CANADA CALLING

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Canada is the second largest country in the world by land mass. Composed of 10 provinces and three territories with Ottawa as its capital, the country derived its name from Kanata, a Huron-Iroquois word meaning village or settlement. A multicultural country, people are moving to Canada with a dream of a better lifestyle. Here is a guide for people who have just landed in Canada or are planning to do so anytime soon, things that you should do right away

Housing

The biggest step is the accommodation. You’ll need a place right away once you land in Canada. While you will have arranged temporary accommodation from your country of origin, now it’s time to find a good place to rent for the medium term. Search for rental places over the internet and classified newspaper. There are many types of rentals: apartments, houses, condominiums (condos) and shared housing.

Get your SIN Number

SIN refers to Social Insurance Number, 9 digits number that you will need to work in Canada. You can apply for a SIN at any Service Canada. Make sure you bring your study or work permit with you.

Set up your bank account

Banking in Canada is convenient. In Canada, one can open a personal bank account even if you don’t have a job, don’t have a permanent address, don’t have any money to put in the account, have poor credit rating, or have been bankrupt. You just need to go to a bank in person and present valid personal identification.

The teller at the bank will be able to walk you through the process, and many banks have services specifically for newcomers to Canada. The banks need to see your passport and immigration documents to open a bank account. Both RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) & CIBC assist new immigrants with a $500-1000 limit credit card.

Get a local cell phone plan

Having a local cell provider is a must! There is nothing enjoyable about searching and comparing plans. But this exploring will be made easier when you have a local data plan and can find your way on google maps. The earlier you get a local phone, the more you’ll avoid costly roaming charges from your home provider.

Health Insurance

Covering yourself medically is one of the most important things. Protecting yourself through insurance is one of the vital tasks as medical expenses in Canada aren’t much affordable. Canadian citizens and permanent residents can for public health insurance. Some provinces require new residents wait up to three months before they can receive government health insurance. You can buy private insurance to cover your needs while you wait.

Transportation

Moving around here & there isn’t much easy without a reliable transportation. When travelling on public transportation, one needs to have passes to move around. The most important fact about Canada is that over here, every month there is liability insurance of a vehicle which varies from state to state.

Connect with your community

Moving to a new place can be scary, especially if you don’t know anyone in your new community. Making new friends will not only help you feel at home, it will also grow your professional network & help you find a job in Canada. There are immigrant-serving organizations that connect newcomers with other immigrants or Canadians, which can be very helpful. You can also volunteer in your local community centres, schools, or charitable organizations. There are a lot of ways to get involved, try to find activities you can participate in to get to know people with similar interests to you.

Navjeet Nijjhar