Monday, April 26, 2010

Moving to Canada Essentials

You got your PR card and you're moving to Canada. Congratulations!! Here are some things you should know before you leave your present country of residence.

When you travel to Canada, you will need to have the following documents with you:
  • a Canadian immigrant visa and Confirmation of Permanent Residence for each family member traveling with you;
  • a valid passport or other travel document for each family member traveling with you;
  • two copies of a detailed list of all the personal or household items you are bringing with you; and
  • two copies of a list of items that are arriving later.
  • Prescription for all the medication you are carrying.

Note: The lists should state how much your personal and household items are worth.

  • You must also bring with you enough money to cover living expenses such as rent, food, clothing and transportation for a six-month period. You may be asked to show proof of your funds.

Do not pack your documents in a suitcase. You will need to have them available to show to immigration and customs officials.

Once you land in Canada, within the first three days of must apply for your Health card and your SIN card:

Health Card:

Health-care services covered by medicare include:

  • examination and treatment by family doctors;
  • many types of surgery;
  • most treatment by specialists;
  • hospital care;
  • X-rays;
  • many laboratory tests; and
  • most immunizations.

Health-care services not covered by medicare, and for which you will have to pay, include:

  • ambulance services;
  • prescription drugs;
  • dental care; and
  • glasses and contact lenses.

These services are sometimes covered by workplace benefit packages.

Your health insurance card is mainly for use in the province where you live. If you are visiting another province and have a medical emergency, you can use your card. However, if you move to another province, you will need to apply for a new card.

All members of your family, even newborn babies, must have their own card. You can get an application form from the provincial ministry of health office, any doctor’s office, a hospital or a pharmacy. The immigrant-serving organization in your area can help you fill out the form. To apply for a health card, you will need your birth certificate, passport and PR card. (They may ask for one or all of these depending on the person)

Some provinces give you the health card right away...but the province of Ontario, British Columbia, New Brunswick and Quebec take three months. It is a good idea to take private insurance for these three months in case of any health emergencies. You can find many insurance companies listed in the yellow pages, or ask your friends or neighbors.

SIN card or SIN number

To work in Canada, you must have a Social Insurance Number. This is a nine-digit number that you will need to look for a job and to receive government benefits. Sometimes, you will hear people call it the SIN number. You can get a SIN application form through the Human Resources Centre near you. These centres are run by the federal government. You can also get a form through your local immigrant-serving organization or from the post office, or on the Internet at The SIN card will be sent to you in the mail. There is a small fee for processing the application.

You can find all this information and more at this website:

*Also remember:

Your life in Canada will be different than in your home country. You may have to take a job with lower pay while you upgrade your skills or get experience working here. That means your financial status could change. Even if you earn a higher salary in Canada than you were earning in your home country, the cost of living here may be higher than you are used to.

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