Canada is the second largest nation in the world in terms of landmass, and is also among the world’s top ten economies by size. The stable economy is primarily thanks to the country’s abundant natural resources. Canada ranks highly on various measures such as education, healthcare, civil rights, and overall quality of life. There is a large and varied expat population, and it is considered to be a largely safe destination.However, when it comes to women in particular, the statistics show that crimes such as sexual assault, spousal assault, and criminal harassment still remain a problem in Canada. Certain groups of women are especially at risk of such crimes; these include aboriginal women, immigrant women, women with disabilities, and younger women. Here are some safety tips for expat women in Canada.
1. Gender inequality can, in many cases, lead to violence. Discrimination at the workplace, sexual harassment and objectification deepens the inequality and may increase the risk of violence and crime. Therefore, if you experience or see it happening, challenge or report the discrimination.
2. Discrimination against women often occurs along with racism. Immigrant women may, in some cases, come face to face with oppression and inequality. There are various non-profit organizations that work specifically to combat this kind of discrimination; if this is something you are concerned about, it is worth getting in touch with a local branch to discuss your concerns.
3. If you are a parent, you can help your children become aware of what constitutes healthy relationships. Both sons and daughters should be taught to treat women with respect and dignity. High school violence prevention programs can be effective and those who are in a position to, can start such programs. Alternatively, you can support women’s organizations that run them.
4. Some petty crimes also occur, but conflicts can easily be avoided by taking a few basic precautions. Canada is mostly a safe destination, but if you are out alone at night or in an unknown neighborhood, make it a point to walk with confidence and purpose. Keep your pace steady and face the traffic while walking as this keeps you visible. If you are lost, stop at the nearest restaurant or store and ask for directions.
5. If you happen to be in an isolated area and need to get to your car, keep your keys ready, holding them inside your pocket. Take them out once you approach your car door, thus eliminating fumbling and preventing you from being distracted.
6. Untoward incidents can happen unexpectedly. One of the best things to do is to trust your instincts. Avoid areas you feel are not very safe. If you feel someone is following you, go to a public place, instead of going straight to your car or home.
7. The state and federal police in Canada are known to be highly professional and efficient. They are proactive and deliver assistance in a timely manner. People in general believe them to helpful and trustworthy. If you feel you require emergency assistance or you feel you at risk in some way, call 911.
8. Some preventative measures to take against home invasions include firstly never opening the door unless you are sure who is on the other side or you are certain that the person has a valid reason for being there. It’s also a good idea to be aware of your surroundings, including knowing your neighbors.
9. Canadian winters bring with them snow, ice and also potentially risky road conditions. Driving during these months can be challenging. Whether you will be driving alone or with family, make sure to get winter tires to provide traction when travelling over wet or icy surfaces. Also, inspect your tires and tire pressure every month because cold climate can cause a decrease in tire pressure.
10. The online world can sometimes become a potentially risky environment if users are not too careful. The website of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police lists some tips to stay in cyberspace, such as checking your security settings on social media websites, securing your mobile devices against viruses and hackers and using encryption to protect sensitive files such as financial documents and tax returns. If you suspect a cyber crime, report it to your local police.
Those are our top safety tips for expats in Canada. Do you have any to add? Let us know in the comments.