Coming to Canada
Canada is one of the most attractive places in the world to live, work and learn. The country provides an excellent quality of life.
Canada has a stable government, healthy economy, excellent healthcare, modern transportation systems, multicultural cities and spectacular scenery. Immigration is important to Canada’s economic and cultural future.
In Canada, there are several levels of government:
- Federal - responsible for matters of nationwide concern, including international affairs, immigration, working, criminal law, the money system, the post office and the armed forces.
- Provincial - responsibilities include health care, immigration settlement, transportation, education, common law, natural resources and tenant/landlord relationships.
- Regional - responsible for a wide range of services, including public transit, police, social assistance, ambulances, affordable housing, regional roads, public health and drinking water.
- Local - responsible for services, such as garbage pick-up, maintaining local streets, fire services, libraries and recreational facilities.
Before You Arrive
For information on what you need to do before you arrive in Canada:
- Citizenship and Immigration Canada - list of important documents required for your move to Canada.
- Ontario Immigration - information to help guide you before you arrive.
There are many things you can do before you arrive. Here is a list of things you can do to prepare:
- Gather your essential documents. Make sure you have a valid travel document, a Canadian Immigrant Visa and a Confirmation of Permanent Residence for you and each family member.
- Check the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website for a list of other important documents required for your move to Canada, as well as items which can and cannot be brought into the country.
- Plan your expenses. Try to save enough money to cover living expenses for up to six months, such as rent, food, clothing and transportation.
- Prepare and pack clothes for all weather conditions – cold, hot, rainy and snowy.
- Arrange for temporary accommodations for your first few nights, such as a hotel or a relative’s home in York Region.
- Look for employment opportunities in your field. Try to find work or arrange interviews with potential employers.
- Look into having your foreign credentials recognized in Canada
- Have work-related documents translated into English or French, for example, your résumé, diplomas or degrees, and letters of recommendation.
- Take English or French language classes.
After You Arrive
For information on what you need to do after you arrive in Canada:
- Ontario Immigration - information to help guide you after you arrive.
- The First Two Weeks in Ontario - guide book with lots of helpful advice for your first two weeks in Ontario.
- Citizenship and Immigration - guide book on how to become a Canadian citizen.
There are many things you need to do after you arrive. Here is a list of things to help you:
- Find a place to live.
- Open a bank account.
- Exchange your money for Canadian currency at a bank.
- Apply for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), a publicly funded program that covers basic healthcare services.
- Apply for short-term health insurance. You will need temporary health insurance until you are covered by OHIP.
- Apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) which you must have to work in Canada. You need to go to a Service Canada Centre to apply for a SIN Card.
- Apply for a driver’s licence.
To find out more about coming to Canada, here are some helpful links.
- Welcome Centre has a variety of immigration services all in one centre. Services are provided free of charge. The five agencies that you find at the Welcome Centre are:
- YMCA York Region provides information on housing, social services, learning English, employment counseling, finding a job, finding child care, and more.
- The Cross Cultural Community Services Association (TCCSA) provides services to the Greater Toronto area to help newcomers. Includes settlement services, education and language training, and community and youth services.
- Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS) offers a full range of settlement and integration services for new immigrants.
- JVS Toronto partners with government and business to provide education and job services.