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  • Navigating Canadian Healthcare: What We Learned from Our Experience

    When you arrive in Canada, the healthcare system is one of the most vital aspects to understand. Canada has a universal healthcare system, but it's essential to realize that healthcare administration operates at the provincial and territorial levels. This means that healthcare policies and procedures may vary depending on the province in which you reside. However, the resources provided in this post can offer you a general understanding. In this post, I will shed light on how the healthcare system functions based on our experiences living in Ontario, where the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is in effect. Table of contents 1. Provincial autonomy 2. Ontario's OHIP 3. Coverage and Financing 4. Complementary insurance 5. Primary healthcare 6. Our personal experience 7. Final tips 1. Provincial Autonomy Canada's healthcare system follows a cooperative federalism model, giving provinces and territories substantial control over healthcare. As a result, each province has its unique system for providing healthcare services and coverage. This implies that Ontario's healthcare system may differ from those in other provinces. To access specific information about each province, I recommend visiting this official page, which lists the provinces along with their respective health cards. 2. Ontario's OHIP In Ontario, healthcare is administered through OHIP, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. When you become eligible, you and your family can apply for an OHIP card, which is essential for accessing healthcare services. We became eligible to apply almost six months after arriving in Canada. You can find a step-by-step guide on how we did it in Health Card for Work Permit Holders in Ontario. We have friends who obtained their health cards before that time by presenting a letter confirming their permanent employment. As always, it's important to conduct your research and ensure you have all the necessary paperwork when you become eligible. You can check more information by visiting this official page. Another important detail is that once one household member receives the health card, you can extend coverage to your spouse and children. In Ontario, on the day you apply, if you are accepted, your entire family should accompany you because they will take a photo of you for their records. 3. Coverage and Financing The Canadian healthcare system is primarily funded through taxes. This means that you won't receive a bill for most basic medical services. The OHIP card covers visits to walk-in clinics for minor ailments and emergencies and hospital care for more serious health concerns. However, it's crucial to understand that not everything is included in OHIP's coverage. Dental care, eye exams, and prescription glasses are generally not covered, and prescription medications (coverage varies by province) are not covered. If your employer doesn't offer additional health coverage, you may need to pay for these services out of your own pocket. 4. Complementary Insurance Many employers offer supplementary health insurance. This complementary insurance can fill in the gaps left by OHIP, covering expenses like dental and vision care. It's wise to explore such options, especially if your family's health needs go beyond what OHIP offers. When job hunting, you'll notice that most job postings include health coverage. Of course, always review the details, but this is a valuable addition to your job. This insurance can even cover paramedical treatments, such as massage therapy, acupuncture, naturopathy, and more. The extent of coverage depends on the insurance provided by your employer. 5. Primary Healthcare The core of Canada's healthcare system is rooted in primary care. Family doctors and Nurse practitioners serve as the front-line healthcare professionals. If you have a health concern, your first step is to contact one of these practitioners, often at walk-in clinics. You can visit a walk-in clinic without the need for a family doctor. We did this for two years, consistently using the same walk-in clinic near our home, which meant we were seen by different doctors each time. However, this year, the clinic emailed us that they had doctors accepting patients, and that's how we obtained our family doctor. More details on acquiring your own family doctor are available in How to find a Family Doctor in Ontario. Family doctors and Nurse practitioners are responsible for managing your overall health and can refer you to specialists when necessary. Since acquiring a family doctor, we've gained access to routine testing. In cases where we needed specialized care, our family doctor referred us to the appropriate specialists. 6. Our Personal Experience We understand that healthcare can be a hot topic, with countless opinions and anecdotes out there. However, we can only share our own personal experiences, and we hope that your journey with Canada's healthcare system is as smooth as possible. Our experience with the Canadian healthcare system, particularly in Ontario, has been mainly positive, but there have been a couple of downsides. Here are some examples of how it has been: As Walk-In patients without health card As I mentioned, during the first 6 months in Canada, we didn't have OHIP coverage, so we only had insurance for emergencies. Nevertheless, we could visit a walk-in clinic close to our home to renew medications and for minor ailments. Each time, we paid approximately 65 CAD for the medical consultation. So, if you don't have a health card, you can still go to a walk-in clinic, but you'll have to pay. I recommend checking your neighbourhood. We were fortunate to find a walk-in clinic that allowed us to schedule appointments, making it more convenient for us to go there. Visit to the ER Back in 2021, when we still didn't have a health card, my partner Aldo injured his wrist while playing soccer. Initially, it seemed like a minor injury, but two weeks later, he woke up with acute pain in the wrist, making it impossible to move. So, we contacted our private insurance provider, who promptly sent a doctor. The doctor made a house visit and, upon examining Aldo, decided he needed to go to the Emergency Room (ER) at the nearest hospital for further tests to determine the cause of the pain. Upon arriving at the hospital, as is the case with most hospitals, Aldo went through a triage process where issues are prioritized based on their severity. In this instance, we had to wait for six hours in the ER to get the results. Keep in mind that if your injury is not life-threatening, your case may experience delays. After the six-hour wait, Aldo received the necessary tests and consultations. The doctor then referred him to another hospital where he could see a specialist that same week. While the wait was quite long, he eventually received the attention he needed. Since we didn't have a health card at the time, the cost of this ER visit and subsequent appointments was approximately 3000 CAD, all of which was covered by our private insurance. Notably, the ER visit alone cost more than 700 CAD. As Walk-in patients with a Health card Once we obtained our health cards, we continued visiting the same walk-in clinic. The key difference from the first scenario is that we no longer have to pay for medical attention. We simply present our health cards, and that's it. If any tests or exams are required, they are typically covered by our health card. However, it's important to note that some specific tests, like a Vitamin D analysis, are not covered. Similarly, if a prescription is provided, we are responsible for covering the cost of the medication. With a family doctor Having a family doctor has given us access to more comprehensive healthcare. To acquire a family doctor, you typically go through several appointments and undergo various medical tests. In our case, we were referred for blood tests and other assessments to evaluate our overall health. Another significant change is that when we need to see a doctor, we can schedule appointments directly with our own family physician, and we are no longer randomly assigned to different doctors. Referred to a Hospital by our Family doctor Experience 1: After we secured a family doctor, one of my test results showed abnormalities. As per standard protocol, our family doctor referred me to a specialist at a hospital. Once the referral was made, I had to await a call from the hospital to schedule a new test. It took approximately two weeks to receive the call, and the hospital arranged the examination for the following week. I underwent the test, and the hospital scheduled a call a month later to discuss the results. However, that call didn't come, and when I inquired, they stated that I hadn't responded to the call. As a result, they rescheduled it for two months later due to the doctor's vacation. I have to admit not getting immediate results was a bit stressful. In my home country, we usually receive our test results quickly and visit a doctor. But here, things work differently, mainly through phone communications. Ultimately, after three months from the initial test to receiving the final results, I received a call confirming that everything was okay. What a relief that was! Experience 2: More recently, Aldo injured his knee while playing soccer (again). The doctor referred him, mentioning that it might take up to two months to receive a call. This situation is a bit challenging because there isn't another system to request a consultation. So, for now, we're simply in a waiting game, and we'll see how it goes. As you can see, every healthcare experience depends on your specific case. We're generally healthy individuals without children, and even though we have some pre-existing conditions (like my asthma and hypothyroidism), we haven't had any issues when refilling our medications or getting appointments at our nearby walk-in clinic. But for more unusual cases, it's clear that you might feel a bit less in control when you're referred. 7. Final tips I understand that this can be a stressful topic, especially if you're moving to Canada with children. So, if you're planning to make the move soon, here's what I'd suggest: Research the province you've chosen to live in and its healthcare system. You can use this link to find a list of provinces and their health card information. If you or your family have any pre-existing medical conditions that require attention, consider bringing a stock of necessary medications. I've discussed this more in my post 40 Things to Do Before Moving to Canada. It can be beneficial while you're figuring out how the healthcare system works. Consider having private health insurance to protect yourself and your family from the moment you arrive until you obtain the local health card. Some of my friends have chosen to keep their health coverage from their home countries. It's worth exploring if this would make you feel more secure if needed. Unfortunately, patience is key here. While our experience has been okay, everyone's journey is unique and depends on their specific circumstances. Personally, I've noticed that the healthcare system in Canada tends to be more reactive than focused on prevention. So, I'd recommend doing your best to keep you and your family as healthy as possible to avoid dealing with the system more than necessary. I hope this post sheds some light on how the system works, whether you have a health card or not. It's crucial to take precautions and evaluate how important this is for you. Remember that every process is unique, so while reading as many testimonials as possible can be helpful, your personal experience will truly show you how the system works best for you and whether you can manage it effectively, especially in challenging situations.

