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- Essential documents to gather before moving to Canada
Moving to a new country is an exciting adventure, but it can also be a stressful one. There are many things to consider and plan for, including the essential documents you must have before moving to Canada. In this post, we will look at some of the key documents you should gather before moving to Canada and provide tips on making the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Let's jump right in! Table of contents 1. Passport 2. Permit /Visa 3. Proof of funds 4. Birth certificate 5. Marriage certificate or Common-law relationship 6. Driver's license 7. Medical records 8. Insurance documents 9. Tax documents 10. Broad Power of Attorney 11. Scan important documents 12. Create a folder Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and these documents may change depending on the program you use to come, but at least this should give you an idea of what essential documents you should bring. 1. Passport As I mentioned in the 40 things you should do before moving to Canada, the first and most important document you will need when moving to Canada is your passport. Your passport is your primary identification document and is essential for travel to and from Canada. Ensure your passport is current and valid enough for your entire stay in Canada. If it is not, renew it while you are in your country. This may also apply to your national identity card if you have one. 2. Permit/visa If you are moving to Canada for work, study or tourism you will most likely need a permit or visa. The type of permit or visa you need will depend on your situation, including the type of work you will be doing, the length of your stay in Canada and your country of origin. Researching your options and applying for the appropriate permit or visa well before your move is essential, as processing times can be lengthy. On the day of your trip, bring all documents requested at the border to activate your permit. If you do not yet know which route to use to come to Canada, check out A Basic Guide to Moving to Canada. 3. Proof of funds You must provide proof of your financial situation when applying for a work permit or visa. This mainly corresponds to bank statements. You may also need proof of employment, such as a letter from your employer if you are coming to work for a specific company. Make sure you meet the requirements your permit requires for activation; for example, if you are coming on a Working Holiday visa, you must show that you have CAD 2,500. 4. Birth certificate If you are travelling with children, your children's birth certificate is an important document to carry with you when you move to Canada. It serves as proof of their identity and date of birth and is regularly requested for school enrollment. 5. Marriage certificate or Common-law relationship If you are married, you must bring your marriage certificate when moving to Canada. This document proves your marital status and can be used for various purposes. In Canada, a marital status exists that applies to couples who are not married but have lived together for at least one year. It is called a common-law relationship. For immigration purposes, there is a form that you sign in front of a notary and to which you have to add proof that you are living as a common-law couple, so review this and collect evidence of utility bills with the same address, shared bank accounts, shared rental agreements, etc. In our case, we used that documentation for my partner to apply for a work permit; if you want to know how we did it, be sure to check out How to get an open work permit as a common-law partner of a skilled worker in Canada. 6. Driver's license You will need a valid driver's license to drive in Canada. Depending on your situation, you may be able to use your current driver's license for a while after you arrive in Canada. However, you will eventually need to obtain a Canadian driver's license, which will depend on the province in which you live. You can do this by taking a series of driving tests or following a more streamlined process by using your previous driving license experience, depending on the province or territory in which you live. If you want to know how to do this in Ontario, check out How to get a driver's license in Ontario, Canada. 7. Medical records You should have copies of your medical history when you move to Canada. This may include records of any illnesses or medical treatments you have had. This information can help you get the medical care you need more quickly and efficiently. 8. Insurance documents It is highly probable that upon arrival in Canada, you will not immediately obtain the health card of the province where you reside. In Ontario, you get it after six months of working; here, you can see how we processed it. Given the above and as you will be in a temporary situation in Canada, you will need health coverage in case of an accident or similar, be sure to bring travel insurance that covers you during that period and is adequate for activating your permits. 9. Tax documents For tax-related issues, I suggest seeking support from someone who knows, but in my experience, tax obligations started to apply from the day we landed in Canada. I recommend you keep a record of all the income you receive during the year since the following year; you must declare the whole year, including what you obtained outside Canada. If when you travel, you keep some things in your home country such as salaries, property, etc., keep a record of facilitating the process during the annual tax return. 10. Broad power of attorney Verify if this is something that exists in your country, but you may be able to find something similar. You can consult a notary or a lawyer. It is a document that allows someone to do whatever you need on your behalf. That person can represent you to sign papers while you are abroad, so make sure that person is someone you trust. 11. Scan important documents I suggest you scan essential documents that you do not want to carry physically but can use to do some online paperwork. You will save yourself headaches, and they take up very little space. 12. Create a folder Finally, create a folder with all the documents you will need (travel insurance, proof of funds, Port of Entry letters, etc.), especially those you will need at the border, and make sure you take them with you in your hand luggage or backpack and not in your checked baggage. I hope this blog post gives you an idea of what documents you should bring; be sure to check all the requirements of the permits you will be using and check if you will need to get more documents due to your particular situation. For more details on what other information you should not forget, check out 40 things you should do before moving to Canada.
- Finding a Pet Sitter as a Newcomer to Canada
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission when you purchase from the links at no additional cost. Don't worry; I only recommend products I use myself, and all opinions expressed here are my own. Are you migrating to Canada with your beloved pet or pets and thinking about travelling to see this new country but not sure who will care for them in your absence? Going on vacation is always an exciting experience, but leaving your beloved pets behind can be a source of anxiety and worry for many pet owners. Back home, you had a circle, perhaps a friend, a cat-loving aunt or someone who used to give you a hand in caring for them. Well... unfortunately, being a newcomer, you don't have that circle right away. Let me show you how based on our experience, a pet sitter can help you with this and how we now travel knowing that Corita, our cat, is in the best hands. Table of contents 1. What is a pet sitter? 2. How do I find a trustworthy and reliable pet sitter? 3. What does a pet sitter do? 4. How much does a pet sitter cost? 5. How long can a pet sitter stay with my pet? 6. What qualifications or training should a pet sitter have? 7. How do I prepare my pet and home for a pet sitter? 8. What if my pet has special needs or requires medication? 9. What if there is an emergency while I am away? 10. Can a pet sitter stay in my home, or do they need to take my pet to their own home? 11. How do I get a pet sitter? 1. What is a pet sitter? A pet sitter is a person who temporarily cares for someone else's pet for a set period at the owner's home. Pet sitting is a great way to love and care for animals while their owners are away. It involves caring for the pet's basic needs, such as providing food, water, exercise and companionship, according to the owner's requirements. 2. How do I find a trustworthy and reliable pet sitter? Last year we discovered the TrustedHousesitters platform, which is a game changer to this day. TrustedHousesitters is a platform that connects pet owners with trustworthy pet sitters from all over the world. This service is ideal for pet owners who travel frequently or have to leave their homes for extended periods, as it offers a convenient and affordable way to ensure their pets are well cared for while they are away. You can be sure that the people participating in this platform are trustworthy and reliable, as they do not charge anything for caring for their pets. It is a friendly exchange between people who love pets and travel. In addition, the system works based on reviews, so you can always read the opinions of previous pet owners where the pet sitters applying to take care of your home and pets were. 3. What does a pet sitter do? The duties of a pet sitter are diverse and depend on your needs as a pet owner. Generally, they consist of caring for the pet's basic needs, such as providing food, water, exercise and companionship. It also includes primary care, such as brushing and bathing, and periodically informing you of the pet's condition, usually by sending photos or videos. You must detail all the information the pet sitter needs to know to perform their job to the best of their ability, including whether your pets need medication, ongoing training, maintenance of any routines you have created, etc. You can also request that they perform other tasks, such as taking out the recycling bins, watering the plants, picking up the mail, etc. 4. How much does a pet sitter cost? It depends on the platform; at TrustedHouseSitters, you don't have to pay for each pet sitter that takes care of your pets; you create an account on the platform and pay for the membership of your choice. They work on an annual fee for an unlimited number of pet sitters. The first step to using TrustedHousesitters as a pet owner is to create an account on their website. You must provide basic information, such as your name, email address and location. Once your account is created, you can create a profile with information about your pets, their needs and their home. This will help potential pet sitters better understand your needs and determine whether they fit your pets. 5. How long can a pet sitter stay with my pet? All the time you need, which you must indicate in the listing. I have seen postings for a weekend, a week, a month or even longer. Having a pet sitter ensures that your pets are cared for in the comfort of your home. This is especially beneficial for pets that may experience anxiety or stress in unfamiliar surroundings, such as kennels or boarding facilities. A pet sitter can give your pets individual attention and care, ensuring their routines and needs are met. 6. What qualifications or training should a pet sitter have? There are no requirements to be a pet sitter, they don't need an official certification, but since they are going to be in charge of your pet, you need to make sure they are a good fit. For example, if your pet needs a daily insulin injection, you will probably need someone with experience in that practice. Once your listing is active, you can look for potential sitters interested in your post. TrustedHousesitters allows you to search for people based on location, availability and experience. You can also view their profiles, read reviews from previous pet owners and ask them questions to determine if they are a good fit for your pets. 7. How do I prepare my pet and home for a pet sitter? Before you leave for your trip, preparing your home and pets for the sitter's service is essential. This may include cleaning and tidying your home, ensuring your pets have enough food and supplies and providing detailed pet care instructions to your sitter. Also, ensure the sitter has all necessary keys, security codes and other access information. 8. What if my pet has special needs or requires medication? If your pet has special needs, include that in the listing, so candidates know beforehand and simplify the onboarding process. Our cat uses an inhaler every morning (yes, she does), so we put together a little procedure with pictures of how it works and when we have an interview or pre-visit with our prospective pet sitter, we show them how to do it. 9. What if there is an emergency while I am away? Once you agree with a sitter to care for your pet, you prepare and send a document called a Welcome Guide to your sitter. It can be as detailed as you want, but with over a year of experience, I can say that this document is essential to make life easier for both of you. You include everything from the WIFI password to the cleaning products' location in that welcome guide. This is where you have the updated vet information, animal hospital, insurance, etc. So, complete this guide at the beginning, and then you must update it if something changes. 10. Can a pet sitter stay in my home, or do they need to take my pet to their own home? TrustedHousesitters works with pet sitters by having them stay at your home, so your pet is always in their environment, and you don't have to stress them out in an unfamiliar place. 11. How do I get a pet sitter? Now that you know the general information, here's what you need to do to get a pet sitter in easy steps: Register on TrustedHousesitters Create your profile and your listing with all the necessary details about your pets with more information, including their routines, any medical conditions or special needs, how long you need a pet sitter, and any other important information required by potential pet sitters. You should also include details about your home, such as its location, size, and unique features. Post your listing in plenty of time to choose a pet sitter that fits your needs. Wait for applicants to sign up for your listing or invite someone through the platform. Conduct interviews with your potential sitters (optional but recommended) to ensure they fit your pets and home. Once you have found a sitter you are comfortable with, it is time to finalize arrangements by accepting them into the system. Prepare your home as outlined in item 7 above. During your absence, keep in contact with the pet sitter to make sure everything is going well. TrustedHousesitters provides a messaging system that allows you to communicate with your pet sitter, ask for updates about your pet and address any concerns. When you return home, thank your pet sitter for the services and leave a review on TrustedHousesitters. Your review will help other pet owners find trusted pet sitters and provide valuable feedback to your pet sitter. If, in any case, you also want to be a pet sitter, be sure to check out The Beginner's Guide to Becoming a Pet Sitter. In our case, we have a combined membership at TrustedHousesitters that allows us to be a pet sitter and also be a pet owner to have someone care for Corita in our absence. I hope this post encourages you to experiment with a pet sitter, and I am sure you will find someone who can then be a frequent pet sitter, as you can send out individual invitations.
