I fully understand how stressful and mind-numbing the relocation process could be so for today’s post I decided on something somewhat ‘happy’ lol. More like the light at the end of the tunnel. I will share a basic generic relocation plan that can be adapted to suit your requirements. If you need it in excel format which is what it was originally created in, you can let me know and i’ll send it to you. Below are snapshots for tasks you should ideally complete pre-landing, on landing and post-landing.
No 1) There are a number of settlement agencies who begin working with you before you land. Once you have your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR), you can sign up with any of the agencies. They would answer any questions you may have regarding areas to live in, job prospects etc. It is best for you to find an active one in the province you would like to settle. Some of the more popular options are ACCESS, MOSAIC, IssBC and Prepcan. They are also called Newcomer services and operate at absolutely NO COST to you. They are funded by the government. For a full list of settlement agencies please see – http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/newcomers/services/index.asp
No 3) Even if you do not need to rent an accomodation immediately, it’s still good for you to have an idea of the cost of housing. There are two major sites which provide the necessary housing information: a) Kijiji b) Craigslist. You can modify the search requirements to suit your needs and view the options available to you. It is generally said that renting your first home in Canada is a hassle because you may not have a job yet and enough canadian presence for the landlord to be sure that you won’t end up being a liability. I wouldn’t necessary say it is true or not, but from my own experience, somethings we did that may have helped with a smooth first rental are: a) Obtained letter of good conduct from a canadian contact, dubai contact, and dubai landlord which we presented to the prospective canadian landlord b) printed off bank account balance so that they were rest assured that we wouldn’t become liabilities (p.s makes no sense because they don’t even know if it’s borrowed funds but it does give them peace of mind) c) smiled and was cordial. You need to remember that everyone’s story is not the same but it doesn’t hurt to have these prepared in case you do experience some difficulties.
Also you may consider looking into renting a place on AirBnB. Do be careful, read reviews and try to avoid isolated areas if possible. Yes we know Canada is safe but it doesn’t hurt to apply caution.
No 6) This is really really optional but i’ve always wanted to learn french so it was a good excuse for me to take some classes 🙂
No 9) Car insurance in Canada is really expensive and it helps if you have very good past insurance history to show. It reduces the cost minimally but for a new immigrant every dollar matters.
No 11) It is possible to open a candian account and transfer funds into it before landing. With HSBC it takes about 2 weeks so it’s better to start early. I started late and went with ScotiaBank which I did not regret at all. ScotiaBank has a StartRight program for newcomers where you can open a canadian account and can transfer up to 50,000 canadian dollars at once (tax free ofcourse). It takes approximately 10 mins to complete the application online and less than 2 days for the account to be opened and all details sent to you via email. You can read more about it HERE.
No 16) If you already know the area you plan to move to, it’s helpful to join facebook groups for that area and begin to read posts as well as interact. I was able to establish communication with some nice moms before landing via the area fb group.
This deserves a post of it’s own.
No 2) Apply for PR card – you would be able to do this at the airport if you already have an address within Canada. If you however will be landing in a hotel or airbnb, you need to have your place of residence before you can apply online for the PR card.
No 3) Register for SIN – you may also be able to do this at the airport but if you do not, it can be done in a Service Canada centre (called Service Ontario in the province of Ontario).
No 4) Open a local bank account – take your time to find the right-fit bank. Alot of banks offer lovely incentives for newcomers to open accounts with them so shop around and compare options before choosing.
No 7) Find care for the kids – if yourself or spouse need to recertify, find jobs immediately etc, you would need to find care for the kids. Luckily if your kids are of school age, you would only need to find before & after school care.
No 11) There are LOTSSS of churches in Canada 🙂
No 13) The driving license requirements differ per province. In BC , if you have over 3 years of driving experience, you only need to apply straight for your class 5 drivers license by taking a knowledge test after which you can book an appointment for the practical driving test. All information and the free practice booklet can be obtained at your nearest ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) location. Do note that your previous license will be collected and exchanged for a BC driving license. Remember this as you would lose the license of the country you are moving from. For more information – ICBC website: http://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/new-drivers/Pages/default.aspx
No 14) Buy a car – CREDIT CREDIT CREDIT….everything in Canada is based on your credit rating. As newcomers, we need some time to build our credit rating so sometimes may be a bit more difficult to get e.g a car. An option is to buy a used car and pay once or you may find a dealer willing to sell to you without a credit rating. Scotiabank offers car loan to newcomers if they can provide 35% down-payment. You can speak with your bank for more options.
No 17) Never stop praying – ofcourse!!!
I feel like this post is already long enough so let me stop here because somethings require a post of their own e.g Child care subsidy, Child care benefit, etc. Please remember that this is just a simple general guide, for a customized list based on you/your family’s needs you can contact me directly. You may also let me know if you would like to receive this general guide in excel format.