7 Things to Do During Your First Week in Canada

You are finally here, after an abundance of planning and tireless work, you've immigrated to Canada. What do you do now? Here, our Ottawa and Orleans immigration physicians talk about what to do once the immigration process is complete and you find yourself experiencing your first week living in Canada.

You (And Your Family) Have Finished the Immigration Process: Welcome to Canada!

You've done it! The immigration part of your journey is over and you have finally arrived in Canada. What now?

Here are 7 of the things that you may want to do during your first week in Canada:

1. Get Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)

One of the first stops that you may want to make is to a Service Canada location to apply for your Social Insurance Number or SIN.

This SIN is a nine-digit identification number that is required by anyone who wants to work while they live in Canada. Many countries have a similar system in place like Ireland with their PPS number, the UK and the National Insurance Number, and the U.S. having their Social Security Number. If you happen to be living in Canada with a temporary work permit then your SIN number will always begin with a '9'.

When you visit a Service Canada office to apply for your SIN, be sure to bring your work or study permit with you. If you are unable to apply for your SIN in person you can also use the online application form, but this may take longer.

2. Open Your New Bank Account

Canada has a number of reliable banking options with different account types to suit many different needs.

While the monthly fees may be more than what you are used to in some cases, they come with great security and fraud protection and will help you to pay bills and receive your paycheque on time. Using a Canadian bank can also help you avoid any large fees that would be associated with using your home bank to make withdrawals or payments.

Many banks have special low or no-fee chequing accounts for foreign students which can help save money while at school.

3. Set Up a Cell Phone With a Local Plan and Number

Trying to choose a cell phone service carrier and plan can be tough, especially if you are tired from your immigration experience and physical journey, but it is important to do so.

Once you have a local plan set up, you can use data for map applications allowing you stress-free exploring, knowing that you won't get lost. Your cell phone will also be invaluable when it comes to receiving important phone calls in a timely manner.

By setting up this phone plan as soon as possible you can help avoid the expenses related to roaming charges from your home carrier. If you are only here on a two-year temporary visa you may want to consider signing a two-year contract to make things simple.

4. Begin Apartment Hunting

Once you are in Canada, you will need to decide where you want to live and begin your search for an apartment.

As a person who has newly immigrated to Canada, you won't have a credit score or references to provide to potential landlords, this can make finding a rental difficult in some cases. Don't get discouraged, while it may take more time, you will find landlords who are willing to look beyond those pieces of information. Having a local cell phone number can help as some landlords may be more reluctant to call a foreign number.

One of the most common methods of apartment searching is by using the internet, on websites such as Kijiji. While less common, you can also try the local newspaper and community center bulletin boards. You may need to call to see if the listing is still available as they are sometimes filled without removal and always be wary of potential scams. Never give your social insurance number and never give a potential landlord money until you have signed a lease or rental agreement and you have physically seen the space.

5. Go Out & Make Some New Friends

Once you have gotten the important errands out of the way you can shift your focus to social activities. Making friends in your new hometown will help you settle in comfortably.

You can look at your town's Facebook groups and pages for ideas of local events and check out any ones that you may be interested in. If your town has a local newspaper or magazine there may also be upcoming events posted in each issue.

6. Take Some Time to Unwind

Your first few days in Canada after the immigration process will be tiring, and you may forget to stop here and there. Well now is your chance. Stop, take a load off, and rest for a while knowing that the heavy lifting is done and you are now free to reap the rewards of all of your hard work.

While living the first little while in a hotel can be tough, and sleep may be hard while you are missing your own bed, know that everything you are feeling is perfectly normal. You'll begin to adjust and find what works for you on this new adventure.

7. Start on Your Bucket List

Because of how busy everything may have been it's easy to forget that this is a whole new place full of many new things to see and places to explore.

Once you've had a chance to relax after the immigration process, you should also take some time to start checking things off of your bucket list for Canada.

Eat dinner at the top of the CN Tower in Toronto, skate on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, go whale watching and visit the Bay of Fundy in the Maritimes, there's a whole country filled with unique experiences.

You're here, now get out and enjoy it!

Haven't moved to Canada yet?

If you would like to learn more about how to immigrate to Canada or what you should expect from the process, please take a look at one of the many other blog posts that we have. We are happy to share some important information that you may need and that can help make your move to Canada go smoothly.

Have you started the process of immigrating to Canada? Our panel physicians at Immigration Physician Ottawa are here to help you during the medical portion of the process at one of our three convenient locations. Contact our team today to learn more. 

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