- 10 cities to live near Toronto as a newcomer to Canada
Toronto, one of Canada's largest cities, is a great place to live for newcomers. However, it can also be overwhelming and expensive for those just starting. Luckily, several cities around Toronto offer more affordable and family-friendly options. In this post, I bring you 10 cities to consider as a newcomer to Canada that can serve as a starting point if you haven't yet decided where to live. Table of contents 1. Mississauga 2. Brampton 3. Oakville 4. Markham 5. Vaughan 6. Richmond Hill 7. Pickering 8. Ajax 9. Aurora 10. Newmarket 1. Mississauga Mississauga is located west of Toronto, belongs to the region of Peel and is known for its safe and family-friendly neighbourhoods. It is also home to several major shopping centers, one of which is the Square One Mall, which makes it an ideal place for shopping lovers. It is the city where we live, and although the rental prices are similar to Toronto, it is a city that we love for its green areas. Public transportation is known as MiWay and is paid with the Presto card. If you want more details about this city, visit 14 Top Reasons to live in Mississauga and highlight its green areas, 14 parks and trails to visit in Mississauga. 2. Brampton Brampton belongs to the region of Peel and is located north of Mississauga. It is another excellent option for families, offering several parks and recreational facilities. It is also known for its cultural diversity, with a large South Asian immigrant population. Public transportation is called Brampton Transit, and as in Mississauga, you pay with Presto Card. A 1 bedroom apartment costs around 1800-2000 CAD, as reviewed on Numbeo.com. If you want to explore more, this is the city's official site. 3. Oakville Oakville, a more affluent city located west of Toronto, belongs to the Halton region. It is known for its upscale neighbourhoods and beautiful parks facing Lake Ontario. Its public transportation is operated by Presto Card and is called Oakville Transit. Oakville's main attractions are Gairloch Gardens, Lion's Valley Park, which we visited last year, and Bronte Creek Provincial Park. If you want to explore more, this is the city's official site. 4. Markham Markham is located north of Toronto in York Region and is a great place to live for those working in the technology sector. It is home to several large technology companies, such as IBM and AMD. York Region Transit provides public transportation and, like the others, can be paid for by presto card. Places of interest include Toogood Pond Park, Reesor Farm Market and Milne Da Conservation Park. According to this page, prices for a 1-bedroom apartment range from approximately 1800-3500 CAD. If you want to explore more, this is the city's official site. 5. Vaughan Vaughan is located north of Toronto and is a great place to live for those who love shopping and eating. It is home to several major shopping centers and many excellent restaurants. It is well known for hosting Canada's Wonderland, an amusement park that can welcome about 600,000 people a year, the 118,000 square meter Vaughan Mills shopping mall and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. If you want to explore more, this is the city's official site. 6. Richmond Hill Richmond Hill is another great option for families, with several excellent schools and parks. It is also known for its diverse population, with many Chinese and South Asian immigrants. Numbeo shows that prices for 1-bedroom apartments are between 1800-2200 CAD. Some of its attractions include Wilcox Lake, the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts and the David Dunlop Observatory. If you want to explore more, this is the city's official site. 7. Pickering Pickering is located east of Toronto in Durham Region and is a great place to live for outdoor enthusiasts. It has several parks and recreational facilities, such as the Waterfront Trail, Frenchman's Bay Marina and Pickering Museum Village. It connects to Toronto via the GO train with a 41-minute commute and has access to Lake Ontario. Numbeo lists a 1-bedroom apartment for around $1,650. If you want to explore more, this is the city's official site. 8. Ajax Ajax, part of the Regional Municipality of Durham, is another excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts, with several parks and trails to explore. It is also home to several large companies, such as Volkswagen and Dupont. It connects to Union Station in Toronto via the GO train with a 45-minute commute and has access to Lake Ontario. According to Trip Advisor, some attractions include Rotary Park, Greenwood Conservation Area and Ajax Waterfront Park. Prices for 1-bedroom apartments range from 1750 to 2300 CAD. If you want to explore more, this is the city's official site. 9. Aurora Aurora is located north of Toronto and Richmond Hill and is a great place to live for lovers of small-town charm. It is known for its historic downtown and excellent schools. There is not much information on Numbeo.com, but the website indicates that a 1 bedroom apartment can cost anywhere from $1500 to $1850 CAD as of the date I am publishing this post. Some attractions are the Aurora Historical Society & Hillary House, the Aurora Arboretum and the Canadian Moments Mural. You can connect to Toronto via Go transit. If you want to explore more, this is the city's official site. 10. Newmarket Newmarket is located north of Toronto and about a 15-minute drive north of Aurora. It belongs to York Region and is a great place to live for shoppers and foodies. It has several major shopping centers, such as Upper Canada Mall, and many excellent restaurants. According to Numbeo.com, rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center is around $2,000 CAD. A GO transit terminal in Newmarket can connect you to other places, including Toronto. This is the town's official site if you want to explore more. In conclusion, while Toronto is a great place to live, it is not the only option for newcomers to Canada. Many larger cities surrounding Toronto offer more affordable and family-friendly options, from safe and culturally diverse neighbourhoods to excellent schools and outdoor recreational facilities. Finally, I hope this post has given you an idea of other cities you can explore if you want to live near Toronto.
- Cost of living in Canada: Basic expenses for newcomers
Canada is a popular destination for immigrants due to its strong economy, high standard of living and welcoming culture. However, the cost of living in Canada can shock newcomers, especially those from countries, like ours, with a lower cost of living. Understanding the expenses associated with living in Canada is essential for anyone planning to immigrate to a new country. This post will explore some of the higher expenses you can expect to encounter as a newcomer to Canada. We will also include our personal experience living in Mississauga, Ontario, as a two-adult couple with no children. Remember that these are basic expenses you will have to pay monthly living in Canada. In addition, you will need to budget for entertainment expenses, arrival expenses (tickets, college tuition, etc.), retail purchases, etc. Table of contents 1. Housing 2. Food 3. Transportation 4. Utilities 5. Healthcare 1. Housing One of the most important expenses you will face in Canada is housing. If you don't know what to expect when renting a property as a newcomer, you can read How to Rent Your First Home as a Newcomer to Canada. The cost of housing varies depending on the city you're in and the type of housing you're looking for. In Toronto and Vancouver, two of Canada's largest cities, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment is over $2,000 - $2500 per month. In smaller cities like Quebec City or Halifax, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment is around $800 to $1,600 per month, according to the information retrieved from Numbeo.com; by the way, I recommend this page to explore more details of the cost of living of the city you want to check. In the last two years, prices have gone way up; we have lived in a fully furnished 1 bedroom apartment in Mississauga, Ontario, for 1750 CAD per month since the beginning of 2021. Still, we know that similar apartments today hover around 2500 CAD, even unfurnished. 2. Food Food is another major expense you will face in Canada, and the amount of money spent on food will depend on the size of your family and your preferences. If you want to save money on food, you can buy groceries and cook at home; if you want to know other resources we use to spend less on food, I invite you to read 16 tips for buying groceries on a budget in Canada. In our case, we spend around 400-500 CAD per month trying to cook at home most of the time, trying to use apps to save on food and also, taking into account that we follow a plant-based diet, we don't consume dairy, eggs or meat, which sometimes have higher prices, compared to legumes or vegetables. 3. Transportation Transportation costs in Canada vary according to the city and the preferred mode of transportation. In Toronto and Vancouver, where public transportation is well-developed, a monthly transit pass costs between $150 and $200. In smaller cities, where public transportation is less developed, owning a car sometimes becomes the best option. In our case, we used public transit for a year and a half in Mississauga, as we didn't have to commute daily with 50 CAD a month on the Presto Card; we were fine, but if you have to commute every day, this expense will increase. Consider that the fare on MiWay (Transportation in Mississauga) is 3.1 CAD. After a year and a half, we bought a used car for 5300 CAD, and it has come in handy, especially for saving time. A trip that used to take an hour by bus is now 15 to 20 minutes. However, you must remember that other expenses appear when you have a car, such as a car insurance (we pay 178 CAD/month), gasoline (about 1,40 CAD per litre) and maintenance. If you want to know how we complete the process to get a car, you can check out How to Buy a Car as a Newcomer in Ontario, Canada. 4. Utilities Utility costs, such as electricity, gas (if applicable), tenant's insurance and Internet, should also be considered when calculating your budget to come to Canada. For our 1-bedroom apartment, the monthly electricity payment is around 50 CAD. There are special times during the day when the rates are lower, such as weekends or between 7 pm and 7 am, that can help you save a little. We also use the Internet, and our monthly payment is around 96 CAD. Depending on the place you are renting, you must pay a tenant's insurance that will protect your belongings in case of any problems with the property you are renting; we pay 25.16 CAD per month. If you want to rent a house, check if there are additional costs for snow removal or other, which in our case, are not required to pay. 5. Healthcare Canada has a publicly funded healthcare system, which means that all residents can access basic medical services at no cost. However, when you are a newcomer to Ontario with a study or work permit, you do not have access to this system. You must stay in the province for a couple of months to apply; if you want to learn about that process, I invite you to visit Health Card for Work Permit Holders in Ontario. In addition, some services, such as dental care, eye care and prescription drugs, are not covered by public health care and can be expensive. The cost of private insurance, which covers these additional services, can range from $100, $200 or even more per month, but usually, the company you work for provides that insurance or you can pay for it yourself. This summary can help you get an idea of the fixed monthly expenses and help you calculate your budget for moving to Canada. If you are already in Canada, are there other essential payments in your province that need to be considered here?
- The beginner's guide to becoming a pet sitter.
