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Learn about Canadian values

The Canadian constitution is based on the values of peace, order and good government. People behave according to the legal laws. Police officers in Canada have an important role in maintaining good order and upholding its laws and regulations, and also work as community peace officers. Trying to bribe a police officer is considered a crime in Canada.

In Alberta the legal drinking age is 18. It is illegal for people below this age to purchase or consume alcohol. It is also illegal to drink in public places, like on the streets, or in parks. Public spaces in buildings, such as hallways, lobbies, driveways, are also off limits for drinking. It is also illegal to be drunk and disorderly, so drink responsibly and know your own limits. It is illegal to drink and drive in Alberta and punishment is severe, ranging from fines and license suspension to prison terms. If you are driving, make sure you do not drink.

Cigarettes and tobacco cannot be sold to people under the age of 18. Smoking is banned in most public places in Canada. You cannot smoke inside any buildings, including government buildings, restaurants, pubs, bars, etc. In addition, a landlord can designate a building as non-smoking and you are obliged to comply.

Concordia University of Edmonton is a SMOKE FREE CAMPUS.

As in many places around the world, you may encounter or be offered drugs, including marijuana, also called pot or weed, etc. These drugs are illegal and punishable with fines and jail terms. Although Canada’s legal system has a reputation as being easy on soft drug use, this is not true and you may face serious legal consequences. While marijuana is legalized, it is still illegal to be under the influence when you drive, work or attend school. Please know the rules and regulations before you indulge.

Equality and Freedom

Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to equal treatment under the law, and makes it illegal to discriminate against people or mistreat people on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, religion, political beliefs, or race.

Discriminating against a person, making derogatory remarks or making unwelcome remarks or jokes about race, religion, sex, age, disability or any other of the grounds of discrimination are strictly prohibited and can be punishable by law. 

Canada enjoys a society that is open and relatively free of class distinctions. Although you don’t have to embrace the personal belief that all are created equal or certain behaviors are acceptable, it is expected that people in Canada behave in a respectful way to one another.

Gender Issues

There is no gender segregation in Canada in social, educational or professional settings, apart from some religious communities. Women in Canada dress for comfort and climate, so it is important to note that revealing clothing is not an invitation for sexual attention. Because of the integration of men and women in society, it is normal for men and women to be friends and interact socially in a platonic manner. A women acting in a friendly manner to a man should not be misunderstood to be a sign that the woman is interested in a romantic relationship. It is sign of friendliness and openness.

No Means No

In Canada, when a woman says no to your advances, she means no, and further attention could lead to legal charges of sexual harassment or assault.


Canada was the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy. By so doing, Canada affirmed the value and dignity of all Canadian citizens regardless of their racial or ethnic origins, their language, or their religious affiliation. Our diversity is a national asset. Recent advances in technology have made international communications more important than ever. Canadians who speak many languages and understand many cultures make it easier for Canada to participate globally in areas of education, trade and diplomacy.

While French and English are the official languages in Canada, not everyone speaks French. In Alberta, the main culture is English Canadian and the English language is the most commonly spoken.

The Queen of England is the head of Canada, but the Prime Minister and his cabinet have the power. Elections are held once every four or five years. There are three levels of government in Canada: federal, provincial and municipal.


The Prime Minister is the elected head of the country. The major federal political parties are the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party, Bloc Québécois, and the New Democratic Party. An elected federal representative is called an MP, or Member of Parliament. The Federal Government is responsible for large matters that affect all of Canada.

Each province has a provincial government. The head is the Premier. An elected provincial representative is called an MLA, or Member of the Legislature Assembly. The Provincial Government is responsible for things that affect the province.

Each city and town has a government headed by a Mayor with powers delegated by the provincial government. An elected municipal representative is called a city councilor. The Municipal governments are responsible for matters that affect the city.

Further Government of Canada information is available online at www.canada.gc.ca