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Overview

Canada has a long tradition of welcoming immigrants.

Home to two official languages, English and French, Canada is also a multicultural society, with more than 17% of the population reporting a mother tongue other than English or French.

During the 1990s, Canada received between 200,000 and 250,000 immigrants per year.

About Canada

Canada is the best country in the world!

For the past four years, the United Nations has rated Canada one of the top country in the world for overall quality of life.

Canadians enjoy a comfortable standard of living, good health care, social security, a high level of education, and a relatively safe and clean environment.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms entrenched in the Canadian constitution guarantees such fundamental rights as equality, mobility and legal rights, as well as freedom of speech, assembly and association.

A 1997 survey of people in 20 countries found that the majority placed Canada in the top ten list of countries where they would like to live. Most consider Canada a generous, peaceful and compassionate nation, while they see Canadians as honest, friendly and polite.

 

A few facts about Canada

Canada is a land of great natural beauty, from the rugged shores of Newfoundland to the mild climate and beautiful mountains of the west coast. The second largest country in the world, it has six time zones.

With its coasts, vast forests, mountain ranges, lakes and expanses of prairies, Canada is rich in natural resources. It contains 38 national parks, more than 1000 provincial parks, and nearly 50 territorial parks.
Based on the 1996 census data:

  1. about 28% of the population reported origins other than British Isles, French or Canadian
  2. recent immigrants had higher levels of education than the Canadian-born population
  3. six out of ten households owned their own home
  4. university or other post-secondary graduates represented 40% of the population over the age of 15
    the number of seniors (age 65+) more than doubled in the last 25 years, to 12.2% of the population

Settling Issues

Once a new immigrant arrives in Canada there three important things that they must do:

  1. Apply for a Social Insurance Number.
  2. Apply for medical insurance.
  3. Open a bank account.

 

Social Insurance Number (SIN)

How to apply
To work in Canada, you require a Social Insurance Number (SIN).  You can apply for one at the port of entry (Canada Immigration Office) when you first arrive.  If you have not done this:

  1. Go to the nearest Canada Employment Centre
  2. Take two pieces of identification such as your passport, immigration papers, or birth certificate.  All documents must be originals.
  3. A plastic card bearing your SIN and a paper card to keep as a record will be mailed to you in about five to eight weeks.  Once you receive the place card, immediately sign it, and keep it with you.

There is no fee to apply for a Social Insurance Number.  You will retain the number for life. Medical Insurance (OHIP)

 General Info

Every province has a taxpayer - funded health insurance program that provides inexpensive, high-quality health care.  Without it, health care costs are high.  

Once covered under medicare, you will receive a provincial health card with an identification number.  You must re-register if you move to another province.  Be sure to inform your insurance plan if you move, or if your family size or marital status changes as it may affect your coverage.

Medicare covers medical services, including physician fees and hospital costs, with the following exceptions:

  • examinations for employment or insurance purposes
  • telephone advice
  • cosmetic surgery
  • prosthesis (artificial body parts)
  • acupuncture
  • routine dental treatment.

If you don't know whether the treatment you desire is covered, ask  the person administering it.

Generally, to qualify for medicare in most provinces you must reside in that Province, you must be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant.  If you have temporary status, contact your Provincial healthcare agency to ask if healthcare coverage is available.

 How to apply

Contact the Provincial health care authority for an application.  In most instances, you will need your Social Insurance Number, copies of your visa or landed immigrant papers.  When your coverage begins, you will receive a Healthcare care with your name and personal health number.  Carry this card with you at all times.

 Bank Account

When you open any type of bank account, you will be asked for personal information and identification, including:

  • Your full name, address, date of birth, and telephone number.
  • At least two pieces of identification, which have your signature and/or photo on them.  Your passport and driver's license are best; a major credit card is also acceptable as one piece.  By law, you must provide your Social Insurance Number to your bank for any account that pays your interest.
  • If you are working, the name, address, and telephone number of your employer, and your occupation.
  • The name and telephone number of someone whom the bank can contact if they are unable to reach you (for example, your spouse or a relative over 18 years old).
  • A sample of your signature, written the say you would normally sign it on other bank forms, like cheques.

You will be asked to sign an account agreement and make a minimum deposit.  If you are making a large cash deposit, the law may require that you sign a declaration attesting to the source of the funds.

