Thursday, November 13, 2014

Now that you have landed...what do you need to get done?

You have finally landed in Canada and are now a new immigrant. When you come out of the airport and take your first breath of Canadian air, it finally hits you.....all those years of running around from pillar to post getting documents ready, making photo-copies, getting signatures, writing cheques and looking for lost school records has led up to this moment. Now what?

Here are a few things that you will do after landing to give you a good start to your new life!

1        Apply for important documents like:
o    A Government health insurance card, so you can receive medical care in Canada. You should apply as soon as possible after arriving in Canada.
o    A Social Insurance Number (SIN). You cannot work in Canada without a SIN. Give Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) your new Canadian address, so that you can receive your permanent resident card in the mail.

2. Explore your city or town, and learn about the transportation options available.  Get familiar with the bus and/or subway system. Walk around, get a feel of the place. Locate the nearest Walk in Clinic and Hospital. Find a grocery store. If you have children, see if you can see the school in the area.
3. Learn how to make telephone calls and access the Internet. This is extremely important as you will be using the internet a lot to find phone numbers, address, access maps and directions to different places and to upload your resume.
4.Memorize the national emergency telephone number: 911. If you experience a medical or other type of emergency, call for help.
5. If you arrive in winter, get the proper clothing and boots.
6. Learn the basic map of the city you have landed in. If Toronto for example, learn the basic directions around the GTA (Greater Toronto Area).
7. If you do not have a job, you should start looking for one quickly. You can get information on job postings, on how to adapt your resume for Canadian employers, on mentor-ship programs, etc., at local immigrant-serving organizations. Check your local community library. They often have free brochures, contact names and often a person there to help you get started.

UPDATE: Please look at my blog post of November 28th, 2017 for tips on job hunting.
8. Improve your English and French.
9. Learn about housing and how to search for a place to rent or buy. Check local websites, newspapers, neighborhood store bulletin boards etc for rentals available. Contact a realtor to buy a home.
10. Read about education in Canada to learn things like how to register your children in a school and options available to improve your qualifications and skills.
11. Obtain a Canadian driver’s licence if you plan to drive in Canada. There are several steps involved in this, so make sure you  research how long the process will take for you. If you come with a license from another country, they may allow you to take less time in between each license level. Many jobs require you having a license, and even if you don't drive, a license is a major form of identification here. 
12. Learn about Canadian laws as well as your rights and civic responsibilities as a resident of Canada. This includes how to put your garbage out in the proper manner. You have to separate your garbage, organic waste and recycling. Your local city website will have information on this.
13. Find a doctor or health-care centre where you can go for your medical needs. Make an appointment for a medical check-up and vaccination update when you receive your government health insurance card. Schools will ask for your child’s immunization records when you go for admission.

These are just some of the things that you should and will be doing after landing in Canada. The rest as they say…is up to you!

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