Life in British Columbia

Get on the path to claiming permanent residency in British Columbia with our detailed compilation of life in British Columbia!

Nestled between the rugged Pacific coastline and the majestic Rocky Mountains, British Columbia is a province that beckons with a tapestry of natural wonders and vibrant cityscapes. From the urban allure of Vancouver to the historic charm of Victoria, the province is a mosaic of diverse experiences.

Explore the top educational hubs in Canada, where international students thrive amidst vibrant cultures and academic excellence, from the bustling metropolis of Toronto to the coastal charm of Halifax!

About British Columbia

Nestled in the westernmost part of Canada, British Columbia is a province that boasts a myriad of fascinating facts. To start, it houses the stunning Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, a haven for nature enthusiasts, where rainforests meet the ocean in a mesmerizing blend.

The province is home to the iconic Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest and most renowned ski resorts globally, drawing winter sports enthusiasts from around the globe. British Columbia’s coastline stretches over 27,000 kilometers, showcasing a diverse range of marine life, from orcas to sea lions. Vancouver, one of its vibrant cities, consistently ranks as one of the most livable cities globally, with a dynamic mix of cultures and a thriving arts scene.

The historic gold rush town of Barkerville provides a glimpse into British Columbia’s rich history, immersing visitors in the 19th-century atmosphere. Lastly, the provincial flag proudly displays a Union Jack, reflecting its historical ties to the British Empire.

Where is British Columbia on The Map?

British Columbia is situated on the west coast of Canada, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the province of Alberta to the east. It shares its southern border with the United States, specifically the states of Alaska, Washington, Idaho, and Montana.

The capital city of British Columbia is Victoria, located on Vancouver Island, while the largest city is Vancouver, considered one of the most livable cities in the world.

Economy and Industries in British Columbia

British Columbia has a diverse and robust economy, driven by various industries. One of the main contributors to the province’s economy is the resource sector, including forestry, mining, and natural gas extraction. The coastal region is rich in timber, making forestry a significant industry in British Columbia. Additionally, the province is abundant in mineral resources which contribute to the mining sector’s growth. This includes:

  • Coal,
  • Copper,
  • Gold,
  • Silver, and
  • Molybdenum.

The technology sector in British Columbia is also thriving, with Vancouver being dubbed as “Silicon Valley North.” The city has a vibrant start-up ecosystem and is home to numerous tech companies, attracting talent from around the world. Other notable industries in British Columbia include film and television production, tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing.

Climate/ Weather in British Columbia

British Columbia experiences a diverse climate due to its vast geographical features. The province is known for its mild winters and warm summers, making it an ideal destination for outdoor activities throughout the year. The hottest month is July when daily highs reach 28°C (82.4°F) and lows come to around 11°C (51.8°F) according to Weatherspark.

The coastal regions, including Vancouver and Victoria, have a temperate climate, with mild winters and moderate rainfall. In contrast, the interior regions have a drier and more continental climate, with hotter summers and colder winters. Winter temperatures reach lows around -21°C (5.8°F) and highs of 7°C (44.6°F) based on information from Weatherspark.

The province’s mountainous areas, such as Whistler and the Rocky Mountains, offer excellent winter sports opportunities with abundant snowfall. The northern regions of British Columbia have a subarctic climate, with long, cold winters and shorter, cool summers.

Cost of Living in British Columbia

Living in British Columbia, particularly in major cities like Vancouver and Victoria, comes with a higher cost of living compared to other Canadian provinces. This is exemplified below with average monthly expense figures from Canada’s four major cities.

Average Cost Of LivingVancouver (CAD)Victoria (CAD)Surrey (CAD)Burnaby (CAD)
For a Single Individual1,577.81,287.931,222.601,156.59
For a Family of Four5,755.85,695.14,330.854,202.12

However, salaries in British Columbia tend to be higher than it’s comparable major Canadian provinces such as Quebec, helping to offset the higher living costs. This is reflected in the table below with figures from numbeo.com.

Canadian CitiesAverage Monthly Net Salary After Tax (CAD)
Vancouver, BC4,103.96
Montreal, Quebec3,716.86

It’s essential to budget wisely and consider your priorities when planning to live in British Columbia.

Demographics in British Columbia

British Columbia is a diverse province with a multicultural population. The province has a significant immigrant population, with people from various backgrounds and cultures calling it home. Vancouver, in particular, is known for its cultural diversity, attracting individuals from all over the world.

The indigenous population of British Columbia is also an essential part of the province’s identity and culture. Major immigrant ethnic groups in Canada include: Chinese, Indian, Ukrainian, Dutch, Filipino, Italian, and Polish.

