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Things to Do on the First Few Weeks After Landing

Things to Do on the First Few Weeks After Landing

After 1.5 years of planning and preparation, we’re here in Canada and it’s really cold. Coming from a very hot summer in the Philippines, you’ll feel the coldness to your bones and it’s not even negative yet. We have to prepare for winter, it’s all that I can think of at that time.

We arrived on a Saturday night and spent the whole Sunday resting if you can call it that because we were already awake at 4 in the morning. The first thing to do is to get accustomed to the time difference. Jet lag is REAL. We needed at least two weeks to adjust. Tip, try not to sleep (including your baby) during the day and try to sleep early at night. That worked for us, adjusting our sleep and wake up time an hour per day.

With my work starting two weeks from our arrival day, we thought we have time to tour around but it’s really hard and expensive if you don’t have a car. Also, it’s very cold so most of the time we just stayed at home. Good thing my cousin and her family as well as a brother from The Feast Singapore and his family were gracious enough to tour us around and check up and help us from time to time.

The first Monday, we secured our Social Insurance Number (SIN) from a nearby Service Canada. You just have to bring your Certificate of Permanent Residency (COPR) to the office, give them your address, ensure that your name is correct and they will issue your SIN in a printed paper with your details on it (they don’t issue the card anymore). It will only take you at most 30 minutes, because yes, just like in Singapore, they are very efficient.

We also opened a bank account the same day. Most of the Banks in Toronto/Canada have programs for new residents. We were looking at Scotia Bank, TD, RBC and CIBC. All of these banks have almost the same offerings. In the end, we settled with Scotia Bank, because it’s the nearest bank near the subway station. 😀

Bring your COPR, SIN and Passport when applying for a bank account. Having a COPR will make you eligible for an unsecured credit card with a limit of $2000 (each bank may differ). Yes, you need “credit” here to build your credit score. Unless you have an awful lot of cash, you won’t be able to afford most of the necessities here without a decent credit score.

You can also start doing the following:

  1. Look for work if you have none yet, hopefully it will be easier now that you’ve landed.
  2. Look for a permanent house and buy a car if you need it (easier if you already have a job)
  3. Apply for Canada Child Tax Benefit (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/cctb/)
  4. Apply for OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/ohip/),  but you will only be covered after three months of stay in Ontario (other province has different length of stay requirement to be eligible)
  5. Apply for a Driving License (https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-g-drivers-licence-new-drivers)
  6. Get a Private Health Insurance (if you want to have coverage while waiting for OHIP)

This is can also be a very good resource for new comers: http://settlement.org/downloads/First_Days_Guide_EN.pdf

So to sum everything up, you need to adjust to the cold weather, jet lag exists, try to stay awake during the day and sleep at night and most importantly, prepare yourself because you have a lot of adjusting, researching and applying to do.

Until next post.

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29 Comments

  • Reply Fitz |

    Your posts have been extremely helpful. I was wondering where and how did you find the place you were renting? Would very much appreciate advise on this one.

    • Kulas Reply Kulas |

      Hey Fitz,

      Thank you for your kind words. The easiest way to access temporary rental homes is through Airbnb. Then you can scout the area for a permanent one.

      Let me know if you have further questions.

      Regards,
      Kulas

      • Reply Fitz |

        Thanks for your response. I was meaning to ask about getting a permanent one as I had already booked my Airbnb temporarily ☺. Could you advise on how you got your place whether you were in touch with someone or did it online?

        Also which area are you in the city? And which would you advise too in Toronto, in terms of safe neighborhoods, accessibility to subway stations.

        Thanks in advance.

        • Kulas Reply Kulas |

          Fitz,

          I had to scout the area for apartments. Since I already have a job offer, I looked for a place near my office. Most apartments are 1 year contract and they require you to have a job offer, t4 or any proof that you can pay.

          Anywhere near the subway or bus stops are ok. We were informed by our agent to stay away from rentals near universities since students could be a little rowdy.

          Regards,
          Kulas

  • Reply Hernz Cervantes |

    Hi Kulas, Also new in Canada- about a month old already. I would just like to ask how long did it take for your PR card to be mailed on your address? Thanks!

    • Kulas Reply Kulas |

      Hi Hernz,

      Around 3-4 months if Im not mistaken.

      Welcome to Canada!

      Regards,
      Kulas

  • Reply Rick |

    Hi Kulas,

    I just moved here in Toronto and about to start work. Currently in an airbnb rental, I read one of your blog about being in touch with an agent when you were looking for your first place to rent. I find your resources very credible as per your account. Would it be alright if you could provide me with his/her contact information? If you dont want to post here you may send it to me via pseud_14@yahoo.com. Would highly appreciate it if that’s okay. Cheers!

    Regards,
    Rick

    • Kulas Reply Kulas |

      Hi Rick,

      We did not use an agent when looking for a rental house. We used one when we purchased or own home. Condos.ca or kijiji even facebook market are good source.

      Welcome to Canada and congratulations for securing a job. 🙂

      Regards,
      Kulas

      • Reply Rick |

        Hi Kulas,

        Thanks for this! ?

        Speaking of job, which I’m about to start next month, I am covered with health and dental insurance from day 1 from my employer, but I will only be eligible for OHIP by Mid-July 2018. Have not asked my employer about this yet, but from what I’ve read, I can only take advantage of medical/dental insurance if I already have OHIP coverage? Would appreciate your advise, since I know when you arrived you already had an employer (and probably an insurance with them too).

        Thanks in advance!

        Regards,
        Rick

        • Kulas Reply Kulas |

          Hey Rick,

          Check your coverage. Usually, doctor’s appointment is not included in the health insurance. So, you might be right.

