With dreaming, waiting, and plenty of time spent planning behind you, the time has finally arrived. You’ve made it to Canada, otherwise known as America’s Hat or the Great White North, which are just a few of the many popular names the country has. Congratulations are in order.
There are a lot of things that you need to do and get in order before you can truly feel settled in Canada. While you can’t do everything you need to do all at once, you can mark off a couple of the most important things on your big to-do list. That is if you take the time to plan. If you haven’t planned yet, there is no need to fret either.
This list will get you started on some of the biggest tasks and matters that you need to settle before embarking on your new life in Canada! While you can’t get everything done all in one go, you can start right here with our list of the most important things to do in your first week as a new Canadian citizen.
Things you Need to do in Your First Week in Canada
Find a Home
Once you’ve arrived in Canada you can create a new life you get to design all on your own or with the person or multiple people you’ve moved with.
Since you’ll experience this one moment of newness in Canada only once in your life, remember to not stress too much about everything that you need to get done.
If you have arrived in Canada and don’t have a house or apartment of your own yet, then one of your top priorities in your first week should be to find a place you can rent and sign a contract for it.
Even if you’re just planning on signing a month-to-month lease until you start your job in Canada, there are many apartment rental options available to choose from.
As an immigrant, you likely don’t have a Canadian credit history. It’s also unlikely that you could have any local references, which may place you at a disadvantage. That’s because some landlords are prone to give people with a Canadian credit history preference above anyone else.
However, this is not always the case. Should you be rejected from a landlord, all that you must do is continue to search for one that will be willing to give you a lease, regardless of your credit history.
When you look for a house or apartment to rent, it helps to make inquiries with a Canadian cell phone, as this makes it far more likely for Canadian landlords to answer the phone than those who are receiving a call from abroad.
You can also find listings on Craigslist, Padmapper, and Kijiji if you struggle to find a listing that doesn’t require a Canadian credit score. Nevertheless, there will be listing options available for immigrant newcomers in Canada on the property listing websites too.
Get a Social Insurance Number (SIN)!
One of the most important things you need to do when you arrive in Canada is to get your Social Insurance Number, otherwise known as SIN. This needs to be done as soon as you get to Canada as you can’t get a job without it.
A SIN also provides you with many benefits, along with government services that you can’t access without. Your SIN number is a nine-digit number that is similar to a National Insurance Number in the UK, a Personal Public Service (PPS) number in countries like Ireland, or a Tax File Number in Australia.
If you received a temporary work permit and it was successful, you will see the 9-digit number displayed on your permit documents. Alternatively, you can apply for the SIN at a Service Canada office, which should not take more than 30 minutes to an hour to get settled. Be sure to remember either your work or study permit with you if you have one.
Set up a Bank Account
While learning more about the cost of living in Canada, don’t forget to set up a bank account because even if you have a couple of hundred dollars of cash on you, there’s no doubt that you will need to use a bank card soon.
Canada has approximately 88 banks and 5,820 branches nationwide. Needless to say, no matter where you are moving to, you’ll find a bank close to you in no time, which means that you won’t feel too overwhelmed when looking for a bank in your first week.
When you are looking for a bank, however, you need to look at a few options and not just settle with the first one that you come across.
Although banking in Canada at any bank is super convenient, there are bank charges involved that may be much higher than what you are used to. When in Canada, it’s necessary to save money wherever you can, which is why checking out a few more bank options is the best way to go.
Keep in mind that every bank will have monthly fees with their checking accounts. On average, Canadians spend $220 on bank fees annually.
Get a Driver's License in the Province or Territory you Reside
Canada has a dedicated cadre of provincial and territorial Ministry of Transport departments that residents and citizens of Canada can use to apply for, write and register for a drivers license. If you have a motor vehicle and wish to drive around Canada legally either for explorative or work purposes, then you need to get a license at the Ministry of Transport department of the province you reside in.
Get a Phone and Register With a Canadian Telecommunications Provider
Even though many people would not find getting a new phone and a new subscription with a Canadian telecommunications provider desirable, it is still the ideal option if you want to reduce the roaming costs from the internet provider at your new home.
When you buy a new cell phone, it is necessary to check whether additional charges will incur on the given phone plan, which can include receiving local calls and caller ID costs.