  • 11 Strategies to improve your chance of getting a job 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. To support other newcomers thriving in Canada, I created the post 'How to Get a Job in Canada as a Newcomer' in 2022. It compiled all the strategies we learned when my partner searched for a job. I'm creating this post to complement those strategies and provide additional ones. I've noticed that, for some reason, finding a job has become more challenging. So, here's a list of additional strategies to assist you in this process. To understand the basics, you can start with 'How to Get a Job in Canada as a Newcomer' and then return to this one. Table of contents 1. Volunteering Opportunities 2. Networking 3. Temporary and contract work 4. Language skills enhancement 5. Online courses and certifications 6. LinkedIn Profile Optimization 7. Informational Interviews 8. Professional Resume Writers 9. Apply in person 10. Explore remote work options 11. Consider Freelancing These strategies are not a guaranteed solution if you're struggling to secure a job. However, they offer you an opportunity to explore new options and increase your chances. 1. Volunteering Opportunities Volunteering is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the local community, gain Canadian work experience, and build a network of contacts. Many non-profit organizations and community groups welcome volunteers. Make sure you choose opportunities that align with your skills and interests so you enjoy this process. Volunteering demonstrates your commitment and provides valuable references from supervisors who've witnessed your dedication and skills in action. Looking for a job is challenging, and dedicating your time voluntarily to something that matters to you can help open your mind to new possibilities and skills. Some examples of places where I know they receive volunteers include cities like Mississauga, and places like Food banks, YMCA, etc. 2. Networking Networking events, like industry-specific conferences and job fairs, offer a great chance to connect with potential employers and fellow professionals in your field. You can also immerse yourself in activities that let you meet new people. It doesn't have to be formal. For instance, my partner works with someone he met during a soccer game when we first arrived in Canada. So, be open to activities you enjoy, and you might meet your next coworker or employer. If you attend a formal networking event, engage in meaningful conversations with recruiters and industry insiders. Remember, networking isn't just about handing out resumes; it's about building relationships that can lead to job referrals and gaining insider knowledge about job openings. 3. Temporary and Contract Work If you've applied for full-time jobs multiple times and haven't had any luck, consider applying for temporary or contract positions. These can serve as a stepping stone to permanent employment. Many companies hire temporary staff during busy seasons, like Christmas, or to cover employee leaves. These roles allow you to showcase your skills and commitment, often paving the way for more extended job prospects. Don't underestimate the value of these positions as an entry point into the Canadian job market. 4. Language Skills Enhancement If you haven't secured a job yet, take a moment to assess the factors you can control to enhance your job prospects. If you've noticed that, after several interviews, it's challenging for you to understand and express yourself in English, it might be beneficial to continue applying for jobs while also seeking resources to improve your language skills. I recommend using the Italki platform, where you can access on-demand classes with your chosen teachers. Additionally, consider enrolling in language courses or language improvement programs provided by community organizations, colleges, or online platforms. Investing in your language skills is an investment in your career opportunities. You can find more options by checking 6 tips to improve your English. 5. Online Courses and Certifications To stay competitive in the job market, consider adding new skills and certifications to your background through online courses. Numerous options are available from universities, colleges, and e-learning platforms, and some are absolutely FREE. Embrace this opportunity to keep your mind engaged and upgrade your skill set. Don't forget to showcase these certifications on your resume to underscore your dedication to professional development. You can explore online courses such as Google Certificates, Coursera, Hubspot, and even tap into resources at your local library. It's all about elevating your qualifications and positioning yourself as an outstanding candidate for Canadian employers. 6. LinkedIn Profile Optimization LinkedIn is like the social media hub for your professional life. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your online resume and a fantastic networking tool. To make it shine, start by adding a professional photo, crafting a captivating summary, and adding your skills and experiences. Don't forget to mention that you're physically in Canada; it makes you more visible to companies here. Next, connect with fellow professionals in your industry and with Canadian companies, and actively engage with content highlighting your expertise. LinkedIn is valuable for boosting your professional image and forming connections with potential employers. 7. Informational Interviews Requesting informational interviews with professionals in your field is a proactive way to gain insights into the Canadian job market. Prepare thoughtful questions and use these interviews to learn about industry trends, job search strategies, and potential job openings. Building a network of professionals willing to provide advice and referrals can be invaluable during your job search. This advice holds even if you're already working a job but considering switching roles. I can confirm it; once, I wanted to explore a different job in the company I used to work for, so I contacted one of the supervisors for a quick 30-minute chat. That turned out to be quite the eye-opener. 8. Professional Resume Writers Resumes in Canada can differ from what you might be used to in your home country, just like I mentioned in my post on 'How to Get a Job in Canada as a Newcomer.' If you find creating your resume a daunting task, it might be worth considering the help of a professional resume writer who knows the Canadian job market inside out. These experts can assist you in crafting a resume that clicks with local employers and meets all the Canadian resume standards. Remember, your resume is often your first chance to leave a remarkable impression. If you're sending out applications but not getting any interview calls, the issue might just lie with your resume. And if you're landing interviews but not sealing the deal, perhaps there's some room for improvement in your interview performance. 9. Apply in person In my previous post on "How to Get a Job as a Newcomer in Canada," I shared several tips for applying to jobs online. However, if you have a shopping centre nearby, consider taking a walk with your resume in hand. You might be surprised to see how many stores display job postings in their windows. Does this guarantee you'll get hired? No, but it's another option worth exploring. If your job search has been challenging, it's essential to keep an open mind and consider different possibilities. 10. Explore Remote Work Options Exploring remote work opportunities that enable you to work from anywhere in Canada is a smart move. Nowadays, numerous companies provide remote positions, which means you can acquire valuable Canadian work experience without the need to move. This option can be especially beneficial if you're in the process of settling down in a particular province. Be sure to utilize search filters on various platforms such as Indeed or Glassdoor by using the keyword "remote" to find the right job openings. 11. Consider Freelancing Websites such as Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr present freelancing opportunities across a wide range of industries. If you have skills in areas like writing, design, programming, or digital marketing, freelancing offers a flexible path to earn income while establishing your Canadian work experience. I'm currently freelancing, and I rely solely on myself to find clients. I took a course to acquire new skills and become a Freelance Social Media Manager, and now I'm working full-time based on what I learned from that course. The key is to remain open to various possibilities. I hope that by reading this post, you've gained a fresh perspective on what to do if you haven't found a job yet. I wish you success in your search. Remember, persistence and continuous learning are essential for achieving your career goals in Canada.

  • Could Peterborough be your new home in Canada?

    Thinking of moving to Canada and looking for an ideal place to call home? As mentioned in 13 tips to choose the best place to live in Canada. You need to consider several factors when choosing a city to call home. This time, let me introduce you to a new option; this city is called Peterborough, located in the heart of Ontario, which we visited last year when we travelled as petsitters. With a natural beauty and a welcoming community, Peterborough is a promising place for immigrants looking for a fresh start. Let's review why this city might be perfect for you. Table of contents 1. General information 2. Education 3. Iconic places 4. Parks 5. Family-friendly 6. Transit System 7. Health System 8. Job opportunities 9. Housing and accommodation 1. General Information Peterborough is located 125 kilometres northeast of Toronto on the banks of the Otonabee River. It has a population of approximately 80,000. The city's diverse economic activities include manufacturing, healthcare, education and technology, making it an attractive destination for career opportunities and educational institutions that accept international students. 2. Education Peterborough offers a wide range of educational options for families. It has school boards, including the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (KPRDSB) and the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board. For a general understanding of how education works for your children in Canada, I invite you to read New to Canada: Understanding the education system for your children. The city is also home to universities and colleges such as Trent University, Fleming College and Seneca College. Some institutions offer international students the opportunity to pursue higher education and benefit from a post-graduation work permit. According to the official website, when I write this blog post, four institutions offer post-graduation work permit programs for their international students. Don't forget to always check the official website at the time of your search in case this information changes. 3. Iconic Places One of Peterborough's most important attractions is the Peterborough Lift Lock, an impressive hydraulic system of lift locks that is both an engineering marvel and a popular tourist destination. This iconic attraction is a testament to the city's rich history and innovative spirit. There are only eight such constructions in the world, and one of them is located in Peterborough. It is a delight to stop, watch the mechanism work, and see boats go up and down the river. 4. Parks Peterborough has more than 100 parks and sports fields. So, if you're a nature enthusiast, you'll have plenty of green spaces to enjoy. Jackson Park, for example, offers serene walking trails, picturesque gardens and a tranquil setting for those looking to relax in nature. You can find more information about parks and trails in Peterborough at this link. 5. Family-Friendly Peterborough is certainly a family-friendly city. From educational programs to recreational opportunities, families will find a nurturing environment to thrive. Its library will allow you to immerse yourself in the city's activities and meet new people. The city is open to newcomers; they even have a website exclusively for new people coming to town. You can find more details at this link. 6. Transit System The system is called Peterborough Transit. It operates full-size buses running regular and express routes and an accessible van service, a community bus and PtboOnDemand, allowing you to schedule the transit trip you want. Peterborough Transit offers contactless ticketing through an app called HotSpot, which is free to download. The regular fare is $2.75, but they also have 10-ride passes, 30-day passes, and semi-annual and annual passes for seniors. You can find more information about the transit system in this link. To understand how the transportation systems of other cities in Canada work, remember to check out Understanding the Public Transportation System as a newcomer to Canada. 7. Health System Peterborough's healthcare system comprises hospitals and walk-in clinics. The hospital is the Peterborough Regional Health Centre, and they also have a couple of walk-in clinics throughout the city that ensure residents have access to quality healthcare services. You can check out How we got a health card in Ontario if you are a newcomer and don't know where to start. 8. Job Opportunities The city's diverse economy offers employment opportunities in various sectors. Notable companies such as Siemens, Rolls-Royce Limited, and Pepsico/Quaker, among others, have established a presence in Peterborough. If you don't know where to start when looking for jobs, remember to check out How to get a job in Canada as a newcomer. 9. Housing and Accommodation Housing options in Peterborough span a wide range of preferences and budgets. From apartments to single-family homes, the city offers a wide variety of options to meet the needs of newcomers. According to, a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center costs about $1,600 CAD, while a 3-bedroom apartment can run around $2,000 CAD, which makes it much more affordable than big cities like Toronto. West End and East City are popular residential areas, offering proximity to amenities, schools and parks. These neighbourhoods provide a sense of community while allowing residents access to urban amenities. Remember to check How to rent your first home as a newcomer in Canada for additional tips. -- In conclusion, Peterborough seems like a welcoming city for immigrants looking to build a new life in Canada. Its mix of educational opportunities, iconic landmarks, green spaces and economy make it an attractive option for individuals and families. If you want to know more options for living in Canada, don't forget to visit 10 cities to live near Toronto as a newcomer to Canada, 14 top reasons to live in Mississauga and Top reasons to choose Ottawa as your new home in Canada.

