If you’re planning a move to Canada, particularly if you’re moving to Canada from Jamaica, chances are Ontario is sitting high on your shortlist. It’s the most popular destination for Jamaican immigrants, and for good reason. But if you haven’t made up your mind yet, we suggest a second look at British Columbia (B.C.) – especially if you’re worrying about those famously frosty Canadian winters!
A Bit About B.C.
British Columbia is a truly magnificent part of the world offering natural beauty of all kinds – from rugged mountains and dense forests to unspoiled beaches. In fact, some claim that the best of its beaches can make you feel like you’re back in the Caribbean!
A Mild Climate with Gentle Winters
OK, it certainly can’t rival the warmth and sunshine of Jamaica, but British Columbia has a surprisingly mild climate. It includes the country’s hottest and driest areas, and it can’t be beaten for winter weather either. Even in the coldest months snow is rare, although you can find plenty on those beautiful snow-capped mountains if you’re seeking it!
Ontario often enjoys beautiful summers, and the average summer temperature is actually slightly higher in Toronto than Vancouver. But these tend to be balanced out by bitterly cold winters – the average temperature in Toronto across the winter months is 25.5 degrees Fahrenheit (-3°C)! In Vancouver, however, temperatures rarely drop below freezing, and the average winter temperature is 34°F (1°C), and other B.C. cities, Victoria and Abbotsford, are warmer still.
Thanks to this mild climate, B.C. is also famed for the quality of its produce. While they’re not the same tropical delights you find in Jamaica, like mangoes and papaya, B.C.’s fruits are particularly prized, including apricots, peaches and Bing cherries.
A Strong Job Market
Another appealing factor for immigrants is British Columbia’s thriving job market. You can typically find roles in a variety of industries, including technology, tourism, food and drink, manufacturing, forestry, beauty, healthcare, agriculture and construction.
You can find some really useful information on local job markets, high growth careers and in-demand skills and occupations on the Work.BC website.
Life for Jamaicans in British Columbia
B.C. is really welcoming to immigrants. While Toronto is Canada’s (and the world’s!) most diverse city, British Columbia boasts a more diverse population than Ontario overall. In fact, it’s the most ethnically diverse province in Canada, with immigrants making up more than 30% of its residents. And this diversity is recognized and celebrated. British Columbia even upholds a legal obligation to respect others’ cultures, beliefs and lifestyles.
While B.C. has a diverse and welcoming population, if you’re looking for a really strong Jamaican community, Ontario can’t be beaten. It’s the for Jamaican immigrants.
However, this doesn’t mean community is lacking for Jamaicans living in British Columbia. It’s the fourth most popular Canadian province for Jamaican immigrants, and there’s very little to separate B.C., Quebec and Alberta (second and third in popularity, respectively). The province has its own dedicated non-profit, the Jamaican Canadian Cultural Association of British Columbia (JCCABC), set up to promote Jamaican culture and support B.C.’s Jamaican immigrants.
If you’re near Vancouver and missing home, the annual Caribbean Days festival (held most years) is the perfect way to celebrate your roots. It includes a Children’s Carnival Parade on the Sunday, so the whole family can get involved.
Moving to Canada from Jamaica
Canada is among the world’s most open countries to immigration, and Canada and Jamaica are considered to have a deep international ‘friendship’, making it a great option for people emigrating from Jamaica.
There are of course laws and processes governing immigration into Canada, and you can find more information on the official government website here.
Sending Money to Jamaica from Canada
If you need to send money back to Jamaica, or transfer it anywhere else in the world, you’ll have no trouble in B.C. Whether you’d prefer to use a dedicated app, online transfers or do it in person, it’s quick and easy with Western Union.
We have more than 150 in-person agent locations in Vancouver alone for you to pop into or why not try our app, which lets you easily keep track of your transfer in real time?