Skip to content

This area of Canada is well known for four season beauty, ski hills and fresh water sports and recreational activities.

Canada, particularly Simcoe County, is a very safe place for International Students to live and study. Students find area residents friendly and eager to help. However, regardless of where one travels, it is important to take basic safety precautions. As such, the Simcoe County District School Board has put together a few useful tips to make sure your time with us is safe, positive and problem-free.

Safety Abroad

  • Keep your passport, travel documents and tickets in a safe place.
  • Take a separate photocopy of your passport showing your personal details and immigration stamps.
  • Keep telephone numbers for your local contacts easily available – in case you need to call them when you arrive in Canada.
  • Remember to bring information regarding any allergies, medical issues or necessary medications.

Whether in Canada or abroad, it is important to protect yourself and your property with these simple common sense suggestions:

  • Do not leave valuable items such as your purse, backpack or phone unattended in public places
  • If you do forget and leave something behind, check for a “lost and found” box. Perhaps the missing item has been turned in.
  • Do not call attention to yourself by flashing jewellery or large amounts of cash. Canada is known for its safety however its wise not to tempt would be robbers.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash or valuables on your person.
  • Hide your PIN number when accessing your money from  ATM or cash machines. Instead: Memorize your PIN and never write down your PIN or give it to anyone else.
  • If you must travel after dark, always travel with a friend. Choose brightly lit and well-traveled streets.
  • Trust your own intuition. If something doesn’t feel quite right, maybe it’s not. Follow your own best instincts. Do not feel obligated to be “polite” to someone you do not trust.
  • Do not hitch hike and if you are driving do not pick up hitch hikers
  • You will need to know your location and closest street intersection information should you need to call 9-1-1 for emergency help. Know this information for where you live. Keep a mental note of land marks and street names as you travel out and about. If you do need to call 911 speak slowly and clearly.
  • Carry a mobile phone with you or enough change or a telephone card, so you can make a phone call or call a taxi, should you need one.

It is very unlikely that you will ever feel unsafe in Simcoe County, but if you do need help the local police are friendly, helpful and easy to approach. They have a duty to protect everyone and will always encourage you to report any incidents. In the unusual situation where you may need to report a crime, just phone your local police station or ask someone at your institution to do it on your behalf. In an emergency, if you need to report an incident, fire or seek urgent medical help, you can dial 911 to contact the police, fire department or ambulance.

This call is free of charge and should only be used in a real emergency. Many local pharmacies are open 24 hours per day. They carry medications, basic groceries and toiletries. This is a helpful resource during emergencies or at the end of a long school day.

Identity theft has been a growing problem in many parts of the world for several years.Your identity and personal information are valuable. If lost or stolen your personal information, can be used to open bank accounts, aquire credit cards, loans and other documents, such as passports. The following are some ways you can protect your identity:

  • Keep your important papers secure,
  • Shred or destroy documents with sensitive information before you put them in the trash,
  • Limit the amount of sensitive personal information you carry with you

  • You must not use or carry any illegal drugs including cannabis (weed/pot), ecstasy, LSD or amphetamines.
  • It is illegal to carry any sort of weapon including knives, self-defense sprays, guns or stun guns.
  • Alcohol – The legal drinking age in Ontario is 19. 

  • Ontario has a 13% HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) that combined and replaced the former PST (Provincial Sales Tax of 8%) and GST (Goods and Service Tax of 5%). This tax is applicable to most goods, purchased gifts, food/beverages and services in Ontario.
  • Always ask for a sales receipt at purchase. This proves you have made payment.  You should always check the receipt to make sure the total amount owing is correct.  This proof of purchase will be required to return or exchange merchandise if necessary.  Some students keep these receipts as part of their journal to refer back to on subsequent trips.
  • If you are paying by debit or charge cards, always protect your password and PIN numbers. Be sure your cards are returned to you after purchase.
  • Ask around, your host family or friends can usually suggest the best place to go for the things you might be looking to purchase. Shop around for prices, quality, service and warranties. Canadian stores usually sell products based on the price tag, however privately owned stores may be able to give you a lower price. You could always ask.

Although popular in many countries, smoking is on the decline in Canada. Unless designated otherwise, smoking is not allowed in schools, restaurants, hotels, public outdoor patios, government buildings, malls etc. In Ontario, you must be at least 19 years old to purchase tobacco.

The SCDSB is committed to fostering safe and inclusive environments in which students and staff feel respected and safe.

If you are subjected to any form of discrimination or harassment, you are encouraged to report it to your school, guidance counsellor or the International Student Program Office.

Public transport in Canada is reliable easy use.