  • How to train your pet to travel to Canada

    Preparing to travel with your beloved pet can be a mix of excitement and anxiety. From our own experience, we've learned that the key to a smooth trip is to train your furry companion to feel comfortable inside the carrier. This crucial step requires time, patience and a sprinkling (or several) of treats. In this post, I'll share how we prepared our cat Corita for a trip to Canada. Simplicity and patience are the keys to successful training. So, let's dive into this adventure! Remember that this process worked for us, training a beautiful 6-year-old calico at the time and don't forget to ask your vet, especially if your pet has special requirements. Table of contents 1. Starting early 2. Introducing the carrier 3. The treats 4. Closed carrier 5. Lift-off confidence 6. Exploring the apartment 7. Outside the comfort zone 8. Walking on quiet streets 9. Meeting the noise 10. Final touches for comfort 11. Other techniques 1. Starting early Months before our trip, we had already purchased a carrier to keep Corita safe and comfortable. To do this, we checked the requirements of the airline we wanted to travel with. For more information on how we chose the carrier, see 12 tips for travelling with your pet to Canada. We started the training process about ten months before the trip, partly because we wanted her to be comfortable but also because we planned to travel earlier than when we eventually travelled. I would recommend starting as soon as you decide to travel. 2. Introducing the carrier We left the carrier open to view at home. Corita often found it when she explored the house. This way, she got used to the presence of the carrier without associating it with the trip. We added a blanket to the carrier that Corita used to make biscuits. This made the carrier feel like her safe space, with her familiar scent on the blanket. 3. The treats We placed one of his favourite treats inside the open carrier to create positive associations without pushing it in. The key is consistency. We made it a daily habit to place her favourite treats inside the open carrier. This helped her associate the carrier with good things. One day, we couldn't find Corita in her usual napping spots. To our surprise, she was sleeping peacefully inside the carrier. It was unexpected but a sign that she was already comfortable in it, and we could move on to the next step. 4. Closed carrier We moved on to the next phase once she was comfortable with the open carrier. We started closing the carrier for short periods of time, just a couple of minutes, while she was inside. Gradually, she learned that being inside the closed carrier was okay and safe. We repeated this daily until we realized she was comfortable with longer periods inside the carrier. 5. Lift-Off confidence With the carrier closed, we gently lifted her off the ground for a few minutes. We repeated this step several times so that she would get used to the feeling of being carried. This was just one movement of lifting her off the ground, and we repeated this for several days. 6. Exploring the apartment Corita took her first steps around the apartment inside the closed carrier. She felt safe as we moved around, and we made sure she associated these movements with a positive experience by giving her treats every time we finished our brief walk around the apartment. 7. Outside the comfort zone We took the training outside because Corita was more comfortable in her carrier. Corita is an indoor cat, so this was her first time out of her familiar space. We went out into the hallway of our building. This gradual exposure to new environments helped her acclimate to the movement of the carrier and the different sounds. 8. Walking on quiet streets She gained confidence, and after multiple walks through the building halls, we took short walks on quiet streets. She became accustomed to the sights and sounds of the outdoors while sitting in her carrier. We noticed that she enjoyed her daily walks, did not meow and sat comfortably while exploring. 9. Meeting the noise With each positive experience, we moved on to noisier streets. The gradual introduction to different environments helped Corita feel more at ease in various environments. We spent more than an hour walking through noisy streets with cars and many people on the last few walks. 10. Final touches for comfort We added absorbent material to the carrier about two weeks beforehand to ensure she was well-prepared for the trip. Placed on top of her usual blanket, this added layer ensured comfort in case she needed to go to the bathroom during flights. 11. Other techniques It is important to note that, throughout the training, we never gave Corita anything to make her sleepy. Some people might think about giving pets medication to calm them during travel, but it's crucial to talk to a veterinarian before doing so. Always make sure your pet is safe by asking an expert. We only use a natural method to help Corita stay calm and relaxed. We used a drop of a particular blend of essential oils called "Calmer," which was recommended to us by our vet. We put a drop on our fingers and gently touched her little ears; that was it! This simple gesture helped her feel comfortable when she was learning to be in the carrier and also allowed her to relate the smell of the oil to the process of moving in the carrier. I hope this post helps you, especially if you don't know where to start. Training your pet to feel comfortable in their carrier is an investment of time, but it will significantly help your pet's comfort and well-being during the trip. By taking small steps, offering treats and gradually introducing new experiences, you will be surprised at how adaptable and resilient your furry friend can be. Remember that every pet is unique, and training times may vary, but we personally recommend starting as soon as you decide to travel. That will reduce their anxiety and yours. If you're curious about more tips for travelling with your pet to Canada, check out 12 tips for travelling with your pet to Canada and 15 things your cat needs when settling in Canada. And finally, happy travels to you and your furry friend!

  • Airport Arrival: Your First Experience as a Newcomer in Canada

    It has been over two and a half years since I arrived at Toronto Pearson International Airport with my Port of Entry letter to exchange for my first work permit in Canada. I remember that mix of excitement and uncertainty, between being too tired after more than 14 hours of travel, exhaustion, trying not to miss any moment, and going in the wrong direction. The process can be overwhelming, but armed with a little knowledge, your trip through Toronto Pearson International Airport will be much smoother. In this guide, I will walk you through the arrival process, from immigration formalities to baggage claim and the start of your new life as a newcomer to Canada. Consider this a general explanation to guide you with your first steps in Canada; your process could always be different at the airport. Table of contents 1. Following the arrivals signs 2. Immigration procedures 3. Meeting with an Immigration Officer 4. Collecting your luggage 5. Exiting the airport 6. Welcome to Canada 1. Follow the arrival signs When disembarking, take all your carry-on luggage with you, take a deep breath and follow the "Arrivals" signs. These will guide you through the airport, helping you find your way through the hustle and bustle. You can always follow the crowd, but sometimes, if the person above you is walking too fast and can't keep up, remember to follow these yellow signs. 2. Immigration procedures After following the signs, you will reach the immigration area. This will take 10 to 15 minutes, so don't panic if you feel like you're walking a long way and are still not there. In the immigration area, you will see signs to 2 different lines. One is dedicated to permanent residents and citizens of Canada, and the second line is for "Other Passports." If you have just arrived, this will most likely be your line. Next, you will encounter a series of automated kiosks. These kiosks are designed to expedite the entry process. You will be asked to answer several questions about the reason for your trip, the length of your stay, finances, and the goods you bring into the country. You must answer these questions accurately and truthfully. Once you have completed the questionnaire, a photo will be taken, and a voucher will be printed. 3. Meeting with an immigration officer With your voucher in hand, proceed to the counter of an immigration officer. The officer may ask you a few more questions to clarify your answers from the kiosk. Remember that this is a normal process and that the officers are there to help you. You may be asked about your plans in Canada, so be prepared to give details about your accommodation and any other pertinent information. Remember to carry your documents in a well-organized folder, and if you want to ensure you don't forget anything, check out 40 things you should do before moving to Canada. 4. Collecting your luggage After successfully passing through immigration, make your way to the baggage claim area. Look for the designated carousel corresponding to your flight. This information will be projected on the screens, so remember your flight number to make the process easier for you. Keep an eye on your baggage as it moves down the conveyor belt. If you have delicate or oversized items, they are usually collected separately in a designated area. 5. Exiting the airport. Once you have collected your belongings, follow the "exit" signs. At this point, you have successfully passed through immigration control and have collected your luggage. You may encounter another officer who will ask for your voucher again and check your luggage, especially if you are bringing products that require revision. The process of arriving in a new country can be exhausting, but remember, you are almost there! When you leave the airport, you can meet the person who will help you get to your destination, find a taxi, uber or other means of transportation. 6. Welcome to Canada As you leave the airport, take a moment because.... you are in Canada! Whether you are greeted by family, friends or a hired service, that moment marks the beginning of your journey through this beautiful country. Remember that you are not alone on this journey. Thousands of newcomers have travelled this road before you; many others are taking their first steps alongside you. Your passage through the airport signifies your entry into a diverse, welcoming and vibrant country. As you navigate the arrival process, remember that while the logistics may seem daunting, they are designed to ensure your safe and successful entry into Canada. So, as you step out into the Canadian air, take a deep breath, enjoy the adventure and get ready to begin your new chapter in this wonderful land. As you've already arrived, remember to check out the first 10 first things you should do when you arrive in Canada.

  • 6 places you can visit to enjoy this summer in Ontario, Canada.