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission when you purchase from the links at no additional cost. Don't worry; I only recommend products I use myself, and all opinions expressed here are my own. In this post, you will find the answer to how pet sitting is a great option to travel and save money during your stay in your country or another. You may have heard about the concept of petsitting; I'm going to break down the doubts you may have and give you tips according to my experience taking care of pets for more than a year so that if you want to start doing it, you can be prepared for success. To clarify, this is based on my experience and is something I do as a hobby, not as a job. That's one of the reasons I love doing it because, in short, it's a great community of people who love to travel and care for pets. Let's jump right in! Table of contents 1. What is Petsitting? 2. What do I need to be a pet sitter? 3. Is there a high demand for pet sitters? 4. What are the duties of a pet sitter? 5. Advantages of petsitting 6. Which platform to use, and how does it work? 7. How to define where to travel? 8. How to apply for a listing and increase your chances of being accepted? 9. How to prepare for a preliminary interview or visit? 10. Reviews 1. What is Petsitting? Petsitting means temporarily caring for another person's pet for a set period at the pet owner's home. Petsitting is a great way to love and care for animals while their owners are away. It involves taking care of the pet's basic needs, such as providing food, water, exercise and companionship, according to the pet owner's requirements. 2. What do I need to be a pet sitter? There are no requirements to be a pet sitter, you don't need an official certification, but since you will be in charge of another being, I would say you have to: Have a liking for taking care of animals (cats, dogs, rabbits, etc.). Be responsible, punctual and able to follow instructions. Be clean and tidy because you will be in someone else's home. 3. Is there a high demand for pet sitters? So far, I only use a platform called TrustedHouseSitters and every day, there are new positions available in different provinces, so you can see that a pet sitter is needed in every season. 4. What are the duties of a pet sitter? The duties of a pet sitter are diverse and depend on the pet owner's needs. Generally, it consists of caring for the pet's basic needs, such as providing food, water, exercise and companionship. It also includes primary care, such as brushing and bathing, and periodically informing the owner of the pet's status, usually by sending photos or videos. In some cases, pets need medication or continued training if the owner has been working on it. That is why it is essential to check in detail what is requested in the listing to see if you have the experience and skills that will allow you to feel comfortable performing the required tasks. Since you are staying at someone else's home, sometimes the listing includes watering the plants or taking out the recycling on the day the recycling service comes by, etc. 5. Advantages of pet sitting Here are some of the benefits we've seen from another year of doing it: Pet-sitting can be an incredibly rewarding experience, as it provides the opportunity to share the love and bond with an animal you don't have or give companionship to while you're on vacation. In addition, it allows you to stay for free in beautiful places of your choice. It can allow you to learn more about a specific breed and gain valuable animal care experience. It can be an excellent way to develop your skills. Caring for someone else's pet can allow you to learn new skills and become a better pet owner. We have put into practice with Corita, our kitty, several things we have learned from other cat owners. Overall, pet sitting can be an incredibly rewarding and beneficial experience. Not only can you save money, but you can also give back to the community, develop skills and build strong bonds with other animals. 6. Which platform to use, and how does it work? So far, I have only used one platform and this year; we renewed the membership without overthinking it because it's worth it. The platform is called TrustedHouseSitters, and here's what you have to do to pet sit with them: Go to the TrustedHouseSitter website. Explore whether you want to become a pet sitter, whether you want to register as a pet owner or both. Create an account Choose the plan that fits your profile*. This platform works with annual plans, meaning you pay a fee/membership, and you can use the platform for unlimited pet sitting for a year. *Check the updated values on the platform, but we paid 229 CAD for a combined membership this year (we have a combined membership because we take care of other people's pets, but at the same time, we have a pet sitter in our home to take care of Corita). Once you purchase your plan, you complete your pet sitter profile, including: Profile details: you must include your details such as occupation, date of birth, whether you are travelling alone or accompanied, etc. About yourself: stating your motivation, why you want to be a pet sitter, and an introduction. Also, include photos of you taking care of other pets if that happened in the past. Your experience: Here, you can include experience taking care of pets in the past; I realized that I had taken care of cats and dogs for friends when they were travelling, and all that information goes here. Your preferences: Here, you can include if you have a specific location you are interested in. Completing these sections will take time, but I recommend you take as much time as you need because this is essential for the pet owner to read your story and trust you. 7. How to define where to travel? Depending on your preferences, this platform is available worldwide; you can even enter TrustedHouseSitters, explore a place you want to travel to, and see if there are listings available. Once you have completed your profile, and if you want to go on vacation or travel close to home, you can create filters by location. For example, since I work from home, I made a filter within "Ontario" (the province where I live) and "cats." Hence, I get a notification to review and apply immediately whenever a listing is uploaded. Remember that this platform allows you to coordinate only the contact with the pet owner. Still, you are responsible for getting your documents to travel to the place and buy your tickets, visas and everything necessary. 8. How to apply for a listing and increase your chances of being accepted? Once you find the place and the pet you want to take care of, you have to apply for that sitting and try to be quick because some areas receive a lot of applications quickly. Here are my recommendations: Read in detail all the information on the listing, paying particular attention to the type of pets, responsibilities and if there is any special care you have to do. If you think you meet all those requirements, there is an option to Apply, and you must write your application. Personalize that email; I recommend you don't send the same email to everyone. As a pet owner, I loved it when a pet sitter addressed her email to Corita and me, I thought it was lovely, and since then, I have used it in my emails because it denotes that you care about that pet and that you consider them special. Be polite and show that you can do the tasks and have read the instructions. Read in detail and connect with what the pet owners have included in their profiles. Be accommodating and offer the option to have a video call or, if you are near their home, offer a preliminary visit. See item 9 for examples of what to ask. Don't be in a hurry; apply only if you are 100% sure you can go there. In our first experience as a pet owner, someone applied to take care of Corita and several weeks later, that person cancelled their stay, and we had to start the process all over again; it was not pleasant, and I am sure I will not consider that person next time. If you get a response, reply as soon as possible. Once everything is ready and you are accepted, the pet owner will send a confirmation through the platform, and you will have to confirm it once more; then, you are ready! I will leave here 2 examples of actual emails we sent to pet owners and where we were accepted. Example 1: The listing was two hours away from our house. Hi (Pet owner name), (Pet name 1), and (Pet name 2), I hope you are doing well. I am writing because we would love to take care of your kitties while you are away. We are (our names); we live in (the place where you live), (country). So we would be happy to accommodate travel to (the place where the pets are) for the days you need and take care of (Pet 1) and (Pet 2). We are cat lovers. We also have a kitten (Corita) who, once we confirm travel, will be cared for by a Trusted Housesitter. We have recently cared for other kittens (including other places if you already have previous experience) through the platform. Feel free to check our profile, and if you like, we can arrange an interview/video call to resolve any questions you may have. Thank you very much for reviewing our application Have a great weekend Example 2: The listing was in a Canadian city 5 hours by plane from Toronto. Hello (Pet owner name), (Pet name 1), and (Pet name 2), I hope you are doing well. I am glad you are planning your first trip post-covid. (we refer to what the pet owners had put in their profiles) I am writing because we would love to take care of your kitties while you are away. We are (your name); We live in (the place where you live), (country), and we already have our air tickets to go to (the place where the pets are) between June 26 and July 3. So we would be happy to accommodate to go to (the place where the pets are) for the days you need and take care of (Pet 1) and (Pet 2). We are cat lovers, in fact, we have a kitty too (Corita) who will be cared for by a Trusted Housesitter as well, and we recently took care of another cat in (Other experiences) through the platform. Feel free to check our profile, and if you like, we can arrange a video call to resolve any questions you may have. Thank you very much for reviewing our application Best regards Don't be discouraged if you don't hear back or if someone notifies you that you have not been selected. Thank the pet owner, and keep looking for another opportunity. 9. How to prepare for a preliminary interview or visit? Let's think that you have already had a preliminary conversation with the pet owner and will have a meeting with them, either online or in person. In that interview, you should always be prepared to ask about pet behaviours and activities; remember that you will be there taking care of their pets, and that's your priority. Here's a quiz on what to ask. Here's what we've learned from experience: Cats: Feeding: what type of food you use, where it is located, portion size and how often. If it has an automatic feeder, how does it work and how often does it release the food? Water: Where it is located and how often it needs to be changed. Litter box: Where is it located, where to dispose of the litter (directly in the bathroom, pick it up, put it in a container, etc.), if there is more stock to replenish, etc. Does (pet's name) need any medication? Anything special we need to know? Any special prohibitions, not to go out on the balcony, not to climb into the dishwasher, etc. Does (pet's name) have any routine that he/she would like to keep (play at night or groomed at a particular time, etc.)? Is (pet's name) allowed on the balcony? alone, under guard, only accompanied. How does it work when the cats go outside? How long do they stay outside? If applicable. Do the kitten(s) sleep with us? Dogs: We haven't cared for puppies yet, but we prepared these questions for an interview: (Pet's name) walks X times a day - how long should those walks be? Is she friendly with other dogs? If we meet someone on the road, for example. Does (pet's name) always need to be on a leash? Does (name of pet) need a toy with her/his when we take her for a walk? Do we need to carry water for (pet's name), and does he/she have a particular container for it? Anything special we need to know about (pet's name)'s routine? About the house: How many plants do you have, and where are they located? If it is necessary to water them Do we need to take out the garbage or recycle? Do you need to inform the concierge about our stay? If applicable What time do you want me to arrive? What time do you need us to leave? If you feel it is necessary, you can respectfully ask for the following: Can I cook at your home? How is the system for paying for public transportation? Are grocery stores close enough to walk to, or do we need to shop in town? Do you have parking, or is there parking near your home? 10. Reviews The only way to gain a good reputation as a pet sitter is to do it right. The TrustedHouseSitters system works through the reviews pet owners can leave on your profile after you've taken care of their pets. So give it your best, and you will receive a lovely 5-star review. The same you can do for the pet owner; at the end of your stay, you can leave a review and explain your experience to help the rest of the community who might visit that pet in the future. This way, the next time you apply for a petsitter opportunity, you will already have reviews on your profile, and pet owners will be able to trust you more or even former pet owners you already visited will be able to contact you again to take care of their adorable pets once more. I hope this post helps you understand how petsitting works; see if it's something you want to do and take the leap! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me on Instagram @julietafromhappysoy.
- 5 things you can do today to prepare for your trip to Canada.
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission when you purchase from the links at no additional cost. Don't worry; I only recommend products I use myself, and all opinions expressed here are my own. A new year begins, and most people start planning big and small goals. If this is the year you've decided that coming to Canada is your goal, I bring you five things you can do today to make your trip or whatever you're looking for in Canada a reality. Let's jump right in... Table of contents 1. Define what step you are at 2. Research and decide which program works for you 3. Start learning English or French 4. Apply for a Working Holiday 5. Start your permanent residence application 6. Do you want to travel more? 1. Define what step you are at Everyone's journey is different, no matter how much it resembles that of another person or family; you must first understand what stage you are in: Do you already know what program might be useful for you to come to Canada? If not, check item 2. Are you fluent in languages (English or French)? If not, maybe you should start with point 3. Are you between 18-30 years old or 18-35 years old, and have you noticed that you might be able to apply for a working holiday? If you don't quite understand what this is about, check item 4. Are you planning to apply for a permanent residence this year? You can start with the steps indicated in point 5. You are already in Canada, and you want to travel more in the country? Check item 6. 2. Research and decide which program works for you You have been thinking that moving to Canada would be a good idea, but you are still not sure where to start; I am going to summarize the basics you should know: Canada is a country that has several immigration programs that could allow you to travel and settle in this country either as a student, worker, visitor or permanent resident. There is only one official website where you can find all the information and where the applications are made; that website is Canada.ca. You can do all the paperwork yourself, or you can hire agents authorized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to do it for you. In that case, you have to pay them for their work, but remember that no one can guarantee work, study, visit permit, etc. If you don't know where to start, you can read this blog post I created with a Basic Guide on How to Move to Canada. 3. Start Learning English or French Canada has two official languages, English and French (used mainly in the province of Quebec). No matter which province you want to live in Canada, language is important. Whatever level you are at, if you want to facilitate the process of getting a job, interacting with other people or carrying out day-to-day activities comfortably, you will need to learn the language. Maybe now is the time to start that English or French course you've been thinking about. Learning English or French will never waste time or money; it is an investment in yourself. You can check out 6 tips to improve your English if you are considering moving abroad to see what other options you can explore to start learning the language. 4. Apply for a Working Holiday Canada has Working Holiday agreements with more than 30 countries. Usually, Working Holidays are open work permits that allow you to work between 6 months and 2 years in Canada. Normally the calls for applications open at the beginning of the year, and you only need your passport to create your profile. You can check Everything you need to know about working holidays and create your profile following the instructions in How to submit a profile for Canadian Working Holiday. 5. Start your permanent residence application You have researched, and your profile meets the requirements to apply for permanent residence in Canada through the Express Entry Program. There are two steps you can take so that when the time comes to create your profile for Express Entry, you already have the documents ready: You are required to have the results of an English test, either CELPIP or IELTS. You can find more information about the CELPIP test in Everything you need to know about the CELPIP test. Did you obtain a degree in your country? You can start to process the validation of your credentials; the report lasts five years so you can use it in the future. You can guide yourself through this process following the instructions in How to get an Educational Credential Assessment for Employment or Immigration Purposes. If you are already in Canada and meet the Canadian Experience Class category requirements, you can check How to Create a profile under the Canadian Experience Class. 6. Do you want to travel more? You are already in Canada or your home country but have decided you want to travel more this year. A good option is to create a profile on an app called TrustedHouseSitters, which allows you to access a database of thousands of pet owners who offer their homes for free to stay there while you take care of their pets. All you have to do is pay for a TrustedHouseSitters membership. We've had this membership for a year now and have been able to travel to places like Victoria, BC; Montreal, QC; and Peterborough, ON, just by investing in the tickets to get there. If you want more tips for cheap travel in Canada, you can read How to travel in Canada on a budget. I hope this post has given you some ideas of what you can do to start or continue your trip to Canada. If you have any questions, feel free to send me a DM on Instagram.
