You just arrived in Canada, everything is new, questions start popping up in your head: Who? What? Why? Where? How? Studying abroad or moving abroad is an opportunity that should not be missed. However, adjusting to an unfamiliar environment and settling down to your heart’s content can be overwhelming. So, we thought it important to provide you with a post-arrival guide.
Everyone’s situation is different, so the information below provides an indication of what you may need to do at various stages. Every item may not be relevant to you, but it is best to be as prepared as possible.
1. Immigrant-Serving Organizations
Call or Visit an immigrant-serving organization in your city or town to learn about the free services they provide to help you settle in Canada. If you do not already have employment, immigrant-serving organizations can help you with your search. If you do not already have accommodation, immigrant-serving organizations can help you with your search to rent or buy a home.
You can also seek assistance from their services to explore the public transportation options around your area and the cost of those services so that you can choose the most cost-effective way to commute. They can also help you explore the best and most cost-effective cell phone and internet service providers in your area. Explore your options of purchasing a land-line number if you want.
If your first language is not English or French, plan to improve your English or French language skills. Language classes are free of cost.
Immigrant-serving organizations can guide you in all aspects of searching for employment in Canada and help you with any step in the process. You can find addresses and contact information for immigrant-serving organizations across Canada at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/newcomers/services/index.asp
Memorize the national emergency telephone number: 911 and dial it in any emergency.
3. Social Insurance Number (SIN)
You should apply for a SIN as soon as possible after you arrive in Canada. A SIN is a nine-digit number provided by Service Canada on behalf of the federal government. You can apply for a SIN by submitting all the required documents (originals, not copies) to the nearest Service Canada Centre where an agent will review your documents and if you fulfill all the requirements, you can get the SIN within the same visit. You will need SIN to work in Canada or to apply for government programs and benefits. To obtain a SIN, Permanent Residents need to provide a Permanent Resident Card and Temporary Residents need to provide:
- Work permit from CIC.
- Study permit from CIC.
- Visitor record from CIC indicating that you are authorized to work in Canada.
- Diplomatic identity card and a note of permission of employment issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
Your SIN is confidential and should be protected to avoid inappropriate use, identity theft and fraud. Make sure that you provide your SIN when it is officially required in the case of a job, opening a bank account or income tax purposes. You do not need to carry your SIN around with you, it is better to keep it at home and only use it when required. Avoid sharing your SIN number over the phone, text message or in an email.
You should contact Service Canada in case you change your name or if your citizenship status changes and if the information on your SIN record is incorrect or incomplete.
Note: You cannot work or open a bank account with a SIN number.
4. Health Insurance Card
You will need a health insurance card to get health care in Canada. You must present this card each time you need medical services. You should apply for a health insurance card from your provincial or territorial government as soon as possible after you arrive in Canada. You can get an application at a doctor’s office, a hospital, a pharmacy or an immigrant-serving organization. You can also get the forms online from the government ministry responsible for health in your province or territory.
When you apply for your health insurance card, you will need to show identification such as your birth certificate, passport, permanent resident card or confirmation of permanent residence. You must carry the card with you and present it at a hospital or clinic when you or someone in your family needs health services.
You must not share your health insurance card with anyone. The card is for your use only and you could lose your health benefits by letting other people use it. You could also face criminal charges and be removed from Canada if you allow other people to use your health card. If your health card is lost, stolen or damaged, you will need to inform your provincial or territorial ministry of health. You may have to pay a fee to get a new one.
CIC strongly recommends purchasing private health insurance to pay for your health-care needs until the date when you receive a government issued Health Insurance Card.
5. Permanent Resident Card
The permanent resident card is a wallet-sized plastic card and is the official proof of your status as a permanent resident in Canada. It is an Identification Document (ID) that needs to be presented for commercial travel, to open a bank account, and to access government services etc. If you are a new permanent resident, you will automatically receive your card as part of the immigration process. You will receive your card by mail at your address in Canada. If you do not have a Canadian mailing address before you arrive in Canada, you must provide your new address to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) as soon as possible after you arrive. If you change your address in Canada before you receive your card in the mail, inform CIC of your new address. You can apply for a new permanent resident card if yours has expired, or if it has been stolen or lost.
Provide Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) with your Canadian address, so that you can receive your permanent resident card in the mail. You can provide your address online
If you want more information and/or guidance, get in touch with CanApprove’s team of qualified consultants and trained advisors.
We wish you all the success on your new journey!