The Ultimate Checklist: First Steps In Canada

Many would-be immigrants make the mistake of leaving for Canada unprepared. Like, leave behind important documents that can help them in their settlement in Canada. Or forgetting to purchase insurance to cover them and their belongings while they travel. For this reason, we thought of coming up with a checklist, to provide an idea to a newcomer in Canada the important things that he should do once he gets off the plane and step foot in Canada.


Before You Arrive

Here are some of the things that you should do in your first few weeks in Canada:

  • Research your new province and city
  • Arrange your accommodation
  • Research the Labour Market
  • Ensure your passport is valid
  • Collect official documentation (birth certificate, marriage or divorce certificate, educational diplomas, vaccination records, medical records, driver’s license etc.)
  • Have your official documents translated into English or French
  • Photocopy all important documents
  • Exchange your money for Canadian currency for immediate usage
  • Consider buying health insurance to cover yourself until you become eligible for provincial health-care system
  • Research what you can bring or cannot bring to Canada
  • Set the date of your arrival and book your travel ticket in advance

Immediately After You Arrive

  • Call or Visit an Immigrant-Serving Organization
  • Apply for Social Insurance Number (SIN) at Service Canada Centre
  • Apply for government health insurance card
  • Open a bank account
  • Learn the best way of making phone calls or accessing the internet.
  • Familiarize yourself with your new neighborhood
  • Study your transportation option in your neighborhood
  • Memorize the emergency telephone number: 911 for police, ambulance, and fire
  • Enroll your children in school
  • Get your credential accredited (if necessary)

First Two Months in Canada

  • Improve your English or French by enrolling in taxpayer-funded language classes
  • Apply for Canada Child Tax Benefit (if you have a dependent under 18 years old)
  • Get your Canadian Driver’s Licence if you plan to drive in Canada
  • Learn about Canadian laws and your rights and responsibilities
  • Search for a home to rent or buy
  • Learn your rights as a tenant
  • Search and apply for job opportunities
  • Learn your rights as an employee
  • Find the closest public library from your home
  • Find a family doctor
  • Make sure you received your Permanent Resident Card from IRCC within two months from your date of arrival (if not, contact IRCC office)

Apply for the following:

  1. Canada Child Benefit (if applicable). The Canada child benefit (CCB) is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age. The amount of CCB calculated according to the information provided on the Income Tax and Benefit Returns, payment is normally issued every 20th day of the month. New immigrants should complete an application form to avail this benefit. Details about Canada Child Benefit can be obtained at Canada Revenue Agency.
  2. Child Care Subsidy (if applicable). This program is applicable for low-income families, in order to qualify for child day care subsidies, the parents must show a need for child care and family income must be below a certain amount. Application for this subsidy should be forwarded to Child Care Subsidy Intake and Inquiry.
  3. Enroll in the Entry Program (Manitoba Residents). Entry program is an orientation program specially designed for new immigrants. It is a series of orientation classes that aims to inform immigrants about the way of life in Manitoba to help them adjust. This orientation discusses law, employment, school system, health and getting around Manitoba. Again, you must register for this program for ENTRY Program. You will be required to present your PR Card or landing papers and MB Health Card upon registration. Find out if your province also offers a similar program.

These are just some of the things that a newcomer in Canada can start doing. Like every other immigrant, there are a number of things that you need to do in starting a new life in Canada, just always remember, if you are unsure of something always ask and do your own research. Good luck and welcome to Canada!