    Summer has arrived in Canada, and plenty of activities exist. If you are a newcomer from a country with access to the sea, it is obvious that you feel nostalgia when you live in Ontario to get into the water in summer. In this province, there is no access to the sea, but there are many lakes where you can also experience going to the beach. In this blog post, I will introduce you to 6 places in Ontario that we have had the opportunity to visit and recommend to our fellow newcomers. I will show them from the farthest to the closest from Mississauga. I'm sure there are more beautiful places to discover, but for now, these are the ones we know about. Pack your sunscreen, towel and sense of adventure as we embark on a journey from beach to beach in Ontario. Table of contents 1. Tobermory 2. Lion's Head Provincial Park 3. Southampton 4. Cherry Beach 5. Marie Curtis Park East Beach 6. Jack Darling Memorial Park 1. Tobermory Last year we had the opportunity to visit this place for a day with some friends. It is about a three-hour drive north of Mississauga. It sounds like a lot, but the scenery along the way makes you enjoy the trip. Tobermory is a port city of crystal clear waters that sometimes make you forget you are in Canada. It is part of the Bruce Peninsula. One of its attractions is Flowerpot Island, which can be accessed through tourist services, and there is also a lighthouse. The most convenient way to reach Tobermory is by car. From Mississauga, you can take Highway 401 west towards Highway 6, which will take you north to Tobermory. The drive takes approximately 3-4 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. Unfortunately, there are no direct buses from Mississauga to Tobermory. Still, you can take a bus to nearby towns such as Owen Sound or Wiarton and connect with Tobermory. You can arrange local transportation from there or take a cab to Tobermory, about an hour away. Another alternative is to look for trips from Toronto. I have found that the Parkbus company offers a trip from there. Here is the link with more details. 2. Lion's Head Provincial Park We stopped to visit Lion's Head Provincial Park on the same trip we made to Tobermory. A short distance before arriving in Tobermory is one of the best-kept secrets in Ontario: Lion's Head Beach. It's a quiet beach with a sandy shoreline perfect for sunbathing, swimming or picnicking with loved ones. Since the water is very calm, I recommend it, especially if you travel with children. There was also a farmer's market nearby, and we had a great time swimming and enjoying the blue waters. 3. Southampton This year we planned to revisit Tobermory, but fate suggested this town because we found affordable accommodations, but it turned out to be a hidden gem that we discovered. Located on the shores of Lake Huron, Southampton Beach is a popular summer destination for locals and tourists alike. Its pristine sandy shores stretch for miles, providing ample space for relaxation and fun. It has a wide beach, starting out as a stony beach and as soon as you move along the coast, it thins out, and you end up with a sandy beach and blue waters. Southampton also offers a charming downtown with boutique stores and restaurants that add to the overall appeal of this charming seaside town. In addition to this, the sunsets over the lake are a marvel. 4. Cherry Beach In Toronto, you will find Cherry Beach. This beach overlooks Lake Ontario and is known for its cool breeze. It is a bit windy, which can be refreshing on hot days. Cherry Beach is where you can see people having fun with water sports. When we went there, seeing people practicing wind sports like windsurfing, kitesurfing, and much more was impressive. Many people also visit Cherry Beach to enjoy sports like volleyball and kite flying. If you're lucky, you might even catch a beautiful sunset. 5. Marie Curtis Park East Beach Suppose you are looking for something close to Toronto, Etobicoke and Mississauga. You have the option of Marie Curtis Park East Beach. Marie Curtis Park East Beach is a charming place in Toronto where you can take a break from the busy city. It is in a park near Lake Ontario. The beach has soft sand and crystal clear water and is relaxing. You can lie in the sun, swim, or stroll along the lakeshore. People often bring food and have picnics here. It is also very well connected to the surrounding towns by bike path. It is a good place to enjoy nature and contemplate the beautiful lake. Although it is in the city, it feels like a quiet getaway. 6. Jack Darling Memorial Park This Mississauga gem offers a peaceful retreat from city life. If you want a full plan for the day, start by picnicking with your family at Jack Darling Memorial Park, where you'll find picnic tables, barbecues, access to Lake Ontario and more. Then you can walk to the Rattray Marsh Conservation Area, exploring the boardwalks and trails that wind through the lush marshes, spot migratory birds and breathe in the fresh air. Although swimming is not permitted at Rattray Marsh, Jack Darling Memorial Park is connected by a very short distance. This protected area's scenic beauty and tranquillity make it a must-see destination for nature lovers and those looking for a quiet getaway with family or friends. I hope this information helps you and motivates you to get out and explore this summer. Take advantage of the sun, good weather and enjoy! If you know of other beaches near Mississauga, share them!

  • Top Reasons to Choose Ottawa as Your New Home in Canada

    Are you considering relocating to Canada and wondering which city to call home? Recently we had the opportunity to visit Ottawa, the capital of Canada and were surprised by this city's beauty. In this blog post, we will explore why Ottawa is an ideal city to settle in, covering various aspects such as population, location, education system, attractions, transit system, weather, job opportunities and housing. Table of contents 1. Population and location. 2. Education System. 3. Important places and attractions. 4. Transit System. 5. Weather. 6. Job Opportunities. 7. Housing and Accommodation. 1. Population and Location. Ottawa is the country's capital and Canada's fourth-largest urban region. It comprises more than 1.4 million inhabitants, 66% of whom live in Ottawa and the rest in neighbouring municipalities, including Gatineau (located across the Ottawa River in Quebec). A special feature of the region is that English and French are widely spoken and reflected in the city's culture and commerce. Located in eastern Ontario, Ottawa sits on the banks of the Ottawa River, providing residents with a stunning natural landscape, parks and green spaces, and year-round access to outdoor recreation. 2. Education System. The city offers English and French education in public (non-religious), Catholic and private schools. Ottawa has four school boards (2 English and 2 French): 2 public and 2 Catholic school boards. Each school board has its own set of rules and admission criteria. The city is home to the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB), Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario, and Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) offering quality education from elementary to high school. Moreover, Ottawa houses prestigious universities like the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, and Algonquin College, providing students with a wide range of academic and vocational programs. 3. Important Places and Attractions. Ottawa has monuments and cultural attractions to suit all tastes. The city is famous for its impressive Parliament Hill, where you can attend the changing of the guard ceremony and explore historic government buildings. The National Gallery of Canada displays remarkable art collections, while the Canadian Museum of History offers a fascinating journey through Canada's past. Other must-see sights include the Rideau Canal, the ByWard Market and the picturesque Gatineau Park, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. 4. Transit System. Getting around Ottawa is easy, thanks to its public transportation system. OC Transpo and the Société de Transport de l'Outaouais (STO) work together to provide transit services across the National Capital Region, which includes buses and trains. OC Transpo manages an extensive bus network that covers the entire city, allowing residents to conveniently commute to work, school or explore the various neighbourhoods. In addition, the O-Train Confederation line offers reliable light rail service, ensuring a fast and smooth transportation experience. For more details on how public transportation works in Ottawa and other cities in Canada, check out the post Understanding the public Transportation System as a Newcomer to Canada. 5. Weather. Ottawa experiences four distinct seasons, each with its charm. Winters can be cold, with average temperatures below freezing. Still, the city transforms into a winter wonderland offering activities such as ice skating on the Rideau Canal, the world's largest natural ice rink. Summers are warm and pleasant, offering ample outdoor activities and festivals opportunities. 6. Job Opportunities. Ottawa's diverse and thriving economy offers ample employment opportunities in various sectors. Although Ottawa offers opportunities in various sectors, a few industries stand out as key drivers of the city's economy. The city is home to four main sectors that provide job opportunities for thousands of people: public administration, high-tech companies, healthcare and the educational services industry. Companies specializing in software development, telecommunications and aerospace thrive in this innovation hub. In addition, the government sector offers a wide range of career opportunities due to the city's status as the capital of Canada. For more information on how to get a job in Canada as a Newcomer, don't forget to check the post How to get a Job in Canada as a Newcomer. 7. Housing and Accommodation. Ottawa offers a wide range of housing options to suit different preferences and budgets. Whether you're looking for a downtown apartment, a family home in the suburbs or a quaint residence near the river, Ottawa has it all. In addition, Ottawa's living cost is relatively affordable compared to other major Canadian cities, making it an attractive option for newcomers. According to information provided by Numbeo, a 1-bedroom apartment is between 1500 and 1800 CAD, while a 3-bedroom apartment is between 2300 and 3000 CAD depending on the location with respect to the city center. To find your first rental in Canada, visit the post How to Rent your first Home as a Newcomer to Canada. I hope this post has given you a taste of curiosity about the capital city of Ottawa and that you might consider it among your options if you haven't decided on your destination city yet. If you are still looking for other options, don't hesitate to check out 14 top reasons to live in Mississauga, 10 cities to live near Toronto as a newcomer to Canada, and 13 tips to choose the best place to live in Canada.

  • Boost Your Express Entry Score: Tips for Newcomers.