          Regards,
          Kulas

  • Reply Rick |

    Hi Kulas,

    Thanks for this! ?

    Speaking of job, which I’m about to start next month, I am covered with health and dental insurance from day 1 from my employer, but I will only be eligible for OHIP by Mid-July 2018. Have not asked my employer about this yet, but from what I’ve read, I can only take advantage of medical/dental insurance if I already have OHIP coverage? Would appreciate your advise, since I know when you arrived you already had an employer (and probably an insurance with them too).

    Thanks in advance!

    Regards,
    Rick

  • Reply svaid |

    HI kulas,

    i am a regular reader of your blog. thanks for your selfless efforts.i have a situation i would like your suggestion on. I applied through express entry profile and the place of interest (finding occupation, i dont know what exactly its called ) i marked as Toronto. i received my SIN in toronto at a toronto address of a friend. on my PR card, place of arrival is Toronto. i flew from New Delhi to Toronoto.
    however for major part my 3 months stay i lived in montreal with my family and friends. i see more possibilities there. i got a bank account opened in montreal.
    Now my question is that do i need to do any additional formalities to work in Montreal, Quebec? If i live in Quebec will it be as minus point when my case goes to citizenship level?

    please guide.

    best,

    • Kulas Reply Kulas |

      Hi Svaid,

      Thank you for following my blog. 🙂

      This is not an expert answer but, I think, unless you are on PNP then it ‘might’ be an issue but if not, it doesn’t matter where you reside as long as you are ‘in’ Canada. If you have your SIN it can be used wherever in Canada. I guess, you might need to let CIC, CRA and other government institutions abour your new address. Hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Kulas

      • Reply svaid |

        many thanks for your reply. i spoke with Service Canada Montreal. the person said that if i am PR, then i can work in QC. But when i asked question about if it will be an issue later on, he said i better speak with the IRCC.
        i flew in for my first landing at Toronto (my mentioned place of interest) but i flew back to Delhi from Montreal, QC. I intend to fly in to Montreal, QC. i hope this will not create a trouble, i am sure they are not scrutinizing my each port entry etc and trying to find my intention for staying in QC.
        i dont want to risk my pr or citizenship.

        thanks for your comments and advice.

        best wishes,

        • Kulas Reply Kulas |

          And they won’t. It’s a different set-up if you are in PNP since you somehow have ‘contract’ with the province that sponsored you. If not, then you are good as long as you meet the requirements for PR and then for citizenship. Good luck. 🙂

          Regards,
          Kulas

          • svaid |

            Thanks for your views Kulas.
            Makes things easier.
            ?

            best wishes,

  • Reply svaid |

    Dear Kulas,

    Much appreciate your selfless efforts on writing this blog and answering these queries.
    I now hold the PR status of Canada since 29.01.2018. During this year I have lived for around 80 days. Due to some reasons I may not be able to go back until end of this year. The letter I received from CIC said that I need to live for 4/5 years to claim citizenship and 3/5 years to retain PR. But recently rules have been revised and it says for staying 3/5 years for claiming citizenship. My query is how do I get my PR renewed on lapse of my 5 year PR visa? Or is it just the card that expires and that I can get the PR card renewed? The cic website also says that I should have retained my PR status at the time of oath taking of Canadian citizenship. I feel like I am playing within really thin lines.

    appreciate your comments on this.
    thanks and best regards

  • Reply svaid |

    Dear Kulas,

    Much appreciate your selfless efforts on writing this blog and answering these queries.
    I now hold the PR status of Canada. During this year I have lived for around 80 days. Due to some reasons I may not be able to go back until end of this year. The letter I received from CIC said that I need to live for 4/5 years to claim citizenship. But recently rules have been revised and it says for staying 3/5 years for citizenship. My query is how do I get my PR renewed on lapse of my 5 year PR visa? Or is it just the card that expires and that I can get the PR card renewed? The cic website also says that I should have retained my PR status at the time of oath taking of Canadian citizenship. I feel like I am playing within really thin lines.

    • Kulas Reply Kulas |

      Hey Svaid,

      CIC has a record of your travels outside Canada and that counts towards your PR renewal and or Citizenship. Some people just want to be PR but most like to be citizens so it’s up to you. It’s really as simple as, how many days am I in Canada in the last 5 years. It doesn’t have to be 3 years straight as long as you meet 3 years in 5 years.

      Hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Kulas

  • Reply svaid |

    Hi,

    so does this mean that if i have stayed 3/5 years i automatically become PR for next 5 years more? or i need to apply for another program (like express entry program) etc to stay in Canada?

  • Reply svaid |

    Dear Kulas,

    much appreciate the time you spend on answering these queries. i have a question as well. what are the tax filing requirements wrt the canadian govt. i made first landing on 29.01.2018 and exit on 26.04.2018. i just have my pr card & Social insurance number, i didnt earn a penny there, however i continue to work in india. i have filed my tax return in india, i dont have any source of income in canada.
    i am planning to finally move in jan end or feb of the coming year.
    please suggest.
    best regards

  • Reply svaid |

    Dear Kulas,

    much appreciate the time you spend on answering these queries. i have a question as well. what are the tax filing requirements wrt the canadian govt. i just have my pr card & Social insurance number, i didnt earn a penny there, however i continue to work in india. i have filed my tax return in india, i dont have any source of income in canada.
    i am planning to finally move in jan end or feb of the coming year.
    please suggest.
    best regards

    • Kulas Reply Kulas |

      Hi Svaid,

      You are welcome.

      You need to talk to an accountant, that’s how we usually process it. You can always do it on your own but why bother when someone can do it for you the right way. It usually cost around $50-$100 per year.

      Anyway, be sure to take with you your tax returns from India just in case.

      Regards,
      Kulas

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