Safety and security

Most visits to Canada are trouble-free but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Tornadoes can occur almost anywhere in Canada, normally from May to September.
The province of British Columbia in western Canada is in an active earthquake zone.
Some mountainous areas of Alberta and British Columbia are subject to winter avalanches. Skiing, snowboarding and riding skidoos (snow mobiles) on closed trails is unsafe and should not be undertaken.


Although criminal activity in Canada is more common in urban areas, violent crimes such as murder, armed robbery and rape can occur throughout the country.  Visitors to large cities should be aware that parked cars are regularly targeted for opportunistic smash-and-grab thefts, and they are cautioned to avoid leaving any possessions unattended in a vehicle, even in the trunk.  Due to the high incidence of such crimes, motorists in Montreal, Vancouver and some other jurisdictions can be fined for leaving their car doors unlocked or for leaving valuables in view.  Auto theft in Montreal and Vancouver, including theft of motor homes and recreational vehicles, may occur in patrolled and overtly secure parking lots and decks. SUVs appear to be the particular targets of organized theft.
You should use common sense and take basic precautions. Bear in mind the following:
If staying in a hotel, do not leave your door open at any time;
Do not leave your handbag or luggage unattended in reception or dining areas as thieves often target tourist hotels;
Keep passports, tickets and large sums of cash in a safety deposit box or hotel safe;
Avoid leaving luggage on display in cars.

Local laws and customs

You should not attempt to carry meat, animal or dairy products into Canada at any time without declaring these products to Canada Customs. Banned food products will be confiscated and you could be subjected to severe penalties.
Canada Customs require you to declare if you intend to visit a farm within 14 days of arrival.
The plant Qhat (Khat) is illegal in Canada.

Local travel

All forms of public transport are generally excellent. Be aware that each province and territory has the authority to establish its own traffic and safety laws.
Canadians drive on the right side of the road. Seat belt use is mandatory for all passengers, and child car seats must be used by children under 40 pounds.  Some provinces require drivers to keep their headlights on during the day.  Motorcycles cannot share a lane, and safety helmets for drivers and passengers are mandatory.  Many highways do not have merge lanes for entering traffic.  Illegal, rapid lane-changes without signaling and tailgating are common.  Emergency vehicles frequently enter the oncoming traffic lane to avoid congestion.  At intersections, directional signs will indicate only which turn is allowed; any other turn is prohibited.  In Montreal and Quebec City, it is prohibited to turn right on red. 
You should not drink and drive.
Heavy snowfalls and ice in the winter can make driving dangerous. The wind-chill factor can also create dangerously cold outdoor conditions beyond the thermometer reading. Some roads and bridges are subject to periodic winter closures.  Snow tires are required in some Provinces. 
Obey speed limits and take extra care when travelling on country roads and be aware of possible encounters with wild animals.
It is illegal to take automobile radar detectors into Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, the Yukon or the Northwest Territories, regardless of whether they are used or not.  Police there may confiscate radar detectors, operational or not, and impose substantial fines.
Highway 401, from Detroit to Montreal, is one of the busiest highways in North America.  It has been the scene of recurrent, deadly traffic accidents due to sudden, severe and unpredictable weather changes, high rates of speed, and heavy truck traffic. Drivers tend to be aggressive, often exceeding speed limits and passing on both sides, and police enforcement is spotty.  In addition, approaches to border crossings into the United States may experience unexpected traffic backups.  Drivers should be alert, as lane restrictions at border approaches exist for drivers in NEXUS and FAST expedited inspection programs. 

Medical care

Canadian hospitals and medical services are generally very good.  However, the cost of medical treatment can be very expensive.
Rabies is a present in most of Canada and can be spread by small animals such as racoons and bats. You should seek urgent medical advice if bitten by a wild animal.