- 6 tips to improve your English if you are thinking of moving abroad
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission when you purchase from the links at no additional cost to you. Don't worry; I only recommend products I use myself, and all opinions expressed here are my own. Undoubtedly one of the main struggles, when you want to move to Canada, is learning the language, which in this case can be English or French, depending on the province you are moving to. One of the best tools that will help make your process of migrating to Canada smoother will be your language skills. In this post, I will focus on giving you six tips that I have personally used and that have helped me learn and improve my English and that today have allowed me to work in an English-speaking environment. All these recommendations are based on my personal experience and to give you alternatives so that you can choose the best option. I will leave my story here (disclaimer: long story) to show that it doesn't matter if you have never had English in your life; with dedication and perseverance, you can progress. Of course, you can jump directly to the content that follows the next table of contents. Table of contents 1. Taking personalized classes 2. Take an English course abroad 3. Take an English course in your country 4. Take online tutoring with native people 5. Surround yourself with English 6. Additional tips I was born and raised until I was 11 years old on a rural island in southern Chile, the island is called Butachauques, and there were no more than 300 families there. I attended the first seven grades at the island school (at that time, we only had those courses available) and there, I had no English. Then, when I turned 12, I left the island to attend a boarding school to complete the 8th year of primary education. I remember the teacher did a diagnostic test, and I knew nothing. You may laugh, but I remember the teacher did a dictation, so we had to write down what we heard. She mentioned the verb "To be," and I wrote "To by" in case there was any doubt that I didn't know anything. It had to be a traumatic experience because I still remember this after more than 20 years of my life, and the teacher was terrifying. Well, I think my journey with English started there, we had a couple of hours of English a week, and I began to learn little things, but I never connected any sentences. Then I moved to another boarding school and finished high school, English was a mandatory subject, and I studied a lot so I got good results in the exams. Still, in reality, I was unable to understand the listening exercises, articulate a sentence or speak. I remember that all the presentations I had to do were memorized word for word. Then I went to university and never had a subject related to English. Still, we had to read a lot of scientific publications and books in English, so I started to understand the technical information of my career: pharmacist. When I finished university, I was 22 years old, and I had to do an internship, so I moved to the capital, Santiago, and coincidentally the room I rented was in the apartment of a lady who worked doing English classes (destiny, I think). That's how I started taking classes with her every week. We began with the verb "to be," and it was the first time in my life that I could understand and articulate short sentences; it was amazing. I don't know if it was the way she explained it or the dedication I put into it because I decided to learn it, and I didn't have to take any exams or a combination of both but it was one of the best things I did at that time. I spent about a year in classes with her, keeping it consistent every week, and then I decided that I was going to take a course abroad to improve my English and immerse myself in real life. I saved money for three years, which allowed me to travel to Canada for three months to do a full-time course. It is something I highly recommend. Then I returned, my fluency improved, time passed, and I stopped practicing and having classes. After some time, I noticed that I was losing what I had learned, and I panicked, so I decided to look for courses in my country. Those who live in Chile will know these places, but I did two courses, one with KOE and another with Tronwell. I completed 100% of the courses, kept the constancy, and went every week to the classes; in short, I got benefits from both. Once I finished these courses, I realized that I knew the grammar but I still did not feel confident speaking English. Finally, long story short... I discovered the Italki platform and started practicing my English with Canadian tutors since I was planning our trip to Canada from Chile. Then I moved to Canada, and I was still training in Italki until last year. To give you an idea, today I am working 100% in English; my pronunciation is not the best because I finally speak English with the Spanish rules that I have spoken all my life; I have a Spanish accent, but people understand me when I speak and that is the important thing. I am going to summarize the steps I have taken to learn English, and I hope they can guide you in the next steps you can take. 1) Taking personalized classes By this, I mean finding a private teacher who will dedicate the time exclusively to you; I would say that this has many advantages, such as the following: The teacher can accommodate their strategy to your particular case. If you have classes with the same person all the time, you will gain the confidence to talk and make mistakes. Since the time is dedicated to you, you don't have problems with your classmates advancing faster and getting lost in the content. Personally, I started with this; as I mentioned in my story, my landlord, just out of university, gave me English classes, so I took lessons with her. That was only ten years ago; I would say that I started learning English when I was already an adult. I highly recommend that if you don't have any foundation in English, you start with something like this. Find someone who will be patient and help you build a solid foundation for your learning. I didn't know if I would use it at the time, but I was curious and started. 2) Take an English course abroad Taking private lessons every week, I began to understand and connect the words, and so was born the desire to take a course abroad, to practice and immerse myself better in an English-speaking environment. That's how I started planning to go to Canada to take a course. I saved money for three years, enough to pay for three months in Canada. This trip was huge for me because it was my first time out of the country. This happened when I was 26 years old (2015), and it made me accelerate the learning process. Since you are in an English environment, you have to speak, and you are forced to do so to communicate with your classmates and your host family. The school where I took the course is ILAC (International Language Academy of Canada), located in Toronto and Vancouver. I highly recommend this school because I had an excellent experience, and it is also where Aldo completed a 9-month course last year and had a great experience. 3) Take an English course in your country If you can find an English course in the country where you live, I recommend you to take it, primarily because they help a lot with understanding grammar and vocabulary. In my case, years went by after I came back from Canada, and I stopped practicing until I noticed that I was losing what I had learned. So I took action and looked for courses in Santiago, Chile. There are different institutions; take what fits your budget, but do it. I took two courses after returning from Canada. First, I took a course at KOE, which helped me a lot to practice speaking and when I completed that one, I went to Tronwell, which has a different structure and helped to reinforce more grammar. I know that taking yearly courses is expensive, but the key is to commit to your learning and not miss any English classes because your future self will thank you for it. Taking English courses is an investment for yourself; it will never be something you will lose. So if you are on the fence about investing in a course, please do it. 4) Take online classes with native people This is one of the tactics I wish I had discovered earlier. Once I finished the above courses after two whole years, I still felt I was not confident enough to speak. Also, I was working and living in a Spanish-speaking environment, so I never practiced English. I don't quite remember how, but I discovered the Italki platform, but this is a no-brainer. Italki is a platform where you can find teachers or tutors, take classes in English or other languages in a pretty varied price range and filter by the tutor's country of origin if you are interested in speaking with native speakers. In my case, I looked for a tutor from Canada and took several classes a week, and it helped me in three ways: 1) Making sure someone native understood me and corrected me. 2) Gain confidence because someone could understand me. 3) Keeping my dream of Canada alive because, in every conversation, we discussed life in Canada. I highly recommend this platform. Besides, you can try different teachers or tutors until you feel confident because you can buy an individual class and if you don't feel comfortable, look for another one. I kept having classes until a couple of months in Canada, which helped me a lot. 5) Surround yourself with English These little things help immerse yourself in an English environment, especially if you are still in your home country. Do you like watching YouTube videos? Use that to your advantage. Look for content you like but in English. Nowadays, you can add subtitles (closed captions), and it doesn't matter if you can't understand everything, but at least you will use that time to practice listening. Do you like to binge-watch Netflix? No problem, but do it in English and use English subtitles. Do you spend hours scrolling Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook or others? Use that time to your advantage and follow social media in English, not necessarily people who teach English, but look for topics you like (I did it with minimalism, veganism, zero waste, cats, etc.) so that at least when you are consuming content, you are practicing a bit of listening and reading. Set your cell phone language to English, you probably spend a lot of time on your mobile, so you start to get familiar with English words. Use Apps that teach you English, the one I used was Duolingo to learn the basics, you don't need to pay, and you can keep track of your progress and set a daily time to practice. You can find 30 minutes during your day to practice English. 6) Additional tips If it is in your plans to come to work with a working holiday or other, I recommend that you do not worry about English certifications. You do not have to prove that you have an English certificate. What is essential when you are looking for a job is that you can speak in an interview. Surround yourself with people who have the same goals as you. If possible, meet people who speak other languages, but if you meet people only from your country, try to speak in English too, to practice. Finally, don't worry about your accent; as I always say, the only thing your accent shows is that you speak at least two languages and that's admirable. I once read from a content creator who answered: How to learn English in 3 months? and the answer was How long did it take you to understand your native language? so don't expect quick ways to learn English, but please start today; your future self will thank you. I hope this clarifies that there is no easy way to learn English, and you have to practice practice and practice. Whichever way you decide, start today and do something to start learning it. If you know another tip that has helped you, let me know in the comments
- 14 Top Reasons to live in Mississauga
