Are you a new immigrant to Canada? Moving to a new country is usually a daunting task for anyone. This is because there are usually a lot of logistics you must keep abreast of during this transition period.
You need to consider yourself, the individual members of your direct family (if any) and what the move would mean for their particular situations. And let’s not even talk about the expenses involved, and the actual transfer of finances and physical property.
The fact is that it is almost impossible to do this without some degree of help from experienced persons, programs and organizations.
If your country of choice is Canada, then you’re in luck. Canada’s immigration opportunities and policies are vibrant and effective. Taking advantage of all the help you get along the way is the wisest thing you can do.
The essentials any new immigrant to Canada will need include a job (for yourself and your partner, if any), accommodation, language training (depending on your province of choice), cultural assimilation and finding schools for yourself and/or kids as the case may be. You’ll also need to put your financial affairs in order and start learning how to be savvy with your money.
Things To Do After Immigrating to Canada
Congratulations! You’ve successfully migrated to Canada, now what? Preparing to live in a new country can be a huge culture shock for so many immigrants. Integrating yourself and family into Canadian culture takes intentional, proactive preparation. And it should start before you even set foot in Canada. Some things you should absolutely take note of as a newcomer to Canada.
The weather – If you come from a temperate region like in Africa or Australia, the temperature change from warm sun to biting cold is likely to shock you. Thankfully, Canada has warm regions too like the BC area and southern parts of Ontario. You should factor this in when choosing a place to stay. It should also influence your wardrobe choices.
This is an integral aspect of Canadian culture – With more than 40 immigrants Members of Parliament, Canada’s diversity is central to their national policy. Keep an open mind and be ready to evolve to boost your chances of success
Tipping is conscientiously compulsory, especially for service and hospitality workers like servers and bartenders. In Canada, these workers typically earn minimum wage and often also have to “tip out” other non-serving staff. So giving them the standard 15% tip or higher is the regular practice in Canada and ensures they are not paying out of their own pocket for your order.
Looking for a job – For newcomers, this is usually a long process. So make sure that you come to Canada with enough funds to carry you for a few months before you get a job. In the meantime, you can consider working a non-career job and putting your money in a TFSA, RRSP and more.
Cost of living – Make sure you do your due diligence concerning the cost of living in your chosen Canadian city. You don’t want to arrive only to discover that life is more expensive than you envisioned in your adopted city. You can use this website to do a basic comparison of cities in Canada.
The structure of Canada’s healthcare system is one of its greatest selling points. The country’s publicly-funded healthcare system requires you to have a health card issued to you from your chosen Province’s Ministry of Health. As a permanent resident, you are entitled to immediate provincial health cover for your province and delayed cover for other provinces.
Taxation and tax benefits – Income taxes in Canada are paid to both the provincial and federal governments. However, depending on your income level, number of dependents and more, you are also entitled to a number of tax benefits. Tax deductions and credits abound that you can take advantage of.
From union dues, medical expenses, student loan interest, child tax benefit, child disability benefit, child care deductions and more. So maybe you have children not older than 17, or children with disabilities, or your aged parents live with you, or your income is within a certain bracket. If you fall within any of those categories and more, you are eligible for at least one tax deduction or credit.
New Immigrant Programs In Canada
In 2019, Canada announced its goal of accepting more than one million new immigrants over three years. The country has much to give in terms of infrastructure and opportunities. It is also considered one of the safest countries in the world. You probably already have an idea of how good the country is, I am here to educate you on how you can go about being one of those one million new immigrants.
I will be discussing what I think are possibly the best ways to get into Canada since there are several ways to go about becoming a Canadian immigrant. Use any of these methods and I can assure you a great new life in Canada awaits you with a lot of job openings.
Canadian Immigration Programs
1. Express Entry
If you are a skilled worker, this is the way in for you. Canada is constantly in need of skilled labour, thanks to our small labour force. You can apply for this program if you feel you have the qualifications and skills. Know this works on the principle of the ranking system. You and applicants or candidates will be ranked based on your age, work experience, education, and language speaking abilities. The best candidates are picked and permitted to travel into the country. Express Entry system offers you the chance to bring along family members so you don’t have to worry about leaving your family behind.
Of all the programs, this is the fastest processed program. Almost 80% of candidates are processed within four months. This means you can expect to be given Canadian permanent residency status in such a short time.
2. Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)
The provinces of Canada are thirteen (13) in number. Each of these provinces has its own immigration program. These programs are called Provincial Nominee Programs or PNPs. Quebec is the only exception to this.
