontario is the city that has the most days per year with thunderstorms at: 36 days.

Electrical Voltage

The electrical voltage system in Canada is 110 volts. If traveling from a country outside of North America, you will need a proper voltage converter and outlet adapter in order to operate your electrical appliances.

Practical Information

Tipping:
Tipping for services received is a common practice in Canada. This includes service in restaurants, bars, pubs, hair salon, spa, and even taxis. Tipping in a restaurant is the most common and expected. Typically, patrons tip 15% in an average establishment, excluding taxes, provided the service was good. In finer restaurants, 20% is normal. The tip is usually left on the table if paying by cash, or included in the final amount of the bill if paying by credit card. In the case of a group reservation, the restaurant may add the service/gratuity to the bill automatically (patrons should check this before paying). In a pub or bar, a tip is usually given at the time that the drink is delivered if paying on a per-drink basis. The amount given per drink is not standard, with most patrons either rounding up to the nearest dollar or giving the equivalent of approximately 10%. Tipping in fast food or self-service restaurants is not expected.

Taxi service:
Taxi service is available in all cities, and is generally considered a safe mode of transportation. Taxis are regulated, so fares are set and posted in each car. The fare rates vary depending on the location, but generally begin with a set amount and increase per kilometre. In cases of specific routes (from a city centre to the airport), many taxis have pre-set rates that can be established prior to setting out. Tipping a taxi driver is common though not mandatory.

Public Transportation:
Most major cities in Canada offer a public transportation system, which may include: subway, sky train, bus, streetcar, train, and ferry. Most systems are comprehensive, allowing a visitor to reach most major attractions and extending into the residential suburbs. Public transportation is considered a safe mode of transit, but riders should always be vigilant about their personal property. Tickets or passes are required prior to boarding. In most cities, visitors staying for one week or longer can purchase a transit pass valid for either a specific number or an unlimited number of rides.