English is the primary language spoken in British Columbia, followed by Punjabi, Chinese, Tagalog, and various Indigenous languages.

Education in British Columbia

Children in British Columbia between the ages of 5 and 18 attend Kindergarten from elementary or secondary school (from Kindergarten to Grade 12). You can enroll your child in either a public or independent school. There are approximately 360 independent schools and 1,590 public schools in British Columbia.

Many schools in British Columbia provide support services for students whose first language is not English. Public schools in British Columbia follow the British Columbia Curriculum, which focuses on a well-rounded education and prepares students for higher education or the workforce.

The province is also home to several renowned universities and colleges, including the:

  • University of British Columbia,
  • Simon Fraser University,
  • University of Victoria, and
  • University of Canada West.

These institutions offer a wide range of programs and attract students from around the world. British Columbia is the first province in Canada that provides students with a globally recognized seal of quality for tertiary institutions, the Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designation.

Major Cities in British Columbia

British Columbia is home to several major cities, each with its unique charm and attractions. Vancouver, the largest city in the province, is a bustling metropolis known for its stunning skyline, vibrant arts scene, and diverse culinary offerings. The city offers a mix of urban amenities and outdoor recreational opportunities, with nearby mountains and the Pacific Ocean just a short drive away.

Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is located on Vancouver Island and offers a more laid-back and picturesque setting. Known for its historic architecture, beautiful gardens, and charming harbor, Victoria is a popular destination for tourists and residents alike.

Other notable cities in British Columbia include Kelowna, known for its wineries and outdoor activities, and Whistler, renowned for its world-class ski resorts and mountain biking trails.

Things to do in British Columbia

British Columbia offers a wide range of activities for visitors. Some popular attractions and activities include:

Vancouver Seawall

A scenic pathway for walking, cycling, and inline skating, offering beautiful views of the city, mountains, and ocean.

Royal BC Museum

A museum in Victoria, British Columbia, that showcases natural and human history.

Beacon Hill Park

A public park in Victoria, British Columbia, known for its landscaped gardens, petting zoo, and walking paths.

VanDusen Botanical Garden

A 55-acre garden in Vancouver, featuring plants from around the world and various ecosystems.

Whistler-Blackcomb Mountains

A popular ski resort with opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking.

Immigration to British Columbia

British Columbia is a popular destination for immigrants from around the world, offering a welcoming environment and numerous opportunities for individuals and families. The province has several immigration programs that cater to different categories of immigrants, including skilled workers, entrepreneurs, and caregivers.

Express Entry System

The Express Entry system is a federal immigration program that allows skilled workers to apply for permanent residence in Canada. It offers a streamlined immigration process with application processing times.

British Columbia actively participates in this program by nominating eligible candidates through the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP).

British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program

The BC PNP is a provincial immigration program that allows British Columbia to nominate individuals who have the skills and experience required to contribute to the province’s economic growth. The program has several streams, including the Skilled Worker, International Graduate, and Entrepreneur streams, among others.

Business Immigration to British Columbia

British Columbia offers various immigration programs for individuals looking to establish or invest in a business in the province. These programs include the Start-up Visa and Self-employed program.

Start-up Visa Program

The Start-up Visa Program is a Canadian immigration program that targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada. The program aims to attract innovative entrepreneurs who can create jobs for Canadians and compete on a global scale.

Self-Employed Program

The Self-Employed Program is a program that allows people to immigrate to Canada permanently as a self-employed person. To be eligible to apply, you must have relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics and be able to contribute to the cultural or athletic life of Canada.

Other programs you can use to immigrate to British Columbia include pilot programs such as the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, Homecare Provider Pilot, and Agrifood Pilot. These immigration pilots are designed to spread the benefits of economic immigration to smaller communities and address labor shortages in specific industries and occupations.

FAQs

Are The People in British Columbia Friendly and Welcoming?

British Columbians are known for their friendly and welcoming nature. The province’s diverse population creates a multicultural and inclusive community where people from different backgrounds can feel at home. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, you can expect to be greeted with warmth and openness by the people of British Columbia.

What is British Columbia Known For?

British Columbia is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, including its mountains, forests, and coastline. The province offers numerous outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and kayaking, attracting adventure enthusiasts from around the world. British Columbia is also known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, innovative technology industry, and high-quality education system.

British Columbia
Capital City

Victoria

Average Salary

$49,244

Unemployment Rate

5,4%

Population

5,034 million

Top Industries

Agriculture, Construction, Film & Television, Fisheries & Aquaculture, Forestry, Technology, Manufacturing, Mining and Tourism.