Media and Communications in Canada

1. What do I need to know about the media sector in Canada?
There are many media outlets in Canada; the majority of them belong to private companies, and are supported by advertising. Currently, the country has around 130 television and 2000 radio stations, working on medium and short wave frequencies. The most famous is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) which owns an extensive network of radio and television stations. There are also many local radio stations. Often, people subscribe to cable TV. In Toronto most of this market is in the hands of two companies: Bell and Rogers, which have similar prices.
Each Canadian city has at least one newspaper, and many newspapers can be read online. The most famous newspapers are The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and The National Post. Newspapers report the news, sports, entertainment, stock markets, exchange rates and they have a classified section, with all sorts of ads about various services and jobs. You can save money by reading free newspapers in libraries. Many Canadian publishers publish books and magazines in English and French. To find Canadian newspapers, go to

2. Can I find newspapers in my native language?
There are many ethnic newspapers published in different languages in Canada and the majority of them are free of charge. The Internet will help you to find them. For example, in Toronto, local newspapers in your language can be found at Or, you can consult the following list of Toronto newspapers for the nine largest ethnic groups in the city:
Chinese: The Global Chinese, Epoch Times, Today Daily News, Sing Tao and Ming Pao.
Filipino: Taliba, The Philippine Reporter and Filipina News.
Greek: Greek Press
Indian: India Journal, Weekly Times of India, India Abroad, Punjab Star, the Weekly Voice, CanIndia News Weekly, South Asian Observer and Canadian Weekly Times of India.
Italian: Lo Specchio and Corriere Canadese.
Jewish: The Canadian Jewish News, Jewish Tribune, and Exodus magazine.
Korean: Korean Central Daily and the Korea Daily News.
Portugal: O Milenio, Sol Portuguese, Nove Ihlas and Voice.
Russian: Russian Toronto, Bonus, Beseda, Russian Canadian Info, and Canadian Courier.
In ethnic newspapers, you can find a lot of information in your language about medical care, legal assistance, buying and selling houses, car repair services, job postings, educational institutions, various cultural events and much more. Also, you will learn about the latest news in your city, town, and Canada as well.

3. How can I watch TV and listen to the radio in my native language?
Today, many newcomers can watch television and listen to radio in their own language. In Canada, each ethnic community has the opportunity to create its own channel on English radio and television or to open and register their own radio or TV station. Also you can find certain TV channels with religious broadcasts. New technologies make it possible to buy special cards that allow you to watch ethnic ЕМ channels without antennas and long-term contracts. On the website you will find about 40 radio and TV stations, speaking different languages and at you can listen to Radio Canada International (RCI) in 8 languages - about Canadian daily life, events and programs.

4. What services are provided by telephone companies?
In Toronto, most of the phone services are provided by two companies: Bell and Rogers. In addition to regular telephone service they provide additional services such as:
Caller ID. If somebody calls you, his or her phone number will appear on your phone. If it is an unfamiliar number, you can record it and if you save this number, you will immediately know who is calling and if you do not want to talk to them, you can just not pick up the phone.
Caller ID Blocking. It blocks your number from being displayed on the phone you call.
Conference call. Instead of face-to-face business meetings, today’s technology allows you to conduct a meeting over the phone using audio between three or more people.
Voice mail. You can leave a message on your phone, which your caller will hear when he calls and you are not at home. Typically, this message is as follows: "Hi, you’ve reached (you name or phone number). I’m not available now to answer your call. Please leave your name, number and a message after the tone and I’ll call you back as soon as possible."
Call waiting. The Call Waiting feature sends a special tone if another caller tries to reach you when you are using your telephone. You can place the existing call on hold, answer the second call, and easily switch back and forth between the two calls.
Each additional service costs about 5-6 dollars per month. If you order several services, you will be given a discount. The fees for the two major companies can be expensive, which is why smaller companies such as Mobilicity, Wind, and Public Mobile offer heavily discounted plans with many features such as unlimited North American Calling. The drawback to using these companies is that they have a smaller network, and in many places you will be unable to get reception, especially if you are far from any major city.

5. How can I get a telephone?
Once you have found housing, you will need to acquire communications. The main device of communication is of course the phone. The cost of basic home telephone services is $25-30 for a month. For conducting long distance and overseas calls it is better to use phone cards which are sold in variety stores. These days, cell phones are very popular. You can carry one with you and call from any location. Some immigrants do not buy a home phone, preferring a cell phone. Also, many people us smartphones and tablet devices such as the iPad and iPhone, but they tend to be expensive. You can purchase an answering machine or have a voice mailbox set up on your phone. Then, if somebody calls you he/she will be able to leave messages in your absence. Many organizations use an answering machine that gives answers to some frequently asked questions and how to contact the right department or person. In Canada, it is possible to take advantage of free long distance calls to some toll-free numbers. Such phone numbers start with the numbers: 1-800, 1-866, 1-877, 1-888, etc.

