Here, we will take you through the first days of arriving in Canada and provide recommendations for the first couple of months.
We will start with "before arriving”: decisions on where to live, starting job search before arriving, arranging the first place to stay, and "after landing”: airport transportation, money exchange and applying for Health Card, SIN card, opening your first bank account and more.
Step 1: Decide on Where to Live in Canada
If you have not decided on which city to live, one of the 3 major cities would be our recommendation - Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver.
The biggest reasons immigrants are already choosing these 3 cities are;
(Numbers in parenthesis are 2011 permanent resident numbers -www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/statistics/facts2011-summary/02.asp)
Toronto (77,759) for job prospects, Montreal (44,863) for language and Vancouver (28,966) for climate (no snow but lots of rain) according to the Statistics Canada report for 2011.
Benefits of big cities compared to smaller ones in Canada;
In recent years, Calgary (15,060), Winnipeg (13,398), Edmonton (10,457) and Ottawa (6,411) are also seeing immigrant increase. You might also consider one of these cities;
Alberta’s (Calgary and Edmonton) oil reserves result in a good economy with job opportunities, high salaries and have one of the lowest taxes in Canada.
Winnipeg is a culturally diverse city represented by 100 ethnic groups speaking 80 different languages. Manitoba has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada, diversified economy and has low costs for living.
Ottawa is where the federal government and many tech companies reside providing ample job opportunities but still being relatively less crowded. Life is not cheap however and houses are expensive.
Start your Job Search and Send Resumes before arriving to Canada
After you decide where to live and buy your plane tickets
(buy them at least 3 months before arriving for best prices), you should start
looking for a job in that city and cities around it.
For example, if you plan to land on either Toronto or
Montreal, you can send your resume to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Gatineau,
Hamilton, London positions. These are easy train/bus rides away from each other
and can be travelled for job interviews with the same day return by bus, train
Alternately, you can start your job search first to see
which city has more job advertisements in your occupation. Theoretically, if
there are more jobs available for a specific occupation, the faster your
chances of getting one. Even though there are no guarantees, logically, you
might want to consider landing to that city which would provide more
3: Arrange a Place Stay
You will need to arrange a place to stay via internet (or
phone if you prefer) before arriving, and unless you have a friend/relative
whose couch you can occupy for a while it will be a hotel.
You could also arrange a short term, furnished apartments
but you need to commit to stay there at least a month and give them a month’s
notice before leaving, so you need to commit for at least 2 months. This may or
may not appeal to you depending on if you already have a job or will be looking
Find a decent Hotel in Downtown before Landing
No matter which city, we recommend finding a 3*-4* hotel in
downtown and ask if they have extended rates/discounts for weekly stay. In
Canada 3*-4* hotels are not luxury hotels but provide decent and clean place to
stay while you are looking for your job and longer term accommodation. They
generally have internet access in the room (could be for a fee) and in the
lobby (mostly free). Internet and a phone number to be reached are important
for job search and these will also help reaching information like bus
timetables or finding a longer term place to live.
You could possibly find cheaper hotels in the suburbs but
generally jobs are concentrated on city centers and downtown accommodation will
cut your travel time. It may also prevent taking the wrong public
transportation and getting lost on the way to a job interview which is highly
possible when you are just getting used to a new city.