Checklist for Newcomers - Landed Immigrant

 

+3 months - Before you leave home

Moving

Arrange for temporary accommodation for the first few days after you arrive in Canada. Ask friends or relatives if you can stay with them, or if they can provide recommendations. Or, consult with your immigration consultant in your home country. You can also find temporary accommodation on sites like www.kijiji.ca and www.craigslist.ca.
Plan your permanent accommodation. Speak to friends and relatives about the various options available, and the areas they recommend. Then get an idea of availability and cost by visiting sites such as www.mls.ca, www.viewit.ca, www.kijiji.ca and www.craigslist.ca.
Visit the website of your new city to learn about the area, job and housing markets, schools, recreation and other features. For official municipal websites in Canada enter “City” into your search engine. Or try federal government websites like www.canada.gc.ca and www.WorkinginCanada.gc.ca.
If you are going to sell your house or car, begin the process immediately so that you have enough time to evaluate all the offers and get the best price. Consider whether the market conditions are right to sell, or whether you should consider renting out your home and selling when market conditions are more favourable.
Evaluate what you would like to take with you and what you want to leave behind. Obtain an estimate from a moving company for packing and shipping charges of items that will arrive later. You may wish to re-evaluate your packing list, as the cost of shipping large items like furniture could be as expensive as the purchase price for a new item in Canada.

Banking

Open a bank account with a Canadian bank. This will make it easier to transfer funds to Canada and is one of the most cost-effective ways to bring money into the country. It also means you will have your funds readily available when you arrive, making it easier to settle in Canada. For example, to rent an apartment you may be asked to show proof of funds, which you will be able to provide with a bank statement if you have already opened an account and transferred your funds.
Estimate monthly living expenses based on: where in Canada you will live, type of accommodation and transportation, schooling and living expenses such as food, clothing, utilities and entertainment.

Living

Consider taking additional language courses to continue your mastery of English or French if you are not proficient in the language you expect to be using. While you will find that many different languages are spoken in Canada — and large organizations like RBC® offer services in more than 150 languages — speaking one or both official languages will help you settle successfully.
Learn more about Canada’s large cities, smaller cities and rural areas — including the climates in the various regions of the country — to help you decide where you want to settle down.

Working

Research the labour market in the area of Canada where you will be living. Different provinces and cities have different concentrations of industries. The official government website that will give you all statistics on the labour market is www.WorkinginCanada.gc.ca. Other useful websites include www.workopolis.com, www.monster.ca, www.careerbuilder.ca and www.working.comwww.working.com.
Collect all documents pertaining to your education, such as degrees, diplomas and certificates, transcripts, program descriptions and detailed course information, language skills test results, and accreditation, for each family member. Allow time to order any that are missing.
Have your credentials evaluated and get information about regulated professions, to create a plan for how to acquire equivalencies or a licence from the regulatory body in Canada. Different provinces in Canada may recognize different credentials, and obtaining accreditation may be challenging. Depending on your country or origin and where you are planning to immigrate, the process for accreditation may be different and may require you to make arrangements before you leave. For more information, visit www.workingincanada.gc.ca.

1 - 3 months - Before you leave home

Moving

Ensure that you have a valid passport for each family member coming to Canada.
Set a date for your arrival in Canada and book your travel tickets early, to get a better price. Try to set a date that is a week to 10 days before the end of the month. Since most lease agreements begin at the start of the month, this should give you sufficient time to look for permanent accommodation and sign your lease so that you can move in at the beginning of the next month.
Review the list of what you can and can’t bring to Canada.
Prepare a list of all personal and household items you will be bringing with you. You will need to carry with you two copies of this list. Consider bringing essential household items since your shipment may arrive up to a month after you do.
Prepare a list of all the items that will arrive later, noting their monetary value. You will need to carry with you two copies of this list to submit to immigration authorities when you arrive.
Begin packing your belongings, starting as early as you can to avoid a last-minute rush.
Check rates and usage with your cell phone provider and think about whether you will keep your cell phone until you have settled in Canada. Otherwise, start the process of closing or suspending your phone.
Avoid penalties by setting up automatic monthly payments on utilities, tax and other payments on your home if you are not selling it before you move. Try to ensure that you minimize these expenses by suspending full services if possible.
If you are bringing a pet, check with the airline for restrictions or requirements for travelling with animals. Visit a licensed veterinarian to ensure that your cat or dog is up-to-date on rabies vaccinations and to obtain appropriate documentation of vaccination.

