Location: North America
Time zone: GMT/UTC minus 3.5-8 hours
Daylight savings time: during northern hemisphere summer
Current time: 16:27 (St. John’s) 15:57 (Halifax) 14:57 (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto) 13:57 (Winnipeg) 12:57 (Calgary, Edmonton, Regina) 11:57 (Vancouver)
Currency: Canadian dollar
Dialling code: +1
Internet suffix: .ca
Canada is a large North American country known for its stunning natural landscapes, liberal democratic institutions and social diversity.
While infrastructure is extremely well-developed in urban areas there are large tracts of the country’s territory with little to no infrastructure while weather conditions can sometimes be extreme.
Otherwise, however, it is regarded as an advanced, stable and extremely safe travel destination.
Overall security situation: mostly secure
Crime rate: extremely low
Murder rate: very low
Gun ownership levels: very high
Kidnapping hotspot: no
Maritime piracy hotspot: no
Do landmines/unexploded munitions pose a significant risk in parts of the country: no
Canada, like its southern neighbour the United States, has a very high guns-to-people ratio. Otherwise, however, the crime and homicide rates are far lower. Institutions, including the police and judiciary are highly evolved. The population is amongst the most content in the world. Political demonstrations are frequent but well-managed and regarded as a healthy form of political expression.
Apart from the potential for opportunistic petty crime or other forms of criminality comparable to any well-developed country, the only other security issue to be aware of is terrorism, which poses a moderate risk. The country and/or political, military and commercial interests, as well as the public at large, are regarded as ideological targets by certain groups such as those affiliated with radical Islamism. There is a risk of future, potentially mass-casualty incidents, but they will remain infrequent for the most part.
Aviation safety levels: standard
Annual road fatality rates: low
Vehicles drive on the: right
Infrastructure quality: excellent
Urban ATM availability: very good
Electricity supply: 120V 60Hz
Electricity supply reliability: consistent
Plug types: A and B
Plug type A (2 flat pins, not grounded/earthed)
Plug type B (2 flat pins and 1 rounded pin, grounded/earthed, socket compatible with plug type A)
Is tap water drinkable: yes
Healthcare quality: extremely good healthcare provision
Infectious disease prevalence: extremely low
Travellers should consult a medical practitioner prior to their trip but the following vaccines may be considered before travelling to the country, depending on factors such as specific destination, planned activities, intended time and length of stay as well as personal medical conditions (in some cases no additional vaccines may be required at all):
- Standard vaccinations (ie those commonly used in the developed world, such as diphtheria, measles, mumps, polio, rubella, tuberculosis and tetanus)
Malaria risk: none
Yellow fever presence: no
Dengue fever prevalence: rare/non-existent
Rabies prevalence: low risk
HIV prevalence in society: low
Hepatitis A prevalence: low
Hepatitis B prevalence: low (high in the far north)
Hepatitis E prevalence: not highly endemic
Cholera status: low risk
Chikungunya virus presence: not present
Zika virus presence: not recently reported
Japanese encephalitis presence: no
Cutaneous leishmaniasis presence: non-endemic
Visceral leishmaniasis presence: non-endemic
Onchocerciasis presence: non-endemic
Schistosomiasis presence: none
Tick-borne encephalitis status: low/non-existent risk
Chagas disease presence: none
Typhoid fever presence: sporadic
African trypanosomiasis presence: none
Plague status: present
Rift Valley fever status: not present
Lassa fever status: not present
Polio status: not endemic
Ebola outbreaks: no
Meningococcal meningitis hotspot: no
Climate: varies from temperate in south to sub-arctic and arctic in north
Terrain: mostly plains with mountains in west, lowlands in southeast
Natural disaster risk: low
Natural hazards: storms; extreme temperatures; flooding; wildfires
Tropical storms: few/none
Volcanic activity: the vast majority of volcanoes in Western Canada’s Coast Mountains remain dormant
Previous earthquake(s) with over 1,000 fatalities: no
Government type: parliamentary democracy, federation, and constitutional monarchy
Socio-economic development score: 10/10 (among the highest levels of socio-economic development in the world)
Adult literacy rate: 99%
Unemployment rate: low
Civil liberties: well respected
Investment rating: investment grade
Corruption levels: low
