Guide to Newcomers to Ontario, Canada

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Ontario is one of the great provinces of Canada. It has 445 towns and cities, most of which have websites with pertinent information such as studying, working, doing business, and others. Most newcomers prefer to go to the Greater Toronto area, Hamilton, London, Windsor, and the region surrounding Niagara Falls.

Choosing a city or town
The province of Ontario also provides support services to newcomers. One of these is the settlement and community support. These agencies provide information about housing, education, employment, health and other things that an individual needs to know when in Ontario. Another support offered is ServiceOntario. This service offers general information about the government services in Ontario. Moreover, the government also offers their services in two languages – English and French.

Adjusting to the New Community
After deciding as to which city he or she wanted to dwell on, he or she should decide which form of housing is preferred. There are various choices to choose from, and these are:

  • Renting. An individual is the tenant and pays monthly rent to the landlord or landlady.
  • Buying a home. An individual can choose to buy a home with the help of banks and financial institutions.
  • Co-operative housing. This form is similar to renting, but the tenants are in charge of maintaining their places.
  • Boarding homes. This form of housing is suitable for a short period of time only. Most of homes like this have one room and offer services like meals or laundry.
  • Hostels and emergency shelters. These are temporary places to stay that often comes with supports such as referrals and counselling.

One important tradition in Ontario is volunteering. This means offering one’s time and skills for free with the goal of making other people’s lives better. This is one way to make friends and increase one’s network.

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Going Around the Province
There are two methods of moving around the province of Ontario. The first one is through the use of public transportation. Most of the cities in the province have a public transportation system that one can utilize to go from one place to another. Most of the system includes buses. However, there are some that include streetcars or subways, such as the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).

Another transportation system that involves interregional transportation service is GO Transit. It includes buses and trains that link communities in the areas of Toronto, Hamilton, and the other communities in the north, west, and east of Toronto.

The other mode of transportation is through having one’s own license and driving his or her own car. However, to do this, an individual needs to have an Ontario driver’s license. Moreover, an individual should have his or her papers that show car ownership, a proof of auto insurance, and a driver’s license, on hand whenever he or she is behind the wheel.

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Getting a driver’s license may take at least 20 months, and it includes a vision test, a written test, and two road tests. However, if an individual owns a foreign driver’s license, he or she can use it within 60 days from the day of arrival, allowing him or her to buy time to get an Ontario driver’s license. Moreover, the tests that one will need to take are the vision test and written test only.

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Health Services in Ontario
When residing in the province of Ontario, it is important for one to have a medical insurance. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is one of the health plans that pay for medical services, including clinic visits. For new applicants, there is a three month waiting time in order for one to be able to obtain the coverage as well as the insurance card. Moreover, the local settlement agency can help provide one with additional information on OHIP coverage as well as in securing one.

Human Rights Protection
The Province of Ontario also provides its residents with human rights protection that safeguards them from discrimination and harassment. Those who feel being discriminated or harassed can file a complaint at the Human Rights Commission.

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