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Canada: The Place You Want to Be

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Historically, Canada has been a haven for people looking for a peaceful economically sound country to call home, but at no time in history has Canada been more inviting and accommodating to immigrants than now. The Canadian government is hoping to attract between 200,00 and 225,000 new immigrants during the year 2000.

And why should Canada not succeed? According to the Human Development Report for 1999 recently released by the United Nations, Canada once again ranks first worldwide among places to live, this time for the sixth year in a row. Factors taken into consideration when determining such rankings include educational levels, health care, life expectancy and income.

A country of around 31 million people, Canada currently has around 5 million immigrants. The Canadian social model is one of multiculturalism, which stresses the importance of each distinct group co-existing rather than melting into a single identity. It is an intricate part of Canada's social fabric and has become a world model.

Immigrants are very welcome, as they tend to fulfill a number of important functions in Canadian society as a whole. For example, they help to combat the existing problem of under population, a problem augmented by two factors: an aging population combined with low birth rates. The Canadian government has established numerous support programs for newly arrived immigrants to help them make an easy transition into Canadian society. One such initiative is the Host Program, which acquaints immigrants with a volunteer who will help them get on with day to day living in Canadian society. What those people learn is that Canada truly is a land of opportunity.

Canadians are some of the best-educated people in the world, with an adult literacy rate of 99%. Children are required by law to attend school up to the age of 15 or 16, depending on the province, and university attendance --mostly funded by the government-- is commonplace. A low crime rate usually follows in countries where good education and social welfare (including universal health care) are standard, and Canada is no exception. Toronto, Canada's largest city with around 4 million people, is continually rated as among the safest urban sprawls in North America.

Canada is currently experiencing an almost unparalleled boom in its economy. Canada's most active trading partner is the United States, but it has carved



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