 

 

Landing Issues

Upon receiving an immigrant visa, and preparing for a life in Canada, a person must consider three major things: 

  1. Canadian Customs, 
  2. Canadian Taxation, and 
  3. Retention of Landed Immigrant Status.

Canadian Customs

Individuals entering Canada as permanent residents are entitled to bring into Canada all personal and household effects free of duty.

At the time of landing, immigrants should provide a duplicate list of all personal and household effects which they are bringing into Canada or intend to bring into Canada in the future.

The list should set out specific information about each of the personal effects to be brought into Canada including the make, model, serial number and a reasonably accurate estimate of the value of the good.

The immigrant should prepare two lists - goods in possession of the immigrant at the time of landing and goods to follow. The customs officer will note on the record of landing that there are 'goods to follow". This will enable the immigrant to bring the specified goods into Canada duty-free at any time after landing.

The goods which the immigrant may bring into Canada are goods which are imported for the immigrant's household and personal use.

In order for the goods to be duty-free, the immigrant must be prepared to demonstrate that the goods were in the "ownership, possession and use" of the immigrant prior to landing.

Goods acquired by the immigrant while in transit to Canada are duty-free provided that they meet the requirements of ownership, possession and use.

Goods imported to Canada duty-free and sold thereafter within a period of 12 months from the date of importation are subject to ordinary duties.

Wedding gifts are exempt from the "use" requirement if they have been owned and possessed by the immigrant prior to admission to Canada and provided that the marriage occurred within the three-month period prior to arrival in Canada or within the three month period after landing.

Immigrants landing in Canada from countries with blocked currencies (i.e., a limitation on funds which may be removed at any particular time) may acquire household goods with the blocked funds and ship the goods to Canada, provided they do so within a period of three years of landing and make arrangements with Canada Customs at the time of entry.

Immigrants intending to import motor vehicles to Canada should contact the following office in order to ensure that the motor vehicle complies with Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and that the vehicle is eligible for entry to Canada:

Registrar of Imported Vehicles, P.O. Box 217, Pickering, Ontario, Canada L1V 2R4, Telephone: 1-800-333-0558 (Canada or U.S.), or Canadian Taxation

Tax planning is essential to the landing process, particularly if the applicant possesses a substantial net worth. This is because a person's tax liability is determined by residency in Canada. Canadian residents are subject to taxation on the world income from all sources. An immigrant is required to file an income tax return for the taxation year of landing, and thereafter unless the person ceases to be a resident of Canada.

 

Residence for Tax Purposes

"Residence" is not defined in the Income Tax Act. Revenue Canada considers the following factors in determining whether a person is a resident for income tax purposes:

  1. the individual "sojourned" in Canada for a cumulative period of 183 days or more in the course of a taxation year (section 250(1) of the Income Tax Act;
  2. the individual (who has previously been a resident of Canada) is absent from Canada for a period of less than 24 months, unless all residential ties have been severed with Canada (ie. no dwelling place);
  3. the individual regularly, normally, or customarily resides in Canada in a settled routine; or
  4. the individual established residential ties in Canada such as a dwelling place, spouse, and dependents, personal and real property and social ties.

There are additional indices of residence for tax purposes:

  1. habitual visits to Canada;
  2. location of fixed and liquid assets;
  3. location of personal belongings, such as clothing;
  4. location of immediate family members;
  5. mailing address, telephone listings, driver's license, newspaper delivery in Canada, etc;
  6. ongoing participation in a Canadian business;
  7. will and burial plot in Canada; and
  8. membership in Canadian social, community, religious or other organization.

Persons who have landed in Canada are considered residents of Canada. In order to be considered a non-resident for tax purposes, an immigrant would be required to be absent from Canada for a period in excess of 24 months. An immigrant who is absent from Canada for 24 months would be perceived to have abandoned Canada as the place of permanent residence unless he or she is in possession of a valid returning resident permit and consequently would be in jeopardy of losing landed immigrant status.

 

Income Tax Rates

Canada has a progressive income tax system. The more income you have the higher the percentage of tax you must pay. The federal government officially lowered income tax rates as of January 1, 2001 in a series of reductions expected to cost Ottawa about $100 billion over the next five years.

There are four Canadian income tax levels for taxpayers. The rate for 2001 is:

  • 16% on income up to $30,754;
  • 22% on income between $30,755 and $61,509;
  • 26% on income between $61,510 and $100,000; and
  • 29% on income over $100,000.

