Life in Canada
Life in Canada
Quebec welcomes approximately 50,000 immigrants from more than 100 countries each year. With a growing economy and a birth rate among the lowest in Canada, immigration to Quebec can be expected to grow in the future. Quebec has a special agreement with the Canadian government regarding immigration. The province selects immigrants who will settle within its borders and contribute to local economy.
Dubbed “la belle province” (the beautiful province) by the locals, Quebec is Canada’s largest by area and the second most populous province, after Ontario. It is home to more than 8.2 million people and is the only Canadian province with French as an official language. The capital is Quebec City, with a population of nearly 800,000. Quebec is also home to Canada’s second largest city, and the second largest French-speaking city in the world, Montreal (more than four million people).
While Quebec’s natural resources have long been the mainstay of its economy, knowledge-intensive sectors also play leading roles. Montreal, the province’s commercial capital, has developed competitive industries in space and aeronautics, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, energy, transportation and finance. Montreal has also recently become renowned for its software startups, most notably related to the entertainment industry and the city is a major movie production center. Quebec’s advanced manufacturing sector produces a wide variety of products for export, such as software, subway trains, helicopters and more. International exports account for more than 30 percent of the province’s GDP.
Agriculture sector is also considerably developed. These many sectors contributed to Quebec economy becoming a major influence within Canada; today, the province is second only to Ontario – which accounts for 40 percent of the Canadian population – in its economic output.
Quebec families have a median after tax income of $70,480 per year, slightly below the Canadian average of $71,700. However, the Quebecers enjoy an excellent standard of living, due to the low costs. Housing in Quebec is one of the most affordable in the country, with the average home in Montreal around $334,000. Even more affordable is to buy a house in the capital Quebec City, with an average cost of $272,000. Rental costs are also considerably lower than in Toronto and Vancouver.
Although the provincial personal income tax in Quebec is among the highest at more than 21%, residents are compensated by publicly provided services, that contribute to the province’s high standard of living. Health care is publicly provided, while transportation, secondary education and cultural services are heavily subsidized.
The federal tax is abated in Quebec, and the minimum wage is at $10.55/hr.
Quebec has a public school system that is unique within Canada. Unlike most Canadian provinces offering state-funded education until the end of Grade 12, Quebec students receive their secondary school diploma after completing Grade 11. Secondary school graduates are eligible to attend either a free two-year pre-university program or a three-year vocational program for a diploma.
Quebec has publicly funded elementary and secondary schools both in French and English as the language of instruction. However, under Quebec’s Charter of the French language, students must attend a French-language school unless they, their parents, or their siblings have previously attended English language schools. This regulation does not apply to private schools.
Like in all provinces and territories under the Canadian Law, most basic health services in Quebec are offered at no direct cost to the individual. The Quebec Health Care plan covers the full cost of all necessary medical services for all citizens and most permanent residents in Quebec. These include emergency services, medical testing, doctor examinations, hospitalization and emergency dental treatments.
Quebec Regular Skilled Worker Program
This stream uses a points-based system to assess applications of prospective immigrants. Like the Federal programs, the aim is to select individuals who have the highest potential to contribute to the local labor market and become established economically after arrival. Applicants who have received a positive assessment are issued a Quebec Selection Certificate, which serves as an approval for immigration, before medical and security clearances.
Quebec Experience Class (PEQ)
Quebec Experience Class (Programme de l’expérience Québécoise, PEQ) is a fast-track Canadian immigration program for individuals who worked or completed post-secondary education in Quebec.
In a two-step provincial immigration process, applicants must first apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) After receiving this document, individuals may submit an application to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for federal approval.
Applicants who have experience working or studying in Quebec, but do not meet the eligibility requirements for the PEQ, may be eligible to apply through Quebec Regular Skilled Worker program (see above).