Each province uses their PNPs to meet its current economic needs. What does this mean for you? It means you should apply to provinces that are in particular need of your skillset. This will increase your chances of being offered permanent residency. With this immigration program, you can tailor your applications to match provincial demands. The chances for selection for this program are higher.
There are around eighty (80) different PNPs in Canada. Each PNP has its eligibility criteria. The more specialized you are to match the criteria, the better your chances. Essentially, your skillset matching a province’s criteria might just be your way to Canada.
3. Trying Through the International Studentship method: Becoming an international student is another way to get into Canada. The country is known for its selection of great schools. What’s more, the schools are affordable and are accommodating towards foreigners. Canada is known to allow international students to apply for permanent immigration.
You can apply to one of the schools in the country, and you can take things from there. This is a great way to polish up your skills, while also increasing your chances of becoming a Canadian citizen. You won’t be the first to choose this method of immigration. The country has a high rate of giving resident status to students of their schools.
If you are using this method, I recommend choosing to study a course that is in demand in the country. It is even more fantastic if this course aligns with your interests too. The chances of you being offered a resident status after completion of your program will skyrocket if you pick a high demand course.
4. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIP)
The program was started in 2017. It is centred on bringing workers or skilled labour into Canada’s Atlantic Region. The program lets local employers in the Atlantic Region hire international workers. Yes, Canada lets international workers in. If you get a job offer from one of such companies, you get aid in finishing up your immigration processes.
The aftermath of all these processes is that you get the chance to be offered permanent residency within the country. The benefit of this program is that there is a job already waiting for you before you even leave your home country.
The only limitation of this method or program is that you have to receive a job offer first. You can’t pick to use this method, instead, you have to be chosen by an employer in Canada firsthand.
5. Family Sponsorship Programs: I usually don’t talk much on these programs, but they are worth mentioning. Canada is one of the countries that place importance on the family unit. They have a series of sponsorship programs that allow family members to gain residency alongside each other in Canada.
The first sponsorship program is the Spouse or Common-Law Partner Sponsorship. This allows you to speed up your residency processing if you have a spouse already living in Canada. The sponsorship program even offers the chance of getting a work permit while the processing is still ongoing. Spouses or partners who are not married but have been living together for at least a year are allowed to apply. This is because Canada identifies with common-law relationships.
The Child or Other Immigrant Dependent Sponsorship
The program allows you to include your children in your immigration processing. A beautiful thing about this program is that it allows you to bring over your children even if you leave them behind at first. The program allows you to sponsor your children, biological or adopted under the age of 22 for a permanent stay, under the provision that they are unmarried and do not have children.
The last family immigrant program is the Parent or Grandparent Sponsorship, also known as the PGP. In line with its desire to unify families, Canada uses this program to bring in parents or even grandparents of those with permanent residence are with few limitations.
Once you can prove that you can support the extra financial weight, you are allowed to apply for this program. You can prove your capability if you match the Minimum Necessary Income (MIN) for the size of your family. You are expected to financially support your sponsored family.
In the case you are denied the chance to bring in your parents or grandparents, you can apply for a Super Visa. This will give them a long-term stay in Canada; it might not be a permanent stay, but you will be having your parents around for a while. The Super Visa is a multiple entry visa and it is only available to parents and grandparents of permanent residents and citizens of the country.
The Federal Internship for Newcomers (FIN) Program
This program is the federal government’s go-to initiative for helping newcomers to Canada get settled. At the moment, it is still predominantly effective only in Ontario. FINP delivers on its mission by partnering with a swath of Immigrant Serving Organizations (ISOs) within the province to cater to the needs of every immigrant.
This program is essentially a way to provide newcomers with soft landing while they assimilate fully into the Canadian ecosystem. Everything from temporary work experience to all the necessary training opportunities you may need to stand on your feet in a new country. It will offer you an opportunity to understand the workplace culture in Canada, build your own network, assimilate the details of the job application and hiring process in the country and more. These temp jobs and training opportunities are available at the federal, provincial and municipal levels.
To take advantage of FIN, you will have to:
Register with one of their partner ISOs before April 3 every year
Have been a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen for not more than 10 years
Have lived in and around Ottawa, Gatineau, Fredericton, Halifax, St. John’s, Toronto or Victoria
Province-specific ISOs for Newcomers to Canada
According to immigrant statistics, areas like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and other satellite areas receive most of the immigrants that come into the country. However, there are so many other instances when moving to another province or municipality is what is needed. In cases where you come into the country have already gotten a province-specific job/assignment or scholarship, you will need to look into other ISOs outside Ontario.
