5 things you should do as soon as you arrive in Canada
By Dana Hall
Posted on March 29, 2021
There are a few things you need to do when you arrive in Canada. Having a visa lets you live here, but you also need to register to work and to get health care. You will also need a provincial driver’s licence if you can drive. Other things, like opening a Canadian bank account and getting a cellphone plan will help you get established in Canada as quickly as possible. This article will give you information on how to do all of these things.
1. Getting your Social Insurance Number
Getting a Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a requirement to work in Canada. When you get a job, you need to provide your SIN to your employer, who will disclose it to the government. It will be used to track your income and determine your taxes. It will also give you the ability to apply for government benefits.
The Newcomer has an article on how to get your Social Insurance Number, see this article.
2. Apply for a health card
In Canada, visits to the doctor and hospital are free. To get free health care, you need to apply for a provincial health card. The instructions to apply depend on the province you live in. You should register for health care as soon as you can.
It is important to know that visits to the dentist, optometrist, and physiotherapist are not free. You will need to pay for these services if you make an appointment.
To learn more on health cards, visit this article.
3. Transfer your driver’s license
If you are planning on driving in Canada, you will need a Canadian driver’s license. You cannot use a foreign license for more than 60 days in most provinces. The process to transfer your license is different in every province, so please refer to your province’s official website for more information.
Please refer to the following guides to learn more about how to get a health card and driver’s licence in your province.
- Nova Scotia
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- New Brunswick
- Prince Edward Island
- British Columbia
4. Get a bank account
Opening a bank account in Canada is easy. You will need two pieces of identification. One of these needs to be issued by the Canadian government. If you are a permanent resident, you can use this as your official Canadian identification. If you are not a permanent resident, it is a good idea to apply for your SIN. Your SIN card is issued by the government and counts as an official Canadian document.
This website outlines three different ways you can apply. They are listed as “Option 1,” “Option 2,” and “Option 3.”
Some banks will let you open a bank account online. If you do this, you will need to agree to having a background check by a credit bureau. A credit bureau is a company that looks at your credit history and provides this information to your bank. Some credit bureaus might not be able to run a background check for countries outside of Canada, in which case you should apply in person. To do this, you will need to make an appointment with a bank of your choice.
Here are some of Canada’s largest banks:
- Royal Bank of Canada
- TD Canada Trust
- Bank of Montreal
- In Quebec, the Banque Nationale is also popular.
5. Get a cellphone plan
Be prepared to pay a lot of money for a phone plan. Canada has some of the most expensive cellphone rates in the world. They are so high that the government is trying to force phone companies to make them cheaper!
Most newcomers will need to get what is called a “prepaid” phone plan. This is when you pay for your plan at the start of each month. This gives you a set amount of data and calling minutes. Once your data and calling minutes run out, you need to pay again. These plans are often more expensive than a “postpaid” plan.
A postpaid plan is when you pay for your services at the end of the month. If you use more data and calling minutes than you are allowed, you will be charged extra. This means that your phone service will never be cut off.
To get a postpaid phone plan, you will need a Canadian bank account, Canadian address, and a credit history. A credit history is a record of your ability to pay bills on time. You will need to live in Canada for a little while before you have a credit history. This is why most newcomers cannot get a postpaid plan right away.
Here are the most popular cell phone companies in Canada:
Please refer to this article to find out more about cellphone plans.
Moving to a new country can be overwhelming, but following these five steps will help you help you get your life started in Canada. It’s a lot of paperwork, but it’s worth it.