The last time I wrote about the 10 things to do in first 10 days in Canada, I got queries about what next. You have moved all the way out of your comfort zone to be in the new land which is not easy. But staying focused on your objectives to achieve the bigger goals to settle can help you.
Now I am writing this for the newcomer’s moving to Canada based on my experience what are the settlement checklist or milestones they should have for the first 3 months.
1) Renting a Long-Term Housing
Now that you have done your homework about schools in initial days and what kind of living place in which area you are looking for. It’s time to finalize it. If not then start with it. You can see the renting options on Kijiji or hire a real estate person to help you. Here are the contact details of one we worked with in Toronto.
Some landlords will have minimum lease duration, especially for homes and apartments. But mostly basements are an open agreement to move out. Therefore, depending on your preference you can pick the option.
With the apartment you have to get the following:
- WIFI Package (Internet Package)- Options are Rogers and Bell. Promotions are always going on so do your homework. We picked up Rogers.
- Contact the provincial power to turn on the electricity of the new apartment. There is a certain charge you have to pay as security. You can find the information at Toronto Hydro.
- In most apartments, the electricity bill is to be paid after 2 months.
- Renters insurance to be bought before moving in. The options are TD insurance, RBC Insurance. You can compare the quotes on websites too as per your postal code.
However, with basements, the above are mostly included in your agreement except for the tenant insurance that you need to buy.
2) Photo ID’s
Photo ID’s are important. One of your valid photo ID is your passport but at some places, you might need to provide 2 photo ID. If you are planning to give your G1(Theory) exam soon then do it so that you will have another photo ID. But if not then you can get a Provincial Photo ID. For Ontario, you can find the details here. The photo ID will be canceled as you get your license.
3) Buying Winter Gear
It depends on which season you land in. But it’s always good to keep an eye on winter gear. Most of the times as the spring arrives there are huge sales on winter gear stock so it’s a good time to buy it.
However, if you land in winter or just in fall then get winter gear for your kids at earliest as weather is unpredictable. Winter Gear Includes water-proof
- Jackets(Columbia,Eddie Bauer, North Face, Canada Goose)
- Footwear (Columbia,Sorel)
- Neck warmers
- Snow pants for kids
Make sure you check the labels to make sure they will keep you warm for temperatures like -20/-40 degree centigrade. There are many malls around however you can visit Toronto Premium Outlets if you are nearby to get the best deals.
4) Begin Job Search
Every day is an expense on your savings and you need the financial cycle to be smooth asap. But the job market here works differently. Throwing away you 100 Cv’s in a day to multiple sites won’t help. Finding a job is a full-time job here. You need to tailor your resume as per Canadian requirements.
Try taking a one on one Resume session in your closest library or a newcomers center. Make sure your resume has all the keywords required in skills for that job. You need to tailor your resume for each job you are applying to as per the Job Description. Have a clear and focused strategy of how many jobs to apply and keep a record of that as well.
These are just the basics on the job application if required you can post in comments and I will write a detailed post on job applications if requested.
5) Find Places of worship as per your faith
As you move away from your culture and country it’s very important to find your worship places in the new country. Canada is the most diverse country in terms of religions and ethnicities. You can find a Mosque, Temple, Church, and Gurdwara easily. Try finding yours as per your faith so that you can keep your spirit alive. Be part of your community, initially when me and my husband were not working we would go to Friday prayer in the nearest mosque regularly.
6) Re-evaluate your educational needs
In case you think that you want to improve your education before going to job market look at the courses/certifications or degree you want to do. Look at OSAP for financial assistance if needed. OSAP is given to permanent residents to assist them in upgrading their education.
7) A family doctor for your health needs
The health card that you applied for initially is about to come(generally comes in 3 months). It’s important to find yourself a family doctor close by and register yourself and your family with it. You can easily google the nearby medical clinics and see if any doctor is open to register new medical patients. You can also read reviews online to pick the best doctor around.
8) Finding a Community Centre in your area
Community centers all over Canada offers activities and programs both for kids and adults at a very nominal rate. They also have special programs for newcomers to give them an orientation on different subject matters (Resume, Interview Sessions and Taxes etc.). Try exploring that along with the library where you can have access to books online and hard copy. the library also provides printing services at a very economical rate (as you need printouts for your resume and cover letter mostly).
9) Learning about transportation option (daily bus passes)
Initially getting a vehicle is an expense but depending on your family situation you can decide what works for you.
Some people also rent a vehicle and drive on the international license (we did that). But you can only do it until you have not given your G1 license exam.
If you don’t want to go for a self-owned vehicle it’s time to get used to bus passes and bus routes, look at the transportation options in your city and those that connect you to other cities. Buses have a monthly bus pass that you can avail if your commute is on a daily basis.
10) Getting your license to drive
The license part is very important. We did license as a priority so within the first 3 months we both had our G License and our shared vehicle to commute on.
If you have an international license then you need to get a letter from the embassy (as per your country) and then show the letter when you go to give your G1. If your experience is more than 4 years you will be allowed to go directly for G by omitting G2 and any kind of waiting period.
However just to keep in mind you have only one attempt to give your G in case you fail you will be required to give your G2. Therefore, it’s important to learn through driving classes and appear for the test fully prepared. You can find the details here.
11) Consider volunteering and build your work experience
While you don’t have work and are looking to get a job its important to volunteer in activities. This will give you not only good references required for the job but also build your Canadian work history too. You can reach out to community/religious centers to volunteer for events.
12) Discover your home city
Roam around and explore your home city to have an idea about places. This will help you not only navigating places easily when you start commuting for work daily but also this time won’t come again. Therefore, enjoy the events happening around to socialize and know bits n pieces of every culture.
In case if I missed out on something feel free to comment and add. The details are based on our own learning so it might be different from other people based in different provinces.