    Canada's Express Entry system is a widely used pathway for skilled immigrants to obtain permanent residency. It assigns points based on a number of factors, including age, education, work experience, language proficiency and others. While some requirements, such as age, cannot be changed, there are opportunities to improve the Express Entry score by focusing on areas that allow improvement, such as English language proficiency, work experience and credential evaluation. In this blog post, we will explore effective strategies to maximize your score in these crucial areas and increase your chances of success in the Express Entry system, based on our experience, which allowed us to increase the score significantly. Table of contents 1. Master the English test for Express Entry. 2. Optimize credential evaluation. 3. Gain Canadian Work experience. 4. Learn French. 5. Additional recommendations. 1. Master the English test for Express Entry. One of the most effective ways to improve your score in Express Entry is to improve your English test scores, whether it is General IELTS or General CELPIP. So far, to apply for Express Entry those are the accepted tests; if you want to know more about the one we took, check out Everything you need to know about the CELPIP test. Language skills can significantly increase your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. If the main applicant scores at least a CLB 10 in all skills, it can give up to 128 points for the application, so try to get as high a score as possible and if you need to retake it to improve your score further and focus on the skills you need to improve, do it! I repeated the CELPIP test and was able to improve by focusing on the skills I was missing points for. Here you can see the point equivalency if you take the IELTS instead of CELPIP. Here are some tips to excel in your English test: Prepare diligently: familiarize yourself with the test format and practice constantly using sample tests and study materials. At this point, it is not about studying the language but understanding the test format. Focus on your weaknesses: Identify the specific aspects of the language you need to improve and spend time strengthening these areas. If you have taken a test before, spend more time on the skills needed to improve your score; in my case, it was writing and speaking. Seek professional guidance: Consider hiring a tutor for specific guidance, feedback on your language skills and test-taking strategies. 2. Optimize Credential Evaluation The credentials assessment is another crucial aspect contributing to your Express Entry score. It consists of assessing your foreign training to align with Canadian standards. I believe that the way to optimize here is to evaluate in advance since, at least with WES, which is the institution we used, the report lasts five years, so after that, you don't have to stress about it. To give you an idea, as a main applicant, this gave us 126 points for the score; in my case, I studied to be a pharmacist. Here's how you can improve this aspect: Research recognized credential evaluation agencies: Make sure you select a reputable agency that is recognized by the designated organizations in Canada; always check for information. These agencies will assess your educational and professional qualifications accurately. As I mentioned, try to do this in advance so that you already have the results when you create your profile. See more details on credentials assessment in How to obtain an educational credential assessment for immigration purposes. Gather the necessary documentation: Gather all relevant transcripts and certificates to support your credential evaluation process. Make sure they are properly translated, if necessary. 3. Gain Canadian work experience. Once you arrive in Canada, look for opportunities to gain relevant work experience in your field. Not only will this strengthen your profile, but it will also help you get points for your Express Entry profile. For example, one year of experience from the main applicant gives you 35 points, while two years can give you 46 points. 4. Learn French Learning French can be a valuable tool to increase your Express Entry score and improve your chances of being invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence. French is one of Canada's official languages, and the Canadian government highly values language skills in both English and French. If you achieve a high level of proficiency in French, you can earn additional points under the language requirements of the Express Entry system. French can score under the Second Official Language Proficiency category and also under additional points: French Proficiency. So consider it as another alternative to get more points. 5. Additional Recommendations If you apply with your partner or spouse, the accompanying person scores fewer points than the principal applicant. Still, it is a score that can increase your chances of receiving an invitation, so don't discard that effort. Check if your companion can do an educational credentials assessment, as well as an English test and work experience in Canada also adds up. The difference in scores is high, but without a doubt, when you are looking to improve your profile, anything goes. For example, considering language, a main applicant with a minimum of 10 in all skills can score up to 128 points, while the accompanying person with the same test score can score up to 20 points. In general, the spouse or partner can contribute up to 40 points to the application, but again, it is an option to increase the total score. Improving your Express Entry score requires a strategic approach to enhance the areas within your control. By mastering the English language, optimizing your credential evaluation, gaining Canadian work experience, and learning French, you can increase your chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residency in Canada through Express Entry. If you have doubts about creating your profile, I invite you to review How to create your profile for Express Entry under Canadian Experience Class. Remember that it is essential to stay informed on the latest immigration policies and consult with professionals when necessary. I hope these posts give you an idea to double-check your current score and see if there is any chance to improve it.

  • Tips on How to Find a family doctor in Ontario as a Newcomer.

    As a newcomer to Canada, understanding the health care system in your province can be challenging, as each province has a different system. In this sense, it can also be complex when it comes to the next step, such as finding a family doctor in Ontario. However, having a family doctor is important for maintaining good health, especially when adjusting to a new country and lifestyle. As I mentioned, each province has a different system; if you are interested in knowing how to get a health card in this province when you are on a work permit, be sure to check out How to Get a health card in Ontario. In this blog post, we will cover how to find a family doctor in Ontario, the province where we live, the requirements to get one, recommendations, and the benefits of having a family doctor, considering that after two years, we decided to get one. Table of contents 1. What is a Family Doctor? 2. What if I don't have a family doctor? 3. Benefits of having a family doctor in Ontario. 4. Requirements to get a family doctor in Ontario. 5. How to find a family doctor in Ontario? 6. Recommendations for finding a family doctor in Ontario. 7. I found a family doctor, and now what? 1. What is a Family Doctor? A family doctor is a primary health care provider - the doctor you make an appointment with when you have a new health problem that is not urgent. Visits to a family doctor are publicly funded, so you do not have to pay; you only need to present your Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card. A family doctor can provide direct care for you and your family about the diagnosis and treatment of common illnesses and injuries, referral to health specialists who can help you with a specific condition, support in managing a chronic condition (such as diabetes or high blood pressure), prescribing medications, and regular check-ups including physical exams and routine screening tests (for example, for cancer). 2. What if I don't have a family doctor? If you do not have a family doctor, no problem, you will receive medical care anyway, but you will probably have to go to a walk-in clinic and will be assigned a random doctor each time; this can result in a lack of continuity of care, as you may see different doctors each time you go. In addition, this can make it difficult to treat chronic illnesses or prevent health problems. A family physician can get to know you and your health needs, leading to more personalized care. Without a family physician, you may not receive care tailored to your health needs and preferences. That was our case; we went to the same walk-in clinic for two years, but each time we were assigned a different doctor, we went for specific health issues. As a result, we got the prescriptions we needed but did not have a trusting relationship with any professional. Another thing is that you will probably have limited preventive care, such as periodic medical check-ups. Without a family doctor, you can miss out on necessary preventative care measures that could help catch health problems early. We noticed that as soon as we were included in a family doctor, we had many tests done, which had not happened before. 3. Benefits of having a family doctor in Ontario Complementing the above, having a family physician in Ontario has many advantages. Here are some of them: Preventive care: A family doctor can help you stay healthy by providing preventive care, such as regular check-ups, immunizations and health screenings. Chronic disease management: If you have a chronic disease, such as diabetes or hypertension, a family doctor can help you manage your condition and prevent complications. Referrals: A family physician can provide referrals and coordinate your care if you need to see a specialist or require additional testing. Continuity of care: Having a family physician means you have a consistent source of medical care, which can lead to better health outcomes and a more efficient healthcare experience. Personalized care: A family physician can get to know you and your health needs. 4. Requirements to get a family doctor in Ontario. To get a family doctor in Ontario, you must meet specific requirements: You must have a valid OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) card. You may need to apply for OHIP coverage. You can do this by going to Service Ontario and providing the necessary documentation. See more details in the blog post on How to get a health card as a worker in Ontario. You will need to provide your medical records to the family doctor of your choice. This may include information about any pre-existing medical conditions or medications you take. Suppose you have previously visited a doctor or specialist. In that case, it is a good idea to request a copy of your medical records to bring with you to your first appointment, or if you have that information from back home, be sure to bring it with you so that it can be included in your medical records. This is not a requirement for you, but you need to find a physician accepting patients, bringing us to the next point. 5. How to find a family doctor in Ontario? Finding a family doctor in Ontario can seem overwhelming, but several resources are available to help you. One option is to check with local walk-in clinics or hospitals. These centers may have a list of family physicians who are accepting new patients. You can also ask friends or family members who live in the area if they have a family doctor they would recommend. Another option to get started is Health Care Connect, a Department of Health and Long-Term Care program that helps you find a family doctor accepting new patients. You can access Health Care Connect online or by phone, and they will ask you a series of questions that will help you find a doctor in your area. Find more details on this page. The option we used was the first one; we were always going to the same walk-in clinic, and one day they informed former patients that four doctors were accepting new patients; we selected the one who had seen us before and the one we felt most confident with and applied through their website. 6. Recommendations for finding a family doctor in Ontario. When looking for a family doctor in Ontario, finding someone who is a good fit for you and your family is important. Here are some recommendations to keep in mind: Location: Consider the location of the doctor's office and how easy it is for you to get to. Is it close to your home or place of work? Is it easily accessible by public transportation? Availability: Make sure the doctor's availability fits your schedule. Do they have evening or weekend appointments? Can you get an appointment in time if you need it? Specialty: If you have a pre-existing condition or a specific health problem, you may want to look for a doctor specializing in that area. Personal connection: It's essential to feel comfortable with your primary care physician, so consider factors such as their communication style and good patient care when making your decision. 7. I found a family doctor, and now what? Understanding that each process may differ, I will tell you about our experience after finding the Family Doctor. We saw the email from the walk-in clinic two blocks from our apartment, logged onto their website and registered as "I'm looking for a family doctor." Once scheduled, we received a call from the medical assistant to confirm that we were looking for a family doctor. She assigned medical appointments for me and my partner separately with the doctor. We attended our appointment, signed a document, and discussed our medical history with the doctor. Since we went to the same clinic for two years, some information was there, but we supplemented it with previous surgeries. I recommend you start compiling that information and create a list of the medical terminology, in case it is complicated for you. For example, we wrote down the date of diagnosis or surgery and the condition. Next, the doctor gave us physical examination orders for another day. We went there separately, had our ears, lungs, mouth and nose checked, and were given orders for blood and urine tests. The doctors can assign other types of tests if they deem it necessary. We are waiting for the results now, and when that happens, they will send us a message to schedule an appointment with the doctor to review the results. So far, the process has worked smoothly; getting hours has not been challenging, and the exams have been routine. I hope this post gives you an idea of what getting a family doctor is like. I wish you the best of luck in your search and that you find the best professional to meet your needs.

  • How to Practice English Conversation: Tips for Newcomers.

