Canada Country Report
The operational environment in Canada is attractive and stable, and has attracted significant levels of foreign investment, although some restrictions remain on foreign investment. The overall environment is pro-business, although this marginally differs by sector. Union activity is relatively high, and protests by aboriginal groups can disrupt operations. There has been controversy over the expansion of the energy industry and the development of various pipelines, particularly those which traverse or terminate in environmentally sensitive areas. Some provinces have higher levels of regulation than others. The federal-provincial nature of the government entails comparatively high levels of bureaucratic complexity.
Although some of the most high-profile attempted and realised terrorist attacks involve homegrown jihadist sympathisers, right-wing domestic terrorism is rising. Overall, jihadist activity within Canada is relatively rare, although it does occur, normally from "lone wolves" inspired by Islamic militant groups. Similar attacks have taken place by right-wing lone actors, such as gun attacks on police officers in New Brunswick in 2014 and on mosque-goers in Québec in 2017. Other terrorist activity involves low-level incidents conducted by environmental and anti-globalisation activists.
Despite the problems posed by drug and human trafficking and the activities of organised crime gangs, Canada overall remains a very low-risk country with respect to crime. According to Statistics Canada, in 2017, police-reported crime (measured by both the crime rate and a crime severity index) has fallen by 23% since 2003; property crime has decreased by 39%. The provinces and territories with the largest crime were Nunavut, Yukon, and the Northern Territories.
Although maritime sovereignty and resource disputes exist with numerous countries, armed conflict and shoot-down risks are very low. Despite increased militarisation of the arctic, a region in which Canada has a leading interest, the likelihood of war on or near Canadian soil is low. As part of a commitment to a more assertive foreign policy, Canada recently announced CAD62 billion in new defence spending to modernise and develop its military, lending capabilities to a force still unlikely to be deployed on a large scale except in response to natural disasters.
Vaccines Required to Enter the Country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers
Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).
Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers
Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.
Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.
Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).
Due to the fact that Canada is vulnerable to an array of natural risks, travelers should take certain precautions depending on the season in which they plan to visit.
From the end of autumn until the arrival of spring, major snowstorms and below-freezing temperatures can cause disruptions to transportation and daily life throughout the country. However, local governments and populations are well equipped and experienced in dealing with winter weather. Local forecasts are available at the Weather Network website.
From May until September, tornadoes can strike central regions, particularly in southern Ontario (25 per year on average), Alberta (ten), southeastern Quebec (six), and Saskatchewan (14), with a peak of storms in June and July. Further information is available on the Canadian government's Environment and Climate Change website.
Tropical storms and their remnants can hit the northeast of the country (e.g. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland). The North Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 to November 30. See the US National Hurricane Center website for information regarding tropical storms.
Canada experiences annual summer wildfires that can disrupt travel, communication, and electricity infrastructure. A major forest fire Alberta and Saskatchewan provinces in May-June 2016, forcing the evacuation of Fort McMurray, Alberta, and leading to the suspension of flights at the city's airport (YMM) for several days. The fire destroyed more than 2000 buildings in Fort McMurray and in total affected 590,000 hectares (1,500,000 acres) of land.
The province of British Colombia and the Yukon Territory (west) are situated in an active seismic zone. There is also the risk of a tsunami hitting coastal British Colombia in the event of an offshore earthquake.
While primary and secondary roads are generally in good condition, winter snows can make driving difficult, particularly for individuals not used to such conditions. Make sure cars are equipped with snow tires if traveling in the country in the winter months. Roads, including major highways, may be closed in the event of snow storms or avalanches.
Public transportation and taxis are safe nationwide.
Snow storms also regularly result in flight delays and cancelations, as well as other transportation disruptions.
Canada's climate varies by region.
In the south, summers are hot and dry and winters cold but often sunny between snow storms. Milder temperatures return in March-April. During the months of May, June, and September days are hot but nights are cool. Colder weather returns in November.
In the west, along the Pacific coast, the climate is mild and wet; winters are very rainy and temperatures are pleasant in the summer.
In the Rocky Mountains, conditions are cool, dry, and sunny in the summer months.
The east experiences hot summers and cold winters.
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