Canadian taxpayers must also pay provincial income tax which is determined as a percentage of Basic Federal Tax. Provincial income tax is typically approximately 50 percent of the Basic Federal Tax, although the amount varies from province to province.

The corporate tax rate is 27%. Ottawa is promising to lower it by six percentage points over the next three years.

 

Deemed Disposition Rule

At the time of landing, an immigrant's worldwide assets and property become subject to Canadian taxation. The immigrant is deemed to have disposed of all assets at fair market value immediately prior to landing and to have immediately required those same assets immediately after landing. Any unrealized gain that accrues on an immigrant's property prior to landing will not be taxable in Canada. Any capital losses or capital against on such property after the date of landing will be relevant for taxation purposes.

This Deemed Disposition Rule results in the following:

  • Prior to landing there is no Canadian tax consequences for the sale of property.
  • Any foreign property sole after landing will be taxable at fair market value.
  • 75% of all capital gains are taxable in Canada.

Disposal of Principal Residence Abroad

If the immigrant disposes of his or her principal residence abroad, after landing (and becomes a Canadian resident for taxation purposes), the taxation burden on any capital gains realized on the principle residence will be subject to a tax relief benefit.

The quantification of the tax relief relating to "principal residence" is calculated on the basis of the number of years that the immigrant has been resident in Canada and has simultaneously maintained the home as his or her principal residence. The period of time the immigrant owned the home prior to becoming a resident of Canada is quantified under the Income Tax Act.

Consequently, new immigrants selling their principal residence abroad will not receive a substantial taxation benefit under this section.

 

Property Automatically Subject to Canadian Taxation

The following properties are exempt from the deeming provision at the time of landing because they are automatically subject to Canadian taxation:

  • Canadian property that would have been taxed has the person been a resident in Canada in the year prior to landing;
  • inventory in a Canadian business belonging to the immigrant prior to landing;
  • capital property of a business belonging to the immigrant prior to landing;
  • property which the immigrant treated as taxable Canadian property during the last time the individual ceased to be a resident of Canada; and
  • rights to purchase shares (i.e. stock options or purchase plans) of the capital stock of a Canadian corporation.

 

Foreign Reporting Rules

All Canadian residents are required to report their foreign assets and income for tax purposes.

The foreign reporting rules are as follows:

  1. file, on a yearly basis, a detailed "information return" for each foreign affiliate (foreign company in which the immigrant possesses an interest of 10 percent or more) and each nonresident trust (within the meaning of the Income Tax Act);
  2. report on foreign property, where such property exceeds $100,000 CDN at any time in the course of the taxable year (whether cumulatively or individually), including

o        tangible property outside of Canada, whether or not it is income producing (i.e. real estate and articles),

o        funds or "intangible" property outside of Canada (e.g. stocks, bank accounts, shares whether in foreign or non-resident corporations),

o        debts,

o        interests in nonresident trusts (i.e. foreign mutual funds but not retirement savings trusts and pension plans), and

o        options or "conversions" on a foreign property;

  1. file a detailed information return if the immigrant qualifies under one or more of the following three categories:

o        immigrants who have transferred or loaned property to a foreign trust or corporation which would have been considered a foreign "affiliate" of the trust if the trust were Canadian;

o        immigrants who are partners of an entity making a transfer or loan under (a), above; and/or

o        immigrants who control a foreign affiliate which made a transfer or loan under (a), above; and

  1. file a detailed information return in the taxation year that an immigrant receives a distribution of property from or becomes indebted to a foreign trust in which the immigrant possesses an interest (unless previously disclosed on one of the above information returns).

Failure to comply with foreign reporting rules may result in the following penalties (for each year the immigrant fails to file):

  1. $25 per day to a maximum of $2,500 for failure to file within the deadline;
  2. where failure to file involves gross negligence or willfulness, $500 per month not exceeding 24 months or $12,000;
  3. where a demand was made by Revenue Canada and the immigrant does not comply in the time specified, the amount of the penalty under 2, above, is doubled to a maximum of $24,000; and
  4. there is an additional penalty for failure to file within 24 months of 5 % of the foreign assets minus any penalties paid.

For filing false returns the penalty is the greater of $24,000 or 5% of the actual total cost of the foreign property, shares, debts or amount transferred or loaned, as set out above in the section pertaining to filing requirements under these rules.

 

Foreign Trusts

New immigrants may shelter their foreign income for a period of up to five years by establishing a trust outside of Canada whose trustees are non-residents of Canada.

The foreign trust must be set up prior to immigrating to Canada.