    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. As a newcomer to Canada, learning a new language is essential to succeed in this new country. On the journey to improve my English, I explored many methodologies, as I explained in 6 tips to improve your English if you are considering moving abroad. One of the last resources I used that I wish I had discovered earlier was a platform called Italki. I used it for a long time and completed over 130 lessons while preparing to come to Canada and after arriving. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of learning a new language as a newcomer to Canada, the advantages of using Italki, how to create a profile, how to get the most out of the platform, price ranges and the differences between selecting a tutor or a teacher. Table of contents 1. Importance of Learning a New Language for a Newcomer to Canada. 2. Advantages of using Italki. 3. How to create a profile on Italki. 4. How to make the most of the Italki platform. 5. Pricing. 6. Differences between selecting a Tutor or Teacher. 7. Additional tips. 1. Importance of Learning a New Language for a Newcomer to Canada. Learning a new language is an essential step for newcomers to Canada. Language is the key to communication and understanding between people. Knowing the language spoken in the country where you live is essential to get by in everyday life. In Canada, the official languages are English and French. Depending on the province or city in which you live, one of these two languages may be the most widely spoken. Learning the language of the province you live in can help you communicate with your neighbours, colleagues and friends. In addition, learning a new language can open new doors for you, such as better job opportunities, social interaction, a deeper understanding of the country's culture and better performance on English tests required to apply for permanent residency and citizenship in Canada, such as the CELPIP test. 2. Advantages of Using Italki. Italki is an online platform that connects language learners with certified tutors and teachers. One of the most significant advantages of using Italki is its flexibility. Since the platform is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you can schedule sessions with tutors or teachers at a time that suits you. For example, you can find a tutor available if you prefer to learn early in the morning or late at night. You can learn a new language at your own pace, anywhere in the world and at any time that suits you. Italki offers many languages, such as English, French, Spanish, Mandarin, etc. In my case, I used it to practice English. You can choose the tutor or teacher that best suits your learning style and goals, whether you want to focus on conversation, grammar or writing. Another advantage of Italki is the affordability of the platform. Italki offers a range of prices for language lessons, depending on the experience and credentials of the tutor or teacher. This allows you to find a tutor or teacher that fits your budget. In addition, Italki offers a trial lesson option, which means you can try different tutors or teachers to find the one that best suits you. 3. How to Create a Profile on Italki. Creating a profile on Italki is very simple. First, visit the Italki website and select the "Start Learning" option. You will be asked to enter your email address and create a password. Once you have done this, you will be asked to select your language level and the language you want to learn. You will also be asked to indicate your reasons for learning the language and preferred learning style. After creating your profile, you can search for tutors or teachers using the search bar on the Italki website. You can search for tutors or teachers by language, teaching style and price. Italki also offers a feature to filter search results based on the availability and location of the tutor or teacher. Each tutor or teacher has recorded a video so you can browse to find the one you like best. 4. How to Make the Most of the Italki Platform. Having clear objectives to get the most out of the Italki platform is essential. Identify what you want to achieve by learning a new language and communicate this to your tutor or teacher. Be open and honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and ask your tutor or teacher for feedback on your progress. In addition, it is essential to set aside time for regular language learning. Consistency is vital to mastering a new language. 5. Pricing. Italki offers different price ranges for tutors and teachers, depending on their experience and credentials. Italki also offers a wide range of prices, so you can find a tutor that fits your budget. Fees range from $10 per hour for community tutors to $50 per hour for professional tutors. Some tutors also offer discounts for purchasing multiple lessons at once, which can be an excellent way to save money. I used to use this; once I found a tutor I felt comfortable with, I started buying packages with her, which saved me a few dollars. 6. Differences Between Selecting a Tutor or Teacher. When selecting a tutor or teacher at Italki, there are a few things to remember. First, consider the qualifications and experience of the tutor. Professional teachers tend to have more experience and training, but community tutors can also be good choices if they have relevant experience or qualifications. As mentioned in point 4, if you are unsure whether to choose a tutor or a teacher, it is worth considering your goals when learning English. A private tutor may be an excellent option to improve your conversational skills or learn vocabulary related to a particular topic. However, you may be better off with a teacher if you seek more structured grammar lessons or exam preparation. In my case, I just wanted to practice conversation to feel more confident in my skills, and I chose a tutor for that. It is also essential to read reviews from other students to get a feel for the teacher's teaching style and effectiveness. Many private teachers also offer a trial lesson or a short video introduction, which can be an excellent way to get a feel for their teaching style before committing to a longer lesson. 7. Additional tips I add here additional resources that can help you practice conversation in English. I have not used all of them, but you can explore until you find the one that fits your needs. Join a language exchange group: Language exchange groups provide an excellent opportunity to practice English with native speakers. You can find language exchange groups on websites like MeetUp or through Facebook groups. I've also seen English Conversation Circles posted in city libraries, but I understand those are only available to residents and refugees. Attend local events: Attend local events in your community to meet new people and practice your English. For example, last summer here in Mississauga, there were many festivals of different cultures, we went to most of them, and it was always an opportunity to buy something and even chat with people sitting near us. Volunteer: Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and practice your English in a real-world setting. Search for local non-profit organizations looking for volunteers in your area and websites in your city with food banks, pet shelters, etc. Find an English conversation partner: Find a conversation partner who is a native speaker of English and schedule regular meetings to practice your conversation skills. If you want to practice skills other than speaking, I suggest the following: Watch TV shows and movies in English: Watching TV shows and movies in English is a great way to improve your English level. Also, try watching programs with English subtitles to understand the language better. Listen to podcasts in English: Listening to podcasts in English is another great way to improve your listening skills. Look for podcasts on topics that interest you and listen to them regularly to improve your comprehension and conversational skills. Read in English: If you enjoy reading, keep reading books that interest you. This will allow you to gain more vocabulary; you can do it through physical books or download them. Listen to audiobooks: If you prefer to consume books by listening, you can search for audiobooks on apps like Audible. The advantage is that you can listen while walking or doing other activities. Overall, Italki is a powerful tool for improving your English skills as a newcomer to Canada. By taking advantage of the flexibility, affordability and variety of tutors and teachers available on the platform, you can quickly improve your language skills and start feeling more confident in your new home. For other ways to improve your English, check out Six Tips to improve your English if you're thinking of moving abroad. I advocate always continuing to improve your skills; if this platform doesn't suit you, that's fine, but find another way that suits you, take action and start practicing somehow. So go for it!

  • New to Canada: Understanding the Education System for Your Children.

    Moving to a new country can be a challenging experience for anyone, but it can be incredibly overwhelming for parents concerned about their children's education. I imagine that as a parent, you want to ensure that your child has access to a quality education that will prepare them for a successful future. You may have some questions if you are immigrating to Canada and are unfamiliar with the Canadian education system. In this article, I will address the most important questions for parents immigrating to Canada and provide information on navigating the education system when their children are in elementary or high school. I will also include additional information about Ontario, the province in which we live, and some details provided by three moms who recently arrived in Ontario and are using the education system for their children. Table of contents 1. What is the educational system in Canada like? 2. What documents must I bring when I move to Canada? 3. How can I find out which school my child should attend? 4. What if my child does not speak English or French? 5. How can I find out which level my child should attend? 6. Are there resources to help me understand the Canadian education system? 7. The education system in Ontario 8. Publicly-funded boards in Toronto and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) 9. Additional resources for Ontario. 10. Curious facts about schools. 1. What is the educational system in Canada like? The system is divided into elementary/primary school for the first eight grades of school (except Quebec, which has only six grades) and secondary or high school, which runs from grades 9 to 12 (except Quebec, which starts in grade 7 and ends in grade 11). In Canada, children usually start elementary school at the age of five or six and finish high school at the age of 17 or 18. After finishing high school, students can go to college or university. 2. What documents must I bring when I move to Canada? When you move to Canada, you must present certain documents to enroll your child in school. In consulting with the three moms I mentioned at the beginning, there were several documents they mentioned that I listed below. *Note that these documents may vary, so always inquire about your situation with the school or board to which you will belong. Use this for reference only. These documents include the following: Proof of your child's age: Passport or other identity documents such as a birth certificate. Immunization record: Parents must provide proof that their children are up to date on their immunizations. Proof of residency: This may include a rental agreement, utility bill or home/apartment insurance in the parents' name. It is used to confirm the address of the residence. Academic transcripts: If the child has attended school before, parents should bring copies of their transcripts to help with the enrollment process. Baptismal certificate: If the child will be attending a Catholic school. Visitor's or study permit (student). Tutor's status (study permit, work permit, etc.). 3. How can I find out which school my child should attend? Each province in Canada has its education system, so it is essential to research your province's system to determine which school your child should attend. The best way to find this information is to contact your local school board or district. They can provide you with information about the schools in your area, including which school your child should attend based on your address. The three examples I know of in Ontario were assigned based on the area where they live, which means the closest school they have in their neighbourhood. 4. What if my child does not speak English or French? Canada is a diverse country, and many schools offer programs for students who do not speak English or French as their first language. These programs are designed to help students learn the language and catch up academically with their peers. In addition, every district has a welcome and levelling office; at least the parents I met were given appointments before school started and assigned an academic advisor for any questions they might have. You can contact your local school board or district for more information about these programs and how to enroll your child. 5. How can I find out which level my child should attend? The level your child will take will depend mainly on age. According to what the moms mentioned, their children were tested in math and reading the day they visited the academic advisor's office. The level is assigned by age, but if it requires some levelling, your child may have some subjects in the level that corresponds to him/her and others in the previous level. 6. Are there resources to help me understand the Canadian education system? There are several resources to help you navigate the Canadian education system. The first place to start is the local school board or district where you plan to live. There they will be able to inform you about the education system in your province and answer your questions. In addition, several websites provide information about the Canadian education system, such as the Canadian Education Association and the Ministry of Education in each province. Here are the links to each province's Ministry of Education: Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Alberta, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northern Territories, Nunavut and Yukon. 7. The Education system in Ontario Since we live here and have contact with families who have come to this province, I would like to expand a bit on Ontario. Ontario is home to Canada's most extensive education system and has several publicly-funded boards that provide education for students from kindergarten to grade 12. Each board has its characteristics, so parents must research the various available options. 8. Publicly-funded boards in Toronto and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Here are some specific details about the publicly-funded boards in Toronto and some cities of GTA: Toronto District School Board (TDSB): The TDSB is the largest board in Canada, serving approximately 250,000 students in nearly 600 schools. More information can be found on this website. Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB): The TCDSB serves approximately 84,000 students in 196 schools, providing a faith-based education to students from kindergarten to grade 12. More information can be found on this website. Peel District School Board (PDSB): The PDSB serves approximately 156,000 students in over 250 schools in the Peel region, which includes Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon. More information can be found on this website. Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB): The DPCDSB serves approximately 81,000 students in 151 schools, providing a faith-based education to students in Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon and Orangeville. More information can be found on this website. York Region District School Board (YRDSB): The YRDSB serves approximately 121,000 students in 171 elementary schools and 31 secondary schools in the York region, which includes Richmond Hill, Markham, and Vaughan. More information can be found on this website. York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB): The YCDSB serves approximately 50,000 students in 85 elementary and 16 secondary schools, providing a faith-based education to students in the York region. More information can be found on this website. 9. Additional Resources for Ontario. Several resources are available on the Internet to help parents navigate the Ontario education system. Here are some useful websites: Ontario Ministry of Education: This website provides information about Ontario's education system, including curriculum requirements and resources for parents. The website is mentioned in item 6 of this post. School board websites: Each school board has a website that provides information about the schools in its area, enrollment requirements and policies. Some details about Toronto and GTA are mentioned in item 8 of this post. Ontario School Locator: This tool allows parents to search for schools in their area based on their home addresses. More information can be found on this website. Ontario College of Teachers: This website provides information about teacher certification requirements and a directory of certified teachers. More information can be found on this website. This website offers resources for newcomers to Ontario, including information about the education system and how to find schools in your area. More Information about Education can be found on this website. 10. Curious facts about schools Here are some of the particularities of the educational system that the moms I asked told me about compared to their countries: There are no monthly school fees (at least in their children's schools) as in countries like ours. In Ontario, there is a choice of public or Catholic school. Siblings can be assigned to different schools, especially if some are in elementary and others in high school. Some schools use uniforms, and some do not require uniforms. Children's attendance is managed through a platform. Every time your child does not go to school, it must be reported in the application. If your child does not attend school and that absence is not reported, the school immediately calls the parents. Requesting the use of the school bus depends on the distance from your home to the school. It is defined according to the meters that separate you from the school. Each district has a welcome and levelling office; at least the parents I met were summoned here before school started and assigned an academic advisor for any questions. Children receive all school supplies at the school; they do not have to buy or bring pencils, books, notebooks, etc. The baptismal certificate in the two cases I asked for was requested in the original language (Spanish). One of the parents said that when there are activities or events for the children where the parent has to pay some small sum, in this case, it was a Pizza event on Wednesdays, no cash is sent with the children, but they have to pay for by an application. I hope this post provides you with the basic information to begin researching the education system in Canada. As a parent, you should research and gather all the necessary documents before moving to Canada. If you do so, you will be able to ensure a smooth transition of your children into the education system and prepare them for success in their academic careers.