You have just started with the idea that you want to move to Canada, and you are looking for information about places in Canada to help you make the final decision. If you don't know how big Canada is, I invite you to check out 13 tips for choosing the best place to live in Canada. In this post, I will give 14 top reasons to live in Mississauga, Ontario, where we currently live. After a year and a half, we have seen enough to convey how we feel about this city. The name Mississauga comes from the indigenous people who lived in this area. There are many interpretations of how this word came about, the most likely being that it is an Ojibwa word meaning "river of many mouths." Table of contents About Mississauga Reasons to live in Mississauga About Mississauga First, let's situate you on the map to understand where this city is located. Mississauga is a city in the province of Ontario and is part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). It is the sixth largest city in Canada and is located about 23 km west of Toronto, which means it is a 30-45 minute drive from there. It is part of the Peel region, which includes Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga. It shares borders with Etobicoke, Oakville and Brampton. Currently, the population is around 717,000, and the city has access to Lake Ontario. Top reasons to live in Mississauga You may be wondering what is unique about Mississauga, and here I will list a few things we love about this place that may give you an idea. 1. Education If you're coming with kids, Mississauga offers several options, from free public and Catholic schools to private schools. You'll want to check out two school boards: the Peel District School Board and the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, responsible for Mississauga's elementary and secondary schools. If you are an international student, some institutions are located in this city, for example, the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM). There are colleges such as the Sheridan Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning (Hazel McCallion Campus) and Humber college. Mohawk College and Lambton College also have satellite campuses in Mississauga. You can review the designated learning institutions on this official site to help define the best place to study. 2. Toronto Pearson International Airport You may already know, but Toronto Pearson International Airport is located in Mississauga, not Toronto. This can be an advantage if you have family visiting or like to travel frequently. 3. Celebration Square This is one of our favourite places in Mississauga. It is located in the City centre of Mississauga and where the community participates in events throughout the year. There are festivals every weekend during the summer where you can try different food and have fun with family and friends. During the winter, the landscape changes and an ice skating rink is set up. 4. Family Friendly It is a quiet city where families with children are often seen strolling through the parks. It is a family-friendly place with parks where there is always a playground for children of all ages. It is also a pet-friendly community. Not a day goes by that you don't find someone walking with their dog. 5. Parks If you love the outdoors, this place is for you; there are more than 300 parks and trails you can visit all year round. Going for a walk after lunch or in the morning is not a problem if you live in Mississauga. You can check out our collection of 14 parks and trails to visit in Mississauga to get an idea. 6. Transit system Public transit in Mississauga is called MiWay and operates with the Presto card like the rest of the surrounding cities. MiWay users can connect to GO Transit, TTC (including Kipling and Islington subway station), Brampton Transit and Oakville Transit. In addition, there is the Square one terminal, where you can take buses and travel to different places such as Niagara Falls, Vaughan, Hamilton, Milton and others. There are also train stations (GO train) in Mississauga, such as Cooksville, Erindale and Port Credit, which connect you to Toronto or other places. GO bus services connect you to Toronto or other places in about 30-45 minutes. If you have a car, Mississauga is well connected to Toronto via highways 401, 403, Hurontario and QEW (Queen Elizabeth way) Here you can see how to get your first car as a newcomer or get your driver's license if that is one of your goals. 7. Square One Shopping mall If you like to shop or window shop and have it all in one place, you can visit Square one mall in the City centre. It is the largest mall in Ontario, Canada, and has more than 350 stores and restaurants. It is especially attractive in winter if you have no other plans outside. 8. Multicultural Mississauga attracts diverse cultures, religions and languages. According to the 2021 census, 47% of Mississauga's population identifies as immigrants. During the summer, it was beautiful to participate in Filipino, South Asian, Italian, Latin American, Muslim and other festivals in just a few days. All of them are in Celebration Square. About 50% of the population speaks a language other than English. You can check the details of the languages spoken at this link. 9. Health The health care system works with the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP); in this post, you can see how to get a health card, especially when you have a work permit. There are two hospitals: Credit Valley Hospital and Trillium Health Centre, and several walk-in clinics if you need to go to the doctor. 10. Port Credit If you like water activities, you'll love Port credit. It's the area of Mississauga where Lake Ontario is located. People go there to paddleboard or use kayaks; you can enjoy those activities, especially in summer. 11. Weather The weather is similar to Toronto. There are four seasons: summers are warm, and winters are freezing, snowy and windy. Throughout the year, the temperature usually ranges from -8 °C to 26 °C and is rarely below -17 °C or above 30 °C, but there are also some days when these temperatures are reached. 12. Job opportunities Some industries in Mississauga include advanced manufacturing, financial services, information and communications technology and life sciences. In addition, the city has the most extensive logistics sector in the GTA. 30% of the Greater Toronto Area's (GTA) logistics sector is in Mississauga. Some companies in Mississauga include Amazon, PepsiCo, Oracle, HP and Samsung. If you want to check the job opportunities in Mississauga, check this link as a sample. 13. Housing and accommodation Prices to find accommodation is similar to Toronto, but maybe 5-10% less. In our case, we paid for a one-bedroom condo 1750 CAD, but this place was rented during the pandemic when people were restricted from entering. Now prices are higher, we know someone who is paying 2550 CAD for a one-bedroom condo, but you can check Numbeo to get a general idea of what the cost of living is like in Mississauga. Here is the link. You can check out the post on how to rent a place as a newcomer to better understand the process of renting a place here. 14. The best area to live You may now be wondering what the best area to live in Mississauga is. As far as we know, there are several neighbourhoods: Port Credit, Streetsville, Erindale, Erin Mills, City Centre, and Cooksville, among others. From our perspective, we live in City Centre, and for us, it is one of the best places to live because you have the Shopping mall, Celebration Square, banks, supermarkets, parks, access to public transportation, universities and everything at hand. We lived for more than a year, going everywhere on foot or by public transportation, and had no problems. Hopefully, these 14 reasons give you an idea of what a great choice this city is as a destination and what makes Mississauga a great place to live. And would you live in Mississauga? Let me know in the comments below.
- How to rent your first home as a newcomer in Canada
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission when you purchase from the links at no additional cost. Don't worry; I only recommend products I use myself, and all opinions expressed here are my own. As I mentioned in the post 13 tips to choose the best place to live in Canada, there are many factors when choosing the city or town where you want to live. Let's think you have already overcome that challenge, but now you must find accommodation. You wonder how you can find accommodation right after arriving in Canada. How do newcomers rent apartments in Canada? How do you get a long-term rental when you have no previous history with a landlord in Canada? In this post, I will share some tips to help you find your first home in Canada in the best possible way. Table of contents 1. Research from your country 2. Sites to find accommodations 3. Visit the place 4. Gather the documentation 5. Costs 6. Additional tips If you are coming to Canada soon, this information will help you know how to find accommodation for you and your family. 1. Research from your country If you are still unsure which city to choose, check out these 13 tips to choose the best place to live in Canada. If you are planning your trip, and you have already decided on a particular place, it is good to start researching on the internet in your country so that you have an idea of the prices, the places and the market in general. At the same time, you can prepare and reserve the budget for what you will have to pay when you arrive in Canada. To do this research, I recommend going to sites like Kijiji, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, and if you include the city, you will have a range of options to compare. Indeed, when you start checking, you will realize that there are different types of accommodations; here, I will define the most common ones: Houses that can be: Detached: regular homes with property around them. Semi-detached: share a wall with another house. Townhouses: each house shares one or two borders with another place; from the outside, they look like small buildings. Basements are apartments under the second floor of a house; they are usually almost entirely underground and may have a separate entrance. They are common in Canada and are generally cheaper than a condominium. Condominiums or Condos are apartments in buildings with shared amenities, such as swimming pools, exercise rooms, etc. It is also possible to rent a room within an apartment where another family lives. 2. Sites to find accommodations Once you know what city you want to get to and what type of accommodation you would like to rent, you need to find the place. If possible, I would recommend renting at least two weeks in a short-term accommodation in Canada, such as Airbnb, Booking, or staying with family and friends. This way, you can physically be here to visit the accommodation and wait an extended period. In short, these are my recommendations: Short term: AirBNB, Booking or family/friends. Long-term: Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, Craigslist and Real Estate Broker (Realtor). Other: Facebook groups of immigrants in Canada or the city where you live. The way I did, it was with a real estate broker. If you contact a real estate broker, make sure you share at least this information about what you are looking for so you avoid emails going back and forth: Location Type: Condo/apartment (with sunlight)/basement/house Cat/dog friendly Furnished/unfurnished Move-in: Month/Year Budget: Up to X CAD 3. Visit the place Sometimes the pictures are pretty, but that doesn't mean the neighbourhood is what you expect; there is smell, noise, etc. In my case, I looked for accommodation in all these places mentioned above, but it was slow, and I had to place by location because I had to contact the owner, wait to hear back, plan the visit, and then go again with the next one. So, finally, I looked for a realtor. I shared with him the specifications I was looking for, and he presented me with over ten options in the area I was looking for; he accompanied me on a given day to visit one by one until I found the right one. He then represented me to the owner, and the process was seamless. I did not have to pay for his services because the commission came from the owner. 4. Gather the documentation Once you visit the place and decide which one is the right one, you have to send the documents requested by the real estate agency to apply to be the tenant of that place. If you use a realtor, these are the documents you probably would have to submit or complete: Tenant representation agreement authorizing the real estate agent to represent you. Tenancy application form, the standard form in Ontario, with all your personal information, the two previous landlords, employment information, etc. Employment letter with proof of annual income Credit score report References: Name and cell phone of previous landlords, employers, etc. Last three pay slips On the other hand, considering that you will not have a history in Canada, I would recommend bringing proof that you can pay, like a bank statement showing you have savings to cover the rent since you will not have a credit score. I also brought an Equifax report from my country, just in case. 5. Costs Once you apply and the landlord accepts you, yey! You have to pay for two months (the current and the last one also known as a security deposit), the charge is with a bank draft that you ask your bank for (like a cheque), and then you have to deposit in an account that your real estate agent will give you. Then you will receive another official form, the Lease Agreement with all the data you and your landlord have signed. All these documents are digitally signed through your email. As I mentioned, when you arrive in Ontario and look for a long-term stay, you must pay a minimum of two months of rent (first and last month). After that, you should consider the following: Rent payment monthly Tenant insurance, if requested - We pay around 25 CAD monthly. Hydro (Electricity) - We spend about 50 CAD monthly Optional: Internet - We pay about 90 CAD monthly. Optional: Cable - We don't have it. This could be different if you rent a house, basement or bedroom. 6. Additional tips In our experience, these are additional recommendations: Do not send money to anyone before visiting the place. Unfortunately, there are scams where the house never existed, the person who contacted you was never the owner, etc. Some examples of something being a scam could be that the monthly rent is much less than the current market rate, being asked for a deposit without a formal rental agreement or lease, or being asked to send a deposit to an out-of-country owner. As I mentioned, the payment, in my case, was super formal in a bank to a specific brokerage company account, not to a person; perhaps this is different when you contact the owner directly. I would recommend this as a last resource; if you want a place and other people are applying for it simultaneously, offer more than two months as a deposit beforehand, but do it only if you feel comfortable doing so. I had a previous experience where I was forced to pay six months upfront to be accepted, and it didn't feel right, so I switched realtors, had no problem, and paid what was legally correct for the apartment where I live. Please consider that what I have described is based on my personal experience living in Ontario; other provinces may have different processes. For more information or issues with your landlord, refer to the Landlord and Tenant Board: and Canada.ca. I hope this information has been useful and that you can find the perfect place for you and your family. I wish you every success in your search process and if you have any questions, send me a DM on Instagram.
