The Province of British Columbia is located in Western Canada, it borders with the Yukon and Northwest Territories to the North, Alberta to the East and the U.S. states of Montana, Idaho and Washington to the south. The Pacific Ocean coastline to the west is the only part of Canada on the Pacific Ocean and is home to Vancouver Island
With an area of 944,735 square kilometers; it is Canada's third largest province in area and population (4,162,535). More than half of the population lives in the south western corner of the Province. Most of British Columbia is in Pacific Mountain time which is Greenwich meantime (GMT)-8 hours. Daylight saving is in effect from April to October making it GMT -9 hours. Being home to the fantastic scenery of the many Provincial and National Parks, British Columbia is a magnet to outdoor enthusiasts and tourists alike. The hundreds of Provincial parks are fantastic though completely out shadowed by the majestic National parks including Yoho, Kootenay and Glacier National Parks.
The Province has many different landscapes including beautiful beaches, immense lakes and rivers, mountains and even a desert area. British Columbia is also home to some of Canada's wettest and driest areas. The climate varies greatly from one area to the next, but generally the coastal area of British Columbia tends to be the mildest with cool and wet winters, the summers are warmer but the area is still prone to precipitation. The interior has cold winters with a lot of snow and dry hot summers. All these factors combine to create fantastic sports and Recreational Opportunities that will keep all the family busy!
The City of Vancouver lies in the southwestern corner of British Columbia and as Canada's third largest city dominates as the population centre of the Province. The Provincial capital is Victoria, a much smaller city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Vancouver is one of the most amazing cities in the world with great beaches, skiing, hiking, sailing and most other activities catered for. The city has an outstanding and vibrant night life with world class restaurants and clubs. Victoria is a more sedate affair, though it too offers an exciting nightlife. Being the Provincial capital means that there is some history in Victoria with the Parliament building overlooking the harbour area.
There are several other cities of a fair size - Kamloops, Kelowna, Revelstoke, Vernon and Prince George being the largest. The northern cities tend to be supported by logging and fishing industries while the southern areas generate excellent income form the tourist industry. The Okanagan area is a vacation centre for many Canadians with hot summers spent by warm lakes. The winters bring snow to the Fernie, Panarama and Kimberley ski resorts, whilst Whistler Blackcomb is one of the premier resorts in North America and due to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. Already projects are beginning to improve the infrastructure and there are plans to build a two lane highway linking Vancouver and Whistler Mountain Resort.
As with all the Provinces; Education, Healthcare, Social Assistance Benefits and Driver Licensing are all managed by the Provincial Government of British Columbia. The Provincial regulators for qualification transfer can be found in our "Jobsearch" pages. One extremely important responsibility of the Provincial Government is to administer the Employment Standards which include your rights (maternity, minimum wage etc.) and responsibilities as an employee in BC. It is imperative that you understand these before you start work.
The liquor laws, as with all of Canada, are very strict in the Province. The legal drinking age is 19 years and licensed establishments will ask for I.D. if someone looks under the age of 25 years. Drinking is not permitted in a public place unless it has been specially approved. Liquor in a moving vehicle must be sealed and not accessible to anyone in that vehicle.
Apart from the Provincial Income Tax British Columbia has two main taxes, firstly the GST (Goods & Services Taxes) this is currently at 7% and is applied to most goods and services sold in Canada. Secondly, PST (Social Services Tax - Provincial) this is currently at 7.5% and is applied to merchandise that is bought or leased in B.C. There are some exemptions to PST; these include all food items for human consumption, clothing and footwear for children less than 15 years of age and medications.
Also, there is an environmental tax which is charged to tires and lead acid batteries bought in the province. Hotel rooms are subject to taxation charged at between 8 - 10% depending on the location. Be aware that most prices are advertised without any taxes; these are normally added on at the point of payment and can cause confusion if you are not expecting it!
The main industries of B.C are Forestry, Fishing, Agriculture, Mining, Tourism and Manufacturing. After several years in recession, the British Columbia economy is now recovering. The forestry industry has received a massive boost after a lengthy dispute with the USA over lumber import duties imposed by the US on Canadian wood is drawing closer to settlement. The world free trade organisation has ruled in Canada's favour and it looks likely that the US will have to repay the Billions of dollars in illegal duties already collected and allow the free trade to resume. This enables the Province to claim one of North America's most competitive Business Climates and has tremendous economic opportunities existing throughout the province.
For more, detailed information please visit http://www.onestopimmigration-canada.com/immigratebc.html