We have curated a brief list of province-specific ISOs that you can contact to help settle into your new location. The ISOs mentioned on our list offer most or all of the services that are needed by newcomers to Canada.
This province has no shortage of breath-taking landscape views: mountains, forests and greenery, open spaces, and lots of sunshine. Alberta’s cultural integration and diverse economy are enviable. It is known for its safe and friendly communities, high standards of living, outstanding healthcare, excellent school system and its disruptive business spirit. Here are some ISOs to help you live and work in Alberta.
Catholic Social Services, Edmonton. Visit their website
Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers. Visit their website
Action for Healthy Communities Society of Edmonton. Visit their website
Edmonton Immigrant Services Association (EISA). Visit their website
Central Alberta Refugee Effort (CARE) Committee. Visit their website
British Columbia (B.C.)
This province couldn’t have been situated better. Located in Canada’s west coast, British Columbia is perched between an array of rocky mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. It boasts one of the best and fastest growing economies in the country.
There are plenty of opportunities for work, outdoor adventures and life in general in B.C. If you plan to move here, you can get loads of information on the province’s official website. Now about some of their choice ISOs.
Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society of Prince George. Visit their website
Kitimat Community Services Society. Visit their website
Hecate Strait Employment Development Society. Visit their website
School District No. 60 – Peace River North. Visit their website
U.C.C.E.S.S. Visit their website
This province is the definition of multicultural; the residents of Manitoba speak more than 200 languages! Situated between the highbrow Ontario and Saskatchewan, Manitoba is ideal for people who don’t like the city feel and want a more relaxed, laid back living situation. You can visit their official immigration website to find out more. Manitoba has a robust job landscape and its friendly cities and towns are amazing to live in. Not to mention the plethora of settlement agencies waiting to help you and your family settle.
Swan Valley Settlement & Immigrant Services. Visit their website
Community Futures Parkland Inc. Visit their website
Neepawa and Area Immigrant Settlement Services. Visit their website
Supporting Employment and Economic Development (SEED) Winnipeg Inc. Visit their website
Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba Inc. (IRCOM). Visit their website
Known as one of Canada’s three Maritime provinces in the east because of its location along the Atlantic coast, New Brunswick is bordered by Nova Scotia and Quebec. It is also the closest province to the United States in terms of travel. It boasts excellent health, school, and employment landscapes as well as an affordable cost of living. Visit their official website to find out more about this coastal province.
Multicultural Association of Fredericton Inc. (MCAF). Visit their website
The Multicultural Association of Greater Moncton Area (MAGMA). Visit their website
YMCA of Greater Saint John. Visit their website
Northwest Resource Centre for Newcomers Inc. Visit their website
Multicultural Association of Carleton County Inc. (MACC). Visit their website
Newfoundland and Labrador
This province is the easternmost part of Canada. It is made up of the Newfoundland island and mainland Labrador. This province has a rich history and culture and pairs this with its modern amenities and utilities that keep it running smoothly. NL is a breath of fresh air with its captivating scenery and the fact that it has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. NL’s official immigration website will let you in all you need to know about working, studying and living here.
The Association For New Canadians. Visit their website
Société Économique de l’Ontario. Visit their website
Fédération des francophones de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador (FFTNL). Visit their website
Another maritime province on the east coast, Nova Scotia boasts a high quality of life and a progressive school system and work economy. Home to one of Canada’s biggest financial institutions, this is the perfect place to balance work, family and school. Visit Nova Scotia Start and Nova Scotia Immigration to learn more.
Conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle-Écosse (CDÉNÉ). Visit their website
Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). Visit their website
YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth – YMCA Centre for Immigrant Programs. Visit their website
Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse. Visit their website
Language Assessment Services of NS Ltd. Visit their website
This is in many ways the epicentre and heart-beat of this North American country. Ontario arguably receives a majority of the immigrants accepted into Canada every year.
Ontario’s prosperity index and premium quality of life is evidenced by its diverse work industry and available jobs. Its 12 million population come from 200 countries and speak about 130 languages. Talk about a multicultural community. Visit Ontario Immigration to find out more about this province and how to settle here.