  • 10 Spring activities near Mississauga and Toronto

    Spring is here, and it's time to explore the great outdoors! If you're a newcomer to Mississauga and the Toronto area, there are plenty of exciting activities to enjoy in the warmer weather. Here are ten things to do in the Mississauga and Toronto areas this spring that we've done and recommend. Table of contents 1. Visit the Toronto Islands. 2. Explore one of Mississauga's parks. 3. Explore High Park. 4. Check tourist attractions in Toronto. 5. Walk the Toronto beaches Boardwalk. 6. Visit the Niagara Falls 7. Enjoy a walk or bike ride along Toronto's lakefront. 8. Visit the Scarborough Bluffs. 9. Visit the Blue Mountains. 10. Sunset in Riverdale. 1. Visit the Toronto Islands. This is one of our favourites. The Toronto Islands are a must-visit destination in the spring. Located just a short ferry ride from downtown Toronto, the islands offer stunning views of the city skyline and Lake Ontario. Visitors can rent bikes, enjoy a picnic, or explore the islands' parks and beaches. Also, this island has cherry blossoms, so come out to enjoy and take pictures. 2. Explore one of Mississauga's parks. Enjoy the great outdoors that Mississauga has to offer. Find a selection of 14 parks and trails you should try that, in our experience, are spaces to connect with yourself and nature at 14 parks and trails to visit in Mississauga, Ontario. Admission to these parks is free and family and pet friendly. 3. Explore High Park High Park is one of Toronto's largest parks and a popular destination for locals and tourists. The park features over 400 acres of green space, including hiking trails, gardens, and picnic areas. Visitors can also enjoy various recreational activities, including tennis, swimming, and baseball. 4. Check tourist attractions in Toronto. Toronto has many tourist attractions; take your time and visit the CN Tower, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, Casa Loma and much more. You will find more details about places to discover on this page, where you can download a map with more than 50 attractions. 5. Walk the Toronto Beaches Boardwalk The Toronto Beaches Boardwalk is an excellent promenade along the shores of Lake Ontario. The promenade offers stunning views of the lake and Toronto skyline, as well as a variety of stores, restaurants and cafes. Visitors can also enjoy the nearby beaches and parks. 6. Visit the Niagara Falls This place is just over an hour's drive from Toronto and offers breathtaking views of the waterfall and plenty of attractions and activities. It can be accessed via Go Transit buses as well. Some recommendations for visiting places are walking along the falls, Cliffton Hill Road with the wax museum, Niagara Skywheel, ziplining, etc. 7. Enjoy a walk or bike ride along Toronto's lakefront. Lakeshore in Toronto offers a beautiful waterfront trail perfect for walking, jogging, or cycling. The Martin Goodman Trail stretches for over 56 kilometres along the shoreline of Lake Ontario, providing scenic views of the lake and the city's skyline. Along the way, there are several parks and beaches where you can stop to rest, have a picnic or simply enjoy the views. You can rent a bike from one of the many bike rental shops along the trail or bring your own. We did it last year using the service of Bike Share Toronto with the PBSC app. 8. Visit the Scarborough Bluffs Scarborough Bluffs is a must-see natural wonder in Toronto, along Lake Ontario's eastern shores. The bluffs also offer several scenic parks and beaches, including Bluffer's Park and Scarborough Heights Park, where visitors can hike the trails, relax on the beach, and take in the breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding landscape. 9. Visit The Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains, Ontario, offers plenty of exciting outdoor activities to enjoy during the spring season. Located 1 hour and 50 minutes from Mississauga, it is a beautiful place where you can enjoy strolling along the village street and enjoying the sunshine. You can also visit Collingwood near the Blue Mountains and enjoy several trails. We visited last week, and it was beautiful. 10. Sunset in Riverdale. Watching the sunset in Riverdale, Toronto, is a beautiful experience that will take your breath away. The view from Riverdale Park, situated on a hill overlooking the downtown Toronto skyline, is particularly stunning. The park offers a panoramic view of the city and Lake Ontario, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists. I hope this post gives you an idea of places to visit now that Canada's weather is improving. No matter which one you choose, go out and enjoy the sunshine and celebrate all you have accomplished since you arrived in Canada.

  • Understanding the public transportation system as a newcomer to Canada.

