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Safety in Canada

Safety in Canada

Canada is widely regarded as one of the safest places in the world to live. It is still important to follow the same common sense safety precautions in Canada that you would anywhere else in the world. Your safety is your number one priority.

In Emergency

If you are in trouble or witness to a crime, do not hesitate to call 911. This is a central number for police, fire, and ambulance throughout Canada. Interpreters are available if your first language is not English. 

  • If you are robbed, do not try to argue or fight, and if you are assaulted, shout or blow a whistle to attract attention to your situation. Try to protect your body and distract the attacker so that you can escape. If the attacker asks for your purse or wallet, instead of handing it to them, throw it and run in the opposite direction.
  • If you are a victim of a crime, no matter how small, report it to the police.

    Transportation Safety

    Make sure you are familiar with your bus route and schedule. Taxis are a good way to get home when it is late and dark. Keep the number for a taxi company on hand. Drivers will not try to negotiate a price with you.

    • Along with the classic taxi, rideshare in Canada is nearly as prevalent as it is in the US, like Uber.
    • Many public transportation systems also offer special assistance for those traveling alone at night. During late hours, try asking your bus driver to stop at the street closest to your destination, so you can cut down on walking alone after dark as much as possible.

    Walking Safety

    When walking alone, be aware of who and what is going on around you. Avoid walking with headphones in that might distract you from your surroundings.  Ask advice for the best routes to take when going out. 

    • Many college campuses offer services such as "safety escorts" and transportation to assist students traveling around campus after dark. 
    • Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return. If you feel that you are being followed, change directions and go to the nearest store, restaurant, or public place. Avoid carrying large amounts of money or weapons. Weapons are illegal in Canada and can be used against you.

    Drinking and Parties

    Make sure you know the legal drinking age in your province. An ID or passport will be needed in order to purchase alcohol or to enter a bar or club. Make sure you go with friends to ensure there are people you trust who can help you if you have any problems. 

    • Before you go out, make sure you have a plan to get home that does not involve drinking and driving. This might mean having a friend as a designated driver, taking a taxi, using rideshare, or taking the bus. With the exception of rideshare apps, don’t accept rides from strangers. 
    • Drugs are illegal in Canada and are dangerous. Do not use or possess any. International students caught possessing drugs can be deported. It is also illegal to drink alcohol in public places such as parks, beaches, cars, or on the street. Be wary of what could jeopardize your ability to study in Canada.

    Apartment Safety

    Don't let people you don’t know into your apartment building or dorm room. If you aren't expecting maintenance or a delivery, refer them to the building manager.  This also means not holding the door open for people you don't know. 

    • Don't prop doors open with the floor mat or other blocks, as this can allow strangers to enter the building unannounced. 
    • Always lock your doors and windows, even when you’re at home, and look through the peephole before you open your door for someone. It’s also a good idea to get to know your neighbors, so you will have people around who can help you in an emergency.