Every year, thousands of people from other countries come to Canada to start a new life. They come with many different talents and skills and the hope of contributing to their new society. Your interest in reading this cultural profile may be due to your involvement with the HOST Program, where you have the opportunity to meet people from Switzerland and introduce them to life in Canada. You may have Swiss colleagues at work or Swiss students at your school.

 About 20,000 Swiss people have made Canada their home over the last 40 years. Most have settled in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Between 1991 and 1996 about 3,300 Swiss came to Canada. 

The decision to make a new home in a different country is not an easy one. People must leave behind familiar things. Although Canada may seem quite different from Switzerland, there are also many similarities. Swiss immigrants will have many of the same questions that you would have if you moved to a new town or city. For instance, they will wonder where they will find a job, which schools their children should attend, where to find a doctor, where to shop and what their new community will be like. You will probably find that you have a lot in common with your Swiss friends, and you can learn from them too. It is important to understand some elements of the Swiss culture that your new friends bring with them.
  Did you know?
The Swiss were important in opening up the Canadian Rockies to tourism. In 1899, the Canadian Pacific Railway brought in expert Swiss mountaineers to act as guides in Banff National Park. There is a monument to these guides near Lake Louise, Alberta.
Although this cultural profile provides insights into some customs, it does not cover all facets of life. The customs described may not apply in equal measure to all newcomers from Switzerland.
  Summary Fact Sheet

Official Name Swiss Confederation
Capital City Bern
Type of Government Federal republic
Population 7.3 million 
Area 41,290 sq. km
Major Ethnic Group German, French, Italian, Romansh
Languages German, French, Italian, Romansh
Religions Roman Catholicism, Protestantism
Unit of Currency Swiss Franc
National Flag Red with a white cross in the centre 
Date of Federation  August 1, 2021

  Did you know?
The name "Switzerland" comes from Schwyz, one of the three cantons (provinces) that originally formed the Swiss Confederation. The country is also known as Helvetica, because the original inhabitants were called Helvetians.