Millions of visitors reach Canada every year to explore its stunning natural beauty and unique landscapes. They are attracted to the great opportunities for outdoor activities as well as charming cities and villages and famously friendly locals.
The government has also made international tourism easier with the implementation of the Canada eTA, a travel authorisation that can be obtained online.
For first time visitors who are not familiar with the country, it is normal to wonder about safety in Canada. This article includes important information regarding Canada’s safety for travellers such as:
- Canada’s crime rates
- Food safety in Canada and useful tips for visitors
- The safest towns in Canada for a smooth trip
Is Canada a safe country?
Canada is considered by many to be one of the safest countries in the world, especially when compared to its neighbour, the United States.
Overall, crime rates are very low across Canada and the police are trusted by the local population and quick to respond.
Statistics Canada reports that crime in the country has been steadily declining since the 1990s. This includes serious offences such as violent homicide (which has decreased by 40% since 1975) and hate crimes (gone from 2,073 in 2017 to 1,798 the following year.)
The number of police officers in Canada is also very low, comparable to those of Japan and Sweden. In 2005, there were 61,050 police officers in the country, which is to say 1 officer every 528 persons. The United States report 1 officer every 411 persons.
Is Canada safe for tourists?
Violent crimes against foreigners are extremely rare. In general, tourists feel safe driving and walking on Canadian streets and visiting Canada’s attractions.
Tourists should still exercise common sense in order not to fall victim of petty crimes and risks associated with outdoor activities in scarcely populated areas.
Here are some safety tips for tourists in Canada:
- Keep your belongings close at all times, especially in busy areas
- Avoid flashing expensive items such as cameras and jewellery
- Carry a copy of important documents rather than the originals, when possible
- Do not go hiking alone in remote areas unless properly prepared
- Carry water and food with you
- Consider hiring a local guide or taking part in a tour if planning a trip to a remote area
- Make sure your car is equipped with the right tires for the current weather conditions
Is Canada safe at night for women?
Safety in Canada is also high for female travellers. The government has dedicated great resources to prevent and combat gender violence and although this still exists, female victims are most frequently attacked by a current or former partner, or a family member, rather than a stranger.
However, it still not advisable to walk alone at night, especially in poor-lit areas.
The emergency phone number in Canada is 911.
Food safety in Canada
Food safety in Canada is comparable to that of other developed Western countries. Tap water is drinkable in most areas. When it is not, there should be signs advising against drinking.
For this reason, fresh fruits and vegetables (even those that are not peelable) are generally safe to eat in Canada unless they are showing clear signs of decomposition.
In any case, it is always best to avoid eating raw meat, fish, and eggs to ensure a healthy and trouble-free trip.
Which is the safest city in Canada to travel alone?
As explained before, Canada is an overall safe country that has seen crime rates decrease across the whole national territory.
If one had to point out the safest place in Canada, they may consider that Quebec had the lowest crime rates in 2017 (3,359 incidents per 100,000 inhabitants), making this the safest province in Canada, followed closely by Ontario with 3,804 incidents per 100,000.
On the other hand, Nunavut experienced the highest number of incidents per 100,000 inhabitants.
What level is Canada travel advisory?
Based on the travel advisory issued by 5 countries (Finland, the United States, Australia, Denmark, and Ireland) the travel advisory level for Canada is overall 3.8 in November 2020.
Please note that this is due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic and that the advisory level for Canada is normally much lower, since the country is usually considered safe for travellers.
Nations around the world are advising against unnecessary international travel to curb the spread of the pandemic. In fact, Canada itself has enforced extraordinary travel restrictions that will be lifted once the situation is under control again.