Provinces of Canada
In this series of articles we will talk about the main provinces of Canada, covering demographic, economic and climatic aspects, among others.
Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia (commonly referred to as just B.C.) is the westernmost province in Canada. It is the third largest Canadian province in area and population, with more than 5 million people living there. Immigrants make up the higher portion of B.C. population, and each year an average of 40,000 new residents make B.C. their new home. The two most important cities in British Columbia are Victoria, the province’s capital and Vancouver, the third largest city in Canada, with 2.5 million people living in Greater Vancouver.
The only province in the Pacific Region of Canada, B.C. is bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean and Alaska, to the north by Yukon and the Northwest Territories, to the east by the province of Alberta, and to the south by the United States. British Columbia’s landscape is very diverse and includes rocky coastlines, sandy beaches, forests, lakes, mountains, inland deserts and grassy plains.
British Columbia is a large province, and its climate varies significantly from one region to another. B.C. is famous for having some of the wettest climates in Canada, as well as some of the driest. B.C.’s climate is influenced by the Pacific Ocean and the mountain ranges. In the north, winters are long and cold with lots of snow, and summers are short. Areas along the south coast have a mild climate year round; summers are warm and the winters are the mildest in all of Canada, with temperatures rarely dropping below freezing. Vancouver has an average temperature of 22 °C in summer and 3 °C in winter.
English is the official and main language of communication in British Columbia. After English, the most common languages spoken are Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Korean, Spanish, as well as Indigenous languages. Outside of education, government and court services are not normally offered in other languages, yet some government programs and services are provided in French across the province.
British Columbia economy is diverse, while service-based industries dominate in cities, resource-based sectors like forestry, agriculture, natural gas and mining, are the prominent economic activities in less urbanized areas. Its climate also encourages the outdoor recreation and tourism sector, which has observed a growth in the past years. Vancouver has become a centre for software development, biotechnology, aerospace, video game development, animation studios, television production and film industry, supporting more than 20,000 jobs. Other sectors that have been observing a promising growth due to the provincial government investment are green technology, digital media, life sciences, health care and high tech services.
The school year in Canada starts in September and ends in June, with the months of July and August being the summer break. Like many other aspects of the country, it is the responsibility of the provinces to monitor and regulate education. In B.C., Canadian citizens, permanent residents and children of international students have access to free education from Kindergarten to Grade 12, starting at 5 years old and as long as certain requirements are met. Access to French-language education and support in other languages are also provided by the province.
In addition to the immigration process offered by the federal government, it is also possible to choose one of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPPNP) to immigrate to Canada. British Columbia offers the BC Provincial Nominee Program BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP), which nominates qualified candidates, who have skills that the province's development needs, to apply for permanent residence. In general, qualified professionals and entrepreneurs who meet the necessary requirements, can apply for the BC PNP. BC PNP profissionais qualificados e empresários que cumpram os requisitos necessários.
British Columbia's natural beauty has attracted most of its visitors, with three Unesco World Heritage Sites, six National Parks and over 400 provincial parks, recreation and conservation areas, more than 15 million people visit the province each year. It is the principal destination for people that enjoy outdoor recreational activities like biking, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking and swimming. Some of the most visited places are the Stanley Park, The Butchart Garden and the Capilano Suspension Bridge.
Urban centres are also full of cultural opportunities, and the must-see places are The Royal British Columbia Museum, The Museum of Anthropology and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Vancouver has a great cultural diversity. One is able to find culinary and festivals from around the world in the city.
By Janayna Sercheli
If you wish to immigrate to British Columbia, contact Klaps Immigration Consulting for more information on immigration processes.