Coming To Canada Checklist

Coming to Canada Checklist for Newcomers

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Before You Arrive

  • Make sure you have a valid travel document, a Canadian immigrant visa and Confirmation of Permanent Residence for you and each family member travelling with you.
  • Check the A Newcomer’s Introduction to Canada website for a list of other essential and important documents for your move to Canada, and for a list of which items can and cannot be brought into the country.
  • Save enough money to cover living expenses, such as rent, food, clothing and transportation, for at least six months.
  • Pack clothes for all weather conditions: cold, hot and rainy.
  • Arrange temporary accommodation for your first few nights in Canada.
  • Look into employment opportunities in your field, and try to find work or arrange interviews with potential employers.
  • Look into having your foreign credentials recognized in Canada.
  • If possible, have the following work-related documents translated into English or French: a résumé of your education, work and volunteer experience, skills and qualifications; diplomas, degrees, certificates and other proof of qualifications; school records or transcripts; and letters of recommendation.
  • Learn as much English or French as possible.
  • Write to your bank and ask for a bank reference. The letter is useful for getting a mortgage or credit card in Canada.
  • Open a Canadian bank account and keep your existing credit cards and bank accounts.
  • Get copies of your medical records from your doctor.
  • If you have school age children, you should get their records of achievement, school reports and course summaries from their schools. This will help their Canadian school counsellors assess their prior education and allocate them to a Grade.
  • If you are planning to take your dog or cat to Canada, then you will need to prepare for this by getting their vaccinations up to date. Beware that having a pet with you on arrival will complicate matters for you, particularly because finding rental property with a pet or two can be difficult.
  • If your equipment cannot be switched to 110 volts, then you probably should leave it behind.

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After You Arrive

  • Check the Welcome to Canada guide for phone numbers and organizations that can help you find information and services in Canada.
  • Contact an immigrant-serving agency and an ethnocultural organization in your community to help you get settled in Canada.
  • Get a map of the city and find out about transportation in your area, including the city’s public transit system.
  • Open a bank account.
  • Look for permanent accommodation.
  • Find someone who will act as a reference or co-signer for your apartment and/or mortgage.
  • Set up essential services such as utilities (water, heat, electricity), insurance and telephone.
  • Apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN).
  • Apply for a provincial health insurance card. In addition, obtain a private health insurance plan until you are covered by your provincial program.
  • Register your children in school.
  • Arrange childcare for your children if you will be working.
  • Apply for the Canada Child Tax Benefit, a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under age 18 (eligible only after a specified period of time).
  • Find a family doctor and/or an accessible walk-in clinic in your community.
  • Have your children immunized once you have arrived in Canada.
  • Apply for a driver’s licence in the province in which you live.
  • Get licence plates and registration for your car for your province.
  • Visit the Public Library to obtain a free library card and learn more about the various programs and services offered. You may obtain information in multiple languages as well as, use the public computers and Internet.
  • Start looking for a job.
  • Look into having your foreign credentials recognized (if you haven’t already done so).
  • Register for language training to improve your skills or to learn English or French as a second language.
  • Start volunteering to gain Canadian work experience.
  • Apply for the GST/HST Credit; call 1.800.959.1953 for more information.

Click here for more information

Coming To Canada Checklist for Temporary Foreign Workers

Download PDF version

Before You Arrive

  • Make sure you have a valid travel document and a Canadian visa (if applicable) for you and each family member travelling with you.
  • Make sure you have your job offer or job contract and a copy of the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) provided by your employer.
  • Check the A Newcomer’s Introduction to Canada website for a list of other essential and important documents for your move to Canada, and for a list of which items can and cannot be brought into the country.
  • Save enough money to cover living expenses, such as rent, food, clothing, and transportation, for at least six months.
  • Pack clothes for all weather conditions: cold, hot, and rainy.
  • Arrange temporary accommodation for your first few nights in Canada. Your employer may have arranged this already – be sure to ask.
  • If possible, have the following work-related documents translated into English or French: a résumé of your education, work and volunteer experience, skills, and qualifications; diplomas, degrees, certificates, and other proof of qualifications; school records or transcripts; and letters of recommendation.
  • Learn as much English or French as possible.
  • Write to your bank and ask for a bank reference. This letter is useful for getting a mortgage or credit card in Canada.
  • Open a Canadian bank account and keep your existing credit cards and bank accounts.
  • Get copies of your medical records from your doctor.
  • If you have school age children, you should get their records of achievement, school reports, and course summaries from their schools. This will help their Canadian school counsellors assess their prior education and allocate them to a grade.
  • If your equipment cannot be switched to 110 volts, you should probably leave it behind.

Click here for more information

After You Arrive

  • Check the Welcome to Canada guide for phone numbers and organizations that can help you find information and services in Canada.
  • Contact an immigrant-serving agency and an ethnocultural organization in your community to help you when you first arrive.
  • Connect with your home country’s embassy/consulate for information and assistance.
  • Get a map of the city and find out about transportation in your area, including the city’s public transit system.
  • Open a bank account. Ask your employer for necessary documentation.
  • Find information on money transfer providers and cost-effective ways to send money back to your home country. SendMoneyHome.org is a good place to start.
  • Apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN). Your employer can help you with this – be sure to ask.
  • Register under a private health insurance plan and the appropriate provincial workers’ compensation and/or workplace safety insurance plans. If you are working in a tourism job that requires lower levels of formal training, it is your employer’s responsibility to ensure you are registered.
  • Apply for provincial health benefits.
  • Arrange for longer term housing for the duration of your work permit. If you are working in a tourism occupation that requires lower levels of formal training, it is your employer’s responsibility to help you find housing that is accessible, adequate, and affordable.
  • Find someone who will act as a reference or co-signer for your accommodation.
  • Set up essential services such as utilities (water, heat, electricity), insurance, and telephone.
  • Find an accessible walk-in clinic in your community.
  • If you drive, apply for a driver’s licence in the province in which you live. If you decide to purchase a car, get licence plates and registration for your province.
  • Visit the public library to obtain a free library card and learn more about the various programs and services offered. You may obtain information in multiple languages, as well as use the public computers and Internet.
  • Look into having your foreign credentials recognized (if you haven’t already done so).
  • Register for language training to improve your skills or to learn English or French. You and/or your employer may have to cover the associated fees.
  • Find out about tourism training opportunities to upgrade your employment skills and qualifications.

If your children have come with you,

  • Arrange childcare and register your children in school (if required).
  • Apply for the Canada Child Tax Benefit, a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under age 18 (eligible only after a specified period of time).
  • Have your children immunized.

Click here for more information