What to Do When You Arrive As a Canada Immigrant

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You are given clear and concise instructions and followed standard protocol when you are still on the process of filing and signing immigration papers. The same is done with your flight to Canada. Once you have landed, though, you might be overwhelmed by the independence and lack of direction. Here’s a checklist on what to do first to make your first day in Canada a little bit more hassle-free.

Visit the newcomer welcome center.

If you’re at the Toronto Pearson International Airport, look for the Immigrant Reception and Information Services (IRIS) kiosks. But if you’re at the Vancouver International Airport, go to the Community Airport Newcomers Network (CANN). These kiosks provide pamphlets and booklets to help you find your way in your first days in Canada.

Start looking for your permanent accommodations.

Though most immigrants probably have temporary accommodation after landing, it is highly recommended that you find a permanent residence as soon as possible. Learn more about housing and start looking for long-term leases or buy a house or an apartment or a condominium.

Give your complete and correct address in Canada to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

This is so you can be sure that you will receive your permanent residence (PR) card in the mail. It’s acceptable proof of your permanent resident status.

Open a bank account. Start banking as early as possible.

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A bank financial advisor the right way of arranging finances and is one’s first step in building a credit history.

Get a mobile phone.

As a newbie, you need to be accessible as well as be able to communicate and return calls. You can get a post-paid (monthly plan) or a pay-as-you-go type plan.

Secure your relevant documents.

Most important of these are your SIN, Health Card, and Driver’s License. SIN or Social Insurance Number is a 9-digit number that you need to be able to work in Canada and to avail of the government services and benefits. You need to apply for SIN, and it is highly recommended you do as soon as possible. For immigrants to use, you need to provide your Permanent Resident Card if it’s already available and Confirmation of Permanent Residence AND visa counterfoil attached to your passport or Record of Landing.

The Manitoba Health Card is needed to avail the health benefits or medical care. You also need to register for this one at Manitoba Health to be covered. You can present this card to any health institution.  Manitoba Health issues a card containing your PHIN (Personal Health Identification Number), which includes another 9-digit lifetime identification number. This also consists of some of you and your family (spouse and children) personal information.

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A Driver’s License is needed to drive around the city or if you’re planning to buy your car. If you already have one before moving to Canada, Autopac will determine the Class and Stage of license you should hold in Manitoba.  You can present your old driver’s license to Manitoba Public Insurance office so they can verify and determine your class following Manitoba’s Class License System.

If you have children, you can apply for CCTB, UCCB, and Child Care Subsidy.

Canada Child Tax Benefit or CCTB is a tax-free monthly payment provide to eligible families to assist them with the cost of raising children under the age of 18.  The amount of the Canada Child Tax Benefit is calculated according to the information provided on the Income Tax and Benefit Returns; payment is usually issued every 20th day of the month.
Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB).  Canada Revenue Agency also pays this benefit. It is a taxable benefit designed to help Canadian families, as they try to balance work and family life, by supporting their child care choices through direct financial support. UCCB was expanded to include a new benefit for children aged 6 through 17, and the payments that parents receive for children under the age of 6 were increased. UCCB is a fixed amount of monthly fees to families for children to help cover the cost of child care.  Families receiving CCTB will automatically receive UCCB if they have eligible children.

Child Care Subsidy.  This program is applicable for low-income families, to qualify for child daycare subsidies, the parents must show a need for childcare, and family income must be below a certain amount.  Application for this subsidy should be forwarded to Child Care Subsidy Intake and Inquiry.

Explore the town or city.

A street map is a big help to get to know your place and how and where to search for establishments and services. These may be provided in the newcomer welcome center or can be bought from general stores. You can also use mobile apps nowadays for more convenience.

Learn more about transportation options.

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Canada mostly uses public bus service and taxicabs. With the public bus, try to familiarize yourself with the stations, so you don’t get lost. If the public bus is not your style, there are taxicab companies with operations in Canada, and each city has its own local companies that they can contact for these services. You can also use the train system to go around the city. There are three rapid rail systems, namely, Montreal Metro in Quebec, Toronto Subway in Toronto, and Sky Train in Vancouver. Calgary, Edmonton, and Ontario have light rail systems, the C-Train, Edmonton LRT, and O-Train, respectively. There are also commuter trains that go around the cities and surrounding areas of Montreal that are with Agence métropolitaine de transport, Toronto with GO Transit, and Vancouver with West Coast Express.

Learn how to operate a telephone and obtains a telephone directory to keep significant numbers handy.

Everybody should know the national emergency telephone number – 911. This number can be dialed free of charge from any telephone. Memorize also the name for the fire department, police department, and local hospital.
IF you have kids, research about the school system in Canada, and find out how you will be able to register your kids in a school, children in Canada aged 5 to 16 must go to school. There are three ways you can do this; you can enroll your kids in a public school, a private school, or you can also home school.

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