Timmins and District Multicultural Centre. Visit their website
Sault Community Information Career Centre. Visit their website
Social Enterprise for Canada – Tracks Employment Services. Visit their website
YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka. Visit their website
Social Enterprise for Canada – Keswick Public Library. Visit their website
Prince Edward Island (PEI)
By land mass, PEI is the smallest of Canada’s eastern provinces. It is a fun and friendly place to live with a lot of family-oriented locations and activities to involve yourself in. It also boasts a low crime rate and an excellent school system with a tech-focused job industry. PEI Immigration Services has a lot more to say about moving to the province.
PEI Association for Newcomers To Canada. Visit their website
La Coopérative d’intégration francophone de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard Limitée. Visit their website
Réseau de Développement Économique. Visit their website
This is the French-speaking capital of Canada. This north-eastern province welcomes an average of 50,000 immigrants per year. It is the biggest province in the country by landmass and has over a million water bodies, including the 1200 km long St. Lawrence River.
Quebec is also arguably the most economically pliable province in Canada. The province is solely responsible for handling its immigration affairs. Visit their immigration website for more info.
The province has job opportunities spread across different industries, an abundance of natural resources, remarkable quality of life and a really affordable cost of living. There’s no shortage of friendly neighbours and tight community support systems here.
Check out their website to learn all you need to know before you call it home.
Assemblée communautaire fransaskoise (A.C.F.) inc. Visit their website
YWCA Prince Albert Inc. Visit their website
Global Gathering Place. Visit their website
Saskatoon Open Door Society Inc. Visit their website
Saskatchewan Abilities Council – Partners in Settlement & Integration. Visit their website
Northwest Territories (NWT)
The first territory on this list, NWT comprises 33 communities occupied by a total of 43,000 residents who speak about 11recognized languages. NWT has enough job opportunities, stellar government services and enough natural resources to guarantee her a great future.
Fédération franco-ténoise. Visit their website
Conseil de development economique des Territoires du Nord-Ouest. Visit their website
College Nordique Francophone. Visit their website
Aurora College. Visit their website
Nunavut’s 33,000-strong population lives in the territory’s 25 communities. It is the least populated of Canada’s provinces and territories and the Inuit people make up 85 percent of Nunavut’s population. The territory also boasts natural resources that help to provide a more robust workforce for her people.
Residents of Nunavut get free healthcare and education. Also, the territory does not have in place any specific services for addressing immigrant settlement. For any and all info you need concerning Nunavut and its immigration service, you should visit:
Although Yukon is extremely large for its 34,000 residents, most of them reside in the territory’s capital of Whitehorse. Still, the territory is up-to-date in terms of its facilities, its modern and skilled workforce and its formidable economy.
There is access to broadband internet service in all its communities and it boasts one of Canada’s lowest unemployment rates. Vital websites to visit to better understand Yukon include: Yukon’s Immigration website and the Multicultural Center website.
Association franco-yukonnaise: Visit their website
Yukon Tourism Education Council, Multicultural Centre of the Yukon (a division of YTEC). Visit their website
Like any other country, Canada is fun only when you understand the culture and the way the country operates. As a newcomer to Canada, it is your responsibility to keep an open mind and take advantage of every opportunity you come across as an immigrant.
If you have been considering travelling over to Canada, this is the time to get about doing it. The immigration rate of the country is expected to grow and there are already signs of this happening. I don’t know which method you will choose, but regardless of which program you pick, I will be rooting for you. I hope I have been able to answer some of your questions about the immigration process in Canada.
Whether it’s using TFSAs to save your money or an RRSP to invest. Whether it’s filing your tax returns on time so you can claim all deductions and credits. Whether its using programs like the First Time Home Buyers or several other provincial government grants to ease your home purchase and gain tax credits. Whatever the case, there are many ways to ease yourself into life in Canada.
Just make sure to take all the help you can get. If you reside in Ontario, you can enrol in the Federal Internship for Newcomers (FIN) Immigrant Program or seek out the plethora of Immigrant Serving Organisations (ISOs) in your chosen province/territory to help you in finding a job, a place and everything in between.
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Sagar Sridhar is a personal finance blogger from Canada. His genuine passion for personal finance coupled with his unique style of writing is what stands out. Professionally, he is a computer engineer, agile certified and has a master’s degree in Project Management. His writing has been featured or quoted in the leading Canadian publications such as Credit Canada and many other personal finance publications. While he is juggling between his day job and blogging, he is the main author on this blog and has miles to go before making the final pit stop.