The holder of the landing visas would transfer all foreign investments and income-producing property and liquid assets into the trust. The beneficiaries of the trust could be the immigrant's children.

All income generated by the trust is exempt from Canadian tax for up to 60 months. Thereafter, the trust is taxable in Canada. The utility of the trust is no longer applicable after the five-year period and the taxpayer should wind down the trust prior to the expiration of 60 months.

Trusts need to be carefully structured in order to ensure that the immigrant's spouse and dependent children do not receive any distributions from the trust's income during the five-year life of the trust. Such transfers are deemed to be income and the loss or gain thereof will be subject to taxation.

The trust must be irrevocable for the five year period. Revocable trusts, or trusts that allow the property to revert to the settler or to persons determined by the settler, will not provide the desired taxation shelter.

The foreign reporting rules will apply to the transfer of property to the foreign trust.

Generally, only immigrants will a net worth in excess of $500,000 will benefit from a foreign trust given the significant costs in creating and administering it.

 

Maintaining Permanent Resident Status

Upon landing, an immigrant becomes a Canadian permanent resident with all the rights and privileges associated with it.

Section 24 Immigration Act sets out the requirements to maintain permanent resident status in Canada. There are two ways of losing permanent residency status:

  1. the immigrant leaves or remains outside of Canada with the intention of abandoning Canada as that immigrant's place of permanent residence; or
  2. a removal order has been made against the immigrant.

The 183 Day Rule

Section 24(2) of the Immigration Act, states that:

Where a permanent resident is outside of Canada for more than one hundred and eighty-three days, in any twelve month period, that person shall be deemed to have abandoned Canada as his place of permanent residence unless the person satisfies an immigration officer or an adjudicator, as the case may be, that he did not intend to abandon Canada as his place of permanent residence.

Each time an immigrant returns to Canada, an immigration officer may examine the person to determine whether in the preceding 12 month period the immigrant was absent from Canada for a total of more than 183 days.

In considering whether or not an immigrant has abandoned Canada as the place of residence, an immigration officer at the port of entry will consider the following:

  • length of absence;
  • reasons given for an extended absence;
  • evidence of continuing ties to Canada, such as driver's licence, health insurance, family ties, employment, etc.
  • medical or humanitarian reasons eg. caring for sick relative; and
  • whether there are extensive ties outside of Canada, such as foreign employment, family, residence, etc.

An immigrant absent from Canada for more than 183 days is presumed to have abandoned permanent residence unless the immigrant can rebut the presumption. To assist in rebutting this presumption an immigrant should obtain a Returning Resident Permit.If the immigrant is unable to satisfy the immigration officer that he or she is a returning resident, the immigrant will be reportable under section 20 of the Immigration Act. Subsequently, the immigrant will be given an opportunity to satisfy a senior immigration officer that he or she is a returning resident. If the immigrant fails he or she must then satisfy an immigration adjudicator that he or she did not intend to abandon Canada as a place of residence.

As a permanent resident, the immigrant also has the right to appeal a removal order to the Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board.

 

Case Law

The Case Law is clear in that both physical absence and the intention to abandon Canada as a place of residence must be present in order for an adjudicator to conclude that a resident has abandoned permanent resident status. In other words, there are two elements essential to the creation of residence: 1) physical presence; and 2) the intention to remain in that place [see Daniels v. Canada (MEI)(Nov.27, 1980), Doc. Toronto 80-925, (Imm.App. Bd.) (unreported)].

Permanent residents under the age of 14 are considered unable to make the decision to abandon Canada as their place of residence. Consequently, they cannot lose their residence [See D'Souza v. Canada (Minister of Employment & Immigration) (oct. 8, 1980) Doc. Toronto 79-9012 (Imm. App. Bd.) (unreported).

A person is not eligible for Canadian citizenship if the person has ceased to be a permanent resident under section 24 of the Immigration Act.

See Returning Resident Permit to prevent losing your permanent residency status.

Living in Canada

Canadian Culture and Lifestyle

Whenever we have traveled to foreign countries we are amazed at the cultural differences.  We have prepared this article on Canadian culture and lifestyle so that intended immigrants to Canada can properly prepare for the cultural differences.

 

Multiculturalism

Newcomers to multicultural Canada are encouraged to maintain their homeland's culture and language, unlike most countries, where they are expected to blend into the existing socio-cultural fabric.

