What Americans want to know about life in Canada: Gun laws, citizenship, 'emotional support Canadians'

With the U.S. election winding down, many Americans are showing an interest in moving to Canada, which has peaked interest in things such as our gun laws, who's our "president" and how they can get some support amid these hard times. (Credit: Associated Press)
With the U.S. election winding down, many Americans are showing an interest in moving to Canada, which has peaked interest in things such as our gun laws, who's our "president" and how they can get some support amid these hard times. (Credit: Associated Press)

As U.S. election ballots continue to be counted, many Americans, aside from checking whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump has won yet, have been mulling what it would be like to check out Canada if the election results aren’t to their liking.

But moving is never easy: once you’ve looked up how to move to Canada, some of the more nuanced parts of Canadian life may remain a mystery. Yahoo Canada is here to break down everything you need to know if you want to move to Canada from the U.S., based on some of the top searches we’ve noticed on Google Trends throughout the 2020 U.S. Election.

What is the warmest place in Canada?

Victoria in British Columbia is the most western point of the country and also happens to be the warmest. Though their winters are often wet and grey, temperatures rarely dip below freezing and snow days are a novelty. During the coldest months (January and February), Victoria sees a high of around 8°C (46°F) and a low of 3°C (37°F). In the warmest month of August, there’s a high of around 24°C (75°F) and a low of 12°C (53°F).

View of the beautiful harbor of Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
View of the harbour of Victoria, Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada. (Getty)

How do you move to Canada from the U.S. and get a Canadian citizenship?

There seems to be a keen interest in learning more about the process of immigrating to Canada from the U.S. There are three main ways to do so: permanent residency, work permit or a study permit. To learn more about the details of how to move to Canada from the U.S, please read here.

What is Canada’s health care system, is it free?

Canadians have access to health insurance through a universal, public system. It’s not free, but it is paid largely by Canadian tax dollars, while each province and territory has its own health insurance plan. All permanent residents and citizens also receive medically necessary hospital and physician services for free. However, many Canadians have private insurance to cover services such as dental care and prescription drugs.

What are Canada’s gun laws?

The main three classes of firearms in Canada are restricted, non-restricted and prohibited. Shotguns and standard rifles are non-restricted guns, which don’t need to be registered, unless you’re in Quebec. Certain types of handguns, like the ones small enough to be hidden, are prohibited in Canada. If a firearm is not considered prohibited, it is instead considered restricted and needs to be registered. Prohibited firearms include modified handguns and automatic rifles.

If you want to buy or possess a firearm, you’ll need to have a license. This requires completing the Canada Firearms Safety Course. If you’d like to own a restricted firearm, you must take a separate course. Once these courses are passed and you’ve received your license, it has to be renewed every five years. This is done through an application process, as well as completing a background check. Click here to learn more.

What type of government does Canada have, is it socialist?

Despite what some people may think, Canada is not a socialist country. It is a democracy with federal elections every four years at most, however if parliament dissolves prior to that date, an election may be held sooner. Canada has three levels of government: federal, provincial and municipal. On the federal level, the prime Minister is the top dog, and he, along with members of parliament in Ottawa, deal with national issues like:

  • mail

  • taxes

  • money

  • banking

  • shipping

  • railways

  • pipelines

  • telephones

  • criminal law

  • foreign affairs

  • national defence

  • employment insurance

  • Aboriginal lands and rights

Parliament is broken down into three levels:

  • the Sovereign (Queen or King)

  • the Senate

  • the House of Commons

Canada is a constitutional monarchy, which means the queen or king is technically our head of state, while the Prime Minister is the head of government.

On a provincial and territorial level, the Premier is at the top of command. Those governments are in charge of handling issues like:

  • education

  • health care

  • road regulations

The municipal government is led by a mayor. These governments run cities, towns or districts (municipalities) and are in charge of issues like:

  • parks

  • parking

  • libraries

  • roadways

  • local police

  • local land use

  • fire protection

  • public transportation

  • community water systems

Throughout Canada, there are also First Nation communities, where band councils govern, similar to municipal governments. Decisions in the community are made by band council, which are elected by band members.

Who is Canada’s President?

Canada doesn’t have a president, it has a prime minister. Canada’s current prime minister is Justin Trudeau. Canada also has a governor general, who represents the king or queen when they are not present in the country (Queen Elizabeth II’s most recent visit to Canada was in 2010). The current governor general of Canada is Julie Payette.

What are Canada’s tax rates?

Canadian tax rates depend on your income bracket. How much you’ll be taxed depends on how much you make in a year. These amounts are adjusted each year according to inflation.

2019 Federal income tax brackets & rates

$47,630 or less


$47,630 to $95,259


$95,259 to $147,667


$147,667 to $210,371


More than $210,371


‘Canadian tuxedo’: What is it and its origin?

This is a sartorial statement where denim is layered over several items of clothing — denim jeans with a denim shirt and a denim jacket, for example. The Canadian tuxedo is said to have first been worn by American singer Bing Crosby, who was nearly denied a hotel room in Vancouver as a result of his casual attire. Also see: Toques, flannel, and Hudson Bay blankets.

Rear view of young male and female friends walking in corridor at university
A 'Canadian tuxedo' is a term used for denim-on-denim outfits, such as a denim jacket worn with a pair of jeans, often in the same shade of blue. (Getty)

What’s an emotional support Canadian?

On U.S. election night, a Twitter user by the handle @Darth_Pingu tweeted out to Americans that there would be “Emotional Support Canadians” on standby. The tweet garnered over 20,000 retweets, and lots of engagement from Americans, looking for care packages of Timbits and maple syrup.

On a related note, most Canadians will already be familiar with the original Emotional Support Canadian.

Mr. Dressup, aka Ernie Coombs, will be on the cover of the Sat arts millennium issue along with Tom Green. They'll represent the past and future of television. Tom Green is in the U.S. and has sent us pics (would like to use one of him in horns). Mr.Dressup is willing to come into the studio to be photographed, so we can bring both him and Tom together through photoshop. Photog will have copy of Green photos so he can pose Mr. Dressup appropriately. Idea cover shot, i think, is Tom Green in devil horns and Mr. Dressup in halo (which Rob Salem is making, also Mr. Dressup may bring in some props). This is for the COVER. also, for inside, can u get a couple of candid pics of Mr. Dressup (Photo by Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Mr. Dressup, a.k.a. Ernie Coombs, was a mainstay of Canadian children's television for many years, entertaining youngsters from 1967 to 1996, and could be considered the ultimate Emotional Support Canadian. (Photo by Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images)