- 20 random things that may surprise you when you arrive in Canada
When you move from one country to another, you have a culture shock or identify some differences between your country and Canada. Here is a list of things we have detected during this year and a half that surprised us a little; we did not have it in our country, or it is different there. Let's jump right in! Table of contents 1. Taxes in stores 2. Coffee culture 3. Poisonous plants 4. Wild animals 5. Amber Alert 6. LCBO 7. Houses without fences 8. Taking off your shoes at home 9. Semi-furnished apartments 10. Cars turn right on red lights 11. Stop signs in all directions 12. Variety of languages 13. Expensive car insurance 14. Cell phone plans 15. WhatsApp is not widely used 16. Firefighters arrive quickly 17. Combination of school, park and playground 18. Winter tires 19. Seasonal decoration 20. Sea bus 1. Taxes in stores When you go to a store and see a price tag indicating the product's price, remember that it is the price without taxes, so you have to pay more. Each province has different taxes; at least in Ontario, you must add 13% to that price. You won't notice a big difference on small items, but keep that in mind when buying larger ones. 2. Coffee culture We are surprised that it is common to buy your coffee daily in stores like Tim Hortons, Second cup, and Starbucks, among others. We live in Mississauga, and there is one of each store within a block, and those places are always full. In our building, there is a Starbucks, and we see people drive in, park, buy a coffee and leave first thing in the morning. Plus, there are many drive-throughs where you don't have to get out of the car. I would say that it is more common to prepare coffee at home in our country. 3. Poisonous plants When you visit a park, and if they have identified poisonous plants, some signs indicate what the plant is, so you don't touch it. Here are some examples: To be honest, I can never tell which plant it is, but I prefer not to touch anything, just in case. 4. Wild animals As in point 3, there are indications in every park or street if wild animals are present. We have seen signs of mainly coyotes and deer. 5. Amber Alert The amber alert is a method developed to alert the public when a child is missing or abducted. We discovered it because it sounds like a loud beep on every cell phone (similar to earthquake alerts in Chile), no matter what time of day it is, and a message appears indicating the information the police are handling. This information includes how the victim was dressed, the suspicious person who possibly took her/him, the last place she/he was seen, etc. This helps ensure that the child can be rescued quickly and in good condition if someone sees the suspect. 6. LCBO In Ontario, there is a government store where you can buy alcohol called LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario). Some beers are in the supermarkets, but you can only pay at certain cash registers. All other products are at the LCBO. 7. Houses without fences Another difference is that most houses don't have fences separating them from the street. So, technically, when you walk through your neighbourhood, you'll be walking almost in your neighbours' garden. 8. Taking off your shoes at home We have adopted this in our house as well. When you visit someone, there is a place to put your shoes at the entrance, so you walk in your socks. It's good because it helps keep the floor cleaner for longer and maintains it as well. 9. Semi-furnished apartments Most apartments in the Toronto - Mississauga area contain a refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, washer and dryer. In our country, these are usually appliances you must buy separately. 10. Cars turn right on red lights This is a curiosity about the transit system. If you are at a red light, but you are going to turn right, if you see that there is no car coming from your left, you can turn right. It is similar in Chile, where some signs say you can turn right carefully, but here there is no sign, and you can turn right at any corner. 11. Stop signs in all directions There are intersections with four stop signs, one at each corner; they are called Stop in all ways. Therefore, each individual has to stop, and the right to move forward is according to who has arrived first (The first one who arrives at the corner is the first one who can move forward). 12. Variety of languages On a normal day, walking down the street, you hear different languages other than English and French. It is nice to hear people speaking in their own language. 13. Expensive car insurance As we explained in the post on How to buy a car as a newcomer in Ontario, Canada, you need to have insurance to be able to register your car. This insurance is expensive and depends on the car, but sometimes if you pay your car in installments, the insurance will be more expensive than the installments. 14. Cell phone plans This surprises us a lot since our country's cell phone plans are cheap, usually with unlimited data and even free social media. In Canada, there are a couple of companies; the plans are expensive and limited. We have a plan for 45 CAD per month, and we only have 4 GB of data. 15. WhatsApp is not widely used The most common channel we used in our country was WhatsApp, maybe because the internet is not a big thing here. People use text messaging; that was a change we had to adapt. 16. Firefighters arrive quickly When an alarm goes off in an apartment in our building, the fire department arrives in no more than 5 minutes and performs an inspection. You have to pay a fine if your alarm has been activated by mistake for cooking or other reasons. Besides, being a firefighter here is a paid profession; unfortunately, it is a volunteer position in our country. 17. School, park and playground This is a combination we have seen in Mississauga, every time you go to a park; there is a school and a playground in the same place. 18. Winter tires If you have a car, during the winter, because of the snow, there are winter tires. It is optional to use them because there are some for all seasons but to be safer; you can change the tires during the winter; this gives you a discount on the car insurance policy. 19. Seasonal decoration People are super motivated, and every season you can see a flourish of decorated houses that make the landscape look beautiful; some of them are: Gardening: during spring-summer, you see people beautifying their yards with flowers and trees. Halloween: pumpkins, skeletons, etc., are put up during this season. Christmas: People put up outdoor lights and decorations. 20. Sea bus When we travelled to Vancouver for vacations, we noticed that they have a Sea bus, a boat that is part of the public transportation, and you can pay with the same Compass Card that you pay for the buses or the subway. And have you identified any other differences from your home country? Let me know in the comments below. If you want to read more content like this, remember to visit 26 good things about Canada and 25 challenges of living abroad.
- How to buy a car as a newcomer in Ontario, Canada
When you are a newcomer and have to start from scratch in a new country, there are some milestones you will usually want to reach. In our case, one of those milestones was getting a car. We started this year by taking the first step of this milestone: getting a driver's license, allowing us to drive in Ontario. In this post, I will tell you what the process of buying a used car is like, as a newcomer to Ontario, Canada. This is the step-by-step process we went through to get our car after 1.5 years living in Canada without one. Table of contents 1. New or used car 2. Set your budget 3. Research your ideal vehicle 4. Visit and inspection 5. Paperwork 6. Finalize the purchase 7. Get car insurance 8. Register ownership 1. New or used car First, you must decide whether you want a new or used car. This is a personal decision and, in our case, we decided on a used car for the following reasons: Car insurance is expensive in Ontario, so we wanted to pay for the car in full to focus only on the monthly insurance payment. Our work permits expire in the short term, so we can't plan for a long-term debt if we are unsure of our processes. We did some research, and generally, used cars are in good condition in Ontario. 2. Set your budget If you decide to buy a used car, set a budget so that, from the beginning, you can narrow your search to that amount of money. Your budget must consider the car's value, taxes (13%), license plates and registration. We also narrowed our search, identifying which make we wanted, what mileage limit was acceptable to us and another consideration you need to make is whether you want a car with manual or automatic transmissions. In Ontario, most cars are automatic. We decided on these characteristics first, because new cars appeared every day and our search was becoming endless. 3. Research your ideal vehicle A used car can be purchased from a private seller or a dealership. During our process, we learned that sites like Auto Trader are a good option for buying a used car. In our case, we used the Kijiji platform and Facebook Marketplace, where we added our defined filters and searched for the car we wanted. 4. Visit and inspection Once you have found a couple of options for the car, contact the owner and schedule a visit, so you can check in person if the car is in good condition. If you have the possibility to contact a mechanic, that would be great. In our case, we did not have a mechanic, but a friend who works in the auto repair business accompanied Aldo to visit and look at the car. Make sure that when you visit, you have the opportunity to test drive the vehicle so that you feel more confident. Another thing is to check the VIN physically with the documentation and check the oil dipstick and tire inspection. 5. Paperwork Once you visit the car or cars, make sure you can compare between two or more to be sure of your purchase. Connect with the owner and confirm that you are buying it, and also make sure to check the following documents beforehand: Safety Standards Certificate (SSC): this document contains information about the inspection results. It has a checklist with 36 points that are checked; if the vehicle passes this inspection, they issue the certificate. It is not mandatory, but it will give you an idea of whether the car meets the minimum safety requirements. The certificate shows the company that performed the inspection, the vehicle details and the inspection date. It is only valid for 36 days from the date of issue. Here is an example of the document: Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP): This is the history of the car, and this document contains the following sections: Section 1: Vehicle Details - This section shows the vehicle specifications such as VIN, plate number, make, model, colour, etc. Section 2: Current Owner - This section contains information about the last owner (for whom you are buying). You must confirm that this person is the person you are purchasing the vehicle from. Section 3: Ontario Vehicle History - This section shows all previous car registrants, including name, address, registration date and odometer. Section 4: Lien Information - This section shows if there are any liens against this vehicle. Section 5: Bill of Sale - This section contains blank fields for the owner to fill in information when purchasing the car. It is used as proof of payment from you to the owner. It includes the selling price, seller's name, seller's signature, buyer's name, buyer's signature, and the sale date. Permit: This document contains two parts: the vehicle's permit portion and the permit's license plate portion. Normally, this is the only document the owner has on hand. For the other two certificates, you will have to negotiate with them, but the recommendation is to ask for them. The document proves that whoever sells you the car is the owner and is in charge of the registration. 6. Finalize the purchase Once you have checked the documents, arrange with the owner that he/she/they can drive to your home (you will not be able to drive as the owner has to remove the plates) and make the payment as agreed with the owner. Unlike in our country, where the license plate belongs to the car, and if you sell it, it takes the license plate with it. In Ontario, the license plate belongs to the owner, and you put it from car to car every time you need it. The owner has to give you the registration certificate with his/her/they signature, and the UVIP has to include the amount of money you have paid. 7. Get car insurance In Ontario, it is mandatory to have car insurance; to get it, you have to look for the most convenient one. To get it, you will need your driver's license and registration. We bought ours online at the onlia.ca website for the best price we found. 8. Register ownership If you are purchasing a used vehicle, you must register the vehicle within six days of the sale at Service Ontario. To register the car in your name, you must go to Service Ontario; you can schedule a time or go directly and wait in line. At Service Ontario, you will need to present the following to register the car: Permit filled out and signed by the owner UVIP showing the amount you have paid the car insurance the driver's licence. With that information, Service Ontario will give you the plates, a new permit with your name on it and a breakdown of the taxes you must pay (13% of the value you paid). Let me know if this information has helped you and if you have any questions about this process, feel free to send me a message on Instagram
- How do I submit a profile for a Canadian Working Holiday Visa?
