Most people agree that Canada is one of the safest places to live in the world. In Canada, as in the rest of the world, it is still important to use common sense when it comes to safety. Your safety is the most important thing.
Don’t be afraid to call 911 if you need help or see something wrong. This is Canada’s main number for police, fire, and ambulance. If English is not your first language, there are people who can help you. If you are robbed, don’t argue or fight back. If you are attacked, yell or blow a whistle to get people’s attention. Try to keep your body safe and get the attacker’s attention so you can get away. If the person trying to hurt you asks for your purse or wallet, don’t give it to them. Instead, throw it away and run the other way.
No matter how small the crime is, you should tell the police about it.
Make sure you know where you’re going and how to get there by bus before you leave. Another good way to get home when it’s late and dark is to take a taxi. Keep a taxi company’s number on hand, just in case. All taxis in Canada should have running meters that show how much the ride will cost. The driver won’t try to talk you down on the price.
Along with traditional taxis, ridesharing is almost as common in Canada as it is in the US. Uber might be the most popular choice in the world, but some smart startups have given people in Canada more choices, such as:
- Carpooling with Carma
Depending on where you are, you may or may not be able to get each of these services. Find out what choices you have in your province. Ridesharing is usually the cheapest way to travel by car, and it’s definitely safer than getting behind the wheel when you’re drunk. Make sure to drink in a responsible way!
Many public transit systems also have extra help for people who are traveling alone at night. If you’re going to take the bus, make sure you know your route and the schedule ahead of time. After dark, choose bus stops that are busy and well-lit. If you can, choose a seat near the front of the bus, close to the driver, so they can help if someone is bothering you. If someone is making you feel bad, don’t be afraid to switch seats. It’s more important that you feel safe and comfortable than that you don’t seem rude. Ask your bus driver to drop you off on the street closest to your destination after dark so you don’t have to walk alone as much as possible.
When walking alone, pay attention to who is around you and what is going on. Don’t walk with headphones on or anything else that could take your attention away from where you are. There may be safer places than others. Ask around about the best ways to get where you’re going. Always walk on busy, well-lit streets at night, and if you can, travel with a friend. Don’t go to parks or alleys by yourself. If you have to walk alone, do it with confidence and plan your route to your destination and back.
Many college campuses have “safety escorts” and other services to help students get around campus after dark, like rides. It’s a good idea to have these services’ phone numbers saved in your phone.
Tell someone always where you’re going and when you’ll be back. If you think someone is following you, turn around and go to the closest store, restaurant, or other public place. Don’t carry around a lot of cash or weapons. Weapons are against the law in Canada, and people can use them to hurt you.
Drinking and Parties
Make sure you know how old you have to be to legally drink in your province. To buy alcohol or get into a bar or club, you will need an ID or a passport. Make sure you go to a bar with friends so that you have people you can trust who can help you if you get into trouble. Make sure you have a way to get home that doesn’t involve drinking and driving before you go out.
This could mean getting a designated driver from a friend, taking a taxi, using rideshare, or taking the bus. Unless you’re using a ridesharing app, don’t take rides from strangers. And when you use rideshare apps, always make sure that the license plate, the driver’s name and photo, and the description of the car match what’s in the app.
Drugs are dangerous and against the law in Canada. Don’t use them or have them. If an international student is caught with drugs, they can be sent home. It is also against the law to drink alcohol in places like parks, beaches, cars, or the street that are open to the public. Watch out for things that could make it hard for you to study in Canada.
Don’t let people in your apartment building or dorm room who you don’t know. If you aren’t expecting maintenance or a delivery, send them to the building manager. This also means that you shouldn’t hold the door open for strangers. This might seem rude, but it’s more important that you and your neighbors or roommates are safe while you’re in Canada.
Don’t prop doors open with the floor mat or other things, as this could let people in who aren’t supposed to be there. Even when you’re at home, you should always lock your doors and windows and look through the peephole before you open the door for someone. It’s also a good idea to get to know your neighbors so you’ll have people nearby who can help you in an emergency.