Living

Collect official documentationof vaccinations or immunization against preventable diseases for each family member. Children will need these records to enroll in school as well as for future immunization. Contact your doctor or public health clinic if anyone in your family needs to be immunized.
Request copies of dental and health records for each family member.
Request a reference from your auto insurance company and get a driving experience letter from your local transport authority. This can help you to get a waiver on the mandatory waiting time to take your driving test and may help lower the cost of auto insurance.
Obtain official translations of documents that are in languages other than English or French. All documents submitted to the authorities in Canada must be in English or French.
Shop for clothing appropriate for the area of Canada you’ll be living in and the time of year you’ll be moving. (For example, a warm coat and boots in winter are essential.) You may need to order them online if your climate is very different or to purchase some clothing or footwear once you arrive.

Working

Gather reference letters from past employers and managers. Providing references is a key requirement of employment in Canada, and most employers will ask for references and call them if they decide to hire you. A reference letter may be helpful.
Gather work-related documents such as proof of employment, job descriptions, evaluations and training, for working members of your family. It will help you prepare a resumée, and you may need to submit these items to a prospective employer.such as proof of employment, job descriptions, evaluations and training, for working members of your family. It will help you prepare a resume, and you may need to submit these items to a prospective employer.
Make sure you have documentation of any trade or professional certificates and licenses. Even if your license does not give you the authority to practice your profession in Canada, your existing certificates may exempt you from part of the course or test and accelerate your certification in Canada.
Prepare a resume in the Canadian style (two pages or less, plus a cover letter), to use for job applications. You can search for the commonly used resume formats in Canada on the internet. Job search websites may also have advice and tips on resumes writing.
If you already have contacts in Canada, tell them when you’ll be coming and ask them to keep you in mind if they learn of appropriate job openings. Most jobs in Canada are obtained through references, so building your network is key to securing employment in your field.

Less than 1 month - Before you leave home

Moving

Review the list of what you can and can’t bring
Complete packing all belongings, including those you will bring with you, those that are to ship separately and anything to be stored or given away. Make sure the contents match the official lists you’ve prepared.
Submit change of address to all important contacts. Make arrangements to have mail forwarded to you or have your address changed to that of a relative or friend.
Contact people you know in Canada to let them know your arrival date. Ask a friend or relative to pick you up at the airport.
Look up organizations that help people immigrating to Canada in the area where you will live. These agencies are sponsored by the government and offer free services to new immigrants. They can help make your settlement in Canada smoother and help you find employment. You will need to set up appointments, so start contacting them now, so you can meet with them soon after you arrive.

Banking

Order some Canadian dollars, so that you have cash to cover out-of-pocket expenses the first couple of days after arriving. . If you have opened a Canadian banking account from your home country, when you first arrive in Canada, you will need to come to the branch, submit your documents and activate your account. You will then be able to access the money in your account.
Transfer funds to your Canadian banking account. When you arrive you may be asked by the immigration authorities to prove that you have the required funds to support yourself and your family. Already having the funds in your Canadian banking account will make this easier.
Check how much money you will be bringing into Canada in form of cash, cheques, travellers’ cheques, money orders, bankers’ drafts, stocks, bonds, debentures or treasury bills. You must report amounts of $10,000 or more, whether in Canadian dollars or the equivalent amount in your country’s currency to Canada Border Services Agency when you enter Canada.

Living

Gather important documents together in a safe place, to carry with you when you move, including: driver’s licence and International Driving Permit (IDP) if available in your country (not available in China); birth or baptismal certificates; adoption papers; marriage certificates or divorce or separation papers; children’s school records. You might want to enclose these in a folder or booklet with plastic jackets to protect them while providing easy access.
Photocopy all important documents in case the originals are lost and keep them in a safe place separate from the originals
Obtain a six months’ supply of all medications taken by you or any family members, since the cost of medication in Canada is often higher and you will not have insurance to cover the costs right away. You also may not get exactly the same brands that you are accustomed to taking.
Make sure you are covered by medial insurance for the first 3 months. Your provincial government sponsored medical plan will not be active for the first 90 days and you will need to cover any medical expenses from your own pocket if the need arises.

Working

Request a reference letter from your current employer once you give notice in your job.
Check job listing websites in Canada and industry-specific sources for current job openings; for example, www.jobbank.gc.ca, www.workopolis.com, www.monster.ca, www.working.com and www.careerbuilder.ca.
Contact potential Canadian employers or visit their websites and check the job postings/careers section.