Canada has many opportunities for newcomers to the country, but like in any new environment the first few weeks can be a bit overwhelming and it takes a few weeks to settle in. Here we list 10 important things that you need to do and be aware of in order to establish yourself and be in the best position to pursue your goals and take advantage of the many opportunities available.
1. Apply for the Social Insurance Number (SIN)
To be able to open a savings account, find work, or access government programs and benefits, you will need a social insurance number. You will have to fill out application forms at Service Canada Centre, with all appropriate documents, for example; visa attached to your passport or other travel documents etc.
2. Health insurance card
All Canadian citizens and permanent residents are eligible for public health insurance that covers medical services, every family member has their own health insurance card issued by the provincial or territorial government. Although, other provinces and territories have a waiting period for new comers before they are issued with a health insurance card.
3. Open a Bank account
You will need to manage and set up your finances, and opening a bank account will mean your money is safe and accessible and it will help you pay bills and buy items online. You need to open an account with a bank that has a convenient location and working hours, you can also ask the bank to rent you a safety deposit box for the safe keeping of documents and other valuables.
4. Learn your way around
Canada is a very multicultural country and welcoming, there are many organisations that are dedicated to helping new comers and visitors. Visit public libraries who usually have free internet access to find information and community and government resources.
5. Explore job opportunities
Check for job listings on the internet, or government employment agencies. However, it is important to get information from employment councillors on how to apply for jobs as employment laws differ from country to country.
6. Find a doctor and dentist
Finding a family doctor in Canada can sometimes take a while because they are so sought after, though asking friends and neighbours to recommend one for you may be a good start.
7. Find schools and day care for children
If you have children that need to go to school or child care, every child in Canada is allowed to attend elementary and high school for free, and by law, every child who is at a school going age must be registered in school. To register the child in school, you are required to present their birth certificate and your permanent resident card etc.
8. A permanent home
After arriving in Canada, you may be required to stay in a hotel or maybe with a relative, but finding a permanent home as quickly as possible will help you in the settling in period. Listings of apartments and rentals can be accessed on the internet and real estate agencies.
9. A drivers licence
To drive a car in Canada, you are required to have a valid driver’s licence. Your driver’s licence from another country may be valid for a few months, but you will eventually have to go through a practical road test and show that you have understood the Canadian driving rules.
10. Improve you language skills
If English or French is not your first language, you will have to improve your language skills through the Government of Canada programs for new comers, e.g. the Language Instruction for New comers to Canada (LINC), which is free of charge and run by the federal government.
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