Although participating in your ethnic community is understandable, adjusting successfully to life in Canada is easier if you involve yourself in mainstream Canadian activities.

 

Bilingualism

Canada is officially bilingual.  The federal government works in the two official languages - English and French.

 

Human Rights

Canada and its provinces have human rights laws to protect people against discrimination on the basis of race, sex, skin colour, disability, or sexual orientation.  If you feel you have been denied a job, place to live, or service in a restaurant or hotel for any of these reasons, you can complain to national or provincial human rights commissions.

Racial violence, child and spousal abuse, assault and threats of assault are against the law in Canada.  You can call the police if you or your child experience these injustices.

 

Environment

Canadians are increasingly concerned about the environment.  Residents value neighborhood trees and often resent those who remove them, regardless of property lines.  People who litter may be fined.

Many Canadians take pride in maintaining green laws, hedges, and colorful flower gardens, which give their homes an attractive setting.

Canadians routinely recycle newspapers, cans and bottles by means of door-to-door pickup or recycling depots.  Many municipalities distribute recycling contains (called "Blue Boxes") to households for curbside pickup.  Deposits are paid for returnable beer and soft drink cans and bottles.

 

Legal Smoking Age

You must be of legal smoking age to purchase cigarettes in Canada.  The legal age is 19 in British Columbia and Ontario; 18 in Alberta and Quebec, and 16 in Manitoba.

Storeowners are legally obliged to refuse to sell to cigarettes to children.

 

Money

Canadian currency is based on the decimal system.  One hundred cents equals one dollar ($).

Paper money is printed in $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, and larger bills.  Commonly used coins are:

  • Penny: $0.01
  • Nickel: $0.05
  • Dime: $0.10
  • Quarter: $0.25
  • Loonie: $1.00
  • Two-nie: $2.00

Quarters and looneys are widely used for street parking meters, public telephones, and coin-operated newspaper and laundry machines.

Canada's central bank, the Bank of Canada, is the federal institution responsible for the country's monetary policy.  Because Canadian currency is not fixed to other foreign currencies, its value rises and falls according to market conditions.

 

Telephone Books

There are two types of telephone directories:  the White Pages and the Yellow Pages.  These books offer a wealth of information, particularly to newcomers.

The White Pages list names, addresses, and telephone numbers of residences and businesses.  The front pages provide valuable information about telephone services, long distance calling, community organizations, and a list of numbers to call in emergencies (including the police, fire department and ambulance). 

The Grey or Blue Pages (located at the back of the White Pages) list government offices for Canada, for your province, and for your city of municipality.

The Yellow Pages list businesses by type (such as Lawyers, Physicians, Plumbers, etc.)  The front pages may provide useful information about your city, such as transit route guides.

Ethnic business directors may also be available in a particular city.  For information call your local public library, or community organization.

 

Postage

Canada Post operates post offices and smaller postal outlets in stores throughout the country.

Postage costs vary depending on size and weight.  If you mail a parcel out of Canada, you must fill out a customs form declaring how much is in the parcel and its value.  Canada Post also offers insurance on parcels and letters, registered mail, and express delivery services.

For more information, or to locate the post office nearest you, look in the White Pages telephone book under "Canada Post Corp."

 

 

 

Credit References

Many Canadian businesses ask for credit references.  They will probably request such information as your address and telephone number.  Social Insurance Number, employer's name and address, names and telephone numbers of several references, and your bank's name and account number (so that they may make a credit check with your bank).

In addition to credit references, employer and personal references are considered very important in Canada.  Newcomers must become part of the community in order to acquire good references.

 

Personal Identification

In Canada, the family name is a formal identification and used in lists such as the telephone book.  It is also called a "last' name or "surname".  The "first" or "given" name is more familiar and used by friends, family members, and business associates.

 

Canadian Families

Most Canadian families have no more than two children and many are headed by a single parent.  It is quite common for Canadian couples to live together even if they are not married and this type of relation is legally recognized as a "common-law" marriage.

Increasingly, both parents in two-parent families work, as two incomes are often required to maintain a reasonable standard of living.  Most Canadian couples cannot afford nannies, so they rely on daycare for their children while they are at work.

 

Daycare

Daycare provides part- or full-day supervision of children from the age of six weeks to 13 years.  Children under 12 may not be left at home without adult supervision.

Go find daycare services, consult the Yellow Pages under "Daycare Centres".  It's also a good idea to ask other parents.