Find a Friend and/or Social Circle you Connect With
Once you arrive in Canada, you will have to make time to connect with people in your suburb or with your colleagues at your job, if you already have a job. In the case that you’re studying in Canada, you can meet a lot of students and befriend them, which is necessary, especially if you don’t have family moving with you to Canada.
Apart from your work, study, or home environment, some of the best ways to meet new and interesting people require you to get involved in different activities or perhaps local groups. Whether it is playing a sport, visiting a church, or getting involved in events and community get-togethers, there is more than one way to make friends.
Finding people you get along with well will aid in your journey to discovering the city or area you live in, explore more, and become acquainted with what it’s like to be a true Canuck in Canada.
Sometimes getting to know new people will also open your doors to new opportunities in Canada and provide you with a city guide, depending on where you live. This will also aid on your journey to make smarter decisions when it comes to spending and could help you to lower your cost of living in Canada.
What To Expect in Your First Week
When you arrive, likely, you won’t have a place to rent yet. In this case, when you arrive, you will need to have a place to stay. Since you probably don’t have a clue about where to go in the city or province you’re going to live in, understand that it is normal to feel overwhelmed. Take some time to yourself instead of rushing to get somewhere fast or get things in order.
You should make time to figure out everything you have to do, and also time to learn about everything that you need to know. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, remember why you decided to move to Canada.
As soon as you’ve taken the time needed to recover from your flight and settle into your new home, while you are being kind to yourself, also be realistic as there may be a lot of things that you will have to get done once you feel ready to do so.
Pre-Arrival Programs You can Use to Prepare for the Move
If you haven’t moved to Canada yet and are set to do so soon, then you still have time to prepare and plan for the big move.
Pre-arrival services can be used to your advantage before you arrive in Canada. These programs are online-based programs that you can gain access to once you have received a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CORP) letter that states that you are eligible to move to Canada.
Top Canadian General Pre-Arrival Programs:
- Planning for Canada - A free orientation session, one in-person and one online. This program is provided by the Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) and the Canada Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP). It is offered to economic and family-class immigrants globally, and grants access to information, contacts, and resources that help you and your family members to succeed in a Canadian work environment and community
- Prep Canada - A program that offers free employment services to immigrants with PR visa holders before coming to Canada. The program focuses on researching labor market information, interview skills development, labor market information, and job searches
- Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA) - A free pre-arrival job readiness and retention program that includes resources and courses that are free of charge. This includes a one-on-one orientation, referrals to post-arrival services, work environment culture training, and job search support
- Next Stop Canada - Pre-arrival settlement services for YMCA of Greater Toronto, which provides personalized settlement resources and information for immigrants that are set to arrive in Canada soon. Topics include health, education, housing, language, employment, and much more. The program also has a mentorship program available, which allows you to connect with one or more people that are already living in Canada
- Active Engagement and Integration Project (AEIP) - This program is focused on providing services like one-on-one consultation and workshops for employment, foreign credential recognition to healthcare and housing, as well as much more. It offers community engagement programs and employer support, which will be two very necessary elements that will help you in your first week in Canada
Get Ready to Live Your Best Life in Canada!
Life in Canada may be something you have been dreaming about for a while, even if you didn’t even know what Canada was like before but have heard about the incredible lifestyle the country has to offer.
If you have managed to make it to one of the greatest countries in the world, there are countless opportunities that await you. As you embark on your new and exciting journey, don’t forget to try out some of Canada’s well-established tourist attractions, especially the natural wonders.
If you have not applied for permanent Canadian residency yet or are yet to complete your paperwork and process your application, we invite you to use our services. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) are approved by the Canadian government and ready to help you to become a real Canadian.
What is the Most Important Thing you Need to do in Your First Week in Canada?
Finding and securing a home is the most important thing you can do in your first week in Canada. Shelter from the elements is paramount above all else.
What is the Easiest Thing you Need to do in Your First Week in Canada?
The easiest thing you need to do in your first week in Canada is to get a subscription with a Canadian telecommunications provider.
Do you Need to Find a job for Your First Week in Canada?
Most immigrants to Canada have obtained a job offer, are in the process of obtaining a job offer or have applied for a job already. If you have not done any of these things then it is paramount that you find a job in your first week in Canada.