Landing for the first time in Canada can be such an exciting experience. The moment the flight lands our minds go into tourist mode. We are over processing all the information, waiting to check out all the cool places we’ve heard about. But first, let’s get a few things out of the way to help you settle down faster.
If you are landing in Toronto, there are a few things you’d probably want to do in the first couple of days.
Collect your CoPR
Plan to land during working hours. Once you have completed immigration formalities, you’ll get your CoPR signed by the immigration officer. Keep this with you safely, forever
Get your SIN number
You’ll then be asked to move to a separate room that provides SIN number to new immigrants. It hardly takes a few mins.
Get a PRESTO card (Details)
Get yourself one of these cards from the UP express service counter at the airport, or any Shopper Drug Mart outlet. Load at least CAD 50 in your card. This will help you commute easily on Bus, Metro, Streetcar and Trains. Register the card on the online portal, so that you can reload online. Note: It can take upto 24 hours for your card to reload, after the payment. So ensure you always reload if you have less than CAD 15 left.
Get your mobile number
Look for the nearest Rogers/Chatr/Freedom mobile store and get a number for you and your partner. Research ahead of your travel, so you can go straight to the store.
Open your Bank Account
Armed with your presto card, commute to your nearest bank outlet and open a Chequing account. If you are a couple, consider opening a joint account. You can operate it individually, and save money on account charges. You can provide your mobile number here. If you are staying in a temporary accommodation for less than two weeks, I recommend giving a friends address for the delivery of your debit and credit cards.
Look for a mid-term accommodation
Considering you are still without a job, look for accommodation on Kijiji. Its hard to score an apartment without a job, so you may have to consider basements or staying in Mississauga/Brampton. If you find what you like, keep an original version of the lease agreement.
Get a library card (Details)
Libraries are extremely useful here. You get all sorts of resources for job search, skill development, settlement help, etc. They are also great places for people to hang out. You will need a govt. issued ID card to sign up with the library.
Sign up for your OHIP card
If you have found an accommodation and are going to stay there for a few months, then go ahead and apply for your OHIP card, to cover your insurance after 90 days. You can use your CoPR and Ontario Photo ID card or Rental Agreement to sign up for your OHIP card.
Take the G1 test (Details)Download the G1 Genie app from App Store or Play Store and keep practicing from time to time. Its really easy to crack. Once you have consistently scored 95% and above, glance through the MTO handbook quickly.
Visit your nearest DriveTest outlet, and sign up for the G1 test. Remember to bring your driving license extract issued from your home country. Some mandatory waiting period post G1 will be waived off. You’ll be sent to a room to take your G1 test. 40 questions in total, 20 on rules, 20 on traffic signs. You get a touch screen monitor. Its pretty cool. Once you clear the test, they’ll mail your G1 license to your address.
Sign up for Driving classes
As soon as you are done with your G1 test, sign up for driving classes, and plan to take give your G2/G test as soon as possible.
Look for a family doctor.
Haven’t gotten this far yet. So stay tuned… 😀