Working Holiday is a program under International Experience Canada that allows young people from certain countries and who are between 18-30 years old or 18-35 years old (depending on the country) to travel and work for a limited time in Canada. To learn more about this program, read Everything you need to know about Working Holiday Canada. Once you decide you want to apply for a working holiday, you will need to create your profile. In this post, I will explain what you need to do to create a profile and be part of the Working Holiday Canada participants group. Table of contents 1. Check that you have a valid passport 2. Check if you are eligible 3. Create an account on Canada.ca 4. Create and submit your profile on Canada.ca Let's go through what you need to do to participate in the working holiday applicant pool. 1. Check that you have a valid passport The only document you need to have on hand to create your profile is a valid passport with an expiration date that will allow you to live in Canada during your working holiday. So, if you haven't already obtained a passport, that's your first step. 2. Check if you are eligible If you have read Everything you need to know about working holiday but are still unsure if you are eligible to apply for this program, follow these instructions. Go to the official Canada.ca website you will find a page like this: Then, select your country; this is an example with Chile. And immediately, a new option will appear with the programs available in that country; select Working Holiday, and then click on Go. The webpage will take you to a list of requirements similar to these for Chile. Check well if you meet those requirements. If you fulfill them, you can create a profile. 3. Create an account in Canada.ca To create an account, you have to go to this page and answer the following questions: If your profile is eligible for this program, you will see a message at the end that says You are eligible for the following pools like this: Click continue; you will see a step-by-step like this, and the system will generate a unique code with your information, which will help you retrieve the data you already completed a few steps later, so save that code. You must create an account if you have never participated in any program. Click on step 3 like this under Register to get a key. Next, scroll down to the Don't have an account? You will see the following and select the Register for GCkey option, where you will create a username and password. On the next screen, select Sign Up. The terms and conditions will appear, so be sure to read and accept them if you are aligned. Next, you will create a username (be sure to take note of this username because all your processing will be communicated within this account). Then a password Then there will be space to create recovery questions, answers and hints. For this, a set of pre-determined questions will be displayed. Choose what works best for you and click continue Then an optional account recovery option will appear; I would suggest completing this as well because you need to have a plan B in case you need to recover your account. Click continue and check your email because you will receive a confirmation code. Then write down the code you received by email and click continue. A confirmation like this should appear: Click continue, and you will see Welcome Username Click continue, and you will see the terms and conditions. Once you accept the terms and conditions, you will have to start filling in the information according to your passport details; on this first screen, fill in the given name, last name, email address and language. Next, you will be asked security questions. Keep in mind that every time you enter the platform, you will have to answer one of these questions, so make a note of them and keep them in a safe place: Click continue, and your account is created with the following fields. All work permits and future applications will appear here: 4. Create and submit your profile on Canada.ca Once you have created your account, you can create your profile to enter the participant pool. From your account, you will scroll down and select the Apply to come to Canada option. You will have two options: If you have filled out the questionnaire mentioned in item 2, you can use that code to retrieve that information. If not, you can continue with the option I do not have a personal reference code, which will take you to the same questionnaire. In this example, we will use the reference code you obtained earlier. You will immediately jump to the end of the questionnaire. Click on continue. You will then see a list of 4 forms to fill in. Some are partially filled in with the information you have already added. These are the screens you will find: Personal details of applicant Contact information Work and education details Application details Go to Personal details of applicant and click on Continue Form. Fill in your personal details, as shown on your passport. Click next and fill in your personal description. Click next, and you will fill in your marital status. Then the ID documents. And Immigration history and citizenships. This is pre-filled with the answers you included in the questionnaire. Then, click on validate and Save and Exit and the Personal details of applicant section will be completed. The following section is Contact Information; you will need to fill in the language of correspondence, then click Next. Include your email address, then click on validate, then save and exit You will see that the section is complete. Next, check the Work and Education section, this will be filled in, but you can open it to check it out. Then save and exit. Finally, the last section is Application Details. This is where you need to indicate that you want to be a participant in the working holiday pool. Include "yes," then save and exit. You will see all the completed forms. Click continue; you will see a declaration and an electronic signature. Please read carefully, then scroll down, select I agree (it will turn blue), fill in your name and answer a security question, then click on sign. Scroll down again, check the information and click Transmit. You will see a message saying that you have successfully submitted your application. A couple of minutes later, you will receive an email stating an update to your account, and inside your account, you will find a letter saying you are part of the pool of participants. The letter is called IEC Welcome to pool letter and will look like this: At the same time, once you return to your account, you will see your application under View the applications you submitted. You do not need to complete everything at once; you can complete some of the information and then come back; in the meantime, your profile will appear under Continue an application you have not submitted. Now that you have created and submitted your profile, you must wait until you are invited to apply. The selection is random, so you can't do anything else. If you receive an invitation to apply, you'll receive an email, and then you'll need to log in to your account to check if you received the invitation. In the meantime, check out How to Apply for Working Holiday, where I explained all the steps you need to follow in case you receive an invitation to apply. Let me know in the comments below if you have created your profile. Also, if you have doubts or need support in creating your profile, send me a DM on Instagram to help you.
- Winter clothing in Canada - What to wear during the Canadian winter?
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission when you purchase from the links at no additional cost to you. Don't worry; I only recommend products I use myself, and all opinions expressed here are my own. When you think of Canada, I'm pretty sure you think this is a cold and snowy place, did I guess? I'm not saying it isn't, but it is only during winter. I think one of the things that is going to influence how you are going to experience winter in Canada is your winter clothing. After spending an entire winter in Canada, let's review what I have learned. In this post, I will share the essential clothes to wear during winter. Let's see! Table of contents 1. Thermal layer 2. Winter jacket 3. Footwear 4. Gloves or mittens 5. Neck warmer 6. Hat/Beanie 7. Socks 8. Hot water bag 9. Scarf I'm going to leave here what our outfits were during our first winter, and I'm pretty sure this will help you. Keep in mind that we walked every day all winter long. We didn't have a car, and we did it all with the clothes I'm going to show now. 1. Thermal Layer Well, I'm always cold, and I'm going to be honest, I wear the thermal layer from November to March 😀 . I used the thermal layer in my country because I had a motorcycle and also used it in winter. Winter was mild in Santiago de Chile; the extreme cold was -1 to -3°C, not more than that, but I used my motorcycle all year round, so I had some thermal layers. I brought them to Canada, and they served me well for the fall season. Everything I have from my "Chilean winter" became clothes for the fall season. So the first piece of advice is: Don't buy clothes in your country thinking that arriving here you have everything solved. Buy it in Canada because they are the only ones who know their climate and have designed clothes for these conditions. We bought some at affordable prices at Winners and Uniqlo (the last one is highly recommended). On top of this first layer, you wear your usual clothes. 2. Winter jacket We tried to extend the use of our Chilean jackets as long as we could, but finally, in November, we decided to look for a winter jacket. We are vegans, so we prioritized finding a place with that clothing since we didn't want to have a winter jacket with feathers or something where animals have been hurt. I was researching and found several brands, but the prices were extremely expensive for our newcomer situation, as there are prices of over 1000 CAD per jacket. That was totally out of our budget, and after our first winter, I don't think it's necessary, especially if you're going to live in areas where the weather isn't as extreme. Here's what we used: Noize That said, I found the Noize brand (This is not sponsored, I bought it all with my money). I found out they had a physical store in the mall near my house and went to try them out; this is at Square One mall, in case you're in the Mississauga area. They have parkas for men, women and doggies 😃. I tried it out; the parka would hold up to -20°C, so I bought it. At the time, it cost me about CAD 240. Here's the name if you want to look it up: Trinity Mid Length Parka. Another recommendation is that if you can wait until Black Friday (end of November), Boxing Day (December 26) or when winter has already started, do it. You will find great discounts. Point Zero Aldo wanted a parka that didn't cover his legs, and he got this one. Again, it's vegan, made from recycled plastic bottles, this one he got for 150 CAD on Black Friday from Point Zero. They have some vegan options and some that are not. Noize As I mentioned, we continued to walk every day, I was comfortable, but I still felt my thighs and knees get a little cold on our walk. One day, well into winter, Noize sent out an email with discounted parkas (for that reason, I mentioned, if you can wait - wait), and I got this longer parka for 100 CAD!!!!. It's perfect, so now I have two that I'm swapping out depending on weather conditions. Here's the name if you want to check it out: Kaylee Long Length Parka. Hood Note this detail; most parkas have a hood with a fur trim (vegan in this case). This is to protect you when it snows. When you're walking, and it's snowing, the snow stops there and doesn't get in your eyes. It's great! Aldo's parka doesn't have that fur trim, and his eyelashes get the snow. 3. Footwear Okay, let's get it straight from the start. Winter boots, in general, are not cute. These are our boots: Columbia These are called Columbia Minx Mid III, and I noticed they are present every year in the market so that you will find them. I bought them online in February 2021, so they were on sale. If you buy them, read the reviews and order a size up so they fit perfectly. I bought the 9 when I'm normally an 8, and they fit very well. They are comfortable and keep me warm on my daily walks in the snow, so I highly recommend them. Another tip to keep in mind is that when it snows, there is a machine or people shovelling snow, and they throw salt on the street, so make sure you always remove the salt from your boots after you go out, so they will last longer. Call it spring This brand has vegan boots. Aldo bought these on Black Friday; He loves them; they keep him dry and warm. The name is Glacier, if you want to check them out. 4. Gloves or mittens I was able to use the gloves I brought from Chile until mid-January. These were fine (they were a gift), but it was getting harder and harder to keep my hands warm, so I decided to buy new gloves. I finally got my new gloves. We call them crab gloves. Of course, I am useless once I put them on, but they are super warm. I bought them in the girl's section, but in size L. Aldo got these gloves at Winners, but we don't recommend them because at first, they worked fine, but then the inside started to thin, and his hands were constantly wet and freezing. 5. Neck warmer This was the best discovery of our winter clothing. We kept our morning walk every day since June 2021 and continued to do so during the winter. We were coping very well with the winter, and thanks to COVID, we kept our masks on to cover our faces from the cold wind, but it was very painful because they would get wet and then freeze. One day, someone asked me how my first winter was going at a meeting. Of course, I told them everything was going perfectly, but the only problem was my frozen face when I went outside. My manager told me about neck warmers and sent me some links; I checked out the one I liked and bought it. I'm not exaggerating, but my life changed. It's super warm and easy to breathe through. This is the neck warmer we bought; we highly recommend it. 6. Hat/Beanie I brought my Chilean beanie, it has survived the winter, but we bought an extra one in Winners. This was just vanity because we realized that we appeared in the same clothes in our photos, so we decided to buy a new hat. There was a pack, and both were for CAD 20 I got the fuchsia one, and Aldo got the gray one. 7. Socks Before coming to Canada, I only wore short socks, but having longer and warmer socks is essential. We bought ours at Winners, I don't remember the brand, but close to the season, there are many. We recommend them because they are super warm. 8. Hot water bag I've already told you that I'm always cold. With the home office, I'm often in the same position. My feet turned into two ice cubes, so I bought a hot water bottle. Then I bought another one because Corita kidnapped mine. 😄. So if you're one of those people whose feet get cold, I recommend having one of these at home, too. 9. Scarf At first, I bought this scarf, but when I got the neck warmer, it was no longer necessary to use it. In the end, it's going to depend on your preferences. The last and most important recommendation is not to panic about winter. Have fun with winter, go for daily walks and if you are alone, send us a message, and if you are close, we can go out with you 😀. And if you're already here, do you have any other recommendations for spending the Canadian winter?
