Canada is a country of vast opportunity for newcomers and immigrants seeking new career opportunities and a fresh start for their families. Newcomers Canada is on a mission to support individuals and their families as they make this transition and establish themselves in Canada. In addition to supporting your search for a new job in Canada, we are also here to provide you the necessary resources to support your personal life. When you move to Canada there are a number of regulatory and administrative processes you will need to complete in order to ensure you are legally able to work, but also to ensure you can live a full and meaningful life. Keep reading to learn about the 8 essential things newcomers to Canada will need to consider upon arrival.
A Social Insurance Number, or SIN number as it is commonly called, will ensure that you are able to work in Canada. Your SIN card will provide you with a nine-digit number, that in the eyes of the Canadian Federal Government will allow you to access government programs, contribute to a pension, pay taxes, and legally earn money through your employment. You will want to ensure you initiate this process as soon as possible because your new employer in Canada will not be able to pay you until they have that number. In fact, it is the law in Canada that an employer must request this number from a new employee within three days of them beginning employment.
You will be eligible for a Social Insurance Number if you are a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or in some cases if you are a temporary resident or refugee claimant. There are three different ways to apply for your SIN number; you can apply on online, by mail, or in person. As an applicant for a SIN number, you will be required to provide a valid document that demonstrates your legal status in Canada, a valid secondary document, and a proof of address.
Depending on the circumstances, this can be a challenging process, so get started on this as soon as possible when moving to Canada.
After you have successfully applied for and received your Canadian Social Insurance Number you will be able to open a Canadian bank account. In Canada all banks must request a SIN from new applicants hoping to open an account. When you begin to research where to open a bank account in Canada there are a number of important considerations to make. Firstly, you should consider how you will use the account and if the account at a specific institution is right for you. Ensure that you are aware of the charges or fees that you will be expected to pay, these will vary from bank to bank. Finally, you should understand if your deposits are covered by Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, this will ensure your finances are protected in the case that the institution fails.
In Canada you are by law allowed to open a bank account at any accredited institution as long as you provide identification, such as a SIN card, valid Canadian driver’s licence, birth certificate issued in Canada or other identification consider to be equivalent. As an immigrant or refugee in Canada you should in most cases, be able to use your confirmation of permanent resident card.
The only reason a financial institution or bank in Canada should refuse to open an account for you is if they believe you plan to use the account for fraudulent purposes, that you have a history of fraudulent behaviours, or that you have made false statements or claims throughout the application process.
Most major Canadian banks are eager to earn your business and have programs in place to support new Canadians as they navigate this process.
The good news for newcomers to Canada is that you will find access to wifi in Canada is abundant and you will likely be able to continue using tools like WhatsApp, FaceTime, or Skype to stay connected with your family and friends. The bad news is that Canada is notorious for expensive phone plans and phones. When you are considering getting a new phone plan in Canada you will need to make a few decisions to select the right provider for you. You should consider if you have your own mobile or cell phone and just want a new plan. By bringing your own hardware, you will be able to save some money, but you might find some providers less than accommodating. There are also pay-as-you-go options, or prepaid phone plans that might be a good starting point. Finally, the standard option in Canada is to sign onto a contract with a phone provider, the costs of this will likely range between $50 – $100+ per month.
Moving to a new country is challenging for a variety of reasons, but to leave your comfort zone and support system to start fresh will likely be one of the most challenging. Newcomers Canada recognizes the immense sacrifice you are making to come to Canada, and we want to support you as you establish yourself. There are a number of different ways we would recommend you go about building new relationships in Canada. Firstly, if you are fortunate enough to have employment when you arrive in Canada, we would encourage you to join networks and programs offered through your employer. These networks and opportunities are a great way to meet colleagues and peers. Secondly, if your children or spouse have made the move with you, getting involved in school activities, sports teams, or community projects can be a great way to meet new people with similar interests. Finally, if you are religious, your place of worship is a great place to meet new people.
Being the new person in a new country can feel isolating, but at Newcomers Canada we can assure you, you are not alone, and we are here to support you as you adjust to life in Canada.
No matter how smoothly your move to Canada goes, as a newcomer or immigrant to Canada, you are likely to experience a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences as you adapt to your new circumstances. For many, the initial days, and weeks after you arrive can be a mix of excitement and fascination, coupled with fear and anxiety. You are arriving in a new place, and everything is exciting and new, this can come with a high, but that high can also come crashing down. After the initial excitement of the move wears off, you are likely to experience some homesickness. This is completely natural, you have left your family and loved ones. You have moved across the world from your comfort zone and odds are, not everything about your new circumstances in Canada is going perfectly. Over time this feeling will be pushed aside as you begin to adjust and find new friends, a sense of purpose, place, and community in Canada. Adapting to life in Canada will, for most, take some time. At Newcomers Canada we are working to help you adjust and adapt to life in a new country as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Canada is known around the world for its natural beauty and incredibly diverse landscapes. When you move to Canada, a holiday is likely the last thing in your to-do list, but we encourage you to take a moment and embrace your new surroundings. No matter what part of Canada you have moved to, Atlantic Canada, the prairies, the Rocky Mountains, or the west coast – the natural beauty of Canada is abundant. There are a variety of opportunities to explore this beauty in your own backyard and close to home. There is something for everyone in Canada, so whether you are looking for an outdoor adventure or a cultural experience, you are certain to find something that you are interested in. Every major city in Canada from Montreal, to Toronto, or Calgary, offers numerous museums, sporting events, shows, or other cultural experiences. By exploring your new community and its surroundings, you are likely to find some comfort in your surroundings, and to learn about your new home.
Across Canada Indigenous tourism opportunities are becoming more abundant, by visiting an Indigenous tourism destination you can learn about Canada’s history and the people who helped shape the country you now call home!
Depending on what your new job in Canada is, you are likely to require a driver’s licence, either for your work, or for getting to and from work. In Canada, a driver’s licence is issued by the provincial government or territory you live in. The good news is that once you have a driver’s licence issued by a provincial government or territory, it is valid across the country, meaning you can cross provincial or territorial borders with that licence. The process of getting a licence will vary from territory to territory, but generally it will require passing a written exam and then a driving test.
In Canada you can use an International Driving Permit. If this is the approach you are planning to take, you should apply for this permit in your home country and finalize that process before arriving in Canada.
In Canada there are different licences required for certain vehicles, so if you are a truck driver, bus driver or drive a motorbike, you will need to familiarize yourself with the specific licencing requirements for those vehicles.
Across Canada it is the law that all vehicles on the road must be registered and insured. The cost of car insurance for your vehicle will depend on a variety of factors including your age, driving record, locations and driving experience. In some regions of Canada insurance is a private business, so rates may differ – be sure to shop around.
Canada offers universal healthcare paid for by taxes. This means, that if you are a citizen or permanent resident you will be eligible for public healthcare that will cover much of your medical expenses. This public healthcare does not however cover the costs for everything you are likely to require, this is where medical insurance will be important. In Canada provincial or territorial governments are responsible for healthcare in each region. You will need to apply to the provincial or territorial government for your medical coverage. Additional medical coverage will be required to assist with the costs of prescription medications, dental costs, physiotherapy, ambulance or emergency coverage, and eye care.
It is common in Canada for employers to provide benefits that will include some form of medical coverage, this is something you should ask any potential employer about.