Immigration to Canada: Five pitfalls to avoid

Immigration to Canada: Five pitfalls to avoid

Even if Canada is a country open to immigration, settling there cannot be improvised… To avoid disappointment and integrate successfully, some precautions are required. A detailed review of the most common risks.


This article was taken from Special Figaro “From East to West – Living in Canada, why not you?”. This issue offers you the answer to the questions you ask yourself as simply as possible. With the help of practical texts, maps and testimonies from the French living in Canada.


1/ Neglecting to prepare

Did you know that Canada offers several visa possibilities which, depending on your profile (age, sector of activity, appetite for a particular province), can be interesting entry points? To help you see things clearly (and improve your strategy), the Canadian Embassy in France regularly offers free information sessions on immigration procedures. Don’t miss the annual Destination Canada Fair, which highlights possibilities for living and working in provinces and territories other than Quebec.

If it’s Belle County that appeals to you, you’ll find plenty of resources on the Facebook page. Choose Quebec “.also many recruitment events are organized throughout the year, in particular” Quebec days “.

Also take the time to get to know the country itself, which is not standardized. “Canada is 6000 km from coast to coast” and each province and territory has its own identity and history, Cécile Lazartegues-Chartier, Art and Style Consultant – Intercultural Consultant confirms. It is necessary to have a general culture. Quebec, for example, is very concerned about its privacy within the Canadian Federation. If you said in Montreal: “I am very happy to be in Canada,” you have already lost five points! »

If possible, plan an excursion to the city(s) you are interested in. Feel free to ask potential employers, school administrators, or even already established French to get a more accurate view of your future environment.

Also, be careful, if you’re going as a couple, to clearly define each other’s aspirations. “I often say: ‘A joint project, but everyone’s project’,” sums up Marilyn GarsoAnd the Associate Director of International Mobility Consulting, Kennedy Garso. What we observe is that when alienation is associated with a spouse’s career opportunity, the spouse – often the husband – focuses first on settling the family. But once that’s done, she finds herself helpless when it comes to building her own business. my advice? Start thinking about your goal several months before you leave and make connections so you can move more easily when you’re ready. »

2 / Idealization of the host country

Let’s be clear: No, Canada is not an El Dorado, and there is no guarantee of absolute success, nor the promise of a consistently peaceful everyday life! Of course, the country has assets and it is possible to form a fulfilling life there, but this does not mean that everything will turn out to be perfect. Climatic conditions can be particularly harsh, the health system is not regulated in the same way as in France, where legal vacations are limited to two weeks a year when you start in a company…not to mention the family distance, which can weigh on morale. Traveling abroad also means showing flexibility. the key ? Don’t leave to run, but build, with all the challenges it denotes.

Also beware of incoming thoughts, like believing it “Everyone is Bilingual in Canada”, warns Marilène Garceau. Although the country has two official languages, usage varies widely from province to province — and even from city to city. Thus, in Montreal, it is not uncommon, in companies with an international dimension, for employers to require proficiency in English.

3/ Access to the occupied territories

“Canada is not waiting for us, Remembers Frank Point, president of the Vancouver chapter of the UFE (Union of French Living Abroad) and founder of Faubourg Bakeries. For example, I remember being approached by guys who came out of business school and said to me, “I would like to do counseling in British Columbia.” But they did not know the networks nor the credibility of the market! You have to prove yourself first – not because you are French to open doors. »

On the other side of the Atlantic, the finest French degrees don’t call for much, and upon arrival you may be asked to take a position at a lower level than the one you had in France. Even for taking a small job. “A Canadian likes to work with someone who has first-hand Canadian experience, Marilyn Garso confirms. So don’t wait for the perfect job and get started, you will show your commitment. »

Also pay attention to the issue of regulated professions: in certain sectors (education, accounting, health, engineering, etc.), you will undoubtedly have to go through various procedures, which vary according to the provinces, before you can practice your profession.

If you can’t find a job that suits you, consider volunteering, which is highly valued in Canada. This will allow you to form connections and create your first relational circuit, especially since networking is essential across the Atlantic.

