Top 10: life in Quebec

Sometimes it feels like all we ever talk about is Toronto and Vancouver. And it’s true that they’re doing a lot of the heavy lifting in Canada’s economy. But there’s more to Canada than two cities. So today we’re exploring the life in Francophonic Quebec.

Here’s the cheat sheet to the France outside France.

  • Learn French. OK, you can survive on English alone but you’ll be missing out on cultural, social and professional opportunities. The good news is that many non-Francophones find it hard not to learn French: the bilingual culture lets people immerse themselves at their own pace. Voila!
  • Get nationalistic. Quebec Nationalism is quite strong, and they’ve had two referenda on whether to leave Canada or not (in 1980 and 1995) . In the second of these 49% voted to leave. C’est politique!
  • Sneak into the Capital. Gatineau is so close to Ottawa that they look like the same place on the map. Look closer and you’ll see that Ottawa’s in Ontario, not Quebec. Main difference: Gatineau has higher taxes and tougher drinking laws, but also more childcare and cheaper houses.
  • But if you’re looking at work in Ottawa, many government departments are HQd in Gatineau. And commuting across the Ottawa River is roughly the same as commuting across, say, the Thames, or the Hudson.
  • Make friends. Quebec has a kind of friendly solidarity, possibly due to being linguistically distinct. Although by the same token, staunchly nationalist Canadians can sometimes get tetchy when confronted with staunchly separatist Quebecois. Take it easy.
  • Work. Quebec’s top 5 employment categories are (in descending order): wholesale and retail trade; health and social support; manufacturing; professional/ technical/ scientific; construction.
  • Start innovating. The Quebec government is investing roughly a billion dollars in the innovation sector. The main thrust of the plan is to stimulate green-tech developments in search of the low-carbon economy.
  • Buy a house. Average house price in Quebec: $284,000. Which makes it one of the most affordable and accessible housing markets you’ll find.
  • Get smart. Quebec heavily subsidises tertiary education, so – although things vary by college and course – you can study for less than $3,000 a year. And some of Quebec’s universities are really, really good. Two of them are in the world’s top 100.
  • Get healthy. Quebec also subsidises health care. In fact, much of what you need has no charge. Statistics Canada predicts an average family to spend $2,000 a year on health.

Like it, eh? Check out our job boards for a gig in Quebec.


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