Same-sex sexual activity: legal
Death penalty: abolished
Languages: English (official) 58.7%, French (official) 22%, Punjabi 1.4%, Italian 1.3%, Spanish 1.3%, German 1.3%, Cantonese 1.2%, Tagalog 1.2%, Arabic 1.1%, other 10.5%
Ethnic groups: Canadian 32.2%, English 19.8%, French 15.5%, Scottish 14.4%, Irish 13.8%, German 9.8%, Italian 4.5%, Chinese 4.5%, North American Indian 4.2%, other (including numerous ethnic groups) 50.9%; note that many identified as having more than one of the above identities
Beliefs: Catholic 40.6% (includes Roman Catholic 38.8%, Orthodox 1.6%, other Catholic .2%), Protestant 20.3% (includes United Church 6.1%, Anglican 5%, Baptist 1.9%, Lutheran 1.5%, Pentecostal 1.5%, Presbyterian 1.4%, other Protestant 2.9%), other Christian 6.3%, Muslim 3.2%, Hindu 1.5%, Sikh 1.4%, Buddhist 1.1%, Jewish 1%, other 0.6%, none 23.9%
- The following advice has been compiled by travel safety specialists and ex-special forces personnel.
- However, please note that it is of a general nature only and may not reflect the reality of your circumstances.
- Ensure you have proper insurance cover in place.
- Select good quality accommodation and properly prepare for any tasks, excursions or other activities you have to undertake.
- Be mindful of local laws and cultural norms, bearing in mind that they might be different to what you are accustomed to.
- If travelling to areas with more challenging terrain types, bear in mind that you might need to take specific and specialised equipment and clothing.
- Some terrain types might be more hazardous at different times of year so research any seasonal variations and work out the best time for you to visit.
- You may have to alter your behaviour and consider certain types of medication, such as if you have to travel to high altitudes.
- Areas with challenging terrain are often sparsely populated and/or with underdeveloped infrastructure.
- Not only can this make it difficult for you to travel there, it may also make it difficult to get out if you need to, or for any assistance to arrive in the event that you encounter difficulties and need help or evacuation.
- As such, have backup plans in place, methods of calling for help even if local communication networks are poor and aim to be as medically self-sufficient as possible.
- If rainfall, flooding, extreme temperatures or other types of severe weather are a concern, check the local weather patterns to find out if there are times of the year where the risk is much higher.
- Consider avoiding travel to at-risk destinations during these times.
- Try to stay in good quality accommodation.
- Take appropriate clothing and footwear.
- Take appropriate protection for any sensitive equipment you wish to bring.
- Note that storms, flooding and other types of harsh weather can overload infrastructure, lead to traffic jams and power cuts.
- Flooding and heavy rainfall can also raise the risk of landslides, as well as insect- and water-borne diseases in some parts of the world.
- As such, be prepared to delay, alter or even cancel travel plans to affected or high-risk areas.
- Terrorism can pose a risk, even in otherwise mostly safe countries.
- Assess the trends and tactics of any relevant terrorist organisations with the potential for targeting your location and identify potential targets.
- Be vigilant in and around these areas, which could include crowded places, symbolic or sensitive political sites, or busy restaurant, nightlife or tourist spots.
- Use your judgement on the frequency of incidents taking place. Just because an incident has taken place in a certain city does not mean that the city will regularly be hit again – use rational judgement to decide whether or not there is a likelihood that you will be caught up in any future incidents.
- Be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to react at short notice in the event of an incident.
- In the event of an incident, get out of the area quickly if it is safe to do so.
- Alternatively hide and try to keep out of harm’s way.
- In most cases you should only try to help other people if it is safe for you to do so.
- Keep quiet and notify the relevant authorities, colleagues or loved ones only when you are out of danger.
Safe country guidelines
- Even in relatively safe parts of the world, accidents, illnesses and other incidents can still affect traveller safety.
- Make sure you know how to find help if you need it (such as the local emergency service numbers).
- There may still be a risk of opportunistic crime so be mindful of your belongings and take responsibility for your own actions.
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