- A basic guide on how to move to Canada
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission when you purchase from the links at no additional cost to you. Don't worry; I only recommend products I use myself, and all opinions expressed here are my own. In this post, let's get back to basics. Let's think you are super motivated after reading 26 good things about Canada and want to start exploring what to do to go there. With my experience living here for more than a year and reading forums related to Canada almost daily, I will show you the ways you can use to fulfill your dream of living in this part of the world. Just to set expectations, none of the ways is fast and easy; there is only one official website, and no one can assure you a visa or permit; always remember to do your research and be careful of falling into scams. Table of content 1. Make sure you have a passport 2. What do you want to do in Canada? 3. Check if you are eligible 4. Apply online 5. Find a plan B 1. Make sure you have a passport. If you live in a country like mine that requires a passport to travel to Canada, you first need to focus on getting one before applying for any available programs. Suppose you don't know where to get a passport. Look for information in your country on how to do the paperwork and costs and apply to get one. Make sure this is the first thing you do because sometimes the process can take time. 2. What do you want to do in Canada? There are different ways to come to Canada. Some programs will give you a temporary status and others a permanent one. You can come as a visitor/tourist, an English language student, an international student (college/university), a worker, a permanent resident and many more. Therefore, you must decide what you want to do in Canada and see how your profile fits that option. Here are some examples that may give you a clue about which way to go: Visitor/ Tourist You want to visit for a while, enjoy some places and then go back to your country, so you have to check what you need to do to come as a visitor. Here is a link with the official information on how to do it. Countries like Chile do not require a visa, only an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), but be sure to check the requirements to be fulfilled to travel from your country. English student If you want to improve your English and have the money to pay for a course, you can look at doing an English course for a couple of months; keep in mind that when you come to Canada to study English at an English school, you do not have permission to work. I went this route in 2015, and Aldo did the same in 2021. The school where we went is called ILAC, and we had a great experience. It depends on your country and the duration of your studies whether you will need a study permit or not, be sure to check if you need one here. Additionally, if you want to practice your English without investing so much, we used the Italki app, which allowed us to connect with native tutors to practice conversation for job interviews at affordable prices. Working as a young person. Suppose you are 18-30 years old or 18-35 years old, depending on your country. In that case, you want to work for a short period in Canada, and your country has the International Experience Canada agreement with Canada. You should check the requirements for a Working Holiday, Young Professional or Co-op. For more details, see this post on Everything you need to know about Working Holiday; this is the way I used to start my journey in Canada. International student You would like to study for some time in Canada to get a master's degree or diploma to advance your career, and you have the money to pay for two or more years as an international student. You will also want to work for 20 hours a week and extend an open work permit to your spouse. It would be best if you tried the path of a study permit. I have read that most families go this route because it allows one family member to study, the spouse or partner to work, and if they have children, they can go to school. Keep in mind that it is expensive because you have to pay a university or college that charges about four times what a permanent resident or citizen has to pay, but if you have the savings, it is an option that might fit your profile. Skilled worker If you are in your home country but apply the tips in How to Get a Job in Canada, get a job offer from a Canadian employer, and the employer is willing to sponsor your work permit, you should try the skilled worker route. Familiarize yourself with the trade agreements between your country and Canada, look for job offers with approved LMIA (Labor Market impact assessment), etc. Permanent Resident Suppose you have studied in your country at a university or college and have a good level of English proven through the IELTS or CELPIP test. In that case, you could check if Express Entry can give you enough scores to apply for permanent residency directly from your country. For more details, visit how to create a profile for Express Entry. At the same time, a score calculator can show you how high your score is and see if Express Entry is an option. Canada has so many options that I could spend all day writing examples. I include these only because they are the ones I have seen the most mentioned in Canada forums. If any of these options fit your profile, check each province's programs, Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), the Atlantic Immigration Program, and more. These are based on the economic demands and careers that the province needs the most. Here you can see more programs that lead to permanent residence. 3. Check if you are eligible. Once you have analyzed and know what route you would like to follow, you need to check if you are eligible to apply. You can answer this questionnaire from the official website, and the system will guide you to know which program you would be eligible for. 4. Apply Online Most of the visa or permit application procedures are done online. However, please note that there is only one official site called Canada.ca. Only on some occasions you will have to apply on paper, as we did when applying for an open work permit from within Canada. The Canada.ca portal has all the information for you to complete your application on your own. But be aware that there are also agencies that can help you if you need support, but all of them will charge you a fee and if you choose one, make sure it is recognized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). If you don't have enough resources to invest in an agency or don't want to go through the process with one of them, try to familiarize yourself with the Canada.ca website. So far, we have done almost everything on our own. Although it takes time and effort to understand and follow the steps, it works. 5. Find a plan B. On these lines, it seems easy, but you have to be patient. The process takes time, and sometimes we do not receive the expected response. I want to suggest that you always have a plan B. To give you an idea. Our plan for living abroad went like this: October 2019: Both applying for Working Holiday New Zealand - Neither got it. December 2019: Both applying for Working Holiday Canada - Only Julieta got it. August 2020: Aldo is applying for a study permit to study English for nine months. Early February 2021: Only Julieta can travel to Canada because of cancellations due to COVID. End of March 2021: Aldo and Cora can finally get a flight. July 2021: Julieta gets a contract in Canada December 2021: Julieta applies for and receives a closed work permit until 2024. January 2022: Aldo applies for an open work permit as a common-law partner of a skilled worker. July 2022 - Aldo receives an open work permit until 2024. Present - Both are in the pool for Express Entry, and I'm pretty sure this story will continue. I want to say that if you put in the work and do the research, you will find your way. And if the answer is no, maybe Canada is not the place, but don't let this decision discourage you, keep trying; maybe other countries are waiting for you and what you have to offer to the world. Keep trying, my friend; we're all in the same boat!
- How to get a job in Canada as a newcomer
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission when you purchase from the links at no additional cost to you. Don't worry; I only recommend products that I use myself, and all opinions expressed here are my own. In this post, I will summarize 18 tips for finding a job in Canada. Once you arrive in Canada or plan to come, you would like to understand how getting a job works in Canada. Here are some tips that have been helpful for us in finding jobs. Table of contents 1. Create accounts on job search sites. 2. Create alerts with your keywords. 3. Read job descriptions carefully. 4. Characteristics of a resume. 5. Characteristics of a cover letter. 6. Tailor your resume and cover letter. 7. Use tools to check the accuracy of your resume. 8. Research the company. 9. Apply for the job. 10. Wait and follow up. 11. Prepare for interviews. 12. Explore internal transfers. 13. Seek support from newcomer services. 14. Networking. 15. Join Facebook groups in Canada. 16. Contact companies directly. 17. Find people who share resources for free. 18. Identify if your profession requires a license. If you are looking for a job or want to look for a job and don't know where to start, I will leave some tips to help you improve your chances of getting a job in Canada. I will start by explaining what you should do as a minimum if you are starting from scratch, then I will talk about other options you can check out. We have been through the job search process, and we have seen some practical details, so here are my suggestions: 1. Create accounts on job search sites. First of all, a high amount of jobs today are posted on the Internet, so for that reason, my first tip is to familiarize yourself with the following sites where job opportunities are posted. These sites are: Indeed Jobbank Glassdoor LinkedIn ZipRecruiter Be sure to create accounts on them (they are free), so you can easily browse all available positions. 2. Create alerts with your keywords Once you have created your account on each platform, search for how to spell in English your current position or the job you want to get. Here are some examples of positions: Quality analyst Plumber Warehouse worker Administrative assistant Customer service On the other hand, you can also use keywords with skills or systems that you manage, for example Excel SAP Trackwise Once you have identified these keywords, you will search for them on each platform. When you search for each keyword, you will see that you can save this search so that every day or week (depending on the frequency you require), you will receive alerts directly in your email with the available positions with that keyword you have used. For example, from Glassdoor, I have created an alert with the word "Warehouse" and Location "Mississauga" the email I receive is like this: This will help you to receive specific offers so that you don't have to log into the platform every time and search for jobs. The same is true for Indeed. For example, I searched for "Warehouse" in Mississauga. Once you see the list of positions, scroll down, and you should find something like this: Add your email address and click Activate. This way, you will be able to receive alerts in your email. 3. Read job descriptions carefully. Since you have created your alerts and are starting to receive the posted jobs, you will start reading the job descriptions. With these job descriptions, you will become familiar with the terms employers use to describe the activities you have to do on the job. This is going to be helpful to start using these words in your vocabulary because it is very likely that during an interview, you will be confronted with them. 4. Characteristics of a résumé Just so you know, in Canada, the everyday use for applying for a job is using a résumé. It is not the standard curriculum vitae with all your work history; it is something shorter and tailored to the position you are applying for. Here are some of the characteristics of a résumé: Do not contain photos of yourself. Do not include personal information such as religion, gender, marital status, etc. It has to be tailored to the position you are applying for. 5. Characteristics of a cover letter When you apply for a position, you should accompany your résumé with a cover letter explaining why you want the job and what makes you a good candidate. These are some characteristics: Addressed to the company or hiring manager Tailored to the position you are applying for Explain your intention to get the job 6. Tailor your résumé and cover letter This is one of the beginning's most essential and time-consuming parts. In the past, we used to prepare a single document with all the information about our jobs and send it everywhere. But, unfortunately, it doesn't work like that here. You have to take your time, choose the position you want to apply for, take the keywords from that job description that match your skills and use those keywords in your résumé. Why is that? Because over 90% of companies use applicant tracking systems (ATM). An ATM sort through candidate resumes throughout the early stages of the job application journey by scanning them for key terms and phrases and formatting requirements. So it's very likely that when you submit your résumé, it won't be read by a human the first time but will be scanned by an ATM looking for keywords that match the job description. Then, when they have already filtered out resumes that contain relevant keywords, they begin to have candidates for interviews. Companies use this to streamline the recruiting process as they may receive too many applications. 7. Use tools to check the accuracy of your resume. One tool I used last time to check what percentage of matches I had with the position was ResumeWorded. On this site, you upload the text of the job description and your résumé, giving you a score. There are a couple of free attempts. I only used the free option, so I recommend doing all the keyword tweaking work on your résumé and then, as a final resource, use a tool like the one I mentioned or another. You can look for another tool on the Internet; for sure, there are many with free attempts. 8. Research the company It takes time and effort to put together your résumé, so if you choose to apply for a position, it's because you want it. Be sure to Google the company, find the official site and read about its history, mission, vision and what they do. You can use this in your cover letter to mention that your mission aligns with their work. 9. Apply for the job Once you have your resume and cover letter ready, you can apply through one of the platforms I mentioned or if the company has their site, apply through them. Check the instructions that the platform has. For example, sometimes, the instructions say, "Send resume and cover letter to this email address." Make sure you check that first and follow the instructions correctly. 10. Wait and follow up If you are in an active job search and don't want to lose track of every résumé you have sent out, I would suggest creating a tracker. Also, it may take time for recruiters to review your background. I would recommend creating an Excel file where you keep track of the following The date you sent the résumé Company name The platform you used to apply for the position Email or website Job position and reference code. Application due date Any other details about the company You can then go back to that list and follow up if you see that the dates have been completed. Or if you get a call and someone says, "I'm calling you from company XYZ," you check your list and know why you chose that company to apply to. 11. Prepare for interviews Regardless of how you've prepared your résumé and cover letter, you have to be patient because not every company will call you back or let you know if you're continuing the process or not. But, let's be positive! Let's think that you have been selected for an interview. I suggest you practice with the most common interview questions you can find online. For example, tell me about yourself, how your experience aligns with the position, strengths, weaknesses, etc. Another tool we used was to search for tutors on the Italki platform, filtering by interviews so you can practice with someone who knows the subject. 12. Explore internal transfers You can check out this if you have a job in your home country at an international company. This is how I got my job, so I wanted to include it. If you have a job with an international company in your country, look into whether any programs are available for employees to do internal transfers. I came to Canada for a one-year transfer, stayed longer, and got a contract here. It's not the most common way, but it may help if you have a similar situation. 13. Seek support from newcomer services We have not used these services, but there are agencies in Canada that are designed to help newcomers. Here is a link with details of institutions that can help you find a job, tailor your résumé, and more. 14. Networking Try to meet people, and maybe you can meet someone who can recommend you something or who is looking for someone with your skills in their job. You can try to volunteer in some places or practice a hobby where you can meet more people. You never know when you might find something. 15. Join Facebook groups in Canada. Sometimes, if you need to get a job quickly, maybe in your language, look for Facebook groups of people from your country in Canada. Many times people post jobs to help people in their community. 16. Contact companies directly If you are focused on a specific industry, you can start looking for the companies you are interested in and check their websites. You may find they have their sites to apply to, or you can write an email to send your résumé. 17. Find people who share resources for free If you use social media, I suggest you look for people who share information on getting a job, putting together your résumé, improving your search, etc. I'm sure some recruiters share free resources to help you search. Remember to use social media to your advantage and to learn more. 18. Identify if your profession requires a license Research in advance if your profession or the work you want to practice in Canada is regulated. I know that pharmacists must be licensed by the regulatory body for the profession in the province. On this page, you can find the Foreign Credential Recognition in Canada Tool, including your profession and province; they will tell you what is required. I hope you can get the job of your dreams or get a position close to it so you can start living the life you were looking for when you came to Canada.