4 / Minimizing culture shock

Don’t be fooled by the (mistaken) feeling of affinity that we French would naturally feel with our Canadian cousins—particularly in Quebec, where our lingua franca amplifies misunderstandings. Across the Atlantic, social icons are not the same as in France at all. Thus, Canadian society is, above all, a society that does not conflict with conflict. To avoid this, the Canadian will not necessarily express his opinion, Refers to Frank Point. For the record, one day I was talking to my son in one of my stores in French. The next morning, the staff came to see me, worried that we had argued, when there was an exchange of opinions! To them, their tone of voice and body language indicated a quarrel. “The Frenchman faces confrontation, both with his friends – we quarrel gently over coffee – and at work, Cecile Lazartigues-Chartier adds. But in Quebec, if you say in a meeting “I don’t agree, it’s not a good idea”, you are very upset. »

In a professional environment, benevolence is privileged and criticism is taboo. “At your annual meeting with your chef in Quebec, his speech will be divided into three parts – it is the method of the sandwich, The counselor continues. It will begin to indicate that everything is going well. Then, he will quickly point out the error and, finally, conclude in the affirmative. The French will say to themselves: “There’s a little wrong, but it doesn’t matter.” While Quebec waits for you to dig into the negative part. »

Personal relationships can also be destabilizing for the French. If Canadians’ reputation for openness and sociability is not usurped, creating a lasting friendship is not so simple. “ People have a bubble, and their privacy is not easy to penetrate ‘,” describes Frank Point. In Quebec, general familiarity can also lead to confusion. “We should not necessarily infer an affinity in relations, Cecile Lazartegus-Chartier warns. We can be on familiar terms and be very far from each other…”

5/ Compare constantly France and Canada

You have chosen to emigrate to make a fresh start. So don’t waste it while wrinkling your nose at changes! When I hear the French say: ‘In my old team in France, it wasn’t like that’, I say stop!, Cecile Lazartigues Chartier screams. We must come out of judgment and accept things as they are. Comparing all the time is very bad for his integrity and that of his children, who tend to do the same thing, Marilyn Garso adds. It is better to take advantage of the amazement of new experiences and this curiosity to try to understand why we are so different. »


Advice from Louise Van Winkle, Head of Francophone Promotion at the Immigration Service of the Canadian Embassy in France

Louise Van Winkle CTY_PARIS-2022

Sure, the immigration procedures can be very complicated, but don’t let them take over your project. It is important to ask the right questions: why do I want to go to Canada, what do I want to do there, where do I want to settle, how do I get information? Each province and territory has a site that describes their migration conditions but also job opportunities, population density, lifestyle, etc. Make a list of what’s essential for you – the criteria are not the same if you go alone or with three kids – and study destinations accordingly. Take the time to find your perfect base (it would be a shame to limit yourself to the only places you’ve heard of).

Even if you choose a province that speaks more English and you have a good level of English, get closer to the French-speaking communities, where they can be an asset in your economic integration. Feel free to contact the many settlement assistance services offered by the government. »


Advice from Paul Trotier, International Recruitment Consultant at the Délégation Générale du Québec in Paris

Paul Trotier hurry

“Let’s first remember that immigration to Quebec is a joint jurisdiction between two levels of government, regional and federal: Quebec is responsible for selecting immigrants and Canada to accept them.

To find a job in Quebec from abroad, the most effective way is to register for a job placement such as Journées Québec because the participating companies are more familiar with immigration procedures. Thanks to this first professional experience, you can then consider a permanent installation in Quebec.

To stand out in a job interview with a Quebec employer, don’t try to impress them with your credentials. Recruiters are primarily interested in what you can offer the company: they will analyze your knowledge, your personal skills, and finally your training.

Even if Montreal remains a natural gateway for many French, I’d also advise curious to see what other Quebec regions have to offer in terms of jobs and quality of life – because you might be surprised! Finally, don’t make the mistake of considering Quebec a French territory in America. »


“From East to West – Living in Canada, why not?” €8.90, available at newsstands and above Figaro Store .

East to West – Living in Canada, why not? Le Figaro

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