 

Pets

(particularly dogs) may have to be licensed and/or wear identification tags in Canada.  To check the rules in your city, call the Animal Shelter or Pound listed in the municipal Blue Pages of your telephone book.

"Veterinarians" are listed in the Yellow Pages.

 

Grocery Shopping

The majority of Canadians cite food, transportation, and shelter as their three greatest expenses. 

Most people shop weekly for food and other household items at supermarkets.  Many stores advertise weekly "specials" (items at reduced prices) in inserts of local newspapers or flyers delivered to your home.  Because prices vary from store to store, you can save money by comparing prices.  Weekly food expenses can be reduced in the following ways:

  • buy in-store specials in quantity
  • buy products "in bulk"
  • buy fruits and vegetables in season
  • use discount coupons (found in newspapers, magazines, and internet)

Many ethnic foods, such as Chinese , are readily available in grocery stores located in ethnic neighborhoods, such as Chinatown.

 

Social Skills

It is essential to be on time for business appointments and not later than half-an-hour for social events.  If you must be late, a telephone call stating your expected time of arrival is appreciated.

Canadians are accustomed to more personal space than in some other countries.  For example, people using Automated Bank Machines expect the next person in line to stand a few feet behind them.  Pushing and shoving are considered extremely discourteous.

People routinely line up or "queue up" for movies, cash registers, bank tellers, and buses.  Even without a formal queue, expect to be served on a "first come, first served" basis.  Be patient when waiting to be served.  Canadians strongly resent people who push ahead in line.

Common courtesies such as holding open doors for the person behind you are appreciated.

You may experience the pace of life in Canada as slower than in your home country.  Even within Canada, many people notice a difference between fast-paced Toronto and more relaxed Vancouver.  In many Canadian stores or business establishments, for example, "good" service tends to be defined as friendly, rather than as fast or efficient.  You may have to allow more time for your shopping, banking, and other services.

 

Communication

The following are some common Canadian social practices, which may differ from those in your country:

  • Don't be surprised if people smile and say "hi" despite the fact that they do not know you.
  • They often ask "How are you?" as part of a greeting and shake hands when they meet you for the first time.  Most people simply replay, "Fine, thanks".
  • It is polite to say "please" and "thank-you" when purchasing goods or receiving information and "Excuse me", "Sorry", or "Pardon me" if you accidentally bump into someone.
  • "Have a nice day" is often used to end a conversation.
  • Most Canadians try to be tactful in their dealings with others.  They generally avoid loud discussions and argument in public places.  Most respond to public conflicts, such as car accidents, by trying to stay calm.
  • It is considered offensive for strangers to speak in another language about others in their presence.  Tone of voice and eye contact can signal to them that they are being talked about.  It is extremely impolite to stare.
  • Newcomers should respond to the attitudes and expectations of long-time Canadians calmly without overreacting.  Many seemingly "racist" reactions may simply indicate unawareness, curiosity, or surprise.  Try not to take offence quickly or jump to the conclusion that discrimination is being shown.

 

Being a Dinner Guest

When someone invites you to his or her home for dinner or the evening it is common to take an inexpensive gift such as flowers, chocolates, or a bottle of wine.  Ask the host or hostess what time to arrive and whether to dress casually or formally.  For casual events, dinner guests often ask if they may prepare something for the meal, such as a dessert.

The hostess customarily begins her meal before anyone else.  Always offer main dishes to others before serving yourself.  Most Canadians appreciate directness.  If you prefer not to eat something, simply say , "No, thank you".  If you want something which is passed to you, accept it by saying "Thank you".

Toward the end of the evening be alert for lulls in the conversation or signs of fatigue from your host and hostess, indicating that it is time to leave.

A few days after a dinner party, a telephone call or note to thank the host of hostess is much appreciated.  It is good manners to reciprocate with a dinner invitation to your hosts in a few weeks.

 

Dining Out

Most restaurants in Canada have smoking and non-smoking sections, except in cities where smoking in restaurants is not allowed.

Restaurants charge 7% Goods and Sales Tax (GST).  Gratuities are not included in the bill, but it is customary to tip 15% for good service.

When several people dine out together, each person usually pays his or her own share.  If unsure, you may ask politely after the bill is paid, "How much do I owe you?"

If you plan to dine out at a formal or very popular restaurant, it is wise to call the restaurant ahead of time and make reservations.

Except in formal restaurants, people often ask the waiter to put remaining food in a container (called a "doggie bag") so that they can finish it at home.

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