Canada is a multicultural and ethnically diverse environment. Many people have come to Canada from various different parts of the world, at different times in their lives and with different social customs. Understanding the social practices here in Canada will help make your adaptation to this new country much simpler. There are some practices that are not the law in Canada but are traditions that are established and generally followed by many Canadians or Canadian residents.
Environment: Canada has an abundance of natural environments that are enjoyed by Canadians and tourists alike. Thus, Canadians try to respect their natural environment through protective measures such as recycling, reusing and not littering. To allow proper disposal and to enforce respect for the environment, disposal bins/boxes are provided all over the city, for your convenience.
Smoking Laws: It is a law not to smoke in the majority of public places. In some provinces this includes bars and restaurants. Generally, to respect those who do not smoke, people smoke outside in designated smoking areas.
Courtesy: Canadians in general are known throughout the world as nice people that respect one another. Courtesy and polite mannerism is seen throughout the Canadian culture. When you ask for things “please and thank you” are common terms that help keep respect among people.
Social practices like the one stated above are not laws but are politely enforced. There are also many laws that anyone in Canada must follow. Some common laws are listed below. Please be advised that these are not all the laws that must be followed but is a short list to help you when settling in Canada.
It is illegal to drive without a driver’s license, registration and insurance.
It is illegal to drive if you have been drinking alcohol.
The driver and all passengers must wear seat belts at all times when driving in Canada.
Babies and children who are too small to wear seat belts must be placed in properly installed infant or child car seats, appropriate to the age and weight of the child.
Children under 12 years of age cannot be left at home alone, or to care for younger children. *All children aged six to 16 must attend school.
Smoking is not permitted in federal buildings, in elevators, on Canadian airlines, on buses and on other public transportation, nor in many banks, shops, restaurants and other public places (some municipalities have banned smoking in all public buildings).
Depending on which part of Canada you live in, you must be either 18 or 19 years old to buy or drink alcohol in any form.
It is against the law to hit your spouse or children, either in the home or in public.
It is illegal to make any kind of sexual remarks or advances if the other person does not like them.
Discrimination (without justification) because of the race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex or sexual orientation of that person or class of persons is not permitted