    As a newcomer to Canada, understanding the public transportation system can be difficult. However, most major cities in Canada have an efficient public transportation system that makes it easy to get around. In this blog post, I will provide an overview of Canada's public transit system and explain how it works in the country's major cities and the Greater Toronto Area. Let's jump right in! Table of contents 1. Overview 2. Public Transportation in Toronto. 3. Public Transportation in Montreal 4. Public Transportation in Vancouver. 5. Public Transportation in Calgary. 6. Public Transportation in Ottawa. 7. Public Transportation in Mississauga. 8. Public Transportation in Brampton. 9. Public Transportation in the York Region. 10. Public Transportation in the Durham region. 11. Public transportation between cities. 1. Overview Canada has a comprehensive public transportation system that includes buses, trains, subways, streetcars and light rail. Depending on the city, the system is managed by different agencies, and fares vary from city to city. One of Canada's most important public transportation systems is the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). The TTC manages the subway, bus and streetcar systems in Toronto, Canada's largest city. Other major cities with extensive public transportation systems include Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa. Major cities usually have websites for their public transport and generally have a trip planner and fare details. Once you arrive in the city, you can search their websites for the best route for the journey you need—more details of the websites are in the following paragraphs. 2. Public Transportation in Toronto The TTC manages Toronto's subway, bus and streetcar systems. The subway has four lines, and the bus and streetcar system covers the entire city. TTC fares vary according to age and the system used to pay. According to information on their website, buying tickets is slightly more expensive than using a Presto Card. The Presto card is a rechargeable card used to pay for public transportation in Toronto and other cities. The card can be used on all modes of transportation and offers discounts on some fares. You can access individual fares depending on how often you use the card, but monthly passes can help you save a little. More information on fares can be found on this page. 3. Public Transportation in Montreal The Société de Transport de Montréal (STM) operates the public transportation system in Montreal. The STM operates buses and the metro system, which has four lines and covers the entire city. In Montreal, the STM also offers a rechargeable card called the OPUS card, which can be used to pay for public transportation tickets. The card can be used on all modes of transportation and offers discounts on some fares. More information on the OPUS card can be found on this website. We visited Montreal last year and could easily purchase this card in one of the metro stations at a machine located at the station entrance; the card cost at that time was 6 CAD. You will find more information about this system on this page. 4. Public Transportation in Vancouver TransLink operates the public transportation system in Vancouver, which includes buses, trains, and ferries. SkyTrain is Vancouver's rapid transit system, with three lines covering the entire city. TransLink fares vary according to the zones you travel to; see below for an outline of the zones. In Vancouver, TransLink also offers a rechargeable card called the Compass Card, which can be used to pay for public transportation fares. The card can be used on all modes of transportation, and it offers discounts on some fares. If you visit Vancouver, you can easily buy a card as soon as you land at the airport, as the YVR Airport station belonging to Canada Line is connected, and you can buy it at a Compass Vending machine (CVM) at the entrance of the station. Last year we visited Vancouver, bought the card and could ride buses, ferries and subway without any problems. You will find more information about this system on this page. 5. Public Transportation in Calgary The Calgary Transit operates the public transportation system in Calgary, which includes buses and the CTrain. The CTrain is Calgary's light rail system, with two lines that cover the entire city. The fares for the Calgary Transit vary depending on your age and the mode of transportation used. They also have passes available, as you can check on their website. The Calgary Transit also offers an App called My Fare, which can be used to buy tickets for public transportation fares. You will find more information about this system on this page: 6. Public Transportation in Ottawa The Société de Transport de l'Outaouais (STO) operates the public transportation system in Ottawa, which includes buses and trains. The O-Train is Ottawa's light rail system, with one line that covers the city's downtown area. In Ottawa, the STO also offers a reloadable card called the Multi card, which can be used to pay public transit fares. The card can be used on all modes of transportation and offers discounts on some fares; according to the website, they also have personalized cards. You will find more information about this system on this page. 7. Public Transportation in Mississauga. MiWay manages Mississauga's public transit system. The system includes buses that cover the entire city, and fares vary depending on your age and how you pay your fare. For example, if you pay in cash the fare is CAD 4, but if you pay with a Presto card the fare is CAD 3.10. MiWay also offers a contactless payment system called Presto Card, the same one used in Toronto. They have recently expanded the system to allow you to pay for your ticket by credit card, debit card or mobile wallet. We used to use public transit very frequently, and some transit combinations allow you to save if you travel to surrounding cities; for example, travelling from Mississauga to Brampton, Oakville and Vaughan, there is a transfer time that gives you a free transfer ride. This is not the case when travelling to Toronto. You will find more information about this system on this page. 8. Public transportation in Brampton. Brampton Transit operates the public transportation system in Brampton. The system includes buses covering the entire city, and the fares vary depending on your age and payment method. They also have weekly and monthly passes. Brampton Transit also offers a contactless payment system, which allows you to pay for fares using your credit card, debit card, or mobile wallet. You will find more information about this system on this page. 9. Public transportation in the York Region York Region Transit (YRT) operates the public transportation system in Newmarket, Aurora, Vaughan and Richmond Hill. The system includes buses that cover the entire region, and fares vary depending on your age and payment method. YRT also offers a contactless payment system, which allows you to pay for fares by credit card, debit card, Presto card or mobile wallet. They also have two apps that allow pedestrians to pay transit fares: YRT/ Viva Pay App and Transit: Bus & Subway Times App. You will find more information about this system on this page. 10. Public Transportation in the Durham Region. Durham Region Transit (DRT) manages the public transit system in Oshawa, Ajax and Whitby. The system includes buses that cover the entire region, and fares vary depending on the means of payment and the age of the passenger. DRT also offers a contactless payment system, which allows fares to be paid by credit card, debit card, Presto Card or mobile wallet. You will find more information about this system on this page. 12. Public Transportation between cities. There is another way to move between cities; the one we have used the most is the one operated by Go Transit, which has buses and trains. The system allows you to pay with a Presto card or buy tickets directly at the stations or online. The fare depends mainly on the distance travelled, and unlike other means of transport, you must scan your card when getting on and off the bus or train to calculate your final fare. You will find more information about this system on this page. Via Rail is also a train company that allows you to move between cities. We have used the service between Toronto and Montreal, which works well. In this case, we bought the tickets through the website; you can find more information on this site. I hope this post has given you an idea of how the public transportation system works in Canada. As you can see, generally, the public transportation systems in these cities are managed by different agencies. Still, they all offer bus services that cover the entire city or region.

  • Preparing your finances for a move to Canada: what you need to know.

    Moving to a new country can be an exciting and life-changing experience, but it can also be daunting, especially regarding your finances. Whether you're moving for work, school, or just for a change of scenery, preparing your finances in advance is essential to ensure a smooth transition. This post will explore what you need to know about preparing your finances to move to Canada. Table of contents 1. Cost of living in Canada 2. Set a realistic budget 3. Save more money than you think 4. Immigration fees 5. Eliminate or reduce local debts 6. Check to see if you have automatic payments on your bills 7. Open a Canadian bank account 8. Currency exchange 9. Apply for a credit card 10. Consider your tax obligations 11. Growing your savings 12. Education 1. Cost of Living in Canada. Before you start packing, it is important to research the cost of living in Canada. This will give you an idea of how much money you will need to save before you move. The cost of living in Canada can vary significantly depending on where you plan to live, so it is essential to research the cost of housing, food, transportation and other expenses in the province you are moving to. A helpful site is, where you can filter by city and have benchmark prices for each category mentioned above. Be sure to also check out Cost of Living in Canada: Basic Expenses for Newcomers. 2. Set a Realistic Budget. Once you know the cost of living in Canada, you can begin to set a budget for your move. This will help you determine how much money you will need to save each month to meet that amount before your trip has started. Be sure to do a budget review exercise so you don't run into any surprises. Think that you will have to pay some additional amounts at first, such as at least two months' rent, and since most homes are unfurnished, you will need to invest in furnishing your new space. Another expense is winter clothing, which can be expensive at first; we tried to buy at lower prices by following the tips in Winter clothing in Canada: What to wear during the Canadian winter. 3. Save more money than you think. It depends on your country, but in our case, the cost of living in Canada is much higher than in our home country. I suggest you save as much money as you can. If you have already decided in which province you want to live. Use the internet to understand the cost of living, rent, transportation, groceries, etc., as mentioned in item 1 above. That is why it is ideal to start saving as soon as possible. No matter how well you plan, unexpected expenses may arise when moving to a new country. It is essential to have a plan in place to deal with these expenses, such as a medical emergency or a car repair, etc. 4. Immigration fees. Understand the costs associated with the immigration process, including permit or visa application fees, legal fees and relocation expenses. All of these need to be taken into account when planning. The value of immigration costs will depend on which immigration program you choose and whether you decide to do the paperwork yourself or require the assistance of an immigration consultant, which will increase the budget required. 5. Eliminate or reduce local debts. Once you have defined the budget, you must set strategies to reach that amount in the established time frame. We implemented this suggestion, which may sound counterproductive, but in the long run, it helped us. If you have saved enough money to close local debts, I recommend you do so. You will have peace of mind and will not have to worry about paying them from abroad, plus you will generate a clean record in case you need to apply for a loan in your country. So I suggest you review your debts and find a way to close most or all of them, if possible. 6. Check to see if you have automatic payments on your bills. Sometimes to make it easier to pay bills at the end of the month, banks allow you to set up recurring payments or automatic withdrawals directly from your bank account. If you have any services deducting money directly from your account, cancel or stop the service if you do not use it. And again, call the bank to see if you have to sign anything on paper. 7. Open a Canadian Bank Account. For this process, you have two alternatives: Create an international account from your country. Wait until you arrive in Canada and open an account directly at the bank branch. This is totally up to you, but there are alternatives to opening an international bank account from your country before coming. I used Scotiabank, where you create a virtual international account, then make an appointment and open your account when you arrive in Canada. They immediately deposit the money you already had in the virtual account. The second option is to arrive and apply to the bank of your choice and then see other ways to transfer your money to that account. Be sure to research different banks and account options before choosing a bank, as fees and services may vary. Here are some of the banks in Canada: Scotiabank, Neo Financial, RBC, CIBC, etc. 8. Currency exchange. Be aware of the exchange rate between the currency of your home country and your new one, as it can affect your purchasing power and the cost of goods and services. If you are relocating from another country, you must transfer your money to your new Canadian bank account. Research the options and compare fees and exchange rates for the best deal. Some examples you can check that at least worked for Latin American countries are Currency Bird, Remitly and Western Union. In our case, I was constantly checking the value of the Canadian dollar to transfer at the best possible exchange rate. 9. Apply for a Credit Card. A Canadian credit card can help build a credit score. However, it can be challenging to be approved for a credit card as a newcomer to Canada, as you will have no credit history in the country. One option is to apply for a secured credit card, which requires a deposit as a guarantee. This can be an excellent way to start building your credit history in Canada. I did it this way, and the bank held that money for at least the first year; then, I could increase my credit limit and get my money back. If you are unfamiliar with the term credit score today, I suggest you check it out since it is crucial to access loans, rent a new house, buy a car, etc. 10. Consider Your Tax Obligations. When you move to Canada, you will be subject to Canadian taxes. Research Canadian tax legislation and understand your tax obligations before you move. You may have to file a tax return in your home country and Canada depending on your situation. It is good to consult a tax professional to ensure you meet all your tax obligations. 11. Growing your savings. If you will move savings to Canada, look for a high-interest savings account or another tool to grow your money. I use a savings account with Neo Financial that offers me 2.25% per year, and I also have a Tax-free saving account (TFSA) where I can invest. Check out other financial products you can use to grow your savings. 12. Education. If you have children, research the education system in the new country, including school options and associated costs. The good news is that according to conversations with some newcomer parents in Ontario, you will not have to pay for school; only in some cases you will need to buy the uniform, but that's about it. Check this aspect depending on the province you are migrating to. I hope this post gives you an idea of the financial considerations you need to make if you are moving to Canada. To learn more about what to prepare before your trip, check out 40 things you must do in your home country before moving to Canada.

  • 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.

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