A Guide For New Canadian Immigrants-- Top 5 Things You NEED To Do Once You Arrive in Canada
Congratulations on immigrating to Canada! Moving to a new area, let alone an entirely different country, is a difficult decision, so it's essential to come prepared for a new life in the Great White North!
Yes, the process can be overwhelming, but it pays to do first-hand research, so you'll know how to go about everything you'll need once you arrive in Canada. The Canadian government also offers many services to help newcomers in every step, so you won't have to face all the new changes alone!
To guide you, here are the top five things that you should do when you arrive in Canada.
Set up your finances
Once you arrive in Canada, opening a Canadian bank account is key to setting up your finances. Having one will make further steps easier to manage, as you can pay bills, get your paycheque deposited automatically, and access your money at any time.
The good news is that even if you don't have a job, a permanent address, any money to put in the account, have a poor credit rating, or have been bankrupt, you can still open a personal bank account without hassle.
To set up your account, visit a bank in person and present valid personal identification. The teller at the bank will walk you through the process, and many banks have services specifically for newcomers to Canada. Once done, track your spending to build a budget, so you can understand the costs of living in Canada and take charge of your finances.
Prepare (temporary) housing
For obvious reasons, you'll need somewhere to stay when you land in Canada, so it's vital to arrange temporary accommodations before you arrive. You can opt to stay with relatives or friends (if it's an option) or book a room online at a hotel or hostel for short-term housing.
Once you are more knowledgeable about where you're going to live, you can start looking into a more permanent solution.
Get a health insurance
Protecting yourself with medical care, wherever you are living, should be a priority. In Canada, citizens and permanent residents can apply for public health insurance, and each province and territory has its health insurance plan. Once you know which area you'll settle in, research what the provincial plan covers.
Please note that some provinces require new residents to wait up to three months before they can receive government health insurance. If you can't get public insurance immediately, you can buy temporary private insurance to cover your needs while you wait. You can also get private insurance for services your province's public plan doesn't cover.
Some Canadian employers also offer extended health insurance coverage for their employees, so you can consider that when looking for a job.
Apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN)
Another vital step you need to do as a new Canadian immigrant is to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN). A SIN is a nine-digit number that is a number one job requirement, and you'll also need it to have access to government programs and benefits.
To get your Social Insurance Number, apply for one by mail or in person at a Service Canada office. You'll need to provide an original primary document to prove your identity and status, like a permanent resident card or confirmation of permanent residence.
Connect with a community
Like any significant change in life, moving to a new place can seem overwhelming and intimidating, especially if you don't know anyone in your new community. That said, making new friends will help you feel at home and grow your professional network to help you find a job in Canada.
To start building a network for yourself, research immigrant-serving organizations that connect newcomers with other immigrants or Canadians. It will help you get a good headstart. You can also volunteer in local community centers, schools, or charitable organizations.
Push yourself to be involved and find activities you can participate in to get to know people with similar interests.