6. What services are provided by the post office?
In every city, town and village in Canada, there are post offices that send and receive regular and registered letters and parcels. Their cost depends on the method of dispatch: by ship or plane. At the post office, you can also receive registered letters and parcels after showing your ID. There are three kinds of stamps for sending letters: within Canada, to the US and to other countries. Typically, in the post office you can make copies of documents, buy cardboard boxes and special envelopes for large letters and parcels, and take free forms and instructions for filing tax returns. If you change your address, you can pay for a mail-forwarding service, which will allow you to, for a certain period, receive letters sent to your old address at your new address. The service fee depends on what period you choose: three months, six months or a year.
Most post offices sell souvenirs, stationery and greeting cards. Letters and other correspondence are delivered to your home once or twice a day, except on weekends and holidays, and there are many mailboxes around where you can post letters. Because of the development of electronic communication, work in post offices has fallen sharply, and the government is discussing how to reducing the staff of post offices, which has caused a series of strikes by Canadian postal workers.

7. Where can I buy a computer?
The PC (personal computer) is an indispensable item for the Canadian way of life. On the computer, you can find and save important information, type any documents, send out your resume, browse job listings and contact the people and organizations you are looking to connect with. Therefore, we recommend that you include a computer on your list of priority purchases after arriving in Canada. Visit the nearest electronics store; for example, Future Shop or Best Buy, where you can pick up an inexpensive set of hardware, including the computer itself called the Central Processing Unit (CPU), as well as other equipment such as a monitor, mouse, keyboard for typing text, printer and connecting cables. Future Shop locations, prices and services can be found at and

8. Which computer is right for me?
When choosing a CPU, check its memory, which must be at least 2 gigabytes, and make sure the hard drive capacity is at least 250 gigabytes. Modern computers have a dual core (dual processor), which improves memory and increases speed. Each CPU has a slot where you can record and store the files you need. Buy a CD-R or DVD-R (for reading and writing files only) and a CD-RW or DVD-RW (with the option to correct the files.)
The size of the monitor screen should be 20-25 inches, and a flat-panel monitor takes up less space on your desk. When choosing a printer, pay attention to the additional functions. These days printers are available with functions such as photocopying, scanning, and sending and receiving faxes. Look at the printer in action; see how fast it prints, whether it is very noisy and what the quality of the pictures is like. Find out how expensive cartridges are because you may find that the cheaper model will be very expensive to operate. Other accessories are more or less the same, and you choose them according to your need. When you buy a computer, ask about the store refund or exchange policy, and the warranty. If you want to type in your language, buy stickers with your language letters on them. The book by Dan Gookin, Buying a Computer for Dummies will help you to buy a computer.

9. How can I install operating and application software?
Your next step is to install operating and application software. Without installation of softwar your computer is as useless as a car without a driver. First, install the operating system on your computer, for example, Windows NT or Windows Vista. This often will be done for a small fee or for free when you are buying a computer right in the store. The number of applications depends on your choice. The most common software package is Microsoft Office, which includes such frequently used programs as Word, Access, Power Point and Outlook (E-mail). You will usually need to buy Microsoft Office.

10. How can I get an Internet connection on my computer?
Connecting to the Internet also requires installation of special hardware, a modem and a router for wireless internet. The installation can be done by your Internet provider (whichever company you choose to use to connect to the Internet). Most companies provide a modem for a fee, but you can buy one seperately elsewhere if you prefer. Is it necessary to have Internet at home, since it is available for free in all libraries? Having an Internet connection at home has many advantages because, unlike libraries, it works 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Plus, you do not need to go anywhere to use it. The choice of Internet provider is best made based on the advice of people whom you trust, or you may wish to get acquainted with several companies and find out their prices and services.
If you have not used a computer before immigrating, you can register for free computer courses. We must say that it certainly will not be professional training and by passing these courses you will not be able to become a programmer. However, you will receive basic knowledge and on your resume you will be able to write: computer literate. You will learn the program Microsoft Word, and how to type and save information. You can learn also how to use the Internet and E-mail and be able to open your own mailbox. You'll be able to find multiple Canadian sites created for employment and for immigrants. If you wish, you can learn more complicated types of Microsoft Office software, such as Access, Excel, Power Point, etc. The nearest centre for newcomers can direct you to places where there are computer courses free of charge.

11. Where can I communicate in my native language?
Have you set up the Internet? Now this is the best way to communicate in your native language. Write daily e-mails to relatives and friends. Tell them about life in Canada, describe your success and answer questions. On the Internet there are a lot of forums; find a forum in your own language and you will get many new friends and acquaintances. Set up Skype, and you will be able to see loved ones who live overseas and remember you. Of course, you can chat with friends in your native language using international telephone services, and even many Canadian local enquiry and emergency telephone numbers provide information in different languages. When you send a letter by mail to your native country, write the address to which you send a letter in your native language, but at the end be sure to specify the English name of the country, and write your return address in English.

12. Where can I find sources of additional information about communications in Canada?
We recommend the following source about communications: which includes sections:
•Postal Services.
•Television and Radio.
•Newspapers and Magazines.
•Ethnic and Cultural Media.
See also the book: Carolyn Meyer. Communicating for Results: A Canadian Student's Guide