How to be best prepared for your arrival to Canada

By: Anson Wong

Published on August 17, 2022

Photo: Joshua Woroniecki (Pixabay) 

There are many things newcomers must be aware of when coming to Canada. With so many considerations, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. To make your life easier, the Canadian government has posted what is required before coming to Canada. They have also included a list of immigration services to help you adjust to life in Canada. Be sure to take advantage of those resources as they offer support on your next steps in the country.

Preparing for your trip

Before arriving in Canada make sure to install the ArriveCAN app on Google Play or Appstore to report your COVID-19 status. ArriveCAN can also be accessed through a computer should you not have a smartphone.

The documents you will need to enter Canada are:

  • A Canadian immigrant visa
  • Confirmation of permanent residence for each family member
  • A valid passport or other travel documents for each family member travelling with you
  • Two copies each of:
    • A list of all personal or household items travelling with you
    • A list of items that will arrive later and their money value

The Government of Canada strongly urges these documents are carried by hand and not kept in luggage for convenience. You should also disclose the funds you have if they exceed 10 000 Canadian dollars in value. Make sure to declare any gifts, alcohol, or tobacco if they are in your possession.

Photo: Bob_Dmyt (Pixabay)

Goals to reach after arriving

One of the first things you will want to do once you are in Canada is to get in touch with a free newcomer service. There are 1 265 services located across Canada, the full list can be found here. Newcomer services are vital in adjusting to life in Canada. They can help you find a job, provide support for English as a secondary language (ESL), find a place to live and schooling for children and adults, and more.

The type of services you can get is divided into two broad categories, direct and indirect. Direct services mainly cover the above-mentioned examples. They inform newcomers on where and how to apply for services. Direct services fall under five categories:

1. Support services that enable clients to access services

These help newcomers find several support services including child care, translation and interpretation, crisis counselling, transportation assistance, and disability assistance. 

2. Needs and assets assessment and referrals

These services help find housing accommodations and develop a personalized settlement plan. 

3. Information and orientation

Information and orientation help newcomers find communities related to them. These typically include port of entry services, dissemination of information products, counselling, and more.

4. Language training

Services that support newcomers in learning the official languages of Canada, English and French. 

5. Employment-related

These services help newcomers develop employment related skills and access the labour market. 

If you are fleeing the war in Ukraine, you can apply for temporary accommodation in hotels. The program is only available once per client and with the program ending on March 31, 2023. 

Indirect services

Indirect services do not directly help newcomers but the programs that support them. Indirect services can provide additional funding for settlement programs and other support such as service provider training and driving community engagement. These services are important because they set the standard for newcomer services to follow.

For more information, take a look at the settlement program page.

The next thing you will want to do is get a health card. Without one, you won’t be able to access Canada’s health care. For more information check out the Newcomer’s article on health cards. To apply, visit the health system and servicestab on the government website. Health care is managed by province, so it is vital you pick the health card of your province.

You will also want a social insurance number (SIN) to be eligible for work in Canada. Visit the Government